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Melanie Pinola

T-Mobile Tethering (Wi-Fi Hotspot) Will No Longer Be Free When You Upgrade to Android Ice Cream Sandwich

By May 15, 2012

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Officially, like other wireless carriers, T-Mobile charges for tethering or using your phone as a Wi-Fi Hotspot--$14.95 a month. Unofficially, however, many T-Mobile users have been able to share the data plan on their cellphone with their computer over Wi-Fi or with a USB cable without incurring any extra charges. This free pass may be coming to an end with the Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") update.

The mobile hotspot/tethering feature on T-Mobile has been free on some smartphones but not others. On my Galaxy SII, for example, the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot feature doesn't work because I don't have that $14.95 plan. With my husband's HTC Sensation, however, we can use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature to bring our Wi-Fi only iPad online wherever we are--for free.

PC Magazine quotes a T-Mobile rep confirming that the company will start enforcing a $14.99 smartphone mobile hotspot plan when HTC upgrades their phones to Android 4.0 on Wednesday. Bummer!

Paying for tethering or a version of tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot, sucks, frankly. You're paying twice for the same amount of data in most cases. Many of us want to use tethering only in emergency backup cases, not regularly enough to warrant spending $15 a month more on our cell phone service.

You may be able to get around the extra charges, however, by rooting or jailbreaking your cell phone and using a tethering app instead of the default carrier-approved tethering method. Some carriers block you from installing tethering apps from the Google Play Store or iTunes, however, so if you see one up there, time to install right away while you can.

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May 23, 2012 at 10:44 am
(1) Bob says:

I updated my TMobile HTC Sensation 4G to ICS last night and still get mobile hotspot without having to pay for it. Yet.

Bob in Indianapolis

June 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm
(2) Jerry says:

I had the Sensation, and just replaced it with the HTC One S. I found all of the above to be true. Had the free tethering (wifi) on the Sensation, lost it when I went to the HTC One S. Quick fix…dowload FoxFi from the Google Play store…works like a charm!!! Does the same thing the built-in T-Mobile App does, but does not require the rooting of your phone, or any such jailbreaking measures. Easiest thing ever!!! :)

September 30, 2012 at 4:54 am
(3) waroff says:

This is a rip off these phone companies care about money as usual its time to go back to boost mobile 4 me

October 13, 2012 at 7:25 am
(4) Kotton says:

I absolutely love how corporations are allowed to rape their customers and consumers have no rights – I own a GalaxyS 4g and have had a working hotspot for almost a year for free (as it was included in my unlimited data package), but thanks to this bullshit “may be subject to change” bullshit, I no longer have it.. fuck them

October 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm
(5) Todd says:

When I purchased my mytouch htc I was told the data plan I purchased coveres the hotspot. I was never told it was free and statements like this piss me off because I was paying for the service! The customer service rep was saying this as well like tmobile was so giving to offer this service for free. In the middle of my current contract which ends in 2013 they pulled this. I guess my phone did not show up on the change because I could use the service up to last week. I got the unlimited data plan because I was told this data plan would cover the hotspot feature of the phone. I am switching this is BS. Hello Verizon!

October 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm
(6) Xavier says:

T-mobile is ripping off customers by willingly not disclaiming that replaced HTC phones will no longer be usable as WiFi modems, unless customers buy a $14.95 a phone plan package. If I would have known, I would have never placed my old unit in the UPS Box this morning. Tried to use FoxFi, but it is now blocked for WiFi and BlueTooth use, unless you also buy the plan. Also tried PdaNet, but it did not work. I just filed a BBB complaint against T-Mobile, and will order an “Intercept Package” from UPS, so I can get my old phone back, intact. It worked fine except that it doesn’t ring – something that I can get fixed at any neighborhood shop, or just use the phone on vibrating mode. Everyone PLEASE, if T-Mobile is not making you aware that replacement phones are ALL upgraded, and therefore, will be unusable as WiFi modems unless you pay extra, FILE A COMPLAINT, and also call the company to have the service restored at no fee, or have your original phone returned to you untouched and unaltered.

