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I'm torn over free tethering...

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Travisimo, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Travisimo

    Travisimo Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    I've been eyeing the root subforum for some time now, internally debating with myself whether to root or not. Ultimately,I realized the only reason I'm feeling compelled to root is to get the free WIFI tethering. And I'm torn over whether I should take advantage of this or not?

    I'm not here to make judgments on anyone. Nor am I here to claim some moral high ground. And I realize that for many people, any of this is fair game as long as you don't get caught. But I'm torn over two aspects of this:

    1) Whether I feel it is right to take advantage of free WIFI tethering by rooting when Verizon obviously makes this available as a paid service. I'm assuming, but do not know for sure, that using this "feature" is a violation of their TOS? And though I realize that rooting and jail-breaking has been declared "legal", is it not going a step further when you use it to make a paid service free?

    2) Obviously, Verizon and the other carriers know this stuff goes on. Rooting to customize your phone or remove "bloatware" is probably not going to compel them to relentlessly try to stop us from rooting. But rooting and obtaining access to paid services for free certainly gives them further motivation for locking these phones down even further. Yes, I know that for every tightening of the locks, there is a hacker out there who can break it. But eventually, will our behavior cause the carriers to make things even more expensive and more locked down?

    I already know my answer, I guess. I should just pay the $20/mo and use Verizon's Hotspot service. It works great, doesn't require root, and works with multiple devices. Heck, I could just cancel my iPad's data plan and use the Droid's Hotspot feature and still break even - plus have the ability to use it with our laptops.

    Of course I'm tempted to just root and use the free WIFI tethering. But upon further reflection, it seems no different to me than getting the local cable guy to set up free television service. That's not something I would feel comfortable doing, so I shouldn't feel comfortable doing it on the Droid just because it may be easier and more private. After all, I feel it's the things that we do in private that define who we really are! ;-)

    Again, I'm not judging anybody here. Just thinking out loud, and wrestling with myself over whether this is something I might do. I would feel no remorse over rooting in order to customize my phone, but if I'm being totally honest, the free WIFI tethering was the only reason I was considering it.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. PerCompLLC

    PerCompLLC Android Enthusiast

    Interesting monologue... Definitely a personal ethical decision. I personally don't see the difference between surfing the web from my phone and surfing the web using my phone's 3G connection. I am paying for the connection already, and how I use the connection is my business. But that is just my personal opinion...

    Good luck with your dilemma. :)
  3. tsanuri

    tsanuri Android Enthusiast

    I do think you missed one other thing with this. And it has already been pointed out.
    Is it right for a company to sell you unlimited data on your phone that has this feature available to it and then dictate how you then use that data?
    I know there is a finate amount of space but I also know that no business sells something that they are not making money from. That is when there is not a sale going on, so loss leaders do not count.
    I do not see this at all like the cable example you gave.
  4. Travisimo

    Travisimo Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    There's a couple of angles here. Strictly speaking, if you agree to a TOS that specifically says you can't do this, then it doesn't matter if you feel like it is wrong for them to sell it that way. You agreed to it when you accepted their TOS. However, I realize that this doesn't mean we should just accept it and keep our mouths shut.

    Going back to my cable TV analogy, I guess it's really a gray area. In many cases, yes you are supposed to pay an extra fee to use the service on multiple TVs. But of course, many people just split the coax and use it freely. Then again, this is why they have moved towards the requirement of using cable boxes, so that you have to pay for each device you watch it on. The argument, then, seems to revolve around the idea of a "dumb pipe" where you simply pay one fee for the data coming in, and then can do whatever you like. Most of us have that with our home Internet, but it's a different story with cable, satellite, and now phones.

    So yes, I would certainly agree that it stinks that they would charge an additional fee for using the same data plan. On the other hand, the potential exists (and would certainly be taken advantage of) for customers to use exorbitant amounts of data when tethering. Generally speaking, it's quite true that your phone uses considerably less data than your laptop, etc. And of course, using multiple devices simultaneously would use an even higher amount of data. So they certainly have to control this to some degree. Of course, the 2GB cap already has the ability to control this, so why charge another $20/mo? I suppose they are thinking that this is data on top of what you would already be using on your phone itself. Some people would even go so far as to use this Hotstop feature as their main Internet pipe in their home, etc. So I can definitely see the need to control it.

