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Palm Pre Does Not Get US Tethering Either 232

Posted by kdawson
from the cutting-the-cord dept.
fermion writes "The Register is reporting that Palm has sent a note to the Pre Dev Wiki asking it to stop discussing tethering. Palm is worried that its US carrier partner, Sprint, is none too eager to have users tether the game-changing tetherable smart phone. While the communication was informal, not legal, the development forum is evidently eager to avoid any possibility of lawsuits, so has rapidly agreed. Perhaps, like the iPhone, the Pre is going have a vigorous underground. What is interesting is that the Pre, like the iPhone (allegedly), can be tethered outside of the US; but even those customers are being denied apparently lawful information to satisfy the US exclusive agents."
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Palm Pre Does Not Get US Tethering Either

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  • Ok...and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XPeter (1429763) * on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:16PM (#28352829) Homepage

    Was anyone really expecting the greedy phone companies to give us tethering?

    You have a better chance of TPB and Time Warner merging into one company.

  • Game-changing... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:23PM (#28352951)

    Palm is worried that its US carrier partner, Sprint, is none too eager to have users tether the game-changing tetherable smart phone.

    "This phone is a game-changer. But don't talk about changing the game. The guy who owns the field will kick us all out if we do anything actually innovative. We're the players, you're the audience. We want our money from your tickets, and neither we, nor the guy who owns the field, cares if you actually see a good game. As long as the stadium's sold out, we really don't care if we forfeit the game before the coin toss."

  • Well maybe. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:26PM (#28353015) Homepage Journal

    Right now the Pre is US only so no right now you can not tether it if you are on a none US carrier since none of them carry it.
    Tethering in the US seems to scar the daylights out of US carriers. Probably because the really want to sell you that data card with an extra line.
    I don't know of any US provider that offers tethering. You could probably pull it off with an unlocked GSM phone on AT&T or maybe TMobile but I don't know if you can get a 3g Tmobile phone unlocked.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:35PM (#28353181)

    Here's a simple solution I offer to all carriers free of charge.

    Write a custom tethering app for each phone, that starts a recording of the volume of data sent via tethering - give me a low price or free option for some smallish amount of data to be used via tethering, with some increasing tier thereafter.

    This would satisfy 90% of people that just want to occasionally tether a laptop at a sucky hotel or airport.

    People who want to use it as a primary ISP would of course be forced to pay more, and that is fine.

    Could people work around it easily? Why yes they could, just as they can jailbreak these phones and get tethering for free. Isn't some money better than no money?

    Would it record phone data as part of the tethering data? Yes it would but if you're tethering then you're mostly using a laptop, right?

    Furthermore unreasonable tethering prices or locking down tethering will force a LOT more people to jailbreak phones (OK, not force, but greatly encourage). Along with that come all the other network hogging behaviors in addition to tethering you never get to charge for again.

    Give us 90% of us a reasonable option for occasional tethering at low cost and everyone will be happy.

  • Re:Ok...and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:40PM (#28353235)
    My G1 tethers just fine. 3G in Dallas is phenomenal. Then again I intentionally chose a phone that wouldn't limit my choices.
  • Why are other phone companies against tethering, or am I completely misunderstanding something?

    Simply: they want you to pay for service, but they don't want you to really use it very much. They want to charge you a hefty fee for data access, and justify the price by saying it's "unlimited", but they really don't want you to use the service very much, because lots of people using it means they have to spend money to expand their infrastructure. If you can tether it to your computer, you'll probably use more bandwidth. Obviously they'd much prefer that you paid for their most expensive data plan and then never used it at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:47PM (#28353349)

    So, if I can extend for a year, why shouldn't that roughly split the middle and allow me to get an upgrade for $400, if I wanted one?

    which is exactly what it will cost you. You will pay $199 for the new subsidized handset, plus a $200 upgrade fee since you have not finished your current contract. So yes, you can indeed upgrade for exactly the price you consider fair ($399)

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:48PM (#28353363)
    So should they still call their plan unlimited if it truly isn't unlimited? I tether my laptop to my G1 wherever I go, granted I only use it for routine browsing and SSH but my plan with T-Mobile includes unlimited data and I've never had a problem with them limiting me. Yes I know that no plan can truly be "unlimited" so why not simply cap a traditional broadband plan at 100GB per month or a mobile plan at 5GB? 95% of users wouldn't come close to those numbers and the companies could simply slow people down who go over.
  • by Ma8thew (861741) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @03:54PM (#28353453)
    I think that for a lot of people, they only require tethering very infrequently, such as where WiFi is unavailable of too expensive, and they need net access for their laptop. I would happily pay £5 for 24 hours, since I would likely only use it once a month at most. In the UK, O2 are offering £15 a month for iPhone tethering, but that's too much for the amount of use I would get out of it.
  • by Spatial (1235392) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:00PM (#28353563)

    Tethering your computer to your phone means that your cellphone could potentially be part of a botnet from your pwned windows computer.

