Verizon must allow Android tethering apps, can’t charge fee, FCC rules

Verizon forced to allow tethering apps by FCC

Verizon may not block the usage of third-party tethering apps that turn Android devices into mobile hotspots, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled today. Nor may Verizon charge a $20 tethering fee for users on either tiered data plans or unlimited plans.

Verizon has agreed to pay a $1.25 million settlement fee to the U.S. Treasury to resolve the matter.

The FCC’s decision relies on the fact that Verizon purchased 700MHz spectrum from the U.S. government in 2008. As part of the deal, Verizon had to guarantee that it would not restrict the types of devices or applications used on that spectrum.

“Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with FCC obligations is not optional. The open device and application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement. “The massive innovation and investment fueled by the Internet have been driven by consumer choice in both devices and applications. The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice, but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services and apps without fear of being blocked.”

Because the FCC’s ruling is based solely on this “C-Block” spectrum deal, the same rules do not apply to AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile, all of which charge users a fee for using wireless tethering apps.

Tethering, for those of you wondering what the heck this is all about, allows users to access the Internet from other devices, like laptops, via their smartphone or tablet’s wireless signal.

Of course, users who pay for a usage-based data plan will still pay heavily for tethering their devices, since Verizon charges about $2 per megabyte over the initial allotted data (which starts at 1GB at a cost of $50 per month). Watch a video or two, and you’re looking at a massive phone bill coming your way. If you’re still on an unlimited plan, well, you win!

For those of you interested in getting in on the new, unfettered tethering goodness can find many tethering apps on the Google Play Store. We’d recommend giving PdaNet a go.

Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

The iPhone XR is now up for pre-order -- here's where to get it

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

Number not recognized? Here's why you're receiving calls from 'Scam Likely'

While it may seem like a bold marketing move to tag your calls "Scam Likely," these alerts are actually your carrier's way of helping you identify scams. Here, we'll walk you through what exactly these markers mean and how you can turn them…
Mobile

There are four versions of the Mate 20, but which one is the best?

Huawei revealed its full range of Mate 20 handsets, and it seems that there is a device that fits everyone's needs. We've compared all the options, including the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Mate 20 X, the Mate 20, and the Mate 20 Lite.
Mobile

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.
Mobile

Xiaomi phone with 5G and 10GB of RAM will become more than just a rumor next week

Xiaomi will announce the Mi Mix 3 smartphone on October 25, and according to the company's spokesperson, it will be capable of connecting at 5G speeds and feature 10GB of RAM -- two world firsts.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Key settings you need to change on your brand-new LG V40 ThinQ

Now that you've got your brand-new LG V40 ThinQ, it's time to get to work. Whether its hiding the notch or setting a schedule for the blue light filter, here are some key settings you'll want to change on your LG V40 ThinQ.
Mobile

Keep Notes is the latest app to get Google’s Material Design makeover

Google is updating more and more of its apps to come into line with its latest Material Design trends, and now it's Keep Notes' turn to get a new pair of pants. This update is now rolling out on Android devices.
Mobile

The upcoming OnePlus 6T may get a major camera update

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Verizon's newest deals can net you $500 off the LG V40 ThinQ

Looking for a new LG flagship? The LG V40 ThinQ is here, and it's bringing a familiar style, two more camera lenses, and upgraded specs. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the LG V40 ThinQ.
Mobile

Pixel 3 XL vs. Pixel 2 XL vs. Pixel XL: Which XL is best for you?

A Google Pixel XL is the best phone to get if you want the perfect Android experience on a big screen. However, with the release of the Pixel 3 XL, you have more choices then ever. Which Pixel XL should you buy?
Mobile

LG V40 ThinQ vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Can the V40 unseat the king?

The LG V40 ThinQ is packing a massive display and an incredible five lenses, making it a unique offering in the market. But is it better than the Galaxy Note 9, another phone with a huge display and great cameras?
Mobile

Keep your new Google phone pixel perfect with the best Pixel 3 cases

If you want your new Google phone to stay pixel perfect, then you should snag one of the best Pixel 3 cases. We've scoped out some of your best options so far based on different styles, levels of protection, and budgets.