AT&T Cracking Down on Unofficial iPhone Tethering & MyWi Users

Mar 17, 2011 - 308 Comments

att-iphone-tethering-letter

AT&T is beginning to crack down on unofficial iPhone tethering methods, including users of MyWi, the unofficial iPhone WiFi hotspot app that is popular among jailbreakers.

Customers are being notified that their service plans need updating to subscribe to a tethering plan, and that they will be automatically subscribed to a DataPro 4GB package that costs an additional $45 per month if they continue to tether. In the email, AT&T also notes that if customers discontinue the use of tethering, no changes will be made to their plan.

Here is the full letter that AT&T is sending to select iPhone customers who are suspected of using unofficial tethering methods:

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 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.

Sincerely,

AT&T

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

MyWi isn’t specifically mentioned, but we can confirm that several MyWi users have been contacted by AT&T. MyWi is very popular with those who jailbreak their iPhone because it allows them to create a wireless hotspot, a feature that was previously unavailable on the iPhone prior to the release of iOS 4.3. If you have chosen to jailbreak and use MyWi rather than pay the tethering fee, it’s possible that you will receive this email from AT&T.

If you get one of these letters, we advise you to contact AT&T directly. It doesn’t sound like they have any intention on penalizing anyone, they just want to start collecting a service fee for your data use, so you’ll want to clarify with them whether or not you plan on using tethering.

I find these letters unfortunate because I believe that you should be able to use your data plan the way you want, you paid for it so why shouldn’t you? AT&T disagrees with this, and thinks that if you are tethering at all, you should pay them for the service. Perhaps Verizon will have a different policy on the matter?

On a positive note, you could also look at this like AT&T might be allowing MyWi usage as long as you pay for the data tethering privilege. This would be good news for iPhone 3G users who are unable to access the official Wi-Fi tethering hotspot feature of iOS.

Update: We corrected the wording around the usage fee, the total AT&T tethering & data 4GB package costs $45 per month in addition to your voice plan, not in addition to your existing data plan. Sorry for the confusion.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, News

308 Comments

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  1. Parakeet says:

    This seems to effect those who are excessive data users that still have the unlimited plans.

    I think this is more of a way to remove existing unlimited plans than it is to harass anyone who tethers.

    It just comes down to money, and they can make you pay for a service you are getting for free right now.

    • @Serilious says:

      . Hey Guys,

      I just wanted to shoot you over what I know which is also not much, but I haven’t received a C&D Notice, yet…

      I had a friend receive one of these emails, who didn’t even jailbreak his iPhone, although he is a huge data user without their tether plan. He called to see what was up and told ATT that he had never tethered his iPhone before. They apologized for the inconvenience.

      I wish I had more facts to give, but I can tell you that personally I use MyWi, but not a lot, I stay under 2Gs a month even with the unlimited plan, and only 1/12 of that is tethering.

      Add this all up and it looks like they are going after large data consumers more than unauthorized tethering. Maybe this will jive with your evidence and help you run with the story.

      Good Luck!
      @Serilious

      • SIM says:

        I use MyWi and so far this monthy i only used 419 MB and i still got this email. I dont think so there is limit under 2GB that they dont catch. I will try to convince them that I use lot of data and does not theathre. see if they buy that

        • Zero says:

          Hello. I was using my iphone 4 jailbroken and has been using mywifi on the 4.3.2 version. I HAD unlimited data for $15 a month but got disconnected and got notified at the last minute! i was charged over $1,600 and lost the unlimited plan and is now on the 2 GB plan after switching from the 4 GB plan which you guys said was $45 a month.

          As i would love to share this with you now, i would also advise you NOT TO USE MYWIFI and NOT TO TRY IT AT ALL!!!!! i lost too much already…..

          today is Nov 25, 2011 10:10 pm.

          Please vist my website at http://www.SummerToday2011.blogspot.com

          Q. any idea if at&t will put back the unlimited plan and if i can switch back to it after i’v lost this plan?

          thanks so much and have a great day!!!!

          my regurds:

          Zero

          • Corporations Are Criminals says:

            Sue ATT in small claims court. They don’t own the equipment you have (smartphone), they don’t own the software (MyWi) and they DON’T OWN THE AIRWAVES that carry signals. Any company that sends out letters to ‘shake down’ people for money they did not earn is EXTORTION!

            Be sure you ask for a jury trial when you go to small claims court. A trial by your peers is your best bet against a criminal organization that is using tactics that the mob has used for generations. It’s time to fight back and not give in to corrupt, evil corporations that are destroying our country.

            I wish you the best if you decide to fight back against the corrupt practices of a corporation that used extortion and fear to take money from you.

      • Cindy says:

        Hi there,
        I may need to discuss this matter with you regarding tethering. I’m being charged $50. extra a month, plus they are taking away my unlimited talk and text plan. AT&T claims they can do whatever they want because its stipulated in their contract under Paragraph No. 2… ??? My account was suppose to be grandfathered over, and I was told by the representatives at the store, those text messages don’t apply to me. Well, APRIL 21, 2012 my plan will be officially changed over. BONKERS!!! Thanks for the heads up.

      • charles says:

        Wrong The Letter is in the mail :-)

    • Stormin says:

      Not really. I use 7-10GB on my phone every month and haven’t gotten an email about tethering, because I am not using the feature. I simply watch a ton of Netflix on my phone while I am at work.

      People who did jailbreak and use MiWi are breaking the terms of their contract, and they should be paying for the service.

      • Randy says:

        You lecture who should be paying who the service, but your watching “tons” of Netflix at work! Love it!

        • ihatestormin says:

          hahaha hate people like stormin–douchebag

        • Smith says:

          Exactly!! LOL

          • Anessen says:

            Stormin is correct you kids.

            “”because I am not using the feature”” -Stormin

            he says he uses normal data traffic without sharing/tethering. This is legal. and ATT will only DIMINISH you D/L speed after you hit like the 3GB limit or something. For us unlimited, att only cares that we arent shring it out…..especially when they SELL the SAME service!

            ATT should be able to charge for tethering BUT, since we payed rediculous amounts for these COMPUTERS/SMARTPHONES….we clearly still have the right to jailbreak and do w/e we want as long as it isnt increasing bandwidth, malicious intent/content, etc.

      • John Dolan says:

        You should have to pay just to see the data that you already pay for on a bigger device. You don’t use any more data when you tether. You just can look at it on a bigger screen. Plus I can see websites with flash since the a-hole at apple won’t let flash on their phones. I say catch me if you can and prove it. I don’t use miwi.

        • Geez!!! says:

          They Will!

        • AT&T says:

          you can run, but you can’t hide

          • Tim says:

            Why run?
            If AT&T would update their infrastructure, instead of threatening people that support them, which enables them to exist, the problem would not exist. This is a real black eye for the people who have been paying the LONGEST. I finally have the capacity to use some of that sub-standard bandwidth, the way it is intended to be used, and the rules changed. I did not see the “Do not tether”, rule on my existing contract. People who have grandfather data plans, should have grandfather tether options. Let the new blood sign up with the new rule. AT&T is quoted as saying that the rule effects 2% of the subscribers… Hello? Here is something to consider; Thank them! thank them for not jumping over to Verizon, by sending them a free month coupon! I love the dedication and appreciation of these big corporations. Once the new bandwidth is functioning, and Verizon gets voice/data, att is going to wish they had though this whole thing through. Consumers may not be as smart as CEOs, but we get finicky, and move in herds
            I will pursue legal council if my service contract is breached by a company that is collecting fees based on that contract.

          • Carlos says:

            AT&T is hurting on this tethering practices. But screw em. If people have unlimited they sign a 2year agreement and you can do whatever you want with. You pay for it. I’m currently a Verizon unlimited plan costumer and I use around 25 to 30 gigs a month. One day will be over until then I’ll enjoy my ride.

      • kyle says:

        We already are paying for the service. Tethering is a hardware function of the device I’m using. Which I also paid FULL PRICE for. ATT is outta line.

      • Juantana says:

        No they are *not* breaking the terms of their contract – nowhere in it does it say you cannot jailbreak, FCC ruled its perfectly legal. And I smell a Class Action lawsuit coming because how the hell can they charge you twice for the same data plan? Esp for folks on 2G plan, what the hell diff does it make if its going thru your phone or ipad or laptop?

        • riffraffrasta says:

          They went in and switched up my plan to a limited 2g a month plan without even talking to me. I have had iphone since 3g so I have unlimited. They also took unlimited texting away a few weeks later… something I pay $20 a month for. At&t is just another corrupt corporation that wants to tax you for any little thing they can find out you are enjoying. Iphone doesn’t even support flash for christ sakes! At&t should be blaming apple. Ill bet most people who tether only do it because they cant use their idevices to see sites the way they are supposed to be seen! Or just see whether or not you notice them taking advantage of you by limiting your plans you already were paying for. The more money we give you the less we get each year? The minute I get that email or text I end my contract then and there. It would pleasure me to pay $200 to cancel then give them two more years of my money.

        • PETE says:

          IM LOOKING FOR THIS IF ANY BODY KNOWS OF A LAW SUIT FILED LET ME KNOW

        • Peggy Duncan says:

          I agree. I was out of town for 3 weeks and signed up for tethering. I didn’t come anywhere near using my regular 2GB plan so why should I have to pay another $20! A Class Action lawsuit sounds good to me.

      • Getoverit says:

        thanks Stormin for saying the truth. People are breaking their contract and they know it. That is why everyone is so damn mad.

        Its not the large data users at all as I have an Iphone and do not tether..why because I do not have a jailbroken device, I do not tether and I work for AT*T.

        So if you dont like it people stop tethering or pay the price. Plain and simple.

        • Joe Quintanilla says:

          Don’t be preaching Mr. self righteous employee that when they get low on quotas you have slam people with features and data plans they don’t need as soon as customer leaves the store. My wife seen all this, I do see how AT&T over looks this high outputs on these type of employees that slam for profit. Why do you think they are double charging on this supposed unlimited data plan look up unlimited in the dictionary and you will see the meaning of the word. I say I am seeing in the horizon class action suit for all ready paying for plan but getting charged for the same data but redirecting it in hardware I call it THIEVES.

        • Adam says:

          Show me where in the plan it says you can’t use MyWi? Eventually AT&T will have a lawsuit on their hands, and I hope a lot of people pitch in to get a good group of lawyers for the job.

          It boggles my mind that people like you support AT&T doing stuff like this. Bet your A_$_$ that if you were affected by something you’d be angry as well.

