Home - , , , - Ignoring Net Neutrality, Cricket Wants You to Pay $10/Month Extra to Use Phone as a Hotspot

Ignoring Net Neutrality, Cricket Wants You to Pay $10/Month Extra to Use Phone as a Hotspot

AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand has started charging users an extra $10/month to use their phones as a WiFi hotspot. Customers on Cricket's $50 or $60 plans with a compatible phone can now add hotspot for $10 per month extra. Cricket lists only the LG Risio, Motorola Moto E LTE, Nokia Lumia 635 and ZTE Overature 2 as phones that are currently hotspot compatible but promises to enable hotspot on more phones soon.

Previously hotspot usage was prohibited by Cricket's Terms and Conditions and the built-in hotspot app on Cricket's smartphones was removed or disabled. The prohibition was easily bypassed by using certain phones or with a hotspot app on a rooted or jail broken devices. As far as I know, Cricket and AT&T never took any action against users for unauthorized hotspot use.

If you think paying an extra $10/month to use the data that's included with your plan in a certain way is a ripoff, you're right.  The way mobile data is sold in this country is a bit of a shell game. Operators advertise lots of "use it or lose it" high speed monthly data a good price and then do things to discourage customers from using all their data, like banning hotspot or charging extra for it.

The good news is that charging more to use data in one way (with a hotspot app) and not in another (web browsing or a non-hotspot app) is almost certainly a violation of the FCC's new net neutrality rules. Net Neutrality prohibits mobile operators from blocking legal apps or services or charging more for some types of traffic than others. As long as pro-big business politicians don't succeed in repealing the FCC's net neutrality rules, I believe that AT&T will eventually be ordered to stop charging extra for Cricket hotspot use.  Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile, apparently recognizing the illegality of treating hotspot use differently than other data usages, removed its restrictions on hotspot on June 12, 2015, the day the Net Neutrality rules went into effect.

Related post: T-Mobile to Allow Hotspot on All Prepaid Plans With Data

Tags: , , ,

34 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Not entirely true. T-Mobile still charge an extra $15/month to use the full 5GB worth of LTE data on hotspot on their secret $30/month plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no option to add hotspot to my $30 plan, there used to be but the option is no longer an option.

      Delete
  2. Shame on you at&t/Cricket!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, boo hiss. An instance for one of Cricket actually degrading their value. A step backwards. They deserve all of the following: ridicule, loss of customers, and a penalty.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ummm I am on the Tmobile $30 plan and do not have any meaningful hotspot access and there is no option to add it, pardon me I questioned Tmobile, I think that's illegal here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you SURE? The last time I used it, it was back in the middle of June 2015. I used up my allotted courtesy tethering data and it asked me to pony up the $15. Maybe you just have to wait until you used up all your 100 MBs.

      Delete
    2. My $30 plan tethers just fine without the upsell page since early in July. The clearly changed the plan but have not changed the description.

      Delete
    3. SD, so what you're saying is Tmobile is ignoring Net Neutrality too?

      Delete
    4. Seems like it. @ AnonymousAugust 10, 2015 at 10:02 PM, it tethers fine until you used up your allotted 100 MB allocated for courtesy tethering (out of the full 5 GB).

      Delete
  5. US Cellular is charging extra for hotspot and tries their best to block my Easy Tether app. But I found a way to get it to work. But I may switch to Verizon if what I heard on Thursday is true. I heard they are no longer doing contracts after Thursday and you can get 12 GB/Mo data for $80/Mo. They do have a plan where you can finance a phone or you can buy one that you can afford or a used one. Looks like if this is the case I'll finally switch from US Cellular to Verizon just for the 12 GB/Mo data. Our net here is so bad and I need a stable back up for my Internet Radio station and Verizon is the best choice for that. Heck I pay $90/Mo just for the hotspot. So 12 GB for $80 is a no brain choice for me. This was on WTKR Channel 3's website, it was posted on Facebook and was on ABC News. So if this is the case all the other smaller carriers are in a heap of trouble Thursday and I'm sure people will be in line at Verizon in droves to finally get rid of the high prices of contracts and other lower prepaid data plans. Yup its gonna be a fun day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FYI, that $80 doesn't include the per device line fees. You are still looking at $100 with a smartphone, $90 with a hotspot/dongle, or $110 for both (sharing the same 12GB bucket.)

      These changes are certainly an improvement for some some customers at certain price points, but it's hardly a game changer that will have the other carriers running scared. The minimum monthly cost is still $50 for a single line plan, with only 1GB of data.

      Delete
  6. Even tho my T-mobile $30 plan still says 100mb of hotspot allowed when I check the app, it has been stuck for the past 2 months and I have used well over a gigabyte per month of tethering with the built in hotspot app on my T-mobile phone with no problems. I dont believe they are limiting it any longer.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I thought the brief appearance - and abrupt disappearance - of the Cricket Hot Spot info on Cricket's website a couple of weeks ago meant that AT&T Legal had it pulled because of uncertainty over the Net Neutrality requirement.

