Using an AT&T SIM Card in the New Nexus 7 Disables the Option to Create a Hotspot or Tethering

September 19, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

It was just yesterday that AT&T announced the availability of the LTE-ready Nexus 7 (2013) tablet direct from Google Play, with an AT&T SIM activation card included. They also sweetened the deal even more by adding a $100 AT&T credit to your bill if you sign up for a new two-year agreement. This is the same tablet as the SIM-free version or the T-Mobile version, not a separate AT&T version. But it appears that Verizon is not the only carrier having difficulties with the Nexus 7 (2013) – There are numerous complaints popping up on the XDA forums and the Google Product Groups for Nexus concerning the very topic of difficulty in tethering or using your Nexus 7 (2013) as a hotspot on AT&T’s network.  It is not known at this time how widespread the problem actually is, but the users on these sites want AT&T and Google to know that many of them are having difficulties.

In the Google Group, one user contacted the Google Nexus Support by phone and was informed that Google Support was escalating his complaint and assigned it Case Number 5-5927000001711.  He then explains his chain of events for others to follow:

  • 9/13 I received my Nexus 7 LTE and noticed the issue
  • 9/14 Contacted AT&T Technical Support by Phone to work on issue. Confirmed that my 5GB Plan includes Tethering and Hotspot. Technical Support could not provide a solution.
  • 9/15 Posted in XDA Developers Confirmed this issue is happening to others
  • 9/15 Posted in XDA Developers
  • 9/17 Created post on Google Product Forum!category-topic/nexus/nexus-7/LwcDQENWhRE
  • 9/18 Sent the following email

A few others, upon reading this, chimed in that they were having the same issues, so it is not an isolated incident.  The Nexus 7 (2013) for AT&T has just been released so as more customers pick up the device we should be seeing more complaints.  XDA left the following message and appears to have isolated the problem:

Here is the culprit:…090/config.xml

That’s for Cricket wireless, but there’s a similar one for ATT.

What that modification does is tell the Android system that there are no valid tethering network interfaces when an ATT sim card is inserted. So it’s removed from the settings menu automatically because tethering is no longer “supported” by any of the network interfaces on the device.

These config files are compiled down into /system/framework/framework-res.apk.

The original user that inquired about this issued added:

So from what I can tell so far, it appears that this is built into the Google Framework to disable Tethering when any AT&T SIM Card is installed. What needs to be determined is if this is an accident or intentional. As I am paying for Tethering and Hotspot, I have a serious issue with this so far and it seems that there would be nothing AT&T can do to my device to get it restored. Short of Google correcting the issue and issuing an OTA Update, but this would mean that AT&T will need to work with Google to fix this.

Let us know if you experience this issue with your Nexus 7 (2013) on AT&T or if yours seems to work OK.