          Aside from wasting my time replying to people that lack logical/rational thought, what proof do they provide showing you do tether via MyWi? You can’t just take action against a person without providing them the information as to why other than just saying you did it. I also like the service agreement for U-Verse. My Dad signed up for two years of that garbage and like a month later the 250gb b/w cap was announced. Awesome, contracts that can be changed whenever a company feels like getting more $$. How is any of this legal, seriously?

          Anyways, an easy way to get by this is to use a VPN. I use MyWi all the time and have never received anything from them.

      • rjstinyc says:

        I wholeheartedly disagree with your comment, “People who did jailbreak and use MiWi are breaking the terms of their contract, and they should be paying for the service”.

        Jailbreaking a telephone and using MiWi is in no way a violation of any contract. First, firmware replacement is not a violation of contract. Go to your AT&T representative and ask if his/her iPhone is J/b chances are it is. Next paying for an application such as MyWi and using it to connect external device to the Internet is not a violation of contract either. Users should be allowed to use their iPhone as a modem without having to pay for it. I would venture to say if we, the iPhone user community, brought a class action lawsuit against AT&T for tethered use we would win. For that matter why should users have to pay for two data plans for one device. AT&T is a criminal and everyone knows it. Ask Google who is attacking all the telco carriers for impeding the advancement of technology. I say down with the telcos….and Vivre Capn’ Crucnch the pioneer of all this %$#@!.

        Go on and keep paying your $10 + for each GB extra. I say you are being extorted. Data is unlimited on Verizon…and was intitially on AT&T. Why did they start limiting users…..anyone???

        Best,
        Richard

      • Radar says:

        I think att is just out for the money, period. It is not against the law to jailbreak your phone nor buy and pay for an app such as mywi , but att is trying to get people off the unlimitted plan and they cant figure any other way to do this. Alot of the other service providers carry unlimmited plans and havent stated anything about sticking it to you for more money.

      • toki says:

        hey buddy if you want to walk around with “The stick” up your ass go ahead, but I’m not going to pay to use something that’s already mine

      • Iman says:

        Bull crap i pay for my internet ti use it the way i want it .

      • freme says:

        I’m glad AT&T has decided to throttle users like you :) now on to my tethering. Its not illegal to jailbreak my phone.

      • John says:

        Pretty judgemental for someone who doesn’t know the facts. If you sign up for an unlimited dataplan now, you sign an agreement saying tethering is not authorized. So if you tether, that is unauthorized This was not the case when I started my plan in 2005. I have not jailbroken my phone, and simply have not updated it’s software to their “new and improved” software which disabled tethering years ago.
        I tether, but there is NOTHING unauthorized about it. I am fully within the limitations of my data-use agreement and yet AT&T is still going after me. They have lied to me over the phone about my original agreement and have made threats about changing my plan (to the new one that addresses tethering) without my permission.
        Both AT&T and many ignorant responders are tossing the words “unauthorized” and “illegal” in with the word tethering when it doesn’t apply to everyone who tethers.
        Also, many people upset with tetherers imply we are sharing our data. I only tether with my Iphone contected directly to my laptop and do NOT create a WiFi hotspot.
        I am sorry if certain people are unhappy with the contract that AT&T currently offers, but my contract does not restrict how I use my Iphone data and AT&T is legally obligated to maintain their side of the contract and it pisses them off.

      • Manny says:

        gotta love the hypocrites, 2 face people you are too good to steal from att but use 7-10 GB to stream video at work, wonder what opinion your boss would have of you if he knew….lol…

      • John says:

        This topic is about people using the tethering app, and since you are not then you obviously will not get a letter. That is like me posting.. (I use 16GB on my phone every month and haven’t gotten an email about tethering, because I am not on AT&T.
        ) Troll. Also the subject is about how AT&T is just chimping money from loyal customers even though they already pay for the internet.

      • Carim says:

        AT&T is a monopolist political manipulating multibillionare company.
        So if they are changing things and twisting the law until it looks the way they want it to look like, I for one don’t feel bad if people want to do the same thing.
        Hey you want your contracts to be follow to the letter, how about you follow the law to the letter…
        You like to defend those crooks? why?

      • Corporations Are Criminals says:

        How is using a 3rd party software on a smartphone NOT manufactured by ATT a contract violation? By the way, ATT doesn’t own the airwaves either. The airwaves are supposed to be owned by the people of the United States, not corrupt corporations. Sadly, ignorant, illiterate and stupid people keep voting for candidates who are owned by corporations and then they expect those politicial prostitutes to represent citizens (human beings) and not their corporate pimps who own them.

        Also, how are you using that much data for free (as it should be). How about sharing? Thanks…

        Btw, ATT charging for tethering that uses no effort or products of theirs is equivalent to a corrupt corporation charging you every time you turn on your television. You can bet corrupt corporations have tried to figure out ways to charge people for their ‘usage’ of televisions. Your television is like your smartphone. You can do whatever you want to it. You can add a DVD player, attach any number of other devices to it and corporations can’t charge a ‘usage’ fee for doing so. But you can bet that if they owned our government any more than they already do they would. Corporations are inherently evil and will do anything to get, take or steal money from people. It’s time to stop corporate control of America. Go to the next Occupy Wall Street protest wherever you live and start to fight for the rights of the 99% or you will find yourself and your families totally owned, controlled and manipulated by evil corporations. Face it, corporations are anti-American and they have zero allegiance to any country or people. They are greater dangers to our country than any foreign army has been.

        • balistic says:

          hey they do charge in the uk for television and about the tethering (3) network charge £15 p/m for unlimited data usage (all you can eat data) 3Mbps, 300 anytime (or 5000 3-to-3)minutes and 3000 texts on pay-as-you-go NO CONTRACT.

    • MrdnDiogenes says:

      First of all AT&T doesn’t have any “unlimited data plans”. It has a plan it incorrectly calls unlimited but is actually capped at 5 Gigabytes.

      Secondly there is currently no way AT&T can detect a jail-broken phone using MyFi, so its doing this strictly on usage patterns. AT&T has a hell of a nerve sending out letters to customers PRESUMING contract violations based on nothing but speculation. Especially when that presumption is based on usage patterns. That nerve rises to the level of unmitigated gall when they plan to PUNISH those same users by charging them more without their consent when they haven’t violated the terms of their usage agreements, I.E. used more data than the plan says is available at their current price point.

      If one streams Netflix movies over their “unlimited” plan via the app available on the Apple App Store [perfectly legitimate use], for instance, and their usage approaches 4GB’s on their 5GB “unlimited” plan are they going to get a letter from AT&T stating they are going to have their plan changed and get charged tethering charges?

      I smell another class action lawsuit coming.

      • Jeff says:

        AT&T’s unlimited is truely unlimited, or at least the limit is much higher then the 5 GB you say. I use between 7-10 GB every month and have never hit any sort of limit on downloading data. Furthermore, I have not received the letter from AT&T.

        • Bill says:

          I agree with Jeff. I have the unlimited plan also and have gone up to 10GB and have not had any problems with my internet being capped. I also have not received a letter from AT&T and I do not use MyWi. AT&T is just looking for a way to squeeze some money out of us to pay for them buying T-Mobile and to upgrade there network. Hey, its the American way! If you dont like profitable companies, go to Fance or Canada.
          Love that you can use the internet while making a phone call but the phone quality is sub-par on AT&T’s netweork. If it wasn’t for that I would check out Verizon’s prices since they have the IPhone now.

          • Justin says:

            I am normally rather emphatically pro-Canada but I am afraid that Canadian mobile carriers are even more greedy than those in the USA.

            It is much more expensive to own and operate a mobile phone in Canada. Data rates are especially egregious.

        • J says:

          Give it some time, I was just over six gigs and just received a letter. I say to all those still with unlimited legitimate usage to start streaming out of rebellion.

          • Julie says:

            Got my text, email, and letter. Guess my new charges go into effect tomorrow. They could’ve gone about this another way and we (at least) would’ve paid more as long as our plan stayed unlimited and we finally got to upgrade from our 3g phones. Instead, my husband and I will be cancelling (we completed our 2-year contract in Feb and are just riding the month to month thing now) and finally getting a nice new phone with Verizon.
            There is no doubt in my mind there will be a class action suit on this. Our unlimited contract is grandfathered until I cancel. Tethering, as we all have read, does not break the contract – just the warranty. So, once those ambulance chasers get around to it, I will get that money back for the one month charge me before I tell them to take a flying leap.
            Well, ATT just lost a 3-line unlimited plan always on-time paying client from this household and your competitor will benefit to boot. Multiply that by however many more of us go. I also read that ATT expects a large portion of their data plan users to actually pay less for the little data they use. Brilliant.
            Suck it, ATT. We’re outtie.

        • ME says:

          You will. Got mine emailed to me just yesterday. I do not have jailbroken phone. Work at home now and use my iphone to run netflix movies through my TV in my home office.

          Got the letter. Called AT and T. Talked to RETENTION as I was going to go to VERIZON and get the new THUNDERBOLT for AT and T sending me this stupid letter.

          I do not tether! They asked me all sorts of questions. Where do I charge my phone on the lap top and stupid stuff.

          Finally they said the letter was a ruse to have people admit they are using jailbroken phones.

          I demanded some sort of credit for my 1 and a half hour phone call to AT and T. They issued a 150 dollar credit for taking up part of my day.

          HUM! AT and T can take a hike!

      • Juantana says:

        Amen, Sistah!

        • Mike says:

          I agree with Julie if they do that I’m out myself and ive been with them for 9yrs but when they start getting stupid like they are now then there going to loose people. I agree for a law suit, have a friend if mines that’s going to talk to a lawer friend of his about this and I’m sure he’s not the first or the last.

          • charles says:

            Might want to ck your contract ….Says you cant sue ..Arbitration only.. lol What a bunch of …think you deserve? because?…Dude go ahead and go to Verizion or Sprint …two years later you’ll be rt back begging to be let back in…kk so just pay those ETF’s you swore you would never pay and we might let you back in…Might

      • Laila says:

        I have an unlimited data plan. I’ve had my iphone since 07, and never changed the service … so I guess I’m one of the grandfathered people who never changed plans. AT&T can suck it if they think that they are getting another dime out of me. I’m not signing any new terms & conditions & Tethering wasn’t even in their mind back then!

      • Getoverit says:

        How do you know this?? Do you work fot AT&T or are you another jailbreaker who got caught?

      • Ped says:

        You actually think AT&T can’t detect that you’re tethering? How much do you really know about computers? Obviously, not much. Do yourself a favor and keep your ‘facts’ relevant to what you know about, and tcp/ip traffic is obviously not one of those topics.

        • Ian Rokovich says:

          LMAO… everyone knows more than you at least… a pig knows internet traffic can be logged by the ISP… You think people don’t know? well, you need to learn… You are the only one who thinks anyone else wouldn’t know… sad…

      • charles says:

        Wrong WE can detect Tethering ….Ive had customers on the 200 Mb plan that have never exceeded the plan…but tethered…Your point was ?

