WiFi Personal Hotspot now on AT&T iPhone 4 with iOS 4.3, but jailbreaking is cheaper
News that iOS 4.3 will bring the WiFi Personal Hotspot feature to AT&T iPhone 4’s is welcome, but I’m going to reiterate my opinion from the past regarding the Personal Hotspot usage fee. If you missed it, it goes like this: what you’re really paying for is convenience and ease of use.
Jailbreaking & MyWi vs AT&T’s Personal Hotspot
Here’s how this breaks down:
- Jailbreaking & MyWi: Slightly more technical to enable, requires jailbreaking the iPhone, one time $20 MyWi purchase, works on iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 with any version of iOS.
- AT&T Personal Hotspot: Convenient & easily enabled, costs $20 every month in addition to your standard data plan charges, works only on iPhone 4 with iOS 4.3.
Just like with Verizon, paying for AT&T’s Hotspot use over the course of the year will rack up $240 in additional charges. If you jailbreak and use MyWi, you pay $20 once for the app and then you just use your existing data plan.
Who should pay the AT&T Personal Hotspot fee? And who should jailbreak?
As I’ve said before, paying AT&T (or Verizon) the personal hotspot usage fee is for those who want ease and convenience. There’s practically no setup involved, it’s just signing up for the hotspot plan and then selecting the option on the iPhone 4 to enable the feature, it’s as easy as it gets. For anyone that is less technical or who doesn’t mind paying for simplicity, forking over the cash to AT&T or Verizon is the way to go.
And then there’s people like me. If you’re technically inclined and familiar with jailbreaking, just buy MyWi and create your own iPhone wireless hotspot (it works on older iPhones too, while Personal Hotspot is limited to iPhone 4 only). The other nice thing about MyWi is that it offers a free 3 day trial, so you can jailbreak your phone and then test out the wireless hotspot functionality without any obligation to buy anything. If you hate it or it doesn’t work for you, reverse the jailbreak and just go with the monthly plan option.
PS: Jailbreaking is legal
Finally, a reminder that jailbreaking is not illegal. No Apple doesn’t like jailbreaks, and you’ll want to undo the jailbreak by restoring your iPhone before you take it in for Apple service, but it’s perfectly legal.