T-Mobile yanked free tethering and hotspot. What to do?

Posted Dec 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm in Threads > Opinions

I’m not a big user of using my phone as a hotspot. I rarely ever do it and when I do I am usually on vacation somewhere. I just realized T-Mobile had disabled my tethering and hotspot capabilities on my account. It worked just a week ago when I checked it last. I didn’t know I wanted/needed it until it was gone. But now that it’s gone I’m really starting to miss it and it’s bugging me! LOL

I can pay the extra $15/month that they are asking to get it re-enabled. I could enable it the next time I need it and then turn it off the next month. But it really bugs me that I’m already paying for the bandwidth and they cap me when I would go over so why are they charging me for a capability I used to have. I’m not on an unlimited plan. And I only used it occasionally so I’m not excited about adding an extra $15/month to my bill.

I can root my phone I guess. Now I really have a good reason to do it. But I’m reading you still have to play games on the client side to make sure T-Mobile can’t detect sniffing your packets to detect you are tethering. What a bother!

Switching carriers isn’t going to help much since from what I’ve seen they all are charging for tethering services now. Or in the case of Straight Talk and Solavei it’s not even offered and forbidden.

I’ll probably root my phone since this bugs me so much. I might even put up the $15/month when absolutely needed. I haven’t decided yet.

What are the rest of you doing?

  • MacCrookPro

    I use to have a Vibrant 4g and wanted to upgrade so I can get ICS so I moved to a HTC Sensation. Once I had ICS I found out that tmobile had changed the tethering option on all ICS and above handsets. I didn’t like the sense UI much and really wanted vanilla ICS so I switched once again to a NEXUS S i9020. Once I switched tethering worked just fine once again. I am now running stock jelly bean and still can tether. I use it daily to run my tablet and sometimes share my internet with friends. I have not received any notice from tmobile or had anything shut off on me. I would assume it would be the same for any other non tmobile branded unlocked phone or nexus.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    I only tether in emergencies. When I do, it’s only to VPN into work. So what I do is have my phone rooted, use my phone to VPN into work, then once the VPN is active, I then tether from my laptop to my phone and access my work computer.

    I rarely need to do this (once every 2-3 months) but it works just fine and isn’t detectable by T-Mobile.

    • Maryland, USA

      Great approach, but it wouldn’t have helped me yesterday. I was at a meeting with government clients at their site. The meeting room had no WiFi, so I offered to let them tether to my TMobile Android (a Galaxy Note 1) by WiFi. They could connect to the Web, but not to to their VPN network. Since they were trying to reach VPN through my phone, I couldn’t help them.

  • LadyDi

    I have the plan where HotSpot is free. But it’s only 5gb on the data side. And every time I get to around 4 something, I see “upgrade” in my notifications bar (TMo usage monitor) The next plan I saw was 10G, “unlimited”, but I think you have to pay around $15 for HotSpot if you select that option.

    Then… I saw a ad while in the My Account app that offers all of this for X amount. I am pretty sure when I inquire about it, I will surely not be eligible for it. And then I will reply “well can you take the fricking false advertisement off my phone then”

    Ahhhhh… the Tmo woes.

    • hjforyoui

      it work ?

    • Daniel Burgess

      T-mobile hot spot SSUUCCKKKKSS!!!!!!

  • WlfHart

    VPN works for them not being able to tell if you are tethering. I get lazy and don’t VPN and get a text warning me about tethering maybe once every other month if I stream a movie on netflix to my laptop, but unless I keep tethering during the next 24 hours after getting the text they haven’t outright blocked my ability to tether (the one time they did it was unblocked about a week later). But for doing things like playing Steam games or web browsing through tehter I’ve never been bothered by T-Mo. Just massive streaming or downloading.

  • LukeT32

    Several apps on the play store for not rooted users…

    My mom uses FoxFi on her RAZR and I used to use SVTP on my GNex before I rooted. Both have time restraints unless you pay for the app, but I think they are both under $10 for unlimited tethering after the initial purchase.

    • Daniel

      FoxFi does not work on Tmobile. I rooted my Samsung SIII and Tmobile still blocks it my tethering

      • bullwhacker

        I get the same from TMO despite having to pay 100 per month for my “unlimited”plan.
        What they do is look at the browser you are using. You can hotspot etc. using droid phones; but the minute you try using you PC it gets blocked. They see the browser isn’t a “droid” or smart phone browser and blocks it.
        Use a Browser agent identifier changer and TMO won’t block it due to seeing and thinking the PC is another smart phone browser..
        I lost my DSL for a week and did it this way. Firefox has a plugin you install and I selected the IOS and was using my desktop to access my e mails, etc..
        I was using usb tethering while I was doing it to keep my phone charged and made things simpler.

      • Lion

        Do you know why FoxFi doesn’t work on T-mobile?

        • David Williams

          It does work use it daily

          • Serg

            FoxFi works but only USB Thethering

      • art

        Foxfi worked for a long time on on ubuntu and not windows, I had been using it for months to download movies and tv shows but a couple days ago t-mobile either cauggt on or blocked hotspot and tetgering on foxfi.