    • CLD says:

      Some things to consider…

      1. I purchased an iPhone. The iPhone includes continual OS updates. 4.3 allows tethering. I have already paid for it.
      2. I paid for MyWi. Cydia providers me with the tethering capability and I paid for it. No problem. My use of MyWi is between me and Cydia, not AT&T.
      3. Tethering is not a service that AT&T provides; it’s a function of the phone or MyWi app. A service is something provided to you in exchange for money or some other in-kind item or exchange. What is AT&T doing that would give you tethering functionality… NOTHING. Is AT&T going to starting charging me to put calls on hold, update my apps, charge my phone, connect it to iTunes. These are all functions of the phone that have nothing to do with AT&T.
      4. The service is the data you purchase each month. Keep in mind that you really aren’t getting data from AT&T. You are paying for AT&T to deliver a certain amount of data to your device. How your device or any other device uses it is not material.
      5. This is no different than purchasing a home router. Companies don’t seem to be concerned about that.
      6. I called AT&T and they couldn’t say how I received the email. I played dumb and they started to explain what tethering was. All they said was, and I quote… “We are just asking customers who use tethering to switch to a limited tethering plan. If you don’t tether, then you don’t need to do anything.” Bottom line is they want to get customers off the unlimited data plans. AT&T didn’t see that tethering would be an issue. I also confirmed with AT&T that their “tethering” plan would not differentiate between usage that is from the iPhone or another device. That tells me right there that they don’t know, or at least, that’s not the bigger issue.
      7. If it were really about the tethering, AT&T would just charge you an extra fee to tether, regardless of your data plan. The fact the they want you to switch plans is a clear sign that they want you off the unlimited plan. My wife got the same email. She’s on an unlimited iPhone plan, doesn’t tether and uses about 250mb per month. It’s not difficult to send an email to everyone on an unlimited plan.
      8. AT&T Air Card… What a joke. Read the fine print… AT&T doesn’t want you connecting those to a wireless router either. I have one, but didn’t get an email about tethering even though I do it all the time. Stream Netflix and Pandora from my Blue Ray player all the time. Why didn’t I get an email on that? Oh… that’s because the Air Card has a 5G monthly limit.

      Bottom line… AT&T didn’t think through the unlimited plan very well and probably figured most people would eventually switch to a limited plan. AT&T made a bad business decision and now are trying to compensate for it.

      • Hyrul3 says:

        Except that there was no “limited” option until recently. At&t effectively forced users to pay a premium price on data just to own an iphone because of the “immense” amount of data it would use and now they want to go back on that completely.

      • charles says:

        Good then go to Cydia and ask them to provide you with your data

    • TJ says:

      Not just for big users. I just got a text from ATT that says I’ll be upgraded “soon” if I continue to tether. I’m on a 2GB/month plan and have never come close to the limit, even with tethering.

    • charlie says:

      I totally agreed. When i called att i brought this up to the lady who i was speaking with. I mention to her, “are you guys only contacting unlimited data users?” I forgot her, response but he was something her kids lol. None the less i do think they are harassing unlimited data users. As soon as my contracts over im switching to SPRINT :)

      • charlie says:

        The lady i spoke with says that they have a device/system that detects tether users. Now i dont know if she was winging it, but really? I just think they want to eliminate all unlimited data users. We iphone users and iphone jailbreakers should really come together and put a class action suit on att’s table?? Just my opinion.

      • charles says:

        After you get threw with the experiece of the horow that is sprint dont call us we dont wanna hear you cry just stay with sprint You will be replaced by former sprint customer so we dont need u

    • charlie says:

      I say in the next few months unlimited data users all go on a “stream data like crazy strike!!!!!? Who’s in?

      • KittKat says:

        oh yeah.!

      • charles says:

        That why you getting slowed down now You Idiots think that AT&T “owes” you So you steal and then think that because you been stealing for X years the company “owes” you …Guess what payment is due …sms …E-Mail and Letter are on the way ..and dont call in telling me you didnt get it …read your WCA AT&T dosent even need to notify you

    • JtotheS says:

      The tethering part I can kind of agree on… But, the gentleman just told me on the phone, if I connect my phone to external speakers while streaing music I will be charged for tethering service. So.. In other words the $400.00 iHome system I just paid for cannot be used if I am streaming from 3G. That part of it is BS and I will drop the service the very first time they charge me for this!!!

      • ixyk says:

        Wow! Seriously? I always knew AT&T was made up of stupid a$$hole$, but I never would’ve figured they actually have idiots working for them that know so little about technology that they would be dumb enough to 1) believe that it’s even remotely possible for them to tell where any signal leaving the headphone jack is going or being used for, or 2) have the nerve to actually tell a customer this in all seriousness. I guess to be fair though, if a customer is dumb enough themselves to actually believe this and fall for AT&T’s nonsense, they deserve to get screwed. Educate yourself (not targeted at OP, you knew it was BS), and then tell AT&T to PISS OFF!

        I’ve been using my jailbroken and unlocked iPhone 2G with a GoPhone SIM card for over 2 YEARS now and have never even heard a peep from them about using an iPhone this way, though it’s obviously not officially supported. I’ve only recently started tethering though, so I guess time will tell if they somehow manage to notice, but I seriously doubt they will.

        Even if they do catch on to my usage though, they can’t exactly force me to accept the same capped data/tether package as everyone else is getting screwed into, because that would mean they’d have to ignore my credit score and enroll me in a plan they’ve previously refused to without a $500 deposit. Bring it on AT&T! I’m very curious how they could even hope to do anything about my (nominal) usage without outright cancelling my service with them… (As if I couldn’t just go get a new SIM card at the local AT&T store.) Needless to say, I’m not too worried about these idiots even bothering with prepaid customers that are only capable of using 2G/EDGE anyway.

        I am currently using the latest version of PDANet and it works great! Also found iPhoneModem to work well, but PDANet has far more options and has been more compatible with some computers and devices than iPhoneModem seemed to be. Both are extremely easy to use and get working though, and both work well on a 1st gen iPhone on iOS3.1.2/3.

      • Corey Bryant says:

        That’s a total lie. You aren’t being charged because you plugged speakers in to your iPhone, you’re being charged for the streaming itself, if it goes over on your data plan.

        They can’t even tell if you plug speakers in. Everyone should keep in mind that 90% of the dummies in the call centers are just that. They know nothing other than what they are reading from a script.

        • Jessy says:

          Well I received an email today about this tethering thing. I got an email and text a week or so ago about being at the top 5% of data users and that my service was going to be slowed until next billing cycle!!! I was on the phone over an hour with them and they told me it was just a warning that I should not use netflix on my iphone or use pandora. I DO NOT tether, heck I didn’t really know what that was until looking it up. I only use netflix while driving at times when my little one is fussy and just to quiet her down. Why are they trying to restrict what I look or listen to on my phone??!!! I am beyond upset! I called att and they told me to call 866-679-7118 and the rep told me this was notated on my account as an immediate alert:
          Customer was notified of tethering and possible rate plan migration.
          They better not switch me to a data plan without my authorization!!! I have had the unlimited data plan 3 years and this is so upsetting!!!

    • Corey Bryant says:

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. All of these moronic phone companies selling “unlimited plans’ and then charging extra to those who download more is BS, and the only company not being stupid about this is Sprint. Unfortunately I’m stuck with AT&T on my iPad 2 but I rarely even use the 3G connection. It’s all about money in the end. True to form, AT&T’s best data plan is only 3GB for iPads. Another ripoff. If they can offer unlimited for smartphones, then they can offer it for iPads, but they won’t because it’s all about that money! I can’t wait until Sprint starts servicing iPads. It will be a wonderful day when I can tell AT&T to bite one.

      Hell, I remember back in the day — my old analog cell phone was cloned before digital units hit the market. I was sent a $7500 cell bill for one month and those idiots tried to make me pay it. “Go ahead and send payment and if we find that we are at fault or that it was a mistake, we will reimburse you. Otherwise your service will be disconnected” PLEASE!! I didn’t need anyone from AT&T to tell me that it wasn’t my bill. I ended up having to hire a lawyer, costing me $500. As soon as he contacted them and they knew I was serious about not being screwed around by them, they dropped the bill. It was quite obvious that my phone had been cloned. There were hundreds of calls to 900 sex lines and it was call after call day after day, basically someone was connected 24/7. Obvious scam.

      Pay it my butt. AT&T is a ripoff and always will be. Sprint may have it’s issues but at least they are fair and don’t throttle you or charge you more for using your data plan in an unlimited capacity.

      CMON SPRINT! IPADS! IPADS! IPADS!

    • charles says:

      It has nothing to do with the unlimited you have the 200 or now 300 mb plan and you tether you get the same notice It is however the people with the unlimited plan that think that because it says “unlimited” they can ignore the WCA (Wireless customer agreement) that has cause AT&T to enforce the WCA excuse me tou use 395 Gb per month and you dont even know what tethering is …Dont come to me with that …you all know what it is and you know what u did ..Lie to me …and yes you will be migrated to the tethering plan …and Ill make sure you are …Thats what I do for a living :-0

  2. RJM says:

    I agree with Parakeet. If AT&T can distinguish between tethered data usage and phone data usage, just offer tethering for unlimited data plan customers.

    • Seriously??? says:

      so seems like some confusion between data speeds and tethering. for record they are two different things; and as for the tethering. yes u may own the equipment and yes u may have paid for the miwi or other teth app. but u agree to atts terms of service when u signed up; and section 6.2 does say that if there is any activity being used on the line that doesnt coralate with the features or plan that att can make the change and not even notifiy you. so when u agree to atts policies you agree that if ur going to tether that you will use the feature. if you dont then u agree att can make the feature change; and Unlimited is not offered anylonger and att is not going to design a tethering add on for it if they do not offer it. I can understand where you all are coming from but u have to understand the business. att is not the only cell phone company out there with rules and regulations; and I am sure there are blogs out there for them also. so the short of it is if you are out of compliance the expect to be brought back. if you were a company with rules and regulations for ur customers u would make them stand by them also so look at both sides.

  3. Zerocool says:

    Straight up BS AT&T. I don’t know exact numbers, but I’m willing to bet there are plenty of people who switched to a limited data plan to lower they’re bill. Plus almost everyone who bought an iPad data plan is on a limited plan. For those that do have an unlimited plan there are probably very few that actually jailbreak and tether. Here’s a message for AT&T:

    GET OVER IT! LEAVE THOSE THAT ARE GRANDFATHERED INTO THEIR UNLIMITED PLANS ALONE! UNLIMITED SHOULD MEAN EXACTLY THAT -UNLIMITED-!!!!! It shouldn’t matter how one uses their data or how much data they use. If your network can’t handle a small percentage of the mobile population using their plans to feed their computers when: a. there’s no Wi-fi available, or b. they want extra security when there is unsecured, public Wi-fi available; then perhaps you should take a look at why your network can’t handle it rather than trying to force a customer out of their plan.