October 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm
(7) KI says:

Got a HTC One as a replacement for my Galaxy S, to my surprise, my Wifi/Tether app no longer works and there is no app that does. I just installed the FoxFi app on a MyTouch for a co worker so that may work for some of you guys. Didn’t work for me, I’m over Tmobile

November 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm
(8) tonyc says:

I’ve been using my htc sensation as a hotspot since I bought the phone back in January 2012 ..
today I received a text message informing me that if I do not stop using my mobile device as a hotspot my service maybe slowed down or terminated all together . the whole reason I got htc sensation the unlimited everything was so that I can use it as a hotspot T Mobile rep was the 1 that told me that the HTC Sensation had a built-in portable hotspot . Such B.S

November 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm
(9) tonyc says:

when I called T Mobile to find out how much it was going to be , I was not told it was going to be 14.95 . I was told it would be an additional 55 dollars on top of the 85 dollars a month I’m paying now for unlimited everything for 10 GB of high speed data and anything after 10GB I would be slow down.
I said no thanks I’ll figure out another way
I just didn’t want to take that route I wanted to do it legit but they’re forcing me to do it the other way
I would advise everyone else to go, the other way

November 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm
(10) marvin nubwaxer says:

i’m glad to pay $15/month for tethering if that is absolutely possible with t-mobile’s $30/month prepaid unlimited plan.

December 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm
(11) Milorad Jovanovic says:

Buy Nexus phone (not Nexus 4 from T-mob) and CHECKMATE!!! T-Mob! Booyaka!!! I hate all cell carriers and their useless junk bloatware phones. Revolution! Always go unbranded, unlocked phones!

January 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm
(12) Natz says:

I would like to start a petition to get t-mobile to reverse this for persons who already pay for unlimited data because this is an unfair practice and we shouldn’t be forced to pay additional fees. This is indeed a rip off. Go to tmobile on facebook and complain, get all your friends family and coworkers to complain. We should not take this lying down!!!!

February 14, 2013 at 11:19 am
(13) rob says:


February 21, 2013 at 9:56 am
(14) Fred says:

Just got a new Note II yesterday on T-Mobile. Tethering requires a plan change through T-Mobile. On the same line I could do it for free through my Galaxy Nexus. Time for root.

March 23, 2013 at 8:51 am
(15) ewilson378 says:

Natz and rob may have something here!
We should come together and file major complaint against T-mobile. If what rob says is accurate about Verizon, what are we waiting for?? How can we go about doing some?

April 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm
(16) Holla atcha tmobile tether'er says:

I think a class action suite is what we need to show the companies their reign is over. That they want us to buy from them, no prob, here’s our demands. We can go as far as to start a political party that repersents the consumer in the eyes of the companies. Stay legit and non corrupt and we may be on to something.

Or just wait about 10 years, when we can make our own items.

December 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm
(17) FD says:

I got a unpleased surprised after returned from a trip out of USA. Prior to my trip I verified with TMobile about the new plan that includes 100+ country. A representative from TMobile that went to my company offering employee plan, informed me that if while I was traveling to that country I make phone calls using wifi those calls will be free of charge. This particular representative even showed me on my Galaxy Note II how to set up my phone so all calls would be made or received using wifi. However, now I got over $120 for all the calls I made using hotel wifi!!!

When I contacted the company they said that it was a wrong information and all calls got charge at $.20 per minutes even when I purchased wifi package at that particular country!!!

I am soooo disappointed!!!

February 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm
(18) Micah says:

I just found out about the mobile hotspot and tethering being removed yesterday when I went to connect a computer to it in an emergency and couldn’t. I’ve been with Tmobile for almost 10 years and have always been able to do this since having my HTC G2. Now I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S4 and got upset when trying to turn on hotspot only to get a message saying I must upgrade my account.

How can they just take away a feature from your data plan and then to get it back you must pay more? Not only does it seem unethical, it seem illegal. So I have been chatting online with a rep and was basically told “sorry”, I will have to upgrade which will cost me double what I’ve been paying.

Well, not so fast! I found an app in the play store called “Tethering Widget”. I actually installed it while I was still chatting online and guess what? It works! Now I have my hotspot back! It’s a widget you put on your screen and not an app that you open, so take notice of that or you will get frustrated.

May 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm
(19) John says:

I was sold my plan with unlimited data, which I was assured by the CarPhone people saying that tethering to my phone was possible. It took 3 months of wrangling and the threat of UK Fair Trading being very interested for the problem to be fixed. How long it will continue?
The interesting thing is the different sales members as well as EE customer service operators will tell you that you can tether, others you cannot tether. Always ask to speak to the floor manager when you call customer service.
The car phone WH is not covered by OFTELL UK because they sell on contracts, however trading standards would be a good source for advice, and they are willing to act on your behalf. Good luck.

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