    I just want them to leave the unlimited data on the phone itself alone, and if we take advantage of this free tethering "option" and start using a lot more data, then they are just going to do the same tiered structure that AT&T uses. I mean, unless you are grandfathered in on AT&T, you can't go over 2GB of data per month without pay per GB. If I have to start worrying about going over a 2GB cap, then I'll no longer enjoy using my phone.

    Anyway, thanks for your input and remaining cordial. As I said, I definitely don't want to condemn anyone who is doing this. I've regrettably been involved in flame wars in the past and they are no fun and always end up badly, so I'd rather avoid that here.

    Thanks all!
  5. c4v3man

    c4v3man Well-Known Member

    This is where I am drawing the line personally. If I was on AT&T, I would root and get free wifi tethering with absolutely no affect on my conscience, since I am paying for a limited bucket of data. Since Verizon is allowing for truly unlimited access, I think it's just going to give Verizon more incentive to cap the data rates. I'll admit I have used Tether on my blackberry a few times, but not since AT&T's decision. I haven't checked, but Verizon may even prorate the service, so I'll spend a few bucks here and there for the service I need. I almost always have wifi available, so I rarely need my phone's data anyways. With the practically unlimited versatility of the droid X compared to my blackberry storm, I don't really have a "need" to use my laptop anyways.

    I don't fault anyone for doing it, but I think we need to vote with our dollars and show that we value the unlimited data that Verizon offers us by not violating that trust.
  6. Travisimo

    Travisimo Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Hmmm, I hadn't thought of that. So are you saying that you could add the Hotstop service for a few days when you need it (out of town, for example) and then just take it back off and you wouldn't be charged the entire $20? That's my dilemma, actually. I am usually on WIFI most of the time too, but I'd like to be able to use the Hotspot now and then. I don't even think I would ever use more than a couple hundred megabytes of data, since it would mainly be for web browsing, etc.

    $20/mo is fine for someone who is going to use it all the time, but what about those who just want to use it periodically? At $20/mo, it should be capped somewhere higher than 2GB, imo. For tethering, it would make more sense something like this:

    $20/mo for 5GB
    $10/mo for 2GB
    $5/mo for 500MB

    They already do this for text messaging, so why not for data tethering?
  7. Mr312

    Mr312 Lurker

    Because if they only have a $20+ per month choice, than their is no choice for the consumer. Why allow someone to pay less than you have to? While I dont agree with it I totally understand.

    I actually like your idea of a tiered data tethering plan yet I would be willing to bet that it will never materialize. Again, why give the customer a $5 dollar option that they would actually use when you can charge them $20+ per month while at the same time leaving them with no options.

    (I do not work for a phone company, but I do understand why they do the things they do. I do not agree with it at all but that is the way it is.)
  8. Travisimo

    Travisimo Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    But they already do it for text messaging. You can choose between the following text plans:

    - $5/mo for 250 texts
    - $10/mo for 500 texts
    - $20/mo unlimited when you buy Talk & Text

    Look at it this way. Suppose someone would like to use tethering but not enough to justify the $20/mo price. They will either root and use it for free, or they will just not buy it at all. But what if they offered a $10/mo option with a lower data cap? That may indeed entice them to use the paid option rather than rooting (me included). It costs them nothing more to offer options, and it's better to offer a lower cost option than pushing people away from the service altogether. Honestly, I bet there's not very many standard users who will be paying for the $20/mo tethering plan.
  9. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Im good with tethering via wifi. Here is my excuse.... I'm alowed to usb tether for free. So if i can legality use a cable to connect ONE computer, why should i be charger with tethering ONE computer via wifi? To me, tether implies one computer, jot spot is multiple computers. I can see them wanting more money even with unlimited data if i use several computers. However one computer is legitimate so what if its usb or wifi?
  10. labeledbass

    labeledbass Android Enthusiast

    That too was my main reason I wanted to root, I would like to remove bloatware but honestly I don't have a problem with some of the apps that are sitting in my tray, yeah they may take up some ram but task killer and the simple fact that the phone is heavy in the hardware department make up for it. Hot spot would be really nice, I enabled it on one in a VW store, connected mine to it and did a speed test, barely broke a mb/s and the ping was some where around 999 - that and the simple fact that my laptop is from the 90s, strickly for emergency use I simply don't need it. But at the same time I honestly didn't need this phone, but... well here I am a current X user :p

