AT&T Adding Tethering Plan For Customers Using Unofficial iPhone Tethering Using Jailbreak Apps

iPhone tethering

Back in March, AT&T had sent customers using unofficial tethering options an email stating that “records show that you use [tethering] but are not subscribed to our tethering plan”.

AT&T had then sent reminders to these customers back in April. Folks at 9 to 5 Mac reports that according to some of their readers, AT&T is adding the tethering plan to the current data plan (including grandfathered unlimited data plan) without their consent.

To recap, AT&T had started offering the official tethering plans for $20 per month in June 2010, almost a year after the feature was introduced in iPhone OS 3.0 by Apple.

Due to the delay, developers had released jailbreak apps that enabled tethering for a one-time fee, which are very popular and one of the top reasons why users jailbreak their iPhone. Jailbreak apps like MyWi also allows users to convert their iPhone into a wireless router just like the personal hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 released in April. It is also one of major reasons users jailbreak their iPhone.

There has been a lot of debate and speculation on how AT&T detects the unofficial iPhone tethering and developers of jailbreak app – PdaNet also released an update, which they claimed would hide the unofficial iPhone tethering.

This is what a 9 to 5 Mac reader reported:

I was just informed that as of Thursday August 11th 2011, if you use MyWi or any tethering on the phone or using the phone as a modem, AT&T will automatically change ur unlimited plan to a 2Gb tethering plan for 45 dollars without the customers consent. This is for those who received emails or texts about the use of tethering without an AT&T tethering plan.

It is not clear if the August 11 is the hard cut-off date for all AT&T customers, but 9 to 5 Mac reports that they’ve also received an official confirmation from AT&T that they are doing this and have received the following response:

Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan.  Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers.  (This impacts a only small percentage of our smartphone customer base.)

The letters outline three choices:

1) Stop tethering and keep their current plan (including grandfathered unlimited plan)

2) Proactively call AT&T or visit our stores and move to the required tethering plan

3) Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the dated noted in their customer notification

AT&T claims that it is only doing it on the pretext of ‘fairness for all of our customers’. But isn’t it fair to allow users to use the data the way they want as they’ve paid for it rather than charing for the tethering option. Wouldn’t it be a more fair thing to do for all their customers?

Do you use MyWi or any other jailbreak app for iPhone tethering? Did you receive the email or SMS from AT&T? What do you think of AT&T’s move to add the tethering plan?

[via 9 to 5 Mac]