If you ever done tethering on iPhone without subscribing a tethering plan on AT&T recently, you should be aware that you most likely will be the next customer who get a warning from AT&T to either stop tethering or subscribe to mobile hotspot option, which requires additional fees even if you are an unlimited data plan subscriber.
image credit: lifehacker.com
According to OSXdaily, here is the email warning from AT&T if you caught up for tethering your current data plan without the mobile hotspot option.
Dear [Name of Account Holder],
We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating.
Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones — a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&T’s mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.
Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.
If you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at www.wireless.att.com, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering. Here are details on the plan:
DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
$45 $50 per month (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
- $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
- Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones
If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.
If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.
It’s easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan’s threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go to www.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage.
As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.
Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.
Please update your data plan by March 27, 2011 if you intend to continue tethering
To learn more and update your plan, visit att.com/dataplans
Reach us for assistance during business hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST at 1-888-860-6789
AT&T confirmed that they’ve been chasing for jailbreak tetherers to 9to5mac:
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:
- Stop tethering and keep their current plan (including grandfathered unlimited plan)
- Proactively call AT&T or visit our stores and move to the required tethering plan
- Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf – after the dated noted in their customer notification
But, how can AT&T detects if you’re using a tethering apps on your iPhone without being a tether subscriber?
Based on a report from Android Police jailbroken iPhones use the same tethering method as iPhones that haven’t been jailbroken, which is already part of iOS. This has the advantage for AT&T to identify when an iPhone is using tethering, because when doing so it sends traffic via a different APN, namely an AT&T access point or router, simply so that AT&T can ascertain what part of the traffic is tethered data. In contrast, Android Police explain, Android tethering is not set up to be re-routed this way.
But sometime in future AT&T may warn android users for tethering as well.
So, if you have chosen to jailbreak and use MyWi, TetherMe, PdaNet, or iTether rather than paying the tethering fee, it’s possible that you will sooner or later receive this AT&T email regarding tethering without plan.
No matter which cydia apps you used for iPhone tethering, you can’t avoid AT&T unauthorized tethering alert.
Even PdaNet app that claimed to be able to tether on iPhone in stealth mode without being warned, was still getting notification from AT&T. So, unless waiting for cydia apps that will let you tether without AT&T’s warning, I suggest you subscribe their data plan, or unlock your iPhone and move on to another carrier such as Verizon.