    Personally, I'd wait until Froyo comes out - then see what the developers will do, I assume everything root will change once that update arrives, unless you stick with 2.1 and free hotspot is hardly worth that, from what I've heard.
  11. Piiman

    Piiman Android Expert

    They couldn't get you with the 50.00 per gig overage charge if they give you too much in the plan.:rolleyes: Can you imagine how fast a group of office people will blow by that 2 gig limit? You better hope the company is paying your phone bill.

    To sell it to more people of course.

    And then they have an even larger pool for users to trap with the $50.00 per gig overage fee:D

    (Yes I believe big business's goal is to suck every penny then can out of us one way or the other) :cool:
  12. e36BMW3series

    e36BMW3series Lurker

    I will more than likely be taking advantage of this free tethering service. . . . . However, I will not be abusing it like some people do. . . . . The way I see it (Like the Verizon Guy Told me) I can use blockbuster or youtube and stream as much stuff across the network as I want TO MY TV. . . . but I can't do it to my laptop? I will rarely be away from my house or school where wifi is needed and not available, but I'd like my options to be open that few times a month where It'd be nice, but could never justify the additional 20 a month. Hell I'm already paying 30/mo for the data. I don't even necessarily want the data, I just want a nice fast phone that will sync with my computer.
  13. karmagedon

    karmagedon Member

    verizon also has a visual voicemail you can pay for, or you can just use another company's free visual voicemail. they also have a vz navigator you can pay $10 a month for ..... but why would you want to do that?

    a few years ago, i called asking about this kind of thing with my samsung omnia. i found a program that allowed me to tether and called verizon to see if this was an ok thing to do. the rep told me i had an unlimited data plan, and since it was my phone, i was allowed to load any program i wanted to.

    in short, i don't believe there is such thing as "abuse" when we're talking about "unlimited". you don't charge a fat guy more at a buffet.

    on a side note, i read on droid-life.com that verizon had no plans on creating a tier for 3g, however, they are looking into it for the lte service.
  14. Piiman

    Piiman Android Expert

    You might want to let eh "Verizon Guy" know you can't stream those to you TV.

    I'm pretty sure you can add and remove the service at will. One of Verizons features is you can change your plan at anytime. They should also pro rate it if you only use it for say a week you'll only be charged for a week.
  15. Steven58


    The (very pretty young) VZW techie (girl) was the one who was extolling the virtues of super user status, especially for underclocking.

    In any event, do I have wi-fi tether from root? Yes. Do I use it? No. I don't have need. I suppose if I ever would need it, I would buy it for a month.

    So, why do I have it? Because I can. I do like super-user status so I can make this phone just right. :)
  16. izomiac

    izomiac Newbie

    It's definitely refreshing to see people give thought to ethics, rather than "can I get away with this". Personally, I don't bother tethering since wifi is much faster and basically ubiquitous in my immediate area. However, I do think there are two very important points to keep in mind:

    1. Verizon's mobile hotspot isn't a service. They've done you a disservice by disabling that part of the core android functionality. They actually spent money to make their phone inferior. I'm quite sure they'd love to receive your money, much like a 6 year old wants a pony, but they aren't really providing a service. IMHO, ethically, it's similar to paying the mafia "protection money" so they'll stay out of your way.
    2. Verizon advertises the data plan as "unlimited". The word "unlimited" means without any limitations. You have purchased the right to use it however you wish. Ethically it's pretty clear cut. Legally, I'm sure they have tacted on restrictions, but that's false advertising. So, it's like Schroedinger's cat as far as legal/not-legal goes, nobody can know until they "open the box" (test it in court). (Although legality is only tangentially related to morality, of course.)
    PerCompLLC likes this.
  17. ixobelle

    ixobelle Newbie

    this goes back to my Athlon XP chip that was sold to me with certain pipelines severed BY LASER.

