AT&T: Tethering Coming to the iPhone Soon

By  |  Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 10:17 am

iphone4Here’s a bit of cheery news from the Web 2.0 Summit: AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega just told interviewer Michael Arrington that the company is working with Apple to let the iPhone serve as a tethered wireless modem for laptops soon. And he says it’ll be available “soon.”

There have been rumors that this was in the works for a while, but if anyone at AT&T or Apple has made it official until now, I managed to miss it.

There are at least two existing tethering options for the iPhone: NetShare and iModem. The former was removed from Apple’s iPhone App Store and the latter only works on jailbroken iPhones; both violate AT&T’s terms of service. Even if AT&T wants more money for a tethering plan–and I’m assuming it will charge something like $50 or $60 a month–I think a lot of people will sign up.

One major remaining question: Given that Internet access on an iPhone 3G can be pretty sluggish, just how quick will it be if a meaningful percentage of iPhone users are routing their connections to laptops and doing things that are even more bandwidth-hogging than typical iPhone tasks?

 
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25 Comments For This Post

  1. moepstar Says:

    I got 1.2mbits down and 180kbits up on 3G so i’d say it’s pretty sufficient

  2. RustyShakleford Says:

    I am getting 1.6 mbps down and 255kbps up but that is only when I am within 2 miles of my current location. I’ve gotten as low as 300kbps down at bad locations. If AT&T’s network could be more consistant than I would consider paying more and dropping my Comcast 4mbps at home.

  3. mb airhead Says:

    I use NetShare now (because Verizon is taking weeks to install FiOS…hate them sooo much) and it’s acceptable. Not sure what it’ll do to ATnT’s network when everyone tries to tether in but since other phones already offer 3G tethering thru ATnT I suspect we’ll all survive.

  4. George Rachor Says:

    I’d like to tether on an adhoc basis like I did with tmobile when my internet was down but…

    Good Grief.. If they are going to charge another $50-$60 per month to be able to tether why use the phone? Just get another laptop card.

  5. Tom K Says:

    If you’re going to jailbreak anyway, why would you fool around with iModem? PdaNet does a much better job and supports all applications and protocols without worrying about SOCKS proxies.

  6. Chip Douglas Says:

    I use PDAnet on a jailbroken 2G iPhone, and pages load SIGNIFICANTLY fast on my laptop over the tethered connection than they do on the iPhone itself. It seems that Safari and/or the iPhone itself are the bottleneck for 2G Web access.

    On a related note, I have noticed that my data access is much slower and, in some cases, inexplicably nonexistent since I used PDAnet a couple of times. This happens regardless of how many bars I have (often with 5) or whether the iPhone reports being on Edge. I’m wondering if AT&T has filters set up to detect tethered connection behavior and throttle internet access thereafter.

  7. Harry McCracken Says:

    I didn’t realize that PDANet was available in an iPhone version–it’s good stuff on other platforms, so that’s good news. And it’s too bad it requires jailbreaking…

    –Harry

  8. moepstar Says:

    “And it’s too bad it requires jailbreaking…”

    But very well worth it :)

  9. wkharris Says:

    Unless it’s free I am not interesting in paying yet another monthly fee to AT&T

  10. Jonathan Says:

    Anyone know if there’s a way of plugging a USB 3G dongle into something small and powered that makes it think it’s connected to a laptop, gives it power and runs it as a shared wifi point? surely that’s doable?

  11. Chris Heuer Says:

    There are several wifi access points that accept 3G modems, but I havent seen one in a year or two – Linksys even had one I believe.

    What I am wondering about now is whether or not they are going to force me to keep my 3G Modem contract in addition to the iPhone data plan if I could use this instead – hope I dont have to keep the extra contractual obligations and costs…

  12. houstoncondo Says:

    That will be great! May be they can release for Christmas.

  13. KPD Says:

    I’d be amazed if actual 3G speeds are reached using the iPhone tethering. I currently use my Samsung BlackJack II as a modem & only connect at 234k. Max download speed is ~100k. If speeds are comparable (or hopefully better), I’m finally making the switch!

