Google allows Android tethering apps – outside the U.S.

Chicago (IL) – Software that takes secondary advantage of the data transfer capabilities in smartphones remains problematic, especially in the case of Android phones and the iPhone. Skype on the iPhone is growing into a huge controversy and tethering, which would allow users to use the smartphones as broadband modems, is also a technology carriers would love to kill entirely. However, at least Google allows tethering apps for Android phones – but only outside the U.S.

Earlier this week, Google removed tethering applications from Android market, but later admitted some udders should actually be able to have access to this type of software. Apparently, owners of HTC’s Dream phone in Singapore and Australia, as well as those who paid extra for an unlocked Android phone in those countries can now download tethering applications.

In a statement, Google said the following:
“On Monday, several applications that enable tethering were removed from the Android Market catalog because they were in violation of T-Mobile’s terms of service in the US. Based on Android’s Developer Distribution Agreement (section 7.2), we remove applications from the Android Market catalog that violate the terms of service of a carrier or manufacturer. We inadvertently unpublished the applications for all carriers, and today we have corrected the problem so that all Android Market users outside the T-Mobile US network will now have access to the applications. We have notified the affected developers.”

Of course, that decision may leave a sour taste for T-Mobile users in the U.S. Tethering as well as VoIP appear to be natural expansions for smartphones, which, however, collide with the interests of carriers. Tethering has the potential to exponentially increase the data volume transferred over a network and cut into an additional revenue source.

Carriers supporting the iPhone and other smartphones are facing another, potentially much more serious problem, as Skype has become available for the platform and transform regular voice calls into data traffic. T-Mobile Germany already banned Skype for the iPhone, stating that it would not tolerate VoIP functionality for the iPhone in general. According to T-Mobile, the cellular network could be overwhelmed through such an application. However, there is some resistance: The Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition Europe has asked the European Union to take action and prevent carriers from “blocking the mobile Internet.”