November 24, 2014

USB Tethering Works on Droid with Froyo...But You Have to Pay.

I have been patiently waiting for Froyo for months. The one thing I really wanted was WiFi tethering. Then I found out that wasn’t coming to the Droid.

I was upset. I do a lot of work on the road, and while I can usually handle everything from my Droid – it would be nice to piggy back off the connection and use a larger screen for some of my work.

But I got over it, because I heard that USB tethering was native. My hopes were high, once again. So, I just downloaded and updated to Froyo via the manual method. I couldn’t wait to try out USB tethering (Before you comment, I’m aware of the other options for USB tethering, but for reasons I won’t go into in this rant, they are not ideal for my situation).

I just tried tethering via USB and my browser routes me to this! Yep, it looks like Verizon wants you to pay an extra $20 a month with a 2GB cap to tether to USB!

Verizon, I’m breaking up with you soon, and I think I’ll be going root for the duration of my contract. It’s not me. It’s you.

  • Bill

    Yup… I was hoping to ditch PdaNet… When I first tried it, I had WiFi turned on (on the phone) and the USB link worked great! Then I turned off WiFi, and saw the same screen you did…

    –Bill

  • Xan

    What made you think you'd get tethering for free while the rest of everybody ever has to pay for it?

    Rooting is cake, and installing wifi tethering is also cake.

    This isn't journalism, this is a childish rant.

    Why leave Verizon? So you can pay one of the other carriers for tethering?

  • ari-free

    Everyone wants free free free and then they wonder when companies decide to ditch them.

  • Jay

    @Xan oddly enough the Palm devices on Verizon offer free tethering…. but I am with anyways… go root and

  • http://www.andrewcullison.com Andrew Cullison

    I'll go to bat for this childish rant.

    It's not that I want free. I already pay for an unlimited data plan. Froyo comes equipped for tethering, which means that Verizon had to intentionally intervene to disrupt my access to data that I (again) already pay for.

    Normally, I'm of the attitude that companies should be able to charge however much they like and then we let the market decide if they're charging too much. So, Xan and ari-free, I share your sympathy when people go around crying about not getting something for free.

    There are two reasons, however, why I think the mobile carrier market is a bit different and warrants a little crying. The first reason, I've already stated. I bought a phone. I bought a data plan. Google pushed out an update that would have enabled me to access the data that I pay for. Verizon killed it.

    The second reason (and this is the weightier reason), is that I am highly suspicious of the standard, let-the-market-decide reasoning in situations where entry to the market is heavily controlled. I think entry to the mobile carrier market is one of those markets. A genuinely free and open carrier market with genuine and open competition would almost immediately lead to free tethering (not to mention way better data rates). Those are situations when I think it is permissible to gripe about the price.

    • Davest

      Meh. The bottom line is that if you spend five minutes searching the web for instructions, and another ten minutes doing the actual work, you can have a faster device, with vastly improved battery life, with which you can tether to your heart’s content.

      Complaints like this just don’t hold water.

      • meanderingthemaze

        I totally agree with Andrew and am crying like a total baby with him. IT”S NOT FAIR!!! Wah, wah, wah.

        I pay $35/mo for a 6mbps/1mbps connection with truly unlimited data. I have the prerogative to create a YouTube playlist a mile long and play it on continuous mode for a year for $35/mo. I could do this on a dozen different computers simultaneously too! (I don’t recommend this as it would be a horribly irresponsible waste of electricity, but you catch my drift)

        It’s bad enough that we have to pay ~$30/mo for a wireless data plan (which by the way is mandatory for smart phones, not an option, for all carriers. In other words, we can’t just use it as a WiFi device like a laptop). Then, they want to charge even more to download data through the same connection we are already paying for just because we’re not viewing the content on the same screen?!?!

        Man you people who like to pay unnecessarily for things must have some screws loose. When you eat at a restaurant, do you beg the waitress to charge you more for your meal?

        massachistic I tell you…

        I think that we will win Andrew, eventually. The market will dictate. It’s like file sharing. When the masses begin to go around the walls you put up enclosing your garden, then companies have to compromise. You can’t file a million lawsuits. Just not practical.

        • meanderingthemaze

          Just realized I should clarify that the first data plan I am referring to is my home connection, in case that wasn’t obvious.

  • Mathew

    He isn’t asking for free, he is asking to use the bandwidth he is paying for already.

