AT&T knows when you’re tethering without a $20/month plan… not happy about it


AT&T recently began offering a data tethering plan for the the Apple iPhone, allowing you to share your phone’s 3G internet connection with a computer (or 5) for $20 per month. But some users who have jailbroken iPhones have been doing this for ages, using third party apps such as MyWi. Now some MyWi users are starting to get text messages and emails from Apple suggesting they upgrade to a plan that supports tethering.

According to the folks at the ModMyi web site, most of the users reporting they’ve been contacted by AT&T are using the MyWi software and have AT&T’s unlimited iPhone data plan. That plan is no longer offered to new customers, but it’s not surprising that a company which recently killed the unlimited data option would also want to reign in unauthorized tethering by heavy data users.

So far it doesn’t look like AT&T has actually disconnected anybody for using an unauthorized tethering app, but the email customers are receiving does say that in order to “continue tethering” users need to sign up for a plan that supports the service. In fact, if AT&T detects you’ve been tethering and you don’t contact the company by March 27th, you’ll automatically be signed up for the new DataPro 4GB plan which offers 4GB of data for $45 per month. That 4GB cap covers standard smartphone data transfers and tethering. Each GB of data above and beyond 4GB will run users $10.

via Cult of Mac

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since 2006. Brad has also worked with NPR, WHYY, PRI, and AOL.

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  • cheap iphone users

    iPhone users are such cheapskates.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z6R3U6IMXNFFKWFJS2WUDUUEAQ Anonymous

    How is it fair or even appropriate to generalize? You can do it, but it doesn’t make it right!

  • Paula

    What method is AT&T using to tell if I’m tethering or not?
    Usage?
    What if I just use a lot while non-tethering?

  • Hallcrash

    they do not. I call shenanigans

  • Ed

    That is as generic of a text message as they can send out. They don’t know. It’s a scare tactic like the cable company’s used to use.

  • attdweeb

    iphones use different APN’s for tether as opposed to normal browsing. Its not difficult to put two and two together. The problem is the folks that use like 10-15+GB’s a month, your just asking to be looked at and they are now starting to do that. If you used around the 5GB range they wont bother, but of course some people will wear tether out….

  • Anita

    It’s not just iPhones/AT&T. All smartphones can tether with the right phone/computer/software/etc. I didn’t even realize it could be done until my old company shut my phone off for going over my *unlimited* internet usage (I was not tethering so that tells you how many problems they have & that you *can* go over what they think to be “normal” without breaking any rules – especially if you watch a lot of HD videos).