    Besides, we should be seeing the cost of cellular voice plans going down to the costs of landline plans given that the market saturation is so high with cell phones. Also, why should anyone pay more for less? For $30-$40 a month I can get unlimited internet that’s faster than 3G and connects several devices for home. Why would anyone pay $45/month for limited data??

    AT&T needs to rethink their stance on this. I don’t even jailbreak and I’m pissed about this! I’m against net neutrality because I’m conservative politically, however, I might actually lean to the left if AT&T keeps this kind of behavior up. They better be careful otherwise they’ll eventually get the proverbial “rod” shoved up their proverbial “ass”.

    • chris says:

      Not sure you know what you’re writing about.

      Grandfathered unlimited smart phone and basic phone data isn’t being touched or altered, so, what? The subject of this crackdown by ATTWS has absofrickinlutely nothing to do with grandfathered data plans.

      The crackdown has nothing to do with data use within the terms of the TOS.

      The hackers being targeted are violating their contract/TOS with ATTWS. The language is clear to me. I read my contract – did you?

      Have you ever carried a tethering plan with ATTWS? I have, for years. “Tethering” is actually cheaper now with ATTWS than it was before – $60 bought 5 GB of data. Period. For all uses, including phone use and tethering. The overage charge was horrendously expensive. That same 5 GB of data now runs $55 with much cheaper overages.

      There’s one “unlimited” alternative – Clear/WiMax – which offers lousy coverage, throttling, and generally can’t be used reliably indoors. Oh, and they’re about to go out of business.

      You need to rethink your stance. There’s a TOS. Violate it, and be prepared to have your service terminated. Not happy with your service, move to another carrier. QED.

      • Michael says:

        Obviously if you have and an iPhone and have unlimited data then you are grandfathered in. They shouldn’t have to say grandfathered because they no longer offer unlimited plans anymore.

        “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.”

        • Unlimited Data User says:

          Not true Michael…. I know how to get unlimited Data on ATT with OUT being Grandfathered in!

          I have perform this on many iphone’s already (no, I’m not telling anyone how I’m doing this since I do not want ATT to find this loophole!)

          I’m not sure at this point either if ATT is just sweeping 5Gb+ data users or not.

          I have 4 different models of iphone on my family plan (another thing ATT does not want you doing) and I plan to stream video (with out using MiWi) to see if the phone’s get flagged.

          My main phone uses 8+ per month via MiWi and I got the text message (no email or snail letter)

          Let’s see if ramping up the data use on the other iphones will trigger something. If no, ATT is breaking the law by monitoring your data packets!

          • Hyatice says:

            They’re not breaking the law by monitoring your data packets. There’s something called a header on the data: Source IP, Destination IP, Protocols, etc. You can look at this all you want if a packet comes through your network. They don’t look at the data and say “Ooh, an email, let’s read it.” They look where its coming from and where it’s going to. That’s it. I use verizon and have yet to download a free tethering app, but I definitely agree that Tethering is a phone capability, not a service providers concern. When I purchased my smart phone a few months back, I specifically asked the guy if it was really unlimited or not, because I stream music almost all the time. He said yes. I asked about the tethering and he said it was some ludacris price of $25/gb.

            Oh, on another note, our local broadband company, Time Warner, has apparently started to throttle heavy users’ bandwidth, quite a bit. I play games on Steam and as such, download large games quite regularly. I’ll hit a certain point — 15gb or so — in a month and then every day from then until the next business month my internet will randomly cut out, slow down to the point where it takes an hour for a simple HTML/Graphic website to load, etc.

          • matt says:

            can you follow me on twitter so we can dm each other? @matt_kunin. I would like to know how you do this. Thanks.

          • earl says:

            If your tethering your going through the device. All that AT&T would see is that your requiring access to this website. The IP would be from your phone…

      • Clear User says:

        Clear works great indoors. i have the service. i just leave it by my window, and i get 13Mbps at my office, and around 11 Mbps at my apartment in Boston. I use it on the train from Boston to Washington D.C. and service speeds are generally between 6 to 11 Mbps… and coverage is about 85% of the way. Same as ATT or Verizon. you have zero idea about Clear, and I have to say… $40 bucks, unlimited internet… i have never been throttled, and I have used the service for 5 months, using an average of 35GB per month. Upload speeds are between .5 and 1Mbps. What there should be is a class action lawsuit against AT&T to say Data is Internet… just like home internet and hooking up a Wireless router. AT&T sucks for this policy, but I am stuck with them for now.

        • Erik says:

          First off clearwire does throttle. It throttles bittorrent clients which hoses your connection. As far as AT&T go they are an over priced garbage network. How do I know ? I worked for Pac Bell Wireless back in 99 before we went from analog to digital. They then went on to change from Pac Bell Wireless to Cingular and from there to now AT&T. The corp is full of do nothing know nothing people who play the blame game. It was a place I contracted for on multiple occasions just to make a buck. With the kind of atmosphere there and there overall corporate strategy ( do as little as you can to get by and lie lie lie about your service ) it does not surprise me to see the reports out today regarding AT&Ts awful deployment of there 4G network. This corp is all about bad service network service and nickel and diming you for everything. Since I know work as for Cisco Systems I will be switching over to Verizon more expensive but from what my colleagues tell me the calls are clear and the data is fast. I will give them a try.

      • SRM says:

        You work for AT&T, don’t you?

      • Steven says:

        Chris,

        I think you have a fair legal point re: the TOS. Especially if what they did was terminate your service for violation. But they don’t do that. They AUTO-enroll you into a more expensive plan that you can’t get out of. I truly believe that if someone sells me a service or product that the company shouldn’t be forced to warranty it but they shouldn’t be able to dictate how I use it. I should be able to jailbreak or do whatever I want with my hardware (which I can) or use the data I pay for in whatever way I want. ATT doesn’t have to provide warranty or support service so I can tether my phone to my chumby but if I pay for an “unlimited” or “2GB” service or whatever, I should be able to use that data in whatever way I want.

        • NormM says:

          @Steven says, “They AUTO-enroll you into a more expensive plan that you can’t get out of.”

          Actually it’s very easy to get out at any time. Just switch from the $45 plan with tethering to the regular $25 data plan.

          • NS says:

            Yes but if i have an old unlimited data plan you would just loose that one you are automatically enrolled into a new tethering plan. Even if you call them to cancel it I bet you can’t get back your unlimited plan. So the point is still the same like other pointed out. They are out to get the old unlimited data plans.

      • rob says:

        this is totally about ‘grandfathered’ data plans. if you agree to ATT’s data pro and tethering option, you lose the unlimited data plan. so it’s one OR the other…. keep your unlimited data plan, or, agree to use ATT’s tethering. you can’t have both.

        • Travis says:

          I don’t even see why I’d Keep the unlimited plan if they are going to throttle my Internet which they are doin know I don’t what everbody else has been getting but it seems like the only thing I can’t do is stream movies I actually hadn’t tried to download anything yet that’s probably slow but I have still been able to play mw3

      • kool says:

        chris,

        You sound like your on ATT’s payroll. The crackdown has everything to do with grandfathered data plans. Who else but someone with an unlimited data plan is going to jailbreak their phones to tether? You figure if you have an unlimited data plan you might as well put it to good use. Most people aren’t going to stare at the tiny iPhone screen for the length of time that would be necessary to be considered data hogs, but instead are going to tether their laptops to there phone and use the laptop screen. You are one of those people who has fallen prey to the overpricing of ISP’s. ATT just wants to charge people for what they are already paying for.

        It’s not like having multiple devices on your home network, all being used at the same time. Peope who tether are just using say their laptop instead of their phone. You are just using the data plan that your paying for, just more of it. This move could ultimately cost ATT money. People will see it for what it is and realize that having an unlimited data plan doesn’t really make economical sense. It would be cheaper to get a lower cost limited plan and use smart phones less for data. It will force people to use more data at home using their home ISP.

        • John says:

          Fu@k u AT&T, you sent me a letter and I don’t tether, I just have a unlimited plan and watch Netflixs, I am pursuing a class action suit with a very powerful law firm already, there going to be screwed in the ass

      • me > chris says:

        you’re a pretentious douche.

      • StevieD says:

        Go back an re-read the part of the letter that says “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.”

        You’ll lose your unlimited plan, grandfathered or not, if they force migrate you to the capped tethered plan.

        Some people on another forum are getting the messages even if they don’t tether (so they say). They say they’re just big data users. When they call in to tell AT&T that they just stream Netflix and Pandora on their iPhone all day, they say okay, never mind.

      • Not Chris says:

        You sound bitter to me…

        If you have an unlimited data plan, shouldn’t you be allowed to use it the way that best serves your lifestyle? I have tethering as well, but this is a much bigger issue than just a TOC breach.

        Companies like ATT have been altering their Terms to fit whatever agenda makes them the most money. Now I assume that there are people out there that are taking advantage and using “unauthorized” tethering, which ATT didn’t even offer a year ago…

        So they start to offer tethering, and those intelligent enough who went out and found it on their own, are now being penalized because ATT sees another way to make money…

        I have been paying over 30$ for data since ’07 on EDGE, when do we get a break?

      • You Don't Know Jack says:

        What I don’t understand is how this this wasn’t an issue when iphone 3g came out? or when the first iphone came out? I used pdanet on both iphone 3g and iphone , and wait a minute, att didn’t offer tethering so they didn’t give a sh*t.
        Now I got an iphone 4 and they offer tethering but how come they don’t offer an unlimited tethering plan for people who already have unlimited? explain that to me hotshot.
        zerocool makes perfect since also, I am paying for clear/wimax for unlimted and so far it is not as bad as it seems, I even played xbl with very few problems, and I pay 55 a month for two modems for unlimited data on both. Yes clear has some bad days, but att does too, in fact I get between 1-3 bars on my iphone 4 and many drop calls, so yea ever service has a flaw, nothings perfect but at least clear means it when they say unlimited. We had unlimited on our service so it shouldn’t matter what the hell we do with it. My sister got stuck with a 2gb plan and she doesn’t even tether with it but she go over it in a heart beat from watching and streaming videos and then its 10 bucks per gigabyte wtf.

        I love my iphone because of unlimited data, if i have to give it up then off to ebay you go.

      • Mike says:

        Well mister “I read my contract” please “quote” and/or pin point where it says you can not use your phone functionalitys when available.

