The practice of using a cell phone with high speed internet access as a modem for mobile PCs is called tethering. Most cell phones can be tethered over Bluetooth, a convenient method that doesn’t require a physical cable connecting the two devices. Verizon has the best high speed connectivity to date with its BroadbandAccess service based on EVDO but they have never allowed tethering to cell phones, instead relying on selling a PC Card-based service for $60 per month. They go out of their way to disable Dial-up Networking (DUN) on their cell phones to prevent mobile workers from tethering to their phone. This past week Verizon has leaked word that they will soon allow such tethering on four of their phones with EVDO- the LG VX9800, LG VX8100, Motorola RAZR V3c, and the Motorola E815. Consumers will need to purchase a $60 per month data plan that will allow unlimited high-speed internet connectivity using either the phone alone or tethered to the mobile PC.
While it is good that Verizon is finally acknowledging that providing what consumers are demanding is a good thing, in typical Verizon fashion they have limited how this service can be used. Currently, none of the EVDO smartphones like the Treo 700w can be tethered under this plan, a fact likely to anger their customers who have spent a goodly amount on such phones. Perhaps they will incorporate more of these phones under the tethering plan in the near future. Verizon also decided to prohibit such tethering over Bluetooth and instead restrict it to using a USB cable to physically connect the phone to the mobile PC. This is a continuation of Verizon’s fear of allowing their customers to use the more convenient wireless Bluetooth method for tethering, something they have even been sued for. The bottom line is this is a half step forward for Verizon data customers. Maybe one day they will wake up and realize that enabling their customers will help create the type of customer loyalty they don’t currently enjoy. Maybe.
(via PC Mag)