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iPhone tethering coming says AT&T Mobile chief

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 10 Nov 2008 15:26 User comments (4)

iPhone tethering coming says AT&T Mobile chief As popular as the iPhone has been, one important feature that has been missing is the ability to share its mobile internet connection with a computer. Reports from the Web 2.0 Summit seem to indicate that's about to change. Several sources are reporting that AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega told tech columnist Michael Arrington an official method for tethering the iPhone to a computer to act as a modem is on the way.
In July an application called NetShare was added to the iTunes App Store for tethering an iPhone to a computer via a wireless network connection. Within hours it mysteriously disappeared. Although there was no official explanation from Apple, it was most likely removed to keep AT&T customers from using it. Although there are other phones that can already be tethered to use as modems, doing so without a separate data plan for your computer violates AT&T's Terms of Service.

Specifically, the TOS state "plans(unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to computer accessories, Bluetooth or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose."

There doesn't seem to be any indication that this policy will be changing. More likely this is intended as a way to make sure people tethering their iPhones are paying for the extra data plan. It can already be done on a jailbroken iPhone, a method that doesn't give AT&T any ability to control whether the user has purchased the extra data option.

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4 user comments

110.11.2008 16:35

How can they justify asking for more money for this "unlimited data plan"? I was using my V3xx Razr a year and a half ago "tethered" to my laptop and was using my unlimited data plan then to access the internet. I guess I was in violation and didn't know it. Isn't that what the plan is for? And by the way, 3g network is terrible in my area anyway. I had to turn the 3g off on my wife's iphone so it would work correctly.

210.11.2008 21:10

Originally posted by TSRSteve:
How can they justify asking for more money for this "unlimited data plan"? I was using my V3xx Razr a year and a half ago "tethered" to my laptop and was using my unlimited data plan then to access the internet. I guess I was in violation and didn't know it. Isn't that what the plan is for? And by the way, 3g network is terrible in my area anyway. I had to turn the 3g off on my wife's iphone so it would work correctly.

Much like ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T seems determined to use their TOS to hide the fact that their network simply isn't robust enough to handle the level of service they're selling people. Your experiences would seem to confirm that. But unlike providers offering wired service there's a lot more room for competition, which is why they're not likely to be able to enforce this. Well that and the number of phones that can be tethered out of the box - like say pretty much any Nokia.

310.11.2008 23:56

Any motorola also... I use mine all the time... Just wish AT&T had 3g where I live like Verizon does that way I wouldn't have to pay Verizon 60 a month for they're package...

417.11.2008 18:54

The author cited that jailbreak phones can be tethered but it would seem they still have to buy the data service to gain access. One would not want to have to pay for the measured data rate. Am I missing something? I certainly owuld not pay ATT a single dime more given the crappy performance of "3G". I would have kept my original iPhone with Edge and saved the extra $10 if I had known.

Surely, someone can come up with an ap that can get around this or do all aps have to pass through the iTunes store?

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