The FCC investigated and issued a Verizon Wireless $1.25 million fine for blocking apps from the Android Google play store that gave customers the ability to tether without paying a monthly fee. Even with this finding, Verizon Wireless ranked highest in customer service satisfaction in the most recent J.D. Power study.
Verizon Wireless must now let users tether without the as long as they are on a tiered data plan. Unlimited data plan holders will not be allowed to use the tethering apps.
Verizon Wireless offers customers its 4G LTE service on C Block spectrum. Verizon Wireless bid at auction to acquire that spectrum, understanding that it was accompanied by open device and application obligations. Specifically, licensees offering service on C Block spectrum "shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee's C Block network," subject to narrow exceptions.
The Bureau launched an investigation after reports suggested that Verizon Wireless had successfully requested that a major application store operator block Verizon's customers from accessing tethering applications from its online market. ("Tethering" is using a wireless phone as a modem to obtain Internet access for another device, such as a laptop computer or tablet.)
Under the terms of to settlement, Verizon has committed to notifying the application store operator that it no longer objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block network customers in the operator's online market. Verizon Wireless has also agreed to implement a compliance plan
Verizon also revised its service offerings such that consumers on usage-based pricing plans may tether, using any application, without paying an additional fee.