  • John

    "Give me what you say I'm paying for" (data plan) argument aside (and I agree with you on that, Andrew) – why have you been waiting? PDAnet has been around forever, and works great. I use it for business travel, and have since my Blackberry era years ago.

  • http://apps.facebook.com/zappmarket Shane Isbell

    I was seriously considering on moving to Verizon because of tethering/wifi support on their upcoming devices but last month decided to purchase a Nexus One and stick with T-Mobile. Even though I paid full-price for the N1, I should break even in a year.

    Verizon should just tier payment based on bandwidth usage, not try to double or triple dip into the consumer's pockets.

  • Don

    A few issues with PDAnet. 1) It requires client side drivers, and that is a non-starter on my work laptop. 2) It is only for Mac and Windows, and my non-work laptop is neither.

  • http://www.andrewcullison.com Andrew Cullison

    John,

    My reasons are similar to Don’s. There are two reasons PDAnet is out for me. I run Ubuntu on my primary machines, so PDAnet won’t work. I tried it in Wine, bu no luck. I ran Proxoid with some success in Firefox, but had issues using other services. I have a secondary netbook that a friend is loaning me just so I can play around with Chromium OS…PDAnet is a no go on that.

    I’m really excited about Chromium OS for blazing fast, battery-conserving, light-weight office work, but you can’t rely on it without ubiquitous internet…tethering opens up that door (or would have in this case).

  • chris

    Its only with windows that you have to pay. When I tether with my linus cpu it doesn’t take me to that page.

  • http://www.andrewcullison.com Andrew Cullison

    Chris,

    Really? I was on Ubuntu when I got to that page. Maybe I’ll try another program (instead of just Firefox)…

    update: I tried accessing the Ubuntu software center, FTP, Mozilla Thunderbird…all of them fail to connect

  • mikeeeee

    wow.

    all that crapola.

    i just pull my simcard out and put it in my gc-89 and rock and roll.

    something to be said for a GSM phone.

  • jdog

    The truest form of Android is on the Nexus One and when it got Froyo it came with free tethering, but I guess the other carriers are better than T-mobile because they have speeds faster than 5mbps. No free tethering, slow speeds, and way higher bills no thank you. I guess the saying actions speak louder than words is true, you don’t see T-mo having stupid commercials saying its Americas fastest 3G network but it is.

  • Shawn

    Wow….seems like all the Froyo buzz has graced all of the Droids except the Incredible. Damn them! What…it’s not good enough? Then screw u Verizon

  • INsano

    Hardly crying about nothing. Apple/AT&T delayed tethering for what, an entire fucking year on the Iphone? VZ was even disabling WI-FI on many phones until a few years ago because it would cut into their primitive data income. Not like this isn’t part of a large, ugly trend.

    In the same way people thought paying $24 for a CD was stupid once the first CD-R came out, you can’t sell gimped products that people know could be better and not expect people to take you to the cleaners.

    Still, use the only voice you have that matters: vote with the $.

  • Miguel

    Should of stuck with the Nexus One. Although I rarely use tethering, it does come in handy sometimes. My Verizon FIOS was down for a day recently and I tethered my laptop to my Nexus One and still got 3meg speeds. Comes in handy in a pinch.

    But until carriers adopt some sort of tiered plans, I don’t expect tethering to be free. There will always be some a-hole out there ruining it for everyone by running a server of something similar off his cell connection.

  • Ben

    This is like an ISP providing you with a wireless router to let you use your laptop at your desk, but charging extra so you can take your laptop into your bedroom.

    The functionality is built-in (by a third party company plus open source community that VZN didn’t have to pay for it to be developed), and it makes no difference to their infrastructure whether the bandwidth on their data network comes directly from the phone or from a PC connected through it. The only possible way this could cost them money is if the handset costs more to beef up the battery to support Wifi and the wireless radio at the same time, but even that doesn’t justify a $480 pricetag over the lifetime of a two-year contract.

    This is “pay for functionality” business thinking that doesn’t take into consideration the cost of providing the service (zero), and is only possible because of the state of the market that prevents new competitors from taking hold on a nationwide scale. Yet another reason why Verizon will never get a dime of my money for any service they offer (DSL, FiOS, wireless, etc.).

  • http://foreverpurple.com Daethian

    I tether for free.

    I paid $9.95 for EasyTether which includes secure https logins. The free version of EasyTether does not so if you don’t require secure log in, its 100% free to tether with NO ROOTING.

