Tag Archives | Tethering

Free Android Tethering Blocked by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile

So much for free tethering apps on Android phones, at least in the Android Market. AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are now blocking these apps, which offer a free or cheap alternative to the carriers’ official, subscription-based offerings.

As Engadget points out, you can still see tethering apps like PDANet in the Android Market, but if you try to install them on any of the major U.S. carriers besides Sprint, you’ll be told that “This item is not available on your carrier.”

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Personal Hotspot Coming to AT&T iPhone 4

AT&T confirmed Thursday that it would indeed bring the Personal Hotspot feature included in iOS 4.3 to its iPhone 4 customers. Verizon customers got to enjoy this feature at the launch of the device last month, for a $20 extra charge above the regular data plan.

Verizon users get 2GB of data to use for tethering: AT&T will also give its own users 2GB for the same price. In both cases, the data used in tethering applications is separate from the data used on the phone itself — meaning if you go over on either, you’ll be socked with overage charges in either case.

At least AT&T finally realized it’s not right to take your tethering data out of your regular data plan, yet still charge you an additional fee. Maybe it’s just me, but that seemed like highway robbery. In any case, AT&T’s announcement is sure to begin the debate on whether or not the user has a right to use the data they pay for in the manner they want.

[UPDATE: AT&T has contacted us to clarify: “AT&T counts data used in tethering applications and data used on the phone together,” spokesperson Steve Kerns told us. “So a 2GB tethering plan and a 2GB phone data plan would provide 4GB of data that customers can use on the phone or through hotspot use.”]


AT&T to Double Tethering Cap, Add Wi-Fi Hotspot Service for Some Phones

Looks like AT&T has realized that its smartphone tethering plan is a raw deal, because the carrier will soon double the plan’s bandwidth cap while also allowing some phones to act as wireless hotspots.

Currently, AT&T charges $20 per month for tethering on top of its $25 per month smartphone data plan. But AT&T doesn’t provide any extra data for this service, so subscribers are confined to the same 2 GB per month for which they’re already paying.

That’ll change starting February 13, when AT&T starts selling phones equipped with Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. Both wireless and USB tethering will extend users’ bandwidth caps to 4 GB per month for the same $20 surcharge as before.  Each additional GB cost $10.

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Is Tethering Finally Coming for AT&T iPhone Users?

After promising that tethering would arrive for iPhone users all the way back when iPhone OS 3 was released, a new option in iPhone OS 4 Beta 4 seems to suggest that AT&T will finally get on the ball this summer following the official release of the OS.

MacRumors is one of several sites to publish screenshots of a new option within the Network section of iPhone’s settings which seem to suggest tethering will finally be a reality. Tapping “Set Up Internet Tethering” pops up a message stating that customers can either call or visit AT&T’s website in order to set up the feature.

Gregg Keizer at Computerworld contacted AT&T to ask about the status of tethering, but got nothing more than the that company had “nothing new” to share. Confusing, if you ask me. Why can’t the carrier just come clean on its plans? We’ve only been waiting for a year now, no?

It’s not like AT&T doesn’t do tethering at all–if you have a Blackberry, you can add the functionality to your plan for an extra $30 per month.


iPhone Tethering on AT&T: One Year and Counting

iPhone CalendarExactly one year ago, on November 6th, 2008, I was siting in the audience at the Web 2.0 Summit when AT&T Mobility President Ralph De La Vega shared good news from the stage: The company would “soon” be permitting iPhone users to tether their phones for use. I assumed he was a reliable source and blogged the glad tidings.

I also assumed that “soon” meant a matter of weeks or a month or two, so it was startling when Apple announced that iPhone OS 3.0 would support tethering seven months later and named 22 carriers who would be ready on day of launch–and AT&T was not among them. The carrier merely said that it would support tethering at some unspecified date–which turned out not to be early August. Most recently it’s said that it needs to upgrade its network and that “We expect to offer tethering in the future,” which falls short of a promise that it will ever do so.

All along, of course, some folks have tethered their iPhones via hacks, software  that runs only on jailbroken iPhones, and even a program that was very briefly available on Apple’s App Store. But they’ve risked the wrath of AT&T, since tethering violates the carrier’s current terms of service.

As far as I know, nobody at AT&T has publicly explained what its president was doing whipping up excitement for tethering when allowing it without time-consuming infrastructure improvements would have been imprudent. But it seems likely that it now wants to go to extreme measures not to get anyone’s hopes up until it’s absolutely, positively sure that tethering is ready to go. I hope that day comes soon.

But I also keep asking myself an ugly question: If the company still seems to be having trouble dealing with the quantity of data being consumed by iPhone users who can’t tether, what does that say about the chances that it’ll allow them to hog even more bandwidth via their laptops anytime soon?


iPhone Tethering: Soon Is in the Eye of the Beholder

AT&T FrownyOn November 6th of last year at the Web 2.0 conference, AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega told the audience that the company would soon let AT&T customers tether their iPhones to laptops as a wireless modem. I blogged about it and called it cheery news. And waited. In June of this year, Apple announced that the iPhone OS 3.0 software would enable tethering, and that a bunch of carriers would offer it immediately–but AT&T wasn’t among them. It just said it would offer tethering at some unspecified date.

Yesterday, the company said that MMS for the iPhone was finally coming on September 25th. But its intentions about tethering are vaguer than ever–it isn’t promising a darn thing:

As for tethering, by its nature, this function could exponentially increase traffic on the network, and we need to ensure that some of our current upgrades are in place before we can deliver the expanded functionality with the excellent performance that customers expect. We expect to offer tethering in the future.

Fair enough, I suppose–except for the part about the company president telling customers and prospective customers that tethering was almost in place ten months ago. I wonder how many people plunked down money for an iPhone based in part on the not-unreasonable belief that “soon” meant…soon?