This is America, where any cellular service worth having is owned by a sadistic co-monopoly of penny pinchers with business practices like "charge more for the same service when possible and cut every conceivable corner when expanding the network".
Here in the US we have the most expensive, draconian cell phone contracts, slowest speeds, and worst customer satisfaction of the entire first world.
Tethering traffic is near indistinguishable from smartphone traffic these days- they can't detect it, they can't tell the difference. Why the hell should I give them more money to set up a hotspot every now and again? Is the usage of my allotted 2GB/mo somehow more stressful to their network when used by PC? No. Is the hotspot software a convenience thing they provide for you? Hell no! Every phone in the world could do it before they locked it down to try and force people to sign up for their ridiculous extra charges.
Nothing is being stolen. I've been allotted a certain amount of data (even "unlimited" is limited mind you), and they make sure I can only use that amount of data, which is fair. But charging a premium price for certain types of data is a slap in the face to the concept of net neutrality, and should be subverted by every single user to send the message that this type of practice is *not going to be tolerated*.
Net neutrality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
If ISPs can treat certain types of data differently, Verizon can then limit Netflix traffic to make the service less functional than it's own product, which I believe is fios. Doesn't stop there- many ISPs are combatting net neutrality so they can charge web hosts a fee for the "privilege" of allowing users to access the site. Sounds fun doesn't it? Taxing web sites to allow user traffic, so profit can be made from all bandwidth. That means for example, Netflix would have to pay a tax to deliver service to Verizon customers, and even if Netflix is more popular than fios, Verizon profits from it. Why would it stop there? The next logical step would be to have tiers of taxes- exceed 1,000 visiters to your site/service and you have to pay further to allow more traffic!
I'll stop painting the dystopian future. Tethering violates net neutrality. The contract is BS. Don't add to this precedent of "net neutrality doesn't apply here though".