      • Got_Bals says:

        Good point! I think I will…move to another carrier that is.

        Not sure why you give a hoot about protecting AT&T unless you work for them…or maybe you are so much more ethical than those of us who see this for what it is.

    • sean says:

      “I’m against net neutrality because I’m conservative politically, however, I might actually lean to the left if AT&T keeps this kind of behavior up.”

      This is just pathetic! What does having rules in place that allow Comcast and AT&T to control the internet and effectively suppress new businesses from emerging have to do with being liberal or conservative? Are conservatives no longer pro business?

      How about just using enough common sense to realize that net neutrality is largely “political” because Comcast, AT&T and other ISPs are paying off members of congress to support their positions, please.

      • bill says:

        Pathetic? Not!

        Having conservative leanings that say that someone who has invested in infrastructure has the rights to decide how that infrastructure is used is perfectly in line with being against net neutrality (ask 10 people what that means, you’ll get 10 different answers). And more importantly, those who have not invested (i.e. Google) should not be able to use legislation to get a free ride.

        They’re certainly not controlling the internet, they may be controlling the “last mile” and some access, but at some point there is going to have to be fair compensation for the massive infrastructure required to enable businesses like Netflix and YouTube that neither Netflix or Google is paying for.

        • bah says:

          Nonsense. That last mile *is* paid for…by the subscriber! They just want to get paid twice, dramatically increasing profits in an already-profitable business. As a bonus, they get to pick and choose content providers and play them off against each other to get the most money. If Hulu won’t pay as much as Netflix, guess what? We don’t get Hulu any more. Worst of all, they can then turn around and sell you access to the same content they’re charging the content producers to carry. Which is to say they’re charging you for content they didn’t produce. Everything about this is bad for the consumer. And the network providers aren’t hurting.

          In short, network providers own the network, not the content you get through it. That’s all they should be selling.

          Here’s a graphic that pretty much says it all: http://i.techrepublic.com.com/blogs/netneutrality_large.jpg

        • Jack Frost says:

          Hogwash. What infrastructure did they invest in? They’re renting OUR airwaves for crying out loud. This isn’t like the old days when phones meant digging ditches and laying cable or putting up poles to carry the cables.
          Towers need to be built, yes… but the signal they’re using belongs to us. So we have every right to regulate what they do with it. That has nothing to do with right or left, liberal or conservative. It’s just common sense.

          As for your last point… do you honestly think Netflix’s or Google’s bandwidth is free? They’re paying for every megabit going out, just like the end user is paying for every megabit coming in. Google pays for the back end, end user pays for the front end i.e. the “last mile”. That’s how it works. Being against net-neutrality means you’re in favor of double dipping, which is bad for consumers AND bad for business because it stifles competition. Capitalism only works if there’s competition.

          Why is it so many conservatives claim to be pro-business yet seem to have no idea how businesses operate?

          • freme says:

            I’m with you but unfortunately the courts see otherwise. Just like a gene can be patented.

          • Corporations Are Criminals says:

            Conservatives are fools. They love how corporations own our government, write our laws and manipulate our elections because ignorant right wingers worship corporations and unregulated capitalism. Conservatives want our country to be totally owned and controlled by a handful of corrupt business thugs. Conservatives blather on and on about the Constitution but then want it shredded by giving our country away to soulless corporations. There is no such thing as a free market. In EVERY situation WE THE PEOPLE PAY for the criminal doings of corrupt corporations.

            I wonder, don’t conservatives have the ability to put 2 and 2 together because they side with corrupt corporations every time over people. In fact, right wingers believe corporations ARE people and they should be able to use their fortunes to buy elections with zero restrictions on the money corporations spend. They cheer on the Citizens United case, if they know what it means, even though as every corporate dollar diminishes their rights they cheer on corporations and unregulated capitalism even though they are cutting their own throats. Never in my life have I seen a more ignorant, stupid and clueless group of idiots like conservatives. But what do you expect from dolts who lap up every word Limblah, Hannity, Beck and Faux news tells them without questions, thought or fact checks. Conservatives are brain dead.

    • Stephen says:

      There’s nothing inherently “conservative” about opposing net neutrality. You’ve just been told to take that position by the leaders of the conservative political establishment, mainly senators etc. who are funded by the likes of AT&T. It’s a nuanced issue, with pros and cons on each side, and lots of people who would describe themselves as “conservative politically” are in favor of net neutrality because it supports small businesses and entrepreneurs rather than allowing large SPs to stifle competition. Competition is good, right?

    • bemental says:

      I’m one of those few people who have an unlimited plan and tether.

      I’m definitely not a “heavy” data user and merely keep the unlimited plan for the piece of mind it offers (not having to track data is great).

      But I also don’t use MiWi to accomplish the tethering so perhaps that has something to do with it as well. I’m not sure exactly how AT&T deciphers the difference in the data but perhaps tethering via bluetooth or USB offers an additional veil to data usage.

    • MrdnDiogenes says:

      ZC,

      There are a lot of things U.S. consumers of wireless services ought to be seeing, but aren’t.

      All over Europe and much of Asia wireless plans have had speeds for ages that exceed 3G speeds in the US. Many even the 4G speeds we don’t see YET. They do so cheaper than we get charged in the U.S. Have services we don’t have in the U.S., etc. Better phones too.

      Why? Because the carriers in the U.S. want to eek out ever nickel they can from existing service before upgrading. They manage this by illegally acting in cartels, agreeing to roll out new technology in lock step. The country that invented wireless technology is woefully behind the curve and will remain so as long as the FCC refuses to address the illegal cartel issue and as long as customers are willing to deal with second rate service that lags behind the rest of the 1st world nations [hell, quite a few 2nd world nations as well].

      • Quail says:

        The FCC is largely the problem. They manufactured the cartel in the first place, by mandating a telecommunications monopoly and then regulating that landscape into such beasts. “Net Neutrality” is doublespeak Orwell would laud. It has nothing to do with “neutrality.” It is merely the expression of the mercantilist instincts of large business and the highly lucrative mission of the FCC to increase its regulatory domain. It is a fantasy to suggest it will help ‘small business’ in any way. That is not its purpose nor will that be its affect.

        • Corporations Are Criminals says:

          Although both major political parties are part of the problem, republicans are the biggest enemy of the people in our history. Under the corrupt Bush, Michael Powell (Colin Powell’s son) was named chairman of the FCC. He was a complete whore to corporations and gave them everything they wanted. He later went to work for a corporation he gave billions to. The FCC is supposed to be a watchdog to protect people but it’s stacked with corporate whores who are for sale to the highest corporate bidders.

          It’s sad how ignorant our citizens are, especially republicans who want corporations to own & control everything. They worship corporations and unregulated capitalism like they were gods. They are too stupid to realize that by giving our country away to corporations they are the enemies of everything our Founding Fathers created.

          Thomas Jefferson said a well educated electorate is the best defense against our enemies, but republican stupidity will lead to the demise of our country. They want total corporate control over government and their lives and they are too damned dumb to realize the destruction they are causing.

      • Momo says:

        Exactly. Hit that nail right on the head.

    • Geez!!! says:

      ATT is a business making a business decision and simply put you take it or leave it.

  4. Rayguns says:

    The reason they are targeting unlimited data customers is because the data consumption is an outlier, making it easy to identify those with the tether hacks.

    Everyone else is capped at lower bandwidth limits: 250MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB. These users could probably still use MyWi because their data usage won’t stand out as unusual.

    I would bet that it is entirely an issue of bandwidth. It’s unlikely they have some technical method to determine if your data is being transferred from a computer through your phone, or your phone.

    • chris says:

      You lose the bet. It’s about load balancing their broadband cellular network – planning for data and voice proves to be impossible with hackers (that’s essentially what non-authorized tethering is) siphoning off bandwidth. Try planning for network use by millions of subscribers when you’ve got unplanned data use – ATTWS uses the same 3G network for data and voice, and I’m sure voice quality suffers too in areas with heavy data use.

      Regarding segregating data use, yes, they can tell unless you’re using a VPN. My VZW bill has always had segregated smart phone and tethering data summaries. If you’re using a VPN on a personal account, then you’re violating the non-corporate-liable TOS for ATTWS and VZW. Need a VPN – get a corporate-liable account and pay more for it.

      • JoeGorilla says:

        @Chris: Yet, all the other networks have no problem dealing with this.

        Also, Wimax works great! I’ve gotten 9mbps…INDOORS! That is a daily driver for me in fact.

      • Bill says:

        Sounds like your a at&t employee to me!

      • derka derr says:

        You, sir, have no idea what you’re talking about.

        For one, you can bet that AT&T (and every other wireless provider for that matter) DEFINITELY has QoS rules in place that ensures voice traffic gets a higher priority than data traffic, so the only thing that would suffer during heavy data use is other data use.

        As far as segregating data use, any unofficial tethering app is going to simply SNAT your teathered device(s) traffic to make it look like it’s coming from your phone. The only ways they could “tell” (and I quote that because it’s really a best-guess effort) is to dump your traffic and look for stuff that obviously isn’t coming from a phone (say, like P2P or usenet traffic…although there’s probably usenet and P2P clients available for jailbroken iphones). Verizon is able to tell the difference (tethered vs untethered traffic) because their tethering functionality probably marks your packets as such on your phone (I’d imagine AT&T does the same as well if you’re using the sanctioned tethering method built-into iOS 4.3).

        And why wouldn’t they be able to tell if VPN traffic is coming from your phone vs a tethered device? Only the packet payload of IPSec (VPN) traffic is encrypted, not the actual header information (otherwise routers wouldn’t be able to route your VPN traffic accordingly). If a phone is marking traffic originating from a tethered device, then that information is included as part of the IP packet header, not in the encrypted payload.

        This is definitely an issue of bandwidth.

    • steve peterson says:

      they can examine the packet header and inside that can determine if your using a pc or a phone or an Ipad each of these systems have different protocals that make them identifiable to anyone who knows what to look for and att has had this ability since the inception of their data network. I agree its all about the money

    • MrdnDiogenes says:

      You are correct, they don’t have a method to determine that. BTW, again AT&T has no TRUE unlimited plans. The plan they call “unlimited” is actually capped at 5G.

      Call them and ask. They have to verify it. They aren’t allowed to continue that lie if you ask them directly if the unlimited plan is truly unlimited. They’ll admit, in sheepish tones, that the “unlimited” plan isn’t actually unlimited.

      Then to charge users of media streaming apps, like hi-def internet radio and movies over 3G, that they are going to get their plans changed and charged tethering fees even though they are NOT TETHERING, just using hi-bandwidth apps but not going over their service plans… well that is pretty damn ballsy.