    Wrong! This seems like a blatant violation if I've ever seen one. It seems they have decided that they can risk charging the $10.00 fee, and just drag things out in court long enough to make a pile of money on it, then in the end, either prevail in court, get the FCC to back off when a more "business friendly" (read Republican) administration takes over, or simply pay some negotiated-down fine as a cost of business.

    I'm tellin' ya ... the patina of 'consumer friendliness' and honest straightforward dealing that Aio/Cricket brought to the AT&T business model has been tarnished by this move.

    On top of that, the Cricket Mobile Hotspot Terms and Conditions state that

    "To use Mobile Hotspot you must have a compatible Android or Windows Cricket Branded LTE device. Mobile Hotspot is not currently available with BYOD or Apple Devices."

    So, this leaves us iPhone and BYOD users out of luck, and with no choice but to continue jailbreaking/rooting out phones and then bootlegging a tether. We cannot pay the extra $10.00 to tether even if we wanted to. Cricket had better not start busting those of us who are "illegally" tethering, or we will port out in droves.

    Sign me,
    TICKED OFF

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Cricket had better not start busting those of us who are "illegally" tethering, or we will port out in droves."

      If only it were so easy. There's nothing at this time that comes close to Cricket. Even with this lump of coal.

      I hope that whatever pot of gold is at the end of this smog rainbow Cricket is building, it means that any money paid for this tether by anyone is refunded.... and then some.

      Delete
  8. It may be against the FCC's net neutrality rules to block hotspot apps, but it doesn't necessarily mean Cricket has to make it easy to enable hotspot, or be unable to charge for the ability to make it easier. As long as they don't block third-party apps, they're probably going to be fine, and to some people it would be worth the extra $10 to not have to mess with things to get hotspot working.

    That said, I think this is a bad move by Cricket and it reduces its value somewhat.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Really, this practice in the US is absurd. If I pay for x GBs a month at some speed, why the @#$% do they care what I do with it (as long as it legal)?. Same for the limitation on the type of device used and the restriction of plan features to just some of them (dumb phone, smartphone, tablet, PC).

    Imagine Exxon stations charging for a gallon of regular gas based on the make of car/engine size you drive? Of grocery stores charging for low-fat milk based on how you plan to consume it? Or cable providers for a sport channel package based on the size of your TV? No one would tolerate that, so why we do allow it with cellular data?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have a friend that use her Family Mobile Nokia 635 which runs on T-Mobile as her only internet connection for the past few months. She has been using her phone to run her laptop and tablet with no problems or warnings to quit.

    What I found funny was on the settings on her Nokia 635, it said some data could be used as a hotspot, but did not give and amount. I told her if she gets a warning to tell them that you thought it was okay because it said you could use some data as a hotspot. I told her that when she gets around the 2GB of data used for the month to stop thethering. They throttle after 2.5GB.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cricket isn't a wireless carrier (owner of the infrastructure) they're a reseller required to abide by the terms of their wholesale agreement (which likely includes not allowing tethering). I don't think NN rules apply here. However, I suppose some State Attorney General could step in on grounds of consumer protection, but I don't think any State as regulations for MVNOs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cricket is not a reseller, they are a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T

      Delete
    2. Cricket is owned by AT&T now. So this is coming straight from AT&T. Sometimes I think the people who make these decisions think the general public is stupid.

      Delete
    3. "...wholesale agreement (which likely includes not allowing tethering)..."

      I was not aware of such a loophole to escape Net Neutrality requirements. If this is true, any carrier can create a subsidiary that meets the legal definition of a separate company but is still just part of the company, have a publicized contract prohibiting the subsidiary from letting its users do what they want with the data they paid for (or making lots of other otherwise-illegal requirements)

      Then make sure the subsidiary has a name that attracts customers of the main division (T-Mobile makes "T-Mobile Zap!") for example. get the main company out of being a consumer carrier business.... and... things are exactly as they were before Net Neutrality.

      Delete
    4. Dennis, Cricket is still a reseller of AT&T service regardless of their ownership structure (unlike GoPhone which sold directly). T-Mobile also has a wholly owned subsidiary (GoSmart) that also zero-rates Facebook (NN Violation) but does not suffer any penalty under the regulations. Sprint also has a wholly owned subsidiary (Virgin Mobile) that charges for zero-rating services (Data Done Right). Many of you here do not understand NN regulations. NN applies to the literal pipe (the actual bandwidth providers) not the wholesale resellers (i.e. Cricket). Cricket is free to charge anything they want as long as it doesn't violate their agreement with AT&T (FCC does not directly regulate MVNO agreements). AT&T is the one that cannot give prioritize types of traffic (between nodes and peers), but their subsidiaries are free to do so because it's a secondary arrangement.

      Delete
  12. haha the crickets have to pay $10 more to tether their phones. not quite the bargain if you want to use your phone as a hotspot.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Charging extra for tethering seems to be unfair, assuming that the amount of data you are paying for is yours to use - logical assumption. Unfortunately I don't think this is what the "marketing experts" had in mind creating those data plans - their price models sell "illusion". In reality they don't give you (on average) as much data as they promise. Tethering means higher data usage - that's why they don't allow it.
    I prefer models that are straight forward..., but the bottom line is that this is what they offer. I see it as - take it or leave it.
    What forces businesses to offer better value is fair competition. Fortunately there is a lot of that going on.
    IMHO, counting on government to make businesses charge less, or give something for free (Net Neutrality) is silly.

