If you are jail breaking it to get tethering or use FaceTime or whatever else you cannot do that the carrier requires some extra fee to use or forbids, you are operating it illegally.
Just because it seems "fair" to do it, doesn't mean it's legal or ethical or moral. We're all the same. We all attempt to justify our actions because sometimes we think it's right to choose the lesser of two evils from our vantage. However, it's still wrong because you signed a contract and agreed to pay for those services, if offered. If forbidden, you signed a contract acknowledging they are forbidden. It doesn't matter if you use 1 byte or 1 gigabyte. It doesn't matter how you spin this. It's against the contract you acknowledged when you started the service. It doesn't matter if you think its fair. It doesn't matter if you don't like it.
In 2005 I got a speeding ticket for going 50 in a 35. It was a two-lane road in the flat Missouri river bottoms near where I live. The road is straight for miles. There was no traffic besides the officer that passed me. When he pulled me over I agreed with him that I was going 50. He told me he watches the speed on the road because there are a lot of bicycles and runners. Then he smiled and said, "Of course it's not likely many are out today since it's 20 degrees but 35 is for their safety." He even agreed that the speed limit was pretty low. Regardless, it didn't change the outcome. He still gave me a ticket. This despite the road was the result of realignment after building a new 10 lane highway. Part of the new highway went through the south end of a park and in order to appease environmentalists, the highway department put millions of dollars into miles of paved trails suitable for bikers, runners, walkers and skaters. The trails even cross the Missouri River on a special path built on the side of one of the new twin bridges. This allows the trails in the park to join the Katie trail which goes from St. Charles, MO to Sedalia MO (237 miles of trails). The road I was driving is not part of those trails. (Transportation engineers know it's always dangerous to mix traffic of unequal speeds.)
I do understand the difference between jail breaking, unlocking and DRM removal. I too am employed in IT. I know jail breaking and unlocking are expressly permitted by the
Why am I trying to save money? A fool and his money are soon parted. Hence, only a fool would pay more for a service if the SAME service is available elsewhere for less money.
I agree with you that jail breaking and using tethering on Smart Talk or Net 10 seems fair provided you don't abuse it. Since the duopoly now has cap-and-charge plans, it also seems fair to be able to use the bytes for which you pay, any way you want to use them. It's very logical but it's not ethical. It's not legal. It's not moral.
I'm not taking a moral high ground here. I'm certainly not perfect and I cannot say I have never broken the law or never cheated. We all have and only a fool thinks otherwise. I'm not a saint because I choose not to do this and I am not better than you because I don't do it. You are also not worse than me because you choose to this.
In closing, read the exemptions. They seem pretty grey to me regardless of how others interpret jail breaking and shoe-horn it into one of these exemptions. As I wrote earlier, I don't have spare money to fight someone if they decide I've done something to harm them. I've had to use lawyers and at $480/hour, it doesn't take long to wipe out your liquid assets and max your credit lines. If it goes on long enough, it can even eat into your retirement plan.