      • ATT Unlimited says:

        While it is true that ATT does not offer a truly ‘unlimited’ plan now, they did so when the iPhone was first introduced. Those of us who had that plan have been offered the option of keeping it each time we have upgraded our iPhones, and I have done so.

        I had a 20 minute conversation about it during a call with an ATT service representative, and he displayed about the same degree of condescension that you do while ‘explaining’ to me that the ‘unlimited’ plan was actually a 5GB plan. Then he opened the screen on his terminal that showed my usage, and he got really quiet… :-). 90GB that month – thanks MyWi !!

      • Tina says:

        I am on AT&T’s unlimited Data plan. I heard rumor that even though I was on it before they started capping it, it would change my plan. When I called AT&T, they said no that the ‘NEW’ unlimited has a 5GB cap but not the plans that were grandfathered in. We occasionally go over the 5GB and it has never been an issue. However, I was told directly by AT&T that if I was to change my data plan I would not be able to go back to the grandfathered plan.

        So, fair warning, you are only saving $5.00 to change. What is the point when you can keep the grandfathered “TRUE UNLIMITED” especially if you use it?

  5. bigfatbball2 says:

    Just use a VPN!. The thing they are doing to find out about this is called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). They just check the headers of the packets which aren’t encrypted. Once you use a VPN all your data traffic will be extremely encrypted and they won’t be able to tell the difference anymore. And save 45$/month! :)

    • cica says:

      They could be auditing the phones apps and noticing the tethering app. If Google can throw a kill switch and uninstall a particular app, it’s not that farfetched that AT&T knows which apps are installed on your phone.

      • bemental says:

        Doubtful, very doubtful. I don’t believe that AT&T has that kind of access to your phone.

        The only information I believe that do have access to is what type of phone you are using (if you swap your SIM into a different phone it will change on your account online) and the data transferring to and from your phone.

        I’m not a lawyer but it seems to me that AT&T having that sort of access would be borderline…

        • Interfo says:

          I just got the letter and the text yesterday too. Also, I noticed that the Mywi on my iPhone 4 is disappeared. I did not uninstall the app. I think some how that they can control your phone. I would sue them if is true.

      • Coyote says:

        Google has it because they manage Android and the marketplace. There is no way Apple would share that kind of personal data with AT&T or any carrier

        Apple could try to detect jailbroken phones and remove Cydia apps, etc… if not now certainly in a future version of iOS, but I doubt they will. The PR backlash would be horrible, and jailbreaks would find a way to disable it anyhow.

        The Android blacklist is a big deal. Google can remove any app at any time or force phones to install an app. An “iOS app blacklist” exists, but is only for location services. Apple put it there so that an app caught doing bad things can be denied access to location data very quickly. IMO, that’s a good thing. It can not be used to remove installed apps that have been pulled from the app store.

    • Jindo Fox says:

      VPN traffic may be encrypted, but that just means they won’t be able to read it. They can (and will) continue to measure it, so if you’re one of those 25GB-per-month users, they’ll find you, encrypted or not.

      In a case like that, you’re looking at getting bumped to the Data Pro pricing tier (an extra $25 per month for the tethering feature), and an additional $10 charge for each GB transmitted/received over 4GB.

      The heavy user from this example would see his or her monthly bill go up from about $70 to about $300 because of this usage. It will be the kick they’ll need to get some decent home broadband instead of exploiting the slow 3G network.

      Paying for what you use doesn’t seem wrong to me, so long as the lower level caps are reasonable.

      • bemental says:

        Jindo,

        I have a feeling that most people who are tethering are either on the road or do not have access to some sort of broadband service.

        Otherwise, like you said, what’s the point of using the 3G network?

        • Drew Rinker says:

          Thank you very much, i am one of those ppl, i have no access to any other broadband, i tether my iphone and average about 20 gb a moth, i dont consider myself excessive but if i had any other way to connect , i would not tether, the ppl that are tethering are ppl that are in rural areas and have no other way to connect, please give us a break already, this is my only way to connect. maybe att should stop blaming its customers who pay 160 dollars for two smartphones a mouth and look at themselves, they just spend how many billions of dollars to buy tmobile out. when they could have put that money into upgrading their already crappy network. they are making so much money off of us already, invest that money into your crapy network att and stop blaming your customers cause you cant handle the traffic.

          • Brady says:

            I’m in the same situation, I live in a rural area where I have no other options for internet. I tether my phone to my computer and use an average of 28g a month. I see that can be a little excessive but I have no other options.

          • Juan Martinez says:

            Has it ever occurred to you that the billions of dollars to buy tmobile out IS in fact so they can upgrade (i.e. add capacity) to their network?

            It’s not like they’re trying to buy out McDonald’s or Black & Decker or any OTHER company that doesn’t have a national wireless communications infrastructure… I mean, c’mon…

      • MrdnDiogenes says:

        Yeah, but no one [at least I hope no one] is talking about someone on a 250Mb plan stealing bandwidth over the alloted amount of the contract [250Mb] to tether with.

        I know I certainly don’t have a problem with AT&T charging people for using more bandwidth than they contracted with them to use.

        My, and a lot of others, issue is getting harassed and potentially financially punished for using the bandwidth ALLOTED FOR THE CONTRACT I ALREADY PAY FOR, ESPECIALLY IF I AM NOT TETHERING BUT ONLY USING HIGH BANDWIDTH APPS like hi-def internet radio and streaming Netflix movies.

        The contract I agreed to with AT&T said no tethering when I signed it, so I knew what I was getting into with that. Nothing about using other services, as mentioned above, though. So bugging and threatening folks like me just because we are high bandwidth users, but BELOW the caps on our contracts [mine if an "unlimited" 5GB/mo] is just a little ballsy if you ask me.

    • derka derr says:

      Uh, wrong.

      With IPSec (VPN) traffic, only the packet payload is encrypted, not the headers (otherwise, routers wouldn’t know where to send your traffic).

      • Fred Fnord says:

        Yes, but if the iPhone is the one doing the VPN, then all of the headers are the iPhone’s headers, and it’s impossible to tell what device is generating the traffic. (Actually, since the iPhone is doing PAT, all the headers that AT&T actually sees are iPhone headers anyway, but if you parse the packets you can often tell what is generating the traffic.)

    • derka derr says:

      Uh…totally wrong. From the first line of the Wikipedia article:

      Deep packet inspection (DPI) is the act of any packet network equipment which is not an endpoint of a communication using non-header content (typically the actual payload) for some purpose.

      And for the record, VPN traffic doesn’t encrypt packet headers (unless you’re operating in “tunnel” mode, in which it just wraps the entire packet into another packet and encrypts the inner one…but the outter packet’s header information is still unencrypted…otherwise Internet routers wouldn’t know where to send your traffic).

      • hugh says:

        You say

        VPN traffic doesn’t encrypt packet headers (unless you’re operating in “tunnel” mode,

        I am unfamiliar with VPN in anything other than “tunnel” mode. What would VPN not in “tunnel” mode be ?

        This is an actual non snarky , I don’t understand what you mean , question.

  6. testie says:

    bigfatbball2; please post instructions to VPN via tethering.

    I believe they will be doing DPI. Based on my conversation with a rep, she said she’s received calls all day on these messages. They were targeted towards higher data users. My wife doesn’t tether and uses a lot of data with netflix, pandora, etc. I do tether and use a fraction of what she does and we both got dinged.

    • bemental says:

      t,

      That’s interesting that they pinged you both for infractions even though your wife wasn’t tethering.

      Do you both have iPhones with unlimited data plans?

  7. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  8. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro plan.Read [...]

  9. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  10. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  11. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  12. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  13. [...] has the full content of the letter. It goes on to state which users can possibly cancel their unapproved tethering make use of prior [...]

  14. [...] iPhone jailbreakers who tether up need to be aware. AT&T is cracking down on tethering now that the carrier has finally decided to make tethering a possible revenue stream. Apparently [...]

  15. [...] iPhone jailbreakers who tether up need to be aware. AT&T is cracking down on tethering now that the carrier has finally decided to make tethering a possible revenue stream. Apparently [...]

  16. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro [...]

  17. [...] is cracking down on customers who are tethering to their phones without paying for it. The company has issued warnings to [...]

  18. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro [...]

  19. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro [...]

  20. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  21. [...] of this notification. We have reached out to AT&T to comment on this developing story.[Via OSX Daily] If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing [...]

  22. Rageeeeeee says:

    This is what happens when you destroy Net Neutrality, corporations can start telling you how to use the data that you paid for.

    Can you imagine this in any other industry? It would be an outrage! Yes, you can pay $50/month for water rights, but you can only drink the water. We noticed you were using your water for boiling noodles, that is against our terms of service, we will charge you extra! UNBELIEVABLE!

    • Momo says:

      Unbelievable yes, but the fact that people cannot comprehend terms of service is also outrageous. If you do not agree with the terms of service, do not do business with the company. It is not a free excuse to break the contract.

      If it says no tethering without paying extra for tethering, guess what, it actually means no tethering without paying extra for it. Unless it is deemed illegal for a company to do that, they are free to do that. Seriously.

  23. [...] noticed your service plan may need updating.” According to a letter posted by the blog OSX Daily, AT&T has begun detecting the practice of unauthorized tethering and is going to start [...]

  24. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro [...]

  25. Jeankyy says:

    I think that this is unnecesary because for example : you have a 2gb data plan you can use your 2gb data the way you want. If you share your connection to any wifi capable device and still use your 2gb plan you are good to go. If you use your regular data usage in MyWi it doesnt matter for AT&T becuse its like if you use the
    2gb on your phone. AT&T did this only for the unlimited customers. With this problems the unlimited customers are going to have a bad time since almost all of them used MyWi to tether their
    iPhones to computers,iPads,PS3 etc. They will need an extra $20.00 a month. AT&T is clearly not the best phone company out there. Im interested to see what will Verizon Wireless would do, if they will do the same or be more loyal to their costumers.

  26. [...] to avoid paying for a tethering plan that come in $15, $25 and $45 a month varieties. Mac blogs are abuzz with a purported text and email messages that the carrier has allegedly sent out to some customers. [...]

  27. [...] noticed your service plan may need updating.” According to a letter posted by the blog OSX Daily, AT&T has begun detecting the practice of unauthorized tethering and is going to start [...]

  28. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  29. [...] noticed your service plan may need updating.” According to a letter posted by the blog OSX Daily, AT&T has begun detecting the practice of unauthorized tethering and is going to start charging [...]

  30. Androiders says:

    What about people who use a Nexus One or Nexus S with built-in hotspot capability for free? Or any rooted Android phone for that matter? It’s a feature of their phone that’s available to them without any sort of jailbreak (in the Nexus’ case) and can be used with an unlimited data plan.