  • BrotherBloat

    I wish telcoms’ infrastructure / investment and policies were actually on par with the technological offerings of the handsets… t seems ridiculous that you have to limit your phone usage because they haven’t pulled their finger out for decades! :/

  • erik

    If I root my Tmobile phone I can tether right? If I root it can I use my hotspot without paying $15

    • Dannyhyu

      That is corrrect. If you root and use a TMO device, you SHOULD be able to tether. There are certain roms where it doesn’t work though.

      An example, a known phone to have been able to hotspot for free when rooted on TMO is the HTC Sensation. It didn’t work for my aunt when I rooted her phone. However, I did try hotspotting with my Mytouch 4G Slide and it worked fine, rooted and running a ported version of Paranoid Android 4.1.2 So it’s hit or miss.

      • mike

        Can you tell me how you rooted your Tmobile mytouch slide i’m having troubles rooting mine

        • hjforyoui

          i also face this

    • Michael Laureano

      Im trying to basically get unlimited Mobile hotspot with Tmobile though my Samsung Galaxy Relay.

  • Bullwhacker

    I signed up for unlimited everything and a new note 2.
    I have read comments about the system ability to handle the “loads” blah blah..
    NOT TRUE..
    It is all about money and you can have unlimited phone wifi hotspot; it going to cost you true about of 20.00 per month after all the additional “taxes” have been added on in ADDITION to the 98.00 PLUS I am now stuck paying the next TWO YEARS…

    The point I am making is as other have mentioned don’t “tether” 24/7 and some wifi spots really suck.
    I also want the tether for security reasons to access my bank and NOT ONE AN OPEN HOTSPOT..
    Yes I can and do it on the phone and try NOT TO HAVE IT SAVE THE PASSWORDS – critter is tricky one and keeps trying to..
    BUT it is a more arduous task accessing my bank via phone..

    What really upsets me is they are NOT UPFRONT ABOUT IT IN THEIR ADS..

  • Quint

    Only one carrier offers UNLIMITED Voice, Text and Data with up to 4GBs of data at 4G speed for only $49. You can use your T-Mobile of unlocked AT&T phone. For more info, go to 4Gmanna.sharesolavei.com.

  • Ash

    Hi there I’ve got a Samsung s3 and trying to use the tethering hotspot for my playstation and it asks for a password does anyone know where I could find it cheers. Ash

  • irishrally

    For others to avoid getting nabbed, try to only tether to other android devices, and if you tether to a laptop, never run a speedtest from the laptop.

  • Txwarlock

    The default is usually 12345678.You should be able to change it in the hotspot app.

  • Cadia Caine

    I’ve got an issue maybe someone can help, I’ve had tmobile for 2 years plus with a prepaid samsung dart, on this dart ive hot free hotspot this whole time with no problems, I pay 30 bucks a month and get unlimited texts,5gb of data and 100 of talk all was fine till i got a new samsung galaxy s 2, i tried to use the hotspot on this phone like i did before with my dart and i cant see any direct webpages on my nook or mac like before, I can connect and play games and see fliboard but cannot get to a real wepage it wont resolve when u type in a url it just goes straight to tmobiles website. So i called them and yelled at them for an hour because they told me you have to pay for hotspot now, how is that fair when ive been getting it free on my cheapo dart for over 2 years, I was told it was a glitch that i shouldnt have. So i said fine ill just go back to my old phone then and forget this expensive one. She says no everythings been updated that wont work on your old phone anymore. Well really im online now, I popped my sim back into my old phone and internet works from my mac and nook just like before. So it just doesnt work from my new phone? So how can i get it to work on my new samgsung s2 AND why doesnt it works and it does on the dart still fine? Is it because of the new android os something in it that stops it? Is there are way to get around it and make it work like it should cuz i dont think it’s fair to not get the same thing just because you got a new phone. Why should i have to pay extra for something ive always had AND i paid alot of money for a new phone too. It’s the same data im sharing to my other devices that i paid for it shouldnt matter. Any help would be appreciated.

    • TMOsux

      Hi Cadia,

      I just saw your post and wanted to share a similar experience but with what seems to be a solution, at least for me. I started getting those redirects to TMO’s website saying that I needed to subscribe to HOTSPOT.. I’m using a Dell Streak, specifically for their Monthly 4G.. $30 plan. The streak isn’t a 4G phone and it also uses a different 3G frequency than TMO so I can’t even get 3G speed on it… I’m just using it as a temp fix for internet until I find something longterm.

      So.. as a newly subscribed person to TMO and only getting 2G speed, I feel like they are real scum bags for trying to block wifi hotspot use, when that is the ONLY reason I subscribed in the first place. However, I noticed that I don’t get the redirects using Google Chrome. I have basically all the different browsers installed on my laptop as I like to use each one for different things and TMO is redirecting all of them: IE, Opera, Firefox, etc…. but NOT Chrome.