    PDANet works as well but its more expensive that ET, or it was when I started tethering last year.

    I have to agree that its silly to think you were going to get FREE tethering with this upgrade while others pay.

    What provider do you intend to go to exactly who is going to offer truly free unlimited tethering???

  • Jason K

    I believe the Tiered data plan will be a bad idea in the long run. I can tell you as an Incredible owner, that I use over 4 gb a month just from my cell phone alone. I travel a lot and enjoy pandora. I also use google’s gps and once in a while latitude. Google Listen is also nice for listening to podcasts I have missed. Granted tethering is a nice bonus when it is needed.

    I read somewhere that users on Verizon is using more data then users on AT&T. I can only guess it has to do with Android phones. In the long run Tiered data will be a costly thing on the end user. I can only hope that if verizon does do it, they will make it with a 6-10 gb limit but I am still hoping for no tiered data.

  • http://www.freedomcreations.com UbuntuAndroid

    I’m not surprised. Verizon is a bunch of greedy bastards…but then again, they all are.

    Although, T-mobile might be better out of the pack.

  • Robert

    Interesting thoughts, all. Just been researching this whole mess and I thought I might add what I’ve found, and maybe even my two cents.

    Verizon: The reason they are limiting the tethering plans (2 or 5 GB cap) is because they are afraid of people streaming higher quality video to their computers; nobody is streaming 1080p HD video to watch on their phone. As a business user, I can even appreciate the concern (founded or not) and I’m willing to pay more for reliable bandwidth. That said, I believe the doctrine of first-sale can be logical extended to say that Verizon has no say over what I do with the data once I’ve paid for it; it should make no difference to them if I am viewing my HTML or e-mail on a 4.3 inch or a 15 inch screen.

    Verizon should set “reasonable” limits and then allow people who need more data to pay for it on an adHoc basis and at a reasonable rate. (I believe their data-overage rate works out to around $100 per Gigabyte; and if that is correct, they are no better than loan-sharks.)

    AT&T: I think their tiered data and +2GB pricing is reasonable. It is a fair compromise between letting people have what they need and keeping the cost of low for those who don’t need as much. As far as the tethering surcharge is concerned, see may comments above relating to the first-sale doctrine. AT&T insistence that, even for their existing customers, an additional plan is required for the iPad is highway banditry and absolutely absurd. This boils down to “because they can” (which is never the right reason in my book).

    T-Mobile: I will admit bias here. I started tethering data in 2005, using my first Windows Mobile phone. When I asked them about it then, their answer was …we don’t think it will work, but it fine with us if you can figure it out. It did; they were happy; I was happy; and I’m still using T-Mobile today, just now with a Nexus One. Incidentally, if TMO does switch to a tiered-dat structure, I’ll be happy to pay more for the unlimited-data tier, provided they keep the cost reasonable (it’s a business expense for me); however I am proud to be paying to use the services of the only one of the big three cell companies whose business pricing is based on providing service as opposed to charging as much as they can get away with.

    Last point, I have to applaud TMO for letting me buy the Nexus One outright and not charging me the new-phone-subsidy rate on my monthly bill (which amounts $20 per month per line). This is putting the customer first!

    Hope that helps

    • http://www.thomwithah.com thomwithah

      TMO makes you use a specific plan with the N1. I’ve multiple lines with them including one that I’ve had an unlimited data plan on since B4 they bought VoiceStream, and they blocked it on the N1, based on the IMEI. Though with WinMo, BLKBRY, or Nokia devices I’m good to go including wifi tether….. TMO is progressive, but that maneuver still pisses me off…..

  • jsh1120

    I’m hardly one to defend Verizon (or Google, for that matter.) The apparent plan to eliminate net neutrality via an agreement between these two oligopolistic “partners” is a significant threat to consumers. But on this particular issue, I cannot understand the reasoning that holds because I pay for “unlimited data” on my smartphone I’m entitled to “unlimited data” for any device I can connect to my smartphone.

    Imagine, for example, that I own two houses adjacent to one another. I hire a contractor to remodel one of my houses. To win my business he offers to remodel one house in whatever way I choose for $100,000. In effect he offers me unlimited labor to remodel my house.

    Then I decide to build a covered hallway between the house that is being remodeled and the second house. Can I now claim the contractor “owes” me the labor to remodel the second house, as well simply because I have “connected” the two buildings?

