MetroPCS Mobile Hotspot

I found an interested hack with the MetroPCS “Mobile Hotspot” feature available on their Android devices. The feature is activated from the Mobile Hotspot app found on the device:
Screenshot_2014-09-15-17-31-41

If you do not have the feature enabled on your account you are presented with the following error message:

Screenshot_2014-09-15-17-31-56

However, if you dismiss the message and click the enable button again immediately, the service will start:

Screenshot_2014-09-15-17-32-09

After it starts you can tether your other devices with the phone. One caveat is MetroPCS sniffs the user agent string in non secure connections. If the string isn’t for a mobile device you’ll be presented with an error message stating you need to subscribe to the MetroPCS tethering service ($5 a month). An easy work-around for this is to either manually modify your user agent string or install an extension which will do it for you. I found that removing my string completely got around the MetroPCS block but made some pages render weirdly (the server couldn’t tell what type of browser I was so threw up HTML everywhere?).

Seeing how all requests weren’t blocked by default from the service got me interested. I fired up puTTY and was able to make a SSH connection to my home server. Cisco AnyConnect was able to VPN to any address I knew off hand. After these connections were made tunneling internet traffic through them was simple and uninhibited. I would suggest purchasing the service if you are going to use it, however 🙂

If you can’t get the feature to enable you can also modify your build.prop file. Include

net.tethering.noprovisioning=true

at the bottom of your build.prop file (located at the root of the system partition) and restart your phone!

If you are unable to get the hotspot to activate, I have also had success using Android Wifi Tether with a rooted device. This way still requires a VPN connection to be made before browsing can start on the tethered device.

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