    Somehow I don't think they give a shit about that one. Every other ISP sure doesn't.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:04PM (#28353617)

    Maybe I'm just missing the point. But I see two use cases for tethering:

    1. Once in a while you need net and the only thing that can do it is your phone. But most of the time WiFi does the trick. I can see wanting to do this with a smartphone but the carriers shouldn't have a problem with light use of this sort.

    2. You are away from WiFi a lot, or want it as a primary connection. If you have a netbook or laptop handy most of the time why did you get a smartphone? If I were in that situation I'd want the smallest most phonelike phone I could get that supported bluetooth and tethering.

    But AT&T Sprint seems to fear large numbers of customers people want to spend serious coin for oversized premium smartphones so they can leave them in their pocket and bang away on a laptop, sucking up gigs of bandwidth they meter by the GB anyway.

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:05PM (#28353643)

    If I bought unlimited access, they I get unlimited access and I have the right to shift content I download to anywhere I want.

    If you bought unlimited access, that would be true. The terms and conditions on my wireless service (Sprint w/ unlimited data but not the Pre) simply do not state this. The terms are quite clear that I have unlimited bandwidth for use on my phone but that I may not use that bandwidth from any other device (without paying for the phone-as-modem plan). No sales person ever represented otherwise to me and I would like to see some citation to a claim to the contrary which would be the linchpin of any claim of fraud.

    Your argument that you have the right to shift content to wherever you like makes no sense -- you have a written agreement with the carrier that clearly delineates the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The fact that you don't like the term or that you believe you have the "right" to ignore those terms is entirely meaningless. In fact, if you want to talk about fraud, it's breach of contrast to willfully violate the terms of your agreement with the wireless carrier.

    As a side matter, why shouldn't the carriers (provided they advertise such a service honestly) be able to sell an "unlimited internet for your mobile device" plan? If the terms are upfront and the salefolk don't lie about it, it's up to consumers to decide if such a plan meets their needs.

  • Re:Well maybe. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:06PM (#28353655)

    I never understood locking phones.

    You get a subsidized phone in exchange for signing a binding contract for service. The company is getting the money for that service contract regardless of what you do with the phone, so why lock it?

  • by Blackjack Joe (997819) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:33PM (#28353995)

    I agree with the idea of a 24-hour or 48-hour tethering access plan. Most of the time I'm somewhere that there is free or cheap internet access for my laptop, but occasionally I've been somewhere where I've used tethering on my old Sony-Ericsson phone to get online for some quick browsing, such as making an on-line hotel reservation. I really don't need a monthly plan for tethering, as I've had the need maybe 4 to 5 times a year on the average. And I've not had tethering at all for the 11 months I've had my iPhone.

    As nice as the browser in my iPhone is, sometimes I can just do things quicker or easier using my laptop's browser.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:37PM (#28354061)

    Your argument that you have the right to shift content to wherever you like makes no sense -- you have a written agreement with the carrier that clearly delineates the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The fact that you don't like the term or that you believe you have the "right" to ignore those terms is entirely meaningless. In fact, if you want to talk about fraud, it's breach of contrast to willfully violate the terms of your agreement with the wireless carrier.

    Are you sure there is a contract powerful enough to tell me I can't transfer my data from my mobile device to my computer, based on how that data got on my device?

    Either this is bullshit, or I should be lucky I don't live anywhere near there.

  • by XanC (644172) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:45PM (#28354169)

    quite clear that the unlimited mobile internet plan can only be used on the mobile device

    Can you explain exactly what it means to "use" bandwidth? Because the argument can certainly be made that only the phone is using it. It's the only thing talking with the carrier, right?

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @05:23PM (#28354581) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand why the phone operators don't just charge for the traffic.
  • Re:Ok...and? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuomoks (246421) <tuomo@descolada.com> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @05:48PM (#28354821) Homepage

    This is funny, even if it would say "can not" would be a false statement because it definitely "can" be used. It they would say something as "is not allowed to create a tethering connection" or so, that might be different (INAL). Now, who would buy it then - tethering means connecting a device, so any other device as bluetooth earphones, etc would be prohibited by contract. IMHO something should be done to these contracts where unlimited is not unlimited, where connection means a connection as long as it makes money for company, where a payment means now if it is you and when ever (next year?) they feel paying if it is the company, etc - not written down anywhere, of course, but interpreted that way in any dispute, even by courts and judges? Where the promise to return equipment seems to mean demounting, taking apart, packing, not breaking delicate equipment, climbing three story houses, etc even it's not said in contract but assumed by a company (a hint, a satellite tv!)

    I wonder what would happen if they would write in plain, clear text what and what not is allowed? Would anyone still buy from them?

  • by cortesoft (1150075) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @06:22PM (#28355193)

    Well then it is a good thing that they never made any legal threats... if you RTFS, you will see that the law was never invoked. I am struggling to see how your post has any bearing on this case.

  • by cmburns69 (169686) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @06:36PM (#28355359) Homepage Journal

    My beef is that all the marketing materials say "Unlimited Data", and then you find out it's somewhat limited when you actually sign the contract (if you bother to read the fine print).

    Certainly I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to my contract. But getting me into the store by advertising something they don't actually provide....

    I call that deceptive.

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