The apps enabled T-Mobile G1 users to share their cellular Internet connection with a computer or laptop, but they disappeared from the store a few days ago. Google contacted the developers and said there wasn't a complete ban on this type of software, but it wouldn't be allowed in certain regions because of restrictions from mobile operators.
"We inadvertently unpublished your application for all mobile providers; if you like, we can restore your app so that all Android Market users outside the T-Mobile U.S. network will have access to your application," Google wrote to affected developers.
The move isn't very surprising, as the apps do violate T-Mobile's terms of service, and tethering apps could cut into the monthly mobile broadband service the carrier sells. The removal isn't unprecedented either, as a tethering app for Apple's iPhone was pulled at the request of AT&T.
"Your data plan is intended for Web browsing, messaging, and similar activities on your device and not on any other equipment," reads T-Mobile's terms of service. "Unless explicitly permitted by your data plan, other uses, including for example, tethering your device to a personal computer or other hardware, are not permitted."
But some are finding the move disappointing because Google said the Android Market would be more open and less restrictive than Apple's App Store. Additionally, when the G1 was introduced, T-Mobile executives intimated the company may not stop tethering applications. Because of Android's open source nature, users can still get an unofficial tethering app on the G1, but it may be too difficult to achieve for casual users.
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