    They made a chip that could do much more, then intentionally broke it with a freaking laser beam to artificially create a middle market. Those of us willing to repair the severed trace basically got a 'free' upgrade out of our CPU.

    (for those with no idea what I'm talking about: nV News - Unlocking The Athlon XP Processor)

    Verizon has done the same thing... released a phone fully capable of Wifi tethering, and then "broke" the functionality of it, in order to sell it as a service. That's basically like selling us a DVD remote, and telling us that we can only press the Pause button if we pay a subscription to the 'video pause feature'.

    That's Crap. That's Double Dipping. That's not happening.

    I'm rooted, I'll use my unlimited data plan that I'm already paying for thank you.
  18. wheelna

    wheelna Member

    Just upgraded from DInc to X this week. Rooted - all that fun stuff. Had AP tethering on DInc, I'm still getting adHoc with X even with version 2.0.5-pre 7. Is anyone else getting AP tethering or do we need to wait for the froyo kernal?
  19. Travisimo

    Travisimo Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    No, your analogy is flawed. What if the DVD remote came with a feature that you were supposed to pay a subscription for (an online feature, for example), but you subverted the subscription with a hack and got it for free?

    Or to continue my cable TV analogy:

    Just because you have a cable line running to your house from the cable company does not mean you are supposed to get free TV. And just because all of the channels are carried through that cable line does not mean all of the channels are free, even if it is technically possible for you to unscramble them with a hack.

    Google put tethering in the Android OS and gave the carriers the choice of how to implement it. Some carriers may choose to let you use it without an additional charge. Verizon has not. We can choose not to like it. We can choose another carrier. Or we can choose to violate the TOS and do our own thing and most likely get away with it. But I can guarantee there will be consequences with ubiquitous use of tethering by users who subvert the carriers limitations. They'll either lock the phone down even further (which will hurt users who don't root, who are still the majority), they'll start limiting bandwidth consumption, or they'll just charge more. Right now, enjoy that unlimited phone data plan!
  20. tsanuri

    tsanuri Android Enthusiast

    Here is where we must get into contract law. Is the clause within the ToS inforceable? If not then that makes that part of the contract void. Is there ample consideration within the contract? If not then once again some sections of it can be void. I am not saying one way or the other as to which it is. But I do have some thoughts on it but since I am not a lawyer I will not try to share legal advice. That is why there are always clauses within the contracts that will keep the other provisions in place even if one is found to be void. Is this part of the contract void? You need to talk with a lawyer to find out or make a choice on your own by doing some study of the law and if you want to push it. Those are the type of choices we all have.
  21. Lars

    Lars Android Expert

    I don't know where in the TOS it allows you to tether for free via cable. Those of you tethering via pdanet or easytether are violating the TOS in the same way as those who wifi tether via root. Actually you can wifi tether for free without root as well to create a hotspot. Your phone and the average laptop will do to do that.

    Let's look at another scenario. VZW used to lock down the gps chip and made you pay for using it. You owned the phone but they disabled the chip and encrypted the intermediate driver. If you bought a BT gps it would work. Was that a violation of TOS? Was reprogramming the chip to function properly a TOS? Now gps is openly free on smartphones.

    There is also a cause in the TOS that says you cannot setup your phone as a server across 3G as I recall.

    I believe ultimately the carriers will lose in scenarios where they try to restrict how people are allowed to use the internet using a computer (and the smartphone is basically a computer). They should save themselves the trouble and just move on. Why the hell would they be heading to LTE with faster data rates? Surely the phone's 3G is fast enough for the phone already. They should focus on their network and sell faster service for more money. 1X $10/mo, 3G $20/mo, 4G $30/mo etc. People can choose how fast they want the service. VZW has done a great job coming around to giving people what they want. The only thing that ATT has over VZW is proper international service.

    Here is the moral question of the day for you. A train is speeding down the track and is about to run over a family of five walking on the tracks. You have the opportunity to push the switch to divert the train onto a side track where it will only run over one other guy walking on the track. Do you do it?

