Verizon Wireless, which has been blocking tethering apps so customers are forced to pay an additional $20 per month to connect with other devices using their smartphone, will no longer be able to charge such fees. The FCC determined today that tethering apps will be allowed on Verizon Android devices. Verizon settled for $1.25 million to the U.S. Treasury.
The wireless carrier initially blocked tethering apps so users couldn’t turn their smartphones into mobile hotspots without paying a monthly $20 hotspot fee. After consideration, the FCC deemed this practice illegal, because it required Verizon Wireless to allow open access back in 2008.
Tethering apps, which became popular once users realized they could link other devices to their mobile phones for Internet access, were quickly blocked by Verizon. The FCC’s ruling overrides the blocking, and says that although the carrier can charge $20 per month to customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans, other customers can enjoy tethering without paying an additional charge.