But Carriers Crippling Phones For an Added Buck Are Ok...
Most consumers aren't particularly thrilled with the idea that their phone carrier charges them an extra fee to enable tethering functionality already built into their smartphones by default. As a result many users jailbreak their phones, a practice that's been declared perfectly legal. It's something AT&T's been trying to crack down on by sending warning letters
to unsanctioned tethered users -- insisting they'll be upgraded to a more expensive data plan if they don't stop. ZDNet's James Kendrick
offers up a spirited bit of troll bait, arguing that anybody who unofficially tethers is a thief:
Sorry, but if your carrier asks you to pay for the right to tether (called mobile hotspot), and you manage to do so without enrolling in (and paying for) this plan, then you are stealing service from your carrier. I dont like it any more than you, but thats the way it is and at some point the carriers are going to crack down on those doing it.
Even other ZDNet columnists appear not to agree
. Granted, many consumers see the carriers as the thieves -- crippling devices and erecting new barriers in order to add additional fees to already very expensive mobile data plans. It's not like these users are running away with the store; a new AT&T mobile smartphone user who doesn't sign up for a mobile hotspot faces a maximum 2 GB cap, after which he pays a stunning $10 per gigabyte.
What constitutes thievery seems to fluctuate quickly; it was only a few years ago that Verizon Wireless insisted that anyone who used a mobile hotspot to share a 3G connection over Wi-Fi was getting wireless data service for free