  14. JOHN W. BUGLER Says:

    SHOULD BE FREE. IF SO THE I PHONE WILL BE THE HOT SPOT FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.

    NICE SITE. GOOD JOB.

    GOD BLESS.

    JOHN W. BUGLER
    BUGLER.ORG

  15. Apple Sucks Says:

    (rhetorical question) Now why are jailbroken phones so bad? The devs generally update the software to work with upcoming firmware versions. If you have had a jailbroken phone, you’d see they’ve been tethering for well over 2 years now (iphone 2g and now 3g). Great Homebrew (Doom Game Project) optimizations of the mobile osx platform to maximize its potential well before the app store. a jailbroken iphone is like a linux phone, open to its community. This is such a great phone and the company that is supposed to be promoting it is gimping the phone. Blackberry Storm was released and cant compete in features (add on keyboards, breathalizer, homebrew, gaming, and everything the mobile professional needs. Android came out boasting its linux platform. Oh! Wait! the dev team just did a linux port to the iphone! hrrrrm sounds like apple’s just lazy and doesn’t want to look bad.

    So much much has been done by the iphone community. also by people like you who are reading this who love the usability of your phone and just want to expand upon it, and by the gool ‘ol dev team, who to this day have been battling with apple just to put free apps on the phone, and whom to this day don’t charge a cent what has taken them so much time to accomplish. www(dot)modmyi(dot)com

  16. Sean Says:

    Has anyone heard an update on this? The last I heard, I posted here: http://www.seangw.com/wordpress/index.php/2008/11/att-iphone-tethering-to-cost-30month/ — That the iPhone tethering will cost $30 / month

  17. sprintluvr Says:

    HTC Titan on Sprint SERO: $30/month for 500 daytime, unlimited night/weekend minutes. Unlimited texts and picture messages. SprintTV. GPS. Unlimited Internet @ ~ 1 Mbps. Windows Mobile makes it trivial to tether the phone to the PC (it’s built-in to the OS as “Internet Connection Sharing”), and with a faster CPU the bandwidth goes to 1.5 Mbps. Using WMWiFiRouter, phone can bind 3G to WiFi and Bluetooth and act as a router, enabling multiple clients to attach to it. I even attach my Touch to it and use fring for VOIP goodness. Even if I could get this on ATT with Iphone, I think it would cost around $150/month. Sprint does it *all* for $30/month, voice+data. No wonder carriers love Iphoners… they are willing to spend so much money for what should be basic services.

  18. the_hacker Says:

    I have been using tethered iPhone using PdaNet as explained in http://hacksandhints.techievarta.com/2009/02/06/tethering-iphone/ post. I get 2.3Mbps when using PC and 960Kbps from iPhone sitting at the same location. So maybe ATT’s tethered plan will have better speed as well. But, why will I pay monthly subscription fee when I can get it for free.

  19. luis jimenez Says:

    hi guys how are you all doing im very happy let me told you all i have an iphone 3g unlocked and activated with tmobile and when i installed pdanet and i went on line my laptop browser was very fast so i went to a link to check my speed and guess what my speed is 3.6 mbps thats really good this is faster than my regular att dsl on my house please try that and let me know you all speed please at luisjimenez1980@gmail.com thanks a lot guys good luck

  20. Andy Mc Says:

    I spoke to an AT&T store rep today, and he DISCOURAGED me from buying their laptop connect card and $60/month plan. Instead, he told me to wait until June 9, gave me his card, and said to call back to add the tethering plan to my current iPhone for $30/month more.

  21. SEOsean Says:

    AT&T to release tethering option today (6/8/09), or so a rep tells me: http://www.seosean.com/blog/iphone-att-to-release-tethering-option-today

  22. razr Says:

    the company is working with Apple to let the iPhone serve as a tethered wireless modem for laptops soon. And he says it’ll be available “soon.”
    What else to say? .. Such words are forced to worry! :-)

  23. cable Says:

    to Razr.. seems you missed :-). Such news has a short life!

  24. Mobile Monopoly Says:

    iPhone tethering has been a struggle actually, but tethering over USB just works fine with my phone.

  25. Harris Benbow Says:

    this is great info

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