Tether Responds To Apple’s Decision To Ban Their Tethering App

Yesterday, Apple pulled Tether.com’s iPhone app – iTether after briefly allowing it in the App Store. iTether allowed users to use their iPhone’s data connection to surf the internet on a Mac or PC over USB.

Tether has published a post on their blog in a response to Apple’s decision to ban their tethering app.

We were not surprised by the ban as Apple has previously banned such applications from the App Store possibly due to pressure from carriers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint who offer tethering plans for $20 per month that can be used using the Personal Hotspot feature that is available for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS users. In the case of iTether users have to pay only a one-time fee of $14.99, which is the cost of the app and no recurring fees. So tethering apps like iTether allow users to save quite a bit in the long term, while carriers end up losing incremental revenues.

They write:

Around 12PM EST, Apple called our head office to let us know they were going to go ahead and pull our app iTether from the App Store. They stated it was because the app itself burdens the carrier network, however they offered us no way to remedy the solution… We were very clear when listing the app what the primary function was and they even followed up with several questions and requested a video demo then they approved the application.

We strongly disagree that it burdens a carrier’s network, as from our own data history on more than 500,000 users we know the average user consumes less than 200 MBs of data per month on Tether. In comparison, one TV show streamed from Netflix, an approved Apple App, could easily be in the 300-400 MBs range. Sure, there are some users that will consume way more than the average however that’s the case with any of these types of products.

Our team is very disappointed in Apple’s decision; as we strongly believe we help carriers better monetize their data stream by pushing customers into new data tiers further increasing their bottom-line. It is very anti-competitive to not allow any Tethering application to enter into this space to innovate. Our team has created a lot of innovative solutions for the BlackBerry product, which we were hoping to port over to the iPhone like end-to-end encryption, compression, website filtering and port filtering.

According to Apple, users who purchase iTether before it was pulled will continue to be able to use the product.

Our team is evaluating all of our options… Stay tuned.

It will be interesting to see if Tether will release the iPhone app on Cydia – the unofficial app store for such banned apps and jailbreak tweaks. Even if Tether decides to released the banned iPhone app on Cydia, it will have to compete with jailbreak apps like MyWi available on Cydia that transforms your iPhone into a wireless hotspot.

It is unfortunate that carriers are charging users for the tethering option, ideally you should be able to use the data the way you want as you’ve paid for it and iPhone users should be able to use iOS’ Personal hotspot feature for free without the need to even buy apps like iTether or go through the trouble of jailbreaking their iPhone to install jailbreak apps like Wi-Fi.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

[via Tether blog]

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  • marp

    money hoarding carriers and apple kissing the carrier’s ass…

    • Looni

      Money money money!!!! It ends up being the main issue!!!! They are just silent thieves!!

  • Out1awX

    I already pay for a Data package, It should be left up to me how i use my data package without a carrier holding their hand out.

  • Nick

    i was able to download this app and i tried it today it works great. Simple to use for those limited times i may need it.

  • Here in the uk we can have unlimited data with tether with network three. This app is worthless if you don’t have unlimited data with no fair usage policy.

  • Axe

    Not to mention that the coming ios 5.1 will eventually disable home screen shortcut like the icon project app that legally enable non jailbroken to create shortcut toggles for wifi, brightness, reset safari etc. I pay for the app which apple approved it but if i upgrade to 5.1 i can’t use toggle anymore. Kinda felt support buying apps suck.

  • I can use the hotspot in the Czech republic for free. 🙂

  • Trick

    I totally agree with the last post. If apple isn’t goIng to support the app in the future, they should pull it now and refund everyone who already purchased the app. This is total BS. I believe I see a class action suit in the future if they choose to continue along this path.

  • Brando212

    It’s all about the money anymore

    Humanity is in a sad state of time

  • Steve VB

    I’d put carrier data packages into 2 categories — unlimited and capped. Restrictions on these should be similar to restaurants. There always needs to be some sort of restriction. Restaurants cap all-you-can eat buffets with the proviso that there’s no take-out or sharing with non-paying customers. All an individual can eat during that meal in the restaurant. Seems reasonable for unlimited data packages to be all-your-phone-can-use, and restrict tethering. But like restaurants where you order a meal, and can share it with your spouse/kid/dog/bird in the window/…, so capped data plans should be able to be used however the consumer likes.

    I think it’s reasonable for Apple to enable such business models.

    The issue I have is the carriers who offer capped data plans, but still restrict how they’re used. Who’s in a place of power to fight them on that point? Apple?

  • How about telling us about apps like this before they get pulled

  • Vellyvell

    Its not fare the I pay for unlimited service but they limite my service thinking about going to sprint 

  • alliswell

    I paid verizon $30 per month for 2 gb data, but I only use 100mb, there is no reason I can not use what I paid, in my own way.

  • God damn Nazis they are! In Australia we can tether as much as we want, so how come we have to suffer because American carriers are money hungry?!?!?!?!

  • Hendrix

    I carnt believe they sold the app for $14.99 what a rip off, I would never pay for tether as it is free on my iPhone on most networks in Australia, any network that charge for this feature are just ripping customers off the iPhone has the option installed for free, phone networks suck balls, I mean who cares how you the customer users there data plan whether it is 3G of tethered you still only have say 2gig either way and if yo go over your data limit the phone company rapes you for the excess data usage anyway, it is just another way for phone giants to pillage millions of dollars for ticking a box and clicking apply.

  • Craig

    Tethering has been available on cydia for years. All you have to do is jailbreak and a retarded baby could figure that out. Of course they care about money…they’re a business…they’re out to make money. I’m sure if one of you owned a company and someone else made something to take money from you and you had the power to BAN that…you would. So don’t be all pissy just because apple wants money.

  • Ryan Grill

    Anyone been kicked off there unlimited plan while using the latest PDAnet or MyWi lately??

  • Michael

    When this whole dictatorship of data control started I knew eventually our rights to free will would be abolished. All these carriers are money hungry greedy capitalist and a class action suit needs to be filed against all of them with supreme court demanding fair usage of our data and other cute little things that they clause in their agreement. Every last single one of them are guilty constitutional rights infringement and they continue to get away with it. Sure they provide a service but most customers don’t think so. High monthly bills for mediocre service and capped data that will charge another $10 for a gig when you cap. That’s BS.

    • Louis

      If it weren’t for these “GREEDY CAPITALIST” you wouldn’t even have an iPhone to cry about. Steve Jobs was the biggest capitalist in this country and his “Greedyness” gave us these fantastic machines. And as for constitutional rights, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!!??? The constitution is supposed to protect us from the government not comapnies but cry babies like you scream about companies and allow the government to CRUSH ALL our rights. Don’t like the service you have? CHANGE IT!!!!

      • J-God

        Remember this Steve Jobs invented the iPhone. He had an idea of a phone that is touch screen, fast processor, and all the good feature that came with the phone. But unfortunately Apple is the greedy one which told Steve that it was a great idea but wanted to milk it to the consumer. Get off the box you live in and think about this. Mind you that we talking about apple as a business. Apple had all those parts from the iPhone 4S when they came out with the iPhone 2G. We been getting herb thinking that they figure these things out after they introduce a new iPhone.

  • fas

    Apple should not do this, allow app one day and discontinue it the other!

  • Travis

    I believe you meant “My-Wi”, not “Wi-Fi” at the very end.

  • Bradley Kelly

    You can’t get Personal Hotspot on the 3GS. Or is there a way I don’t know about?

  • Dice

    Wish i was quicker to get app, altho id much rather have a wireless hotspot than a usb connection. I mean seriously, wired?!? Wtf