Verizon to allow third-party tethering apps

Verizon will no longer block Android users from using third-party apps for mobile data tethering.

But before you reach out and give the carrier a big hug, it isn’t doing this out of the goodness of its heart.

Instead, it is being strong-armed to do so by the Federal Communications Commission. According to a complaint filed last year, Verizon’s move to block these apps was in violation of net neutrality rules that it signed on for in 2008 when it purchased a big swath of mobile broadband spectrum.

Verizon isn’t the only one to block third-party mobile tethering. Other carriers are involved in the practice as well, with the mindset that they want to rake in extra money by charging fees to users to do so.

But every carrier’s situation is unique, and Verizon is simply not allowed to place such a restriction because of the terms of that spectrum deal.

“Verizon Wireless has always allowed its customers to use the lawful applications of their choice on its networks, and it did not block its customers from using third-party tethering applications,” Verizon claimed in a statement.

The carrier said it was the app stores that put the restrictions in place, and said it will reach out to those channels to request that they no longer block the apps.