  31. [...] into a wireless access point. It seems the company is sending out cease and desist letters (Source: OSX Daily) to the alleged perpetrators advising that they will be automatically enrolled in a tethering plan [...]

  32. [...] OSXDaily Posted in News | Tags: account-holder, bill-surprises-, current, data, networks, news, [...]

  33. Rick says:

    Why attack only iPhone users, I used PDANet on a WM Phone for years without paying a tetheing fee. I don’t pay extra for using hamburger buns for Sloppy Joe’s and I’m not gonna pay twice for my data either.

  34. [...] OSXDaily .adHeadline {font: bold 10pt Arial; text-decoration: underline; color: #1E1912;} .adText {font: [...]

  35. [...] AT&T has begun to crack down on iPhone customers who use their smartphones to connect laptops to the wireless carrier’s 3G network without the purchase of a tethering plan, reports OSX Daily. [...]

  36. [...] has begun contacting smartphone customers who are using the mobile hotspot feature of phones without paying for the AT&T service. These [...]

  37. [...] something AT&T has every right to do, but is thought to be rather a dick move by users who feel they should be able to use their plans as they [...]

  38. [...] Well, you could see this one coming from a mile away… AT&T is starting to inform its iPhone customers that use their iPhone for “tethering” (letting other devices use its wireless Internet [...]

  39. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro [...]

  40. [...] subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic. An anonymous reader writes “AT&T is sending warning notifications to jailbroken iPhone users who use unofficial tethering methods like MyWi and PDANet. [...]

  41. [...] AT&T is also sending an email to select subscribers which as far as we know is different from those who received text messages: Dear [Customer], [...]

  42. [...] know that your days could be numbered if AT&T figures out a way to catch you. You can find a full copy of AT&T’s letter to tetherers here. [TUAW, Thanks [...]

  43. [...] yes, the new bastion of fair usage and caps, AT&T, now decided to auto-switch users who tether their phones to their special tethering plan, which costs more and gives a separate 2Gb bucket specifically for [...]

  44. Grover says:

    Not “an additional $45 per month” but “$45 per month.” You’re implying that the $45 will be added on to their bill, but $45 per month would replace whatever their existing data plan costs.

  45. Big D says:

    Whats next charging me for Bluetooth connections

  46. [...] AT&T’s explicit permission, a situation that has led the carrier to send a stern letter to tetherers requiring that they stop tethering or automatically be added to a $20/month DataPro [...]

  47. Simon Williams says:

    I have an unlimited account in the UK with T-Mobile. When I first rooted my phone to install Froyo, I went into a T-Mobile shop and asked about WiFi tethering as I didn’t take the tethering option with my account. They told me as long as no cable was involved, i.e USB, then I would not be charged at all, unless of course I went over the fair usage agreement. They were more interested in how I had froyo installed, asking me where they could do the same. Ever since I have used WiFi tethering to my iPad when I’m out, and they have never charged me a penny.

  48. [...] with unofficial iPhone tethering methods which are making their rounds, and have since begun to launch a crackdown on said methods – among them including users of MyWi, which is the unofficial iPhone WiFi [...]

  49. [...] may need updating,” ATT less-than-subtly tells unauthorized tetherers in an email obtained by OS X Daily, Cult of Mac, and [...]

  50. [...] has begun contacting smartphone customers who are using the mobile hotspot feature of phones without paying for the AT&T service. These [...]

  51. Kylw says:

    If you have a capped data plan then I don’t see why you should have to pay an extra $20 for tethering, shame on ATT. You pay for 2GB a month of data you should get to use it however you want.

    If you have an unlimited plan, you shouldn’t be able to tether at all. They sold the unlimited data plans knowing that only so much data could potentially be used through a mobile device. Now that these mobile devices can effectively be used as wireless routers, the amount of potential data consumption on a mobile device has gone up dramatically.

    I will admit ATT is greedy for trying to charge a $20/mo tethering fee to its customers with capped data plans, but to try to justify illegaly tethering on an unlimited data plan is just absurd. With the amount of potential data consumption posed by tethering, ATT would be losing money on all unlimited data plans.

    These unlimited data plans were likely priced using data on average mobile device data usage. With the advent of these mobile hotspots and tethering, that average consumption has gone WAY up.

    • Momo says:

      “I will admit ATT is greedy for trying to charge a $20/mo tethering fee to its customers with capped data plans, but to try to justify illegaly tethering on an unlimited data plan is just absurd.”

      Exactly.

  52. HR says:

    So, here is the deal… Windows or Linux? Pay for the right to use windows or go with Linux for free.. does this make Linux illegal? So, we Have Android as an example on VZN network. IF and I say this from a POV.. I am paying for the software then its one story. Since I am not then we assume I am paying for the hardware to access their network via their TOS. Now.. in Android tethering is a software feature to use that which is already in hardware and as such the application is free. This all goes back to piracy in general.. it could be stopped sure but why would they when they make more in sales by letting things slide.

    But if they have a leg to stand on then it means I must be renting the hardware to access their networks since android and the application in my case is open and if that is the case then when they cancel my contract (IF I were tethering) they can pay me a premium and prorate the value of my device.

  53. baba says:

    “keep your unlimited data plan, or, agree to use ATT’s tethering. you can’t have both.”
    That’s BS. I have 5 member family plan and unlimited data. The tethering is just a feature of the phone, not the data plan. if I was smart enough to not drop the unlimited, why should I be penalized? AT&T has already started to back pedal since Verizon came on the scene; free minutes, lower pricing. I hope they gain more inroads just to put pressure on AT&T. AT&T’s sucked off Apple for too long, and the consumer should get something back.

  54. baba says:

    BTW, my family plan has never used over 600mb a month. It’s just another way for AT&T to gouge.

  55. MK says:

    My suggestion is that everyone that gets this notice should stop tethering and instead stream youtube flicks contiously, find some 8hr video. Or find and app that streams LOTS of data. Let it run 24×7. That would be within the TOS since it would be an apple app. Sound like AT&T does not want customers

  56. [...] OSXDaily – AT&T Cracking Down on Unofficial iPhone Tethering & MyWi Users [...]

  57. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  58. sirfelix says:

    You don’t have to tether to use a significant amount of data. I use the following all day long: stream Pandora Radio, watch Netflix on iPhone, use Slingbox app, download video/audio podcasts, etc.

    One 40 min podcast can run about 150MB. A 90 min Netflix movie can run about 350MB.

    Two podcasts and two movies = 1GB+ and I do this daily.
    No jailbreak, no MyWi.

  59. Bolivar Shagnasty says:

    This guy Chris has no idea what he’s talking about. Verizon CAN’T tell whether data usage is tethering or not. Yes, they PRETEND they can in their billing but they can’t. Proof: Read the fine print on the tethering program. It says when you’re tethering, ALL data usage (both the phone’s usage and that of the tethering clients) is charged to the TETHERING limit. That’s because they CAN’T TELL. The only thing they know is that the tethering client (Mobile Hotspot) is running. When it is, all data is tethering. When it isn’t, all data usage is considered to be part of the phone’s unlimited plan. Of course, any provider can look at usage and investigate if it exceeds some threshold like maybe 3 SD above the mean.

  60. [...] Horowitz / OS X Daily:AT&T Cracking Down on Unofficial iPhone Tethering & MyWi Users  —  AT&T is beginning to crack down on unofficial iPhone tethering methods, [...]

  61. [...] updating,” AT&T less-than-subtly tells unauthorized tetherers in an email obtained by OS X Daily, Cult of Mac, [...]

  62. [...] AT&T Cracking Down on Unofficial iPhone Tethering & MyWi Users [Article] – I’m going to guess that they are doing some sort of packet filtering or are going after users that are exceeding the 4GB “limit”.  Regardless, I find it annoying that I would have to pay $45 for a 4GB plan when I get unlimited data for $30. [...]

  63. [...] because he knew when you were being naughty, and it seems the same happens on AT&T service. OSXDaily reports that iPhone owners [...]

  64. [...] you know that your days could be numbered if ATT figures out a way to catch you. You can find a full copy of ATT’s letter to tetherers here. [TUAW, Thanks James!] Article source: [...]

  65. duker says:

    Already paying for a data plan, then being charged to tether the data I already pay for is ludicrous. Maybe a class-action suit against AT&T for charging for use of the same data twice is in order?

  66. [...] Here is a copy of the email AT&T sent our courtesy of OSXDaily: [...]

  67. [...] means, you may have received a nasty email earlier in the week from AT&T. A portion of the message reads: “Our records show that you use this capability (referring to tethering), but are not [...]

  68. [...] something AT&T has every right to do, but is thought to be rather a dick move by users who feel they should be able to use their plans as they [...]

  69. John Doe says:

    I just called in response to the letter and got some interesting information. The very nice lady I spoke with said that they just found out yesterday that the App Store sells programs that allow you to tether your phone from within the app. Apparently, AT&T did not know this before they sent out the letters. They are currently waiting to find out how to deal with this situation. She told me to keep doing what we are doing, and to call back if we get a second letter. I guess they need to get it straight with Apple as to whether AT&T has the right to cut off customers from using a product that is put out by Apple and lawfully purchased and used by consumers. Looks like AT&T is looking pretty foolish, jumping the gun and accusing all these customers when the maker of the phone allows such a thing.

  70. [...] has the full text of the letter. It goes on to state that users can either terminate their unauthorized tethering usage before [...]

  71. D says:

    I use mywi, but not all the time. Yes, there are ATT unlimited data plans that go way back to the 1st generation phones. Thats what I still have. The only way they know if you’re tethering is by total usage and patterns. So if you use it continuously for your web surfing, then yes they will probably call you on it, but I think they are still just guessing. If you watched youtube videos 24 hrs a day you’d use that much data too even if you’re not tethering. If they contact me I’m going to say I have no idea what they’re talking about, I don’t even know what “tuthring” is and when they explain I’ll say, “What?! I don’t even have a computer! I use my iPhone for everything. It is my computer!” That will confuse them and they’ll leave me alone. I’m 90% certain that would work perfectly.

  72. D says:

    Anyone who thinks ATT has a right to do this doesn’t have a very well developed sense of justice (in my opinion!) I pay for an “unlimited data plan” End of story. That doesn’t mean I get an infinite amount of data. It only entitles me to as much data as my iphone can transfer across the networks. What I do with that data, whether it stays in my phone, or gets transferred to my laptop is my own business. Its like first selling you a gallon of milk and then saying who can drink it!

  73. shawn says:

    mywifi is the main program that people use switch to something else, there is more then one way to tether. or just dont tether after april 12th they will automatically change you to the 4gb plan if they catch you tethering.

