Some of the nation’s biggest wireless carriers are trying to put the kibosh on free apps that let Google Android users use their smartphones as modems without paying the carriers’ extra fee.
Several blogs have reported in recent days that free Android phone tethering apps that are typically found in the Android Market are not available for Android phones on AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA.
Sprint customers apparently are still able to access many of these tethering apps from the Android Market.
Reports first surfaced from the blog DroidLife that the free tethering app Wireless Tether could not be downloaded onto AT&T and Verizon Wireless handsets.
AT&T and Verizon representatives declined to comment, and said that Google chooses which apps are in the Android Market. Neither company would comment on whether they asked Google to remove the Wireless Tether app or any other free tethering app from the Android Market.
A Google spokesman told Fierce Wireless that it is not blocking the app. Instead it’s simply making it unavailable for download on certain carrier networks at the request of those carriers. If an application is in direct violation of the terms and conditions of a usage contract, a carrier can request Google make the app unavailable, the spokesman told Fierce Wireless.