      So.. I’m continuing to browse on my laptop without any further intrusion from them so far. I’m thinking maybe it has something to do with the Dell Streak being a Google Android device and of course Chrome is Google?? ..try Chrome if you can and see if it works for you.

  • abin joseph odattil

    hey cadia

    iam under the same problem right now , i think the problem wil only show up in the tmobile specific phones, lets say the samsung s sereies but i dont think it wil be on the nexus 4 or other phones,

    because they have to add frame work and other information to it,

    but nexus is a third party so they could nt

  • Jorge Eslava

    I have Solavei and tether every now and then. I didn’t know it wasn’t ok with them but they haven’t mentioned anything. I’m not even sure how much they care about their cap because I’ve used over 4 Gbs and haven’t been throtled. Who knows, maybe I’m just lucky.

  • Tmobile-sucks

    I use unlocked iPhone 4s. I bought it in South Korea. I started a 500 minute value pack with 2GB Data plan with unlimited messages on September of 2012. I had Hotspot menu between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on Settings. So, I used the personal hotspot with no problem. I could use the personal hotspot until May of 2013, and I traveled for 3months during the summer and then came back to America. I used Korean Carrier for the summer, and I could see hotspot feature on my Settings, and I could use Hotspots. However, after I plugged Tmobile sim card back to my iPhone on September of 2013, I found out the hotspot menu has been removed. What happened is that, until May of 2013, I did not update my iOS, and it stayed as iOS 6.0.X. However, on April of 2013, Tmobile updated iphones on their network (its called carrier updates). And, this carrier updates are pushed to iphones with iOS 6.1.0 and higher. Since my iphone had iOS 6.0.x, I did not receive carrier updates, so tmobile could not remove and block my hotspot. (Since I did not get the carrier updates, my phone used 3G until May. I guess tmobile iphone users who have received the updates would have used 4G) But, during the summer, I updated my iOS to 6.1.3, and when I came back to the US and plugged tmobile sim card into my iphone, I received tmobile carrier updates(I didn’t notice it). So, when I go to Settings-General-About- Carrier, it says T-Mobile 14.2. Now my personal hotspot feature is gone, and I am using 4G. They say 4G is faster, but I don’t see any difference. I have to change my plan to get “free hotspots” with paying extra dollars, or pay $10 for hotspot.

  • deivonte

    Can someone help me…
    I have a unlocked HTC one VX and a T-Mobile sim and I can’t do mobile hotspot every time I goto turn it on it says a network error can u tell me y it is doing this and what I can do to get hotspot

  • hjforyoui

    iam under the same problem right now ,

  • hjforyoui

    i also face this problem

  • Vic

    I spent most of the afternoon trying to get the hotspot feature to work on my Samsung S3. Rooted phone, installed Wifi Tethers, figured out what NAT rules were as it was the only item that failed in the wifi tether log, still no tether or hotspot. When I first used the S3 phone Wifi calling was working but then the dreaded carrier update ran without me knowing it. Now none of the these features work, even with a rooted phone. I still have an older 4G phone that can access mobile hotspot and tether features. What a waste of money to get a Samsung for t-mobile.

  • Sarah

    So I have a Nexus 4 on T-Mobile, and have been using my wifi hotspot for a long time now. I have unlimited data, but do not have a hotspot or tethering plan. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

    Previously, I had only used it for a few hundred mBs at a time. It never showed up on my bill. I’m still able to do it, but I recently (within the past week) started using it to hook my fiancé’s iPhone up to our new chromecast. It has worked fine but now I’m freaking out that I will be charged.

    I looked on my T-Mobile account, and the 23 gigs of data we’ve used over the hotspot has only shown up under the data used. Does that mean I’m in the clear? Should I stop freaking out? Or will I not know until I get my bill if they have detected it.

    BTW, do not know what it means to have an unlocked or rooted phone so I doubt I have either of those things going on!

  • james

    I have a tmobile samsung galaxy s3 and I just had a rooted the other day can anyone tell me what website that I need to put on my laptop so I can have my free tethering cuz I have unlimited data. Because I need to make it look like the phone is connected to another phone can anyone tell me how to do that specifically

  • Memo

    I wap in the us for vacation on April last year using a Samsung galaxy gt n7000 international version the I got in Finland. I was running the original software I believe it was gingerbread and the hotspot was working fine. I do believe the it has something to do if your phone is lock from ur carrier like t mobile because they have integrated system app to prevent the mal use of the features of the phone. The only solution I think is the right one is to root ur phone and install a custom rom to clean up al the carrier stuff and it should work after that at leas that is my opinion and I have spend a bit of time messing with android phones. I sorry for my English is not my first language.

  • Stan

    1 click wifi tether no root by diy phone gadgets. You don’t have to root your phone and you can use it as a hotspot. On the play store, $12.12 one time fee. I have an S3 for metro pcs which is on the same network as tmobile and it works great

  • Stephanie Nicole Hawkins

    I have the s5 on tmobile, I have a 5 gig a month hotspot but I use it to watch tv