    Question two. Same scenario of a family of five walking on the track but this time you and the man are on a bridge over the tracks. You have the opportunity to save the family of five by pushing the other man off the bridge to stop the train. Do you do it?
  22. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Android Enthusiast

    I get what you're saying, but limiting choice doesn't endear customer loyalty, which seems to be exactly what Verizon's focus has been since...well, forever.

    Not only that, but the point here is that for people like myself and Travismo, we have limited needs, so when it comes to paying $0 vs. full blown $20 I choose $0. I firmly believe I would still choose this route if free wifi tether weren't available.

    For a company that is versed in nickel and diming its customers for every little thing eg; visual voice mail, you would think they'd get this concept.
  23. c4v3man

    c4v3man Well-Known Member

    You'd think as someone who is familiar with Verizon's so-called "nickle and diming" you'd use a less restrictive service provider. The fact is that Verizon has the best network, and this is why we use them. They have the best network because they invest so much into their network to ensure the best service. They invest money because they make a sizable profit. They have a sizable profit because they "nickle and dime".

    I'm not saying I haven't tethered in the past, but there simply is no argument that you can legitimately make that allows you to tether for free. There are times when going against the terms-of-service or license that can be easily justified, such as breaking copy protection on a DVD that you own so you can make a backup copy, or encode it so you can watch it on your phone. You own the movie, you should be able to manipulate it as you please. However, with Verizon you own Unlimited Smartphone Internet, not unlimited internet. You can't claim otherwise.

    Now if they go to a limited amount of internet traffic, then I think it's fair to say you're paying for 5GB of usage per month, and you're entitled to use those 5GB in whatever way you see fit. But until Verizon does, you are just hurting the community.
  24. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Android Enthusiast

    Well, I'll tell you what I am going to claim otherwise and here's why.

    I beg to differ with hurting the community, as I mentioned before I would gladly pay for tiered data under $20 a month for wifi tethering if it were available. Sadly it is not, which was my reference to Verizon's nickel and diming on seemingly other innocuous things like visual voice mail.

    I use wifi tethering very casually, and by casually I mean maybe I would use it to check my email and facebook if I were out of town somewhere like a hotel.

    The point is that you're wrong that I or anyone who uses free wifi tethering is hurting the community. You have no statistical data to back that claim up. If you do I'm all ears. Obstructing Verizon's profit margins and obstructing fair bandwidth use for the sake of the community are different beasts entirely.

    Also, think of it alternatively. It would be naive to think that Verizon is not aware of wifi tethering and rooting processes which allow wifi tethering for free. In fact, after talking with my brother, a Verizon manager in the Palo Alto just 30 minutes ago, we concluded that Verizon is simply playing the middle ground right now with data pricing.

    On the one hand you have people who are more than willing to pay $20 a month extra for a seamless, supported wifi tethering experience. For those, Verizon will gladly charge.

    On the other hand it is fair to assume that Verizon knows tinkering users will have the urge to root. Users like myself will root and find other advantages to rooting that secretly Verizon is championing behind doors because publicly they are on board with Android's openness.

    It makes sense; gives the nerds what they want and look the other way, all the while keeping a close eye, and charge those willing to pay for the "real deal." Any other way and Verizon looks like the bad guy.

    Instead, all they are doing is waiting it out after ATT announced their tiered data pricing. Really to me there is no argument on ethics to this issue. You better believe they'd lock out every single tethering thief if they saw a competitive advantage to it, but there isn't.

    Which brings me full circle to my original point: Why then doesn't Verizon just take the extra step and charge a nominal fee so I don't even have to waste my time rooting and I can feel good about myself? Just sayin.
  25. nofez

    nofez Newbie

    They do. It just happens that the nominal fee is $20/mo.

    edit: or, since it is in fact prorated, roughly $0.67/day

Motorola Droid X Forum

The Motorola Droid X release date was July 2010. Features and Specs include a 4.3" inch screen, 8MP camera, 512GB RAM, TI OMAP3630 processor, and 1540mAh battery.

July 2010
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