The inclusion of support for internet sharing over WiFi in Windows Phone Mango has become a real mixed blessing. Though we were excited to see the functionality built-in to the operating system, the unpredictable schedule by which manufacturers were releasing the required updates to enable the mode on first-wave Windows Phone hardware had us growing concerned with the fragmentation being introduced to the WP7 ecosystem. The good news is that we continue to see the release of these updates, and most existing hardware has been covered by now. As for future Windows Phone devices, since they’re now shipping with Mango, they should support tethering from the get-go, right? If you thought the recently-announced Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 would arrive with internet sharing, think again, as Nokia has posted that the feature will not be supported.
This news comes from a thread in Nokia’s forum where one user asked specifically about tethering support on the 800. A Nokia “technical expert” an employee authorized to publish Nokia information in these forums responded that “modem usage/tethering is not supported with Lumia 710/800 devices”.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been any further official responses to the many follow-up questions this denial raised, like if this is an intentional, permanent choice, or if, like first-wave handsets, the Lumias might see tethering enabled in a future update.
If this news turns out to be accurate, is it serious enough to dampen your interest in the 710 and 800?
Update: Nokia has responded to these concerns, stating “Microsoft takes very seriously meeting (and exceeding) the requirements outlined by agencies such as the FCC in the USA. They felt it was really important to fully address the concerns raised by recent FCC regulations before enabling this feature and are optimistic they can deliver on these requirements though a software update and are working diligently on that now.”
That’s good news that it’s working on an update to later enable the function, but what’s this about appeasing the FCC? Could those “recent regulations” be the new Net Neutrality rules about to go into effect? If so, this response sounds a lot like “we wanted to make sure US carriers could still charge you extra for tethering before we enabled it”.