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Mobile Tethering: Overview, Perspectives and Challenges

Mihai Constantinescu, Ertan Onur, Yunus Durmus, Shahrokh Nikou, Mark de Reuver, Harry Bouwman, Miodrag Djurica, Philipp Glatz, Mobile Tethering: Overview, Perspectives and Challenges. Info 16(3), 1–13, 2014.


The purpose of this paper is to analyze mobile tethering from technological and social perspective. Mobile tethering allows us to share cellular data connection with others over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. Although the technology is ready and has promising outcomes, service providers and the users still keep their distance. Therefore, the incentives for the users and service providers should be identified. Technical challenges in terms of energy and bandwidth consumption are explored using an application specifically developed for mobile tethering. Usage issues are studied through conjoint analysis, in which we analyze the importance of technical aspects as well as social conditions for sharing a data connection with others. The research shows that although energy, bandwidth and security are important technical challenges, users are mainly concerned about social aspects, such as with whom the connection will be shared, rather than monetary issues. Mobile tethering is a viable cooperative service, only when users are familiar with the person with whom the data connection is being shared. In the technical evaluation of the mobile tethering application, only Android operating systems are being used. Other operating systems (e.g. iOS) may perform differently. Moreover, only a small fraction of smartphones and tablets has been tested. Service providers tend to block mobile tethering technology, since they do not have control and do not expect to gain revenues. However, service providers have the abilities to satisfy the security and privacy concerns of the users and can create secure femto-cells for their customers. Mobile tethering performance results indicate that more people can access the Internet while they are mobile even if they do not have cellular data subscription. More Internet based services can be offered to people while they roam in other countries. For technology developers both the key technical issues and the concerns of the consumers are highlighted. Future applications must contain reliable security and privacy protocols in their design. Moreover, the significance of the social networks is shown in the decision making of the use of mobile tethering especially with respect to the credit exchange

BibTeX entry:

  title = {Mobile Tethering: Overview, Perspectives and Challenges},
  author = {Constantinescu, Mihai and Onur, Ertan and Durmus, Yunus and Nikou, Shahrokh and de Reuver, Mark and Bouwman, Harry and Djurica, Miodrag and Glatz, Philipp},
  journal = {Info},
  volume = {16},
  number = {3},
  publisher = {Emerald},
  pages = {1–13},
  year = {2014},
  keywords = {Tethering, mobile, willingness to share, conjoint analysis},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research (IAMSR)

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