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  • Marcy

    EasyTether works for me. The one-time $10. price tag paid for itself when I didn’t have to pay for high-speed internet on an over-night hotel stay. Now I can carry my netbook everywhere and if no WiFi is available all I have to do is attach it to my phone. Don’t know why more people don’t use this.

  • Travis

    Just use PDA.net it’s free

  • Steve

    I have never seen that screen and use a Windows laptop tethered using easytether.

    I was told when I got my droid through VZW that “unlimited” is unlimited so long as I don’t tether, then it drops to 5G. But my question has always been, how do know when I am tethered or not tethered (aside from a spike is usage during a set time)?

    My wife and I are pretty frequent users of our droids for data (email, FB, web surfing, etc) so how do they know the difference?

  • Gnoekeos

    I haven’t felt this badly burned by Verizon since the early days of the Motorola Q, I was just starting out in college and it was recommended for my English class that I have a reliable dictionary “Ah ha!” I thought “The Q has a down-loadable dictionary for around 30 bucks!” An extremely fair price for a dictionary that has no extra weight and is always on hand. What Verizon wasn’t in the habit of alerting people to in those days was that there is a data charge involved when downloading anything and since it was my first smart phone I had no Idea just how necessary the data package was, In the end my 30 dollar dictionary cost me $330.00 because I bought it in the class room.
    Thankfully these days they are very good about warning you when they are going to charge you out the ass for something. I really wish that as soon as the buzz about easy tethering for the droid started someone from verizon had stepped up and said “Look, I realize you’re already paying for it but that doesn’t mean we’re just gonna give it too you.”

  • Ricky

    I feel that Verizon charges your more simply because they can, they do offer the best coverage out of all cell phone providers and that comes at a price. TMobile doesn’t charge as much because if they didn’t noone would use them because they don’t give you the services Verizon does. But if you don’t want to pay them more to use USB Tethering then don’t and stop complaining about it. The prices will drop eventually but there are better options to get internet on your laptop than using your phone

  • Jaime

    I see no one has actually called Verizon to try and sign up for that service. I did, and NO ONE KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT!!! I got bounced from one phone number to the next. Despite the fact that screen is hosted on a Verizon server and your Verizon phone takes you to that site if you try to use the native USB tethering in Froyo, no one had a CLUE to what I was talking about.

    Finally, Verizon forwarded me to Motorola support. Want to know what they told me to do? They told me to install PDANet!! So now I have USB Tethering, and Verizon doesn’t get one extra dime from me. Go figure… I was willing to give them the extra money but no one I spoke to was smart enough to take it from me.

  • Jamie

    I have PDANet on my original DROID running the new Froyo, and Verizon still has a block on my phone. Anyone can use the tethering software but as long as you have Verizon, you CANNOT use it for free.
    Unless someone has a way around this, I have to pay to connect my laptop to my phone. Until the Froyo update I was even able to use SKYPE through my pc and phone. I pay for 2 Motorola DROID unlimited data plans on my service agreement, thats $60 extra a month. I would think that this would be free, or at least included in the unlimited data plan.
    Verzion you are NOT cool.

  • http://profiles.google.com/eric.laprarie Eric LaPrarie

    well considering half the market doesn’t even know what the hell they are selling (example)….you look up tablet on a search engine or online marketplace you get notebooks, tablets, and 7″ media players…if you are shopping from someone who is confused about this ….go somewhere else that is your first clue right up front. ____Next is DO NOT BUY FROM Carriers____samsung sells the galaxy tablets to these jerks for around 250usd ech and 175usd per 100 per store bulk rate…you are getting screwed bigtime @-600usd a pop buying tablets from these jerks and another thing you still have to buy MiFi to get G3 THATS RIGHT…. those are wifi only tablets, retarded right, especially since Samsung and moto sell the internal 3G tablets for around half the price they are 3rd party selling them to you . basically they are really getting you because they are selling you BS data package that you already pay for…it comes with your phone service. SOOO go look for Xoom or Galaxy pad 2nd hand market for 300+ or so varies…get your MiFi and Data and save yourself alot of money and heartace…..another option go buy a Superpad-3 pc tablet, way more and better features than both of those tablets nice HD space. More bang for the Buck…way more

  • MarkinEverett

    I’m using the Droid Bionic and posting this comment via USB tethering.  Not sure if Verizon will charge me but I’ll let you know when my statement arrives :)

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