    ReplyDelete
  14. News Flash: As I started to shop to see if I could get a better deal than US Cellular after Verizon's announcement of discontinuing of contracts Thursday I wanted to see what Gophone was going to do. I asked about FREE tethering and guess what NO FREE TEHTERING. Now Verizon their new 12 GB plan for $80 is no go either. So you still have to use the hacks to tether under the radar. Plus Verizon's new deal is not quite prepaid. There is a line charge even if you buy a phone from Ebay or Amazon and still a credit check. Sounds like a contract to me now does it not to you? Again lies from these companies. But I do suspect we'll start to see deals in the prepaid phone realm around Thursday. I would have got the plan if they didn't do a credit check for it. I could have bought one from Amazon, the pawn shop or even the Elizabeth City yard sale on Facebook. But the shady way they presented this deal prevented me from doing this. I'll even keep an eye on US Cellular to see what they will do if anything at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Legacy. You can use your phone for free as a hotspot on AT&T Gophone. Not sure what you were told.

      If $80 is limit and you want Verizon then try Verizon Prepaid. You can get 7GB of data for under $80 by using Callingmart to pay your bill. And you can use your phone as a hotspot with all your data on Verizon Prepaid. Google Callingmart.

      Delete
    2. Of course there's a credit check, it's still a post-paid plan, with extra chargers for roaming and international use.

      They did away with the 2yr service contract, moving all to the old EDGE program (monthly device payments) and month-to-month plans. Cancel at anytime with no ETF, but any you have to pay off any balances on devices.


      If you want pre-paid service, look at the pre-paid plans (ALLSET).

      Delete
  15. I'll have to look into that as this sounds great! I'd get 7GB for $80 and tether all I want and have the phone too? Well its better than paying for cellular and then again paying $90 for the 10 GB when my net acts up here. Being an Internet Radio station owner I need something I can count on to work and this sounds great to me. If this would work I can at least buy a Droid 4 Verizon from Amazon. It has the keyboard so I would be able to type on it when I need to text folks and or use the LiveWebDj. The Zen phone or the Galaxy Prime may also work and its big too. I need close to a 5 inch phone. The Galaxy S3 is the lowest I'd go. It still is useable for me. I wonder if they would give me a discount if I simply took my Hotspot in to Verizon and took the sim out of it and then put it into a prepaid phone and changed the account to Smartphone. I'd still want to port my number. I still think Tomorrow they will pull something as a discount for prepaid too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Legacy. You might want to avoid the Droid 4 because that phone is outdated. Most apps may not work on the Droid 4. If you are looking for a quality used Verizon Samsung 3, try Gazelle.Com I would go for the S4 for a few more bucks.

      Delete
  16. We are leaving Cricket over their tethering policy.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So, before I give up and pay $5 for ClockworkMod Tether app, does anyone know of a truly free (I say so because the few free ones are very limited--there is one that deliberately disconnects you after a certain point, so downloads beyond a certain size is impossible and also this is very annoying) app that allows one to tether with Cricket Wireless? There are also very few apps that work. I think I have found a total of either 2 or 3.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which free hotspot apps amd mods work tend vary from phone model to model. Search the XDA-Developer.com device sub-forums for your device. For example, on my stock ROM rooted T-Mobile LG G2 this got the native hotspot working for me on GoPhone: xda-developers - View Single Post - Lollipop tethering (working). This How to Tether using WiFi Tether- TrevE Mod (ROOT NEEDED) - xda-developers has been reported to work on many phones as has PdaNet+ -- Internet Sharing for Android (Paid with free trial).

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the response Dennis. I am not interested in rooting my phone as it's giving me problems and I will most likely return it down the line via Cricket's warranty program. However, even if I was, it doesn't appear to be rootable or I can't find any info online of anyone trying it. My phone is the ZTE Overture 2. Also, my phone is not listed at the XDA Developer's site. For the first link you included, the page there has the following: "This can be fixed permanently using the following procedure (UPDATE: no root required):" I think that is something for one to try instead of what is mentioned above on that page and not in addition to. I tried doing what is listed there, but I it doesn't allow me to create a hotspot as the phone / Cricket realizes that and I get a message that pops up saying so and I am then disconnected.

      I see you mentioned PdaNet+. When I said there was a free app that "there is one that deliberately disconnects you after a certain point", PdaNet+ is the one that does that--very annoying. But at least it's better than a daily limit that ClockworkMod Tether app imposes. Since that app is only $4.99 as opposed to the $7.95 that PdaNet+ charges, I think that's the app I will be going with. Plus, it's the first one I installed and like it a bit more than PdaNet+. I dislike the idea of paying for such an app, but I can't seem to find a free solution.

      Delete
  18. I've got a great idea..throw your stupid phones in the nearest garbage can.and start living like you used to...so much bs.

    ReplyDelete
Comment Page :