Verizon ends Thunderbolt’s free 4G mobile hotspot

Verizon is putting an end to its promotional offer of letting Thunderbolt owners tether their 4G data connection for free.

The device, which was Verizon’s first phone to offer 4G LTE connectivity, came with the irresistible offer as a way to entice customers to upgrade to the new network. And with the after-contract price of $250, the carrier certainly needed a good, enticing offer.

However, customers knew from day one that using the Mobile Hotspot feature for free was a limited-time thing, though the end date remained unclear.

In addition to providing users with a too-good-to-be-true deal of months of free Internet service, it also acted as a stress test for Verizon’s nascent high-speed network, allowing it to collect all kinds of data.

Alas, the party is now over. So those customers who managed to rack up more than 15 GB of 4G data per month (including yours truly) will now have to pay a monthly fee for data tethering. And there is a cap, just like the mobile provider’s 5 GB limit on 3G mobile hotspot-enabled phones.

However, there is a silver lining to this news – the Thunderbolt has also received a new firmware update that fixes various stability and connection issues that have been plaguing it since the release earlier this year.

All of this will take place as soon as users install the new update, which is required.