Featured: Verizon's FCC Tethering Settlement And What Customers Should Know

Featured: Verizon’s Tethering Settlement With The FCC And What Customers Should Know

August 2, 2012 - Written By Mike Stenger

The battle between customers and carriers have waged on over the years, though it seems the carriers always come on top, particularly here in the United States since there is a select few with most of the power. Prices continue to go up, unlimited data aside from Sprint is pretty much non-existent unless you were grandfathered in, and limited data plans are the wave of the future.

However, it’s not always good news for carriers. The FCC has had a ten month long investigation into Verizon’s use of the 700 MHz wireless spectrum that they’ve been using to build their network of 4G LTE. Why? Because the rules state that licensees, “shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network.”

Verizon was under fire because they convinced Google to remove 11 apps from the Play Store which had to do with creating a mobile hotspot, something that Verizon charged for and therefore wasn’t getting any money from. Recently, the carrier agreed to a settlement and had to pay $1.25 million, pretty much a drop in the bucket.

Because of this, there’s still some questions floating around which CNET addressed. Since the introduction of the new Share Everything plans, tethering is included without no additional charge. If you’re on one of Verizon’s older plans, you can still play $20 per month OR you can simply download and use one of the tethering apps available in the Play Store without them getting on your back, thanks to this settlement.

The benefit of keeping the Mobile Broadband Connect however is that you get more data capacity with tethered devices. On the flip side, it all depends on how much data you’re using to begin with and it might not be needed at all. If you’re a grandfathered in Unlimited plan customer, you’re unfortunately required to pay for Verizon’s tethering service which says so in their terms of service. Chances are though, that’s not and likely hasn’t stopped people.

Lastly, customers are not entitled to any compensation due to this settlement.  It’s good to see the FCC rule in this manner as carriers are already making tons of money with their plans. Their profit margins are quite considerable and customers should be able to use their data plan anyway they see fit. If they want to use a tethering app, so be it. It’s not like Verizon doesn’t already have a cap on everything and chances are they wouldn’t be too upset if people went over that cap since they get to charge for that too.