U.S. carriers have started blocking an app that allows Android smartphone users free wireless tethering for other web-ready devices.
The application, “Wireless Tether for Root Users,” is still available on the Android Market. But if you have a phone that’s on the Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile networks, you won’t be able to download or install it.
Try and access the app from the Android Market, and when prompted to choose a device on which to install it, you’ll only be able to select Sprint-carried devices or Wi-Fi–only products.
Wired.com attempted to install the application on a number of devices, and was able to do so only on a Sprint-carried Evo 4G and Galaxy Tab, as well as Wi-Fi–only products. Our Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T devices were unable to receive the app for installation.
A spokesperson from Verizon confirmed the application is not available to Verizon Wireless customers. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.If you’ve rooted your Android phone, using it as an internet hotspot for your other devices is one of its biggest perks. When nary an internet-enabled cafe is nearby, apps like Wireless Tether allow you to use your phone’s 4G, 3G or 2G data connection to access the web from another connected (or “tethered”) device, like your laptop or Wi-Fi–only tablet.
The best part: You bypass the monthly fee that most carriers charge for wireless tethering on devices (standard monthly charge for wireless tethering on the big four U.S. carriers is $30).
That’s why blocking the application makes sense in terms of a carrier’s bottom line. Missing out on that extra cash while its customers consume its precious bandwidth for free isn’t attractive to carriers.