Here is my situation:

I have frequently used tethering to pair devices with phone phone and it has worked spectacularly. At one point I moved 50gb of data over my cell while I sought out a dedicated service provider.

The only caveat was that it would give me the t-mobile hotspot splash page if I hit a non-ssl page from a laptop. After some investigation to verify I discovered that this was based on the user-agent (force the user agent to identify as a cell phone browser and it works fine but you get the mobile page).

The issue: Since the upgrade to 5.1, when tethering, my mobile devices (any) show the '!' on the wifi connection to my tether.

*results of the investigation

  • I verified I was indeed getting the t-mobile splash page
  • Same issue when tethering with my Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 (both 5.1)
  • No problem on my wife's nexus 4 with my SIM (5.0)
  • No problem when using wife's sim/phone (5.0)
  • No problem using my sim in my friends nexus 4 (5.1)
  • Doesn't work with his SIM in my nexus 5.
  • Any device that pairs to my cell (even if it's another nexus 4/5) get's the tmobile splash. Leading me to believe it's not entirely user-agent based.

  • I have heard that 5.1 is much more aggressive at trying to figure out legitimate wifi connections and I wonder if this has something to do with it?

Anyone have a clue what the blocking logic is and if the tip-off is android based, phone based or sim based? What changed between 5.0 and 5.1 that might effect this?


As suggested, I turned off captive portal detection. The '!' went away but I still get the t-mobile splash screen when I use HTTP. When I use HTTPS I just get a connection timeout.

So, there is still a user agent detection going on with http.


  • My tablet sends it's user agent as a tablet and that isn't permitted on my tmo plan, so it's block. Ok, so then I had a friend of mine use his cell to tether to my phone. He still gets the splash.

At this point I have to actually see what's going over the wire to t-mo. How can I intercept that? Easy way with adb?

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