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:
If you do not have the feature enabled on your account you are presented with the following error message:
However, if you dismiss the message and click the enable button again immediately, the service will start:
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
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.