  74. shawn says:

    THERE HAS TO BE A WAY AROUND IT. I HOPE. I DONT WANNA PAY MORE AFTER APRIL 12TH I JUST WONT TETHER.

  75. Mike says:

    I got this letter today and can only describe it like this… Say you go to the store and buy a gallon of milk. The cleark says to you as he is selling it “this milk is for cereal only! If you use it for cooking or anything else, you will have to bring it back and get apple juice.” WTF?!?! Seriously? It’s my milk/data, I paid for it and I will use it for what ever the f I want to use it fo how ever I choose to use it.

  76. [...] really not that worried about it because I don't tether. With that in mind look at what ATT did; AT&T Cracking Down on Unofficial iPhone Tethering & MyWi Users For one they warned their people about a change in plan if they continued to use "tethering [...]

  77. Larry Ross says:

    PEOPLE ARE MISSING ONE OF THE MAIN POINTS TO WHAT AT&T IS DOING…

    When people are contacting AT&T they are being told that streaming netflix or pandora (or whatever streaming you are doing) is considered tethering. This is a load of S**T.

    Contracts with AT&T say absolutely nothing about restrictions on streaming, nor anything about Netflix or Pandora. What the contracts DO mention is tethering. This is why AT&T is trying to put their own spin on the definition of tethering… because tethering is mentioned in the contract and they are trying to use it as a means to get rid of unlimited data plans.

    It would be like the port authority being given a contractual agreement allowing them to charge a toll on a bridge for “Trucks” and then deciding to get around the contract by telling people “your vehicle has four wheels, so by our definition it is a truck… pay up.”

    I can put lipstick on a pig and try to call it a super model, but by true definition it is still a pig. AT&T sure has a set of balls trying to write their own definitions of “tethering.” Heck, since we are writing up our own definitions of tethering why don’t they just say tethering also means any phone call that is over 10 minutes long, downloading any file or app that is over 100mb, or using my iphone during peak hours.

  78. joel says:

    please post whether u did tether?

    please post your response/experience calling back them in regards to the request of calling them for a plan upgrade or stop tether?

    please post what did they say to u after u told them u did not tether or did??

    please post what will you and they do after calling them back.

  79. David says:

    This is ridiculous, I just got this email today
    I’ll admit I’ve been tethering for 8 months.. The only reason they finally caught on is cause I just recently got Netflix and have been streaming all kinds of movies at work
    Anyone got ideas on how to avoid this? I went through 22gs last month and average 10gs usually

    • CLDIPAD says:

      David -

      Call AT&T and tell them that you don’t know what tethering is, but use a lot of NetFlix and Pandora. I wrote an earlier comment on this subject. I received the notice and talked to AT&T. They said they would not the account and remove the flag. What they are looking for is high usage and a spike. I use about 5 G or less a month, but my usage spiked in March and that’s what caught their eye. There is a bunch of information AT&T is giving out that is wrong or skewed, in my opinion. The rep told me that connecting my iPhone to the TV to watch Netflix is tethering and connecting to iTunes is too, but they allow that since your phone needs to update.

      Many people are talking about the legality of tethering. I look at it this way… AT&T wants to charge to activate tethering on your phone. I don’t want to pay AT&T to activate it. I chose to purchase MyWi. MyWi and my phone allows me to tether, not AT&T. I paid for my phone, MyWi and the data. All legal! Just because they put something in the TOS doesn’t make it legal. The TOS constantly changes and isn’t really a contract at all. When I purchased the original iPhone and unlimited plan, the contract I signed and TOS I was given didn’t talk about tethering or anything about connecting your phone. I just read it. Why? Because these weren’t features of the phone. With subsequent releases of iOS and iPhones, all which I paid for, the phone now allows tethering. You can also multi-task with the new versions of iPhone. Should AT&T charge you for that too. You could also look at it this way. You purchase home Internet service through Verizon or Comcast. They offer you two modems and several options for download speeds. One modem offers a single computer connection and the other offers wifi for multiple computers. The wifi modern costs you more. The data plan is the same regardless of what modem you choose. The modem also restricts your download speed or the carrier does. You choose to purchase the single connection modem and a data plan with x amount of download speed. You then go to Best Buy and purchase a router. You now connect multiple computers to “your” network. Regardless of whay router you purchased, you are still limited to the download speeds of the modem. Same thing for iPhone and AT&T. I chose the router and paid for that. The iPhone only downloads at the same speed as before and I paid for the iPhone and data from AT&T. If you want to purchase tethering through AT&T, fine. If you don’t, then there are alternatives that are legal. The courts already ruled that jail breaking is legal. I think people look at jail breaking as something bad. You are accessing the full capabilities of your phone. This is no different than a home computer. Telco companies are having a hard time with this because early cell phones just made calls. Phones today are much more than that. They are personal computers. My iPhone has virtually replaced my computer. AT&T should have been smart enough to see this coming. They didn’t and that’s their problem. They are pissed that they don’t have exclusive rights to iPhone anymore and are trying to recoup the lost revenue. Telcos are always going to court and having class action suits filed against them for this kind of stuff. AT&T just recently settled a class action suit for overcharging and I believe there is another one pending. Consumers can’t let them get away with this stuff.

      Take my advice and call AT&T. Tell them you’re not tethering and use a lot of streaming video. They’ll accept it and if they don’t, ask for proof. I asked the rep for proof and she said they couldn’t provide it and said they would note the account.

      Your phone can only handle so much data at a time, whether it’s connected to an iPad or computer. You are limited by the capacity and capability of the phone an network, just like your home modem and router. I don’t use anymore data now than I did before tethering.

      • charlie says:

        So in other words we’re being accused with no sufficient proof/evidence? Its like you’re being accused of stealing and not being shown the proof. Is there some kind of laws/rights we can used to our advantage?

        • David says:

          Well it’s been 2 months since they first sent me a cease and assist bull, and they haven’t stopped me yet… Immediately after they told me to stop tethering I did for about month but after seeing what I used without tethering I figured it would just be easier to tether lol, the month of may I used 20gb of data and June when I was tethering I used 15gb of data… I think it the data usage is inconsistent thats what draws flags cause since January I’ve been using pretty much 15gbs and up a month

  80. LisaKay says:

    AT&T’s New Slogan – LIMITED UNLIMITED WITH EXTRA CHARGES AND RULES – We doublespeak out of both sides of our mouth behind your back and reneg on promises/plans we’ve obligated ourselves to provie!

    Like?

  81. DJ Wilson says:

    I suggest contacting Ralph De la Vega… He is the CEO of the Wireless side of AT&T… He has been for years trying to stop everyone from using wireless… He thinks we are litle kids and that we don’t know any better… Yet he makes millions and probably has a Jailbroke Iphone to boot…

  82. Call Failed says:

    I got the letter yesterday and called at&t just a few minutes ago. The agent flat out told me that they are contacting all of their “unlimited plans” that have been identified as tethering. I asked the agent how they identified a user as tethering and he said that he did not know, but it was not on usage. So I asked the agent, “If you do not know how the accounts are identified as tethered, how do you know it is not based on usage?”
    Then I requested proof that I was tethering. I asked him if AT&A could provide me with a few MAC or IP addresses that had been un-contractually connected to my plan/network. He indicated that he could not help with that request either. I did request that he note the account.
    So I was left with a few outstanding questions.
    How does AT&T identify an account as one that has been tethering? Are they looking on my phone to see if “MyWi” is installed? If so, is that legal?
    or…. Is it truly based on usage? (I believe it is.) With that said, is AT&T harassing its customers for using a service (unlimited data) that they are paying for? Just to make it a little bit worse, many of the customers that have the unlimited data plans are the ones that have been with AT&T for years. Ya, that just happened.

  83. N/A says:

    @Joel – Thanks for this structure.

    please post whether u did tether?
    - yes, jail broken phone, MiWi purchased and have connected many many devices for tethering.

    please post your response/experience calling back them in regards to the request of calling them for a plan upgrade or stop tether?
    - see below

    please post what did they say to u after u told them u did not tether or did??
    - I told them I had never tethered(not true) and that I developed software for ios(true). I asked for proof. Some of things she said were “We cannot say that you were on this site on this date because that would be an invasion of privacy” and “there are multiple IP addresses that don’t match up with your device.” I was tempted to ask her if she even knew what IP was. I was prepared for her to say something along the lines of “we can tell the your OS is Windows 7″ in which case I was intending on explaining that I was developing an web browser for ios in which case the reported os is Windows related, she didn’t. I made her explain the ways one could tethering the “non-att” way. She said bluetooth, creating a wifi hotspot, and connecting the iphone with the usb cord to a computer. The latter two, she explains, need to have a jail broken phone at which point she made a point of emphasis to tell me that ATT isn’t suggesting that I have a jail broken phone. She made a “guess” that my ios version was less than 4.3. I confirmed. She “suggested” that I update to 4.3 because “in this version ATT has enabled tethering and if you were tethering without being signed up for the service you would see a message prompting you to contact ATT.” I explained that it is ridiculous for ATT to force me to update my software on my iphone.

    please post what will you and they do after calling them back.
    - She explained to me that if I continue to tether I will get another warning email after the posted date again stating that my plan will switch to how it is suggested in the email. Doesn’t matter to me, I’m willing to ride this out and see if they do remove me from my unlimited data plan. If they do I will move to Verizon in December when my contract expires. Then they won’t make a dime on me anymore.

    I agree with a lot of the posters here. The unlimited data plan is the main target. ATT’s drop call frequency is ridiculous and they are getting hammered by their competitors as a consequence and all of it is because the bandwidth is being used up by streaming video and audio by, yes, people like me that don’t give a crap about hitting 10GB of data in a month because ATT offered the plan and I pay for it. My main argument for this is that when ATT came out with the offical tethering plan last year, they made you drop out of the unlimited data option.

    They call them smartPhones for a reason!

    If and when someone decides to form a class action lawsuit, sign me up.
    wnjjj96@gmail.com

  84. V4Vendetta14 says:

    I would consider paying to use my iphone to tether to my computer, but their data structure is crazy. The 4GB/$40 tethering plan includes your iphone data usage. I use 2-4GB per month on a non-tethered, non-jailbroken iphone. Why would I agree to pay an extra $40 for less data than I have now? I get that their network sucks and they can’t give unlimited accounts, but they need to offer an extra 4GB of data if they expect me to pay $40 to tether…

  85. Derf says:

    I received an email of the above letter suggesting my plan may need to be upgraded, and they believed I was tethering. I ignored this for a day, then they sent a text message to my iphone to please contact AT&T immediately or my account would be automatically upgraded at the end of the month.

    My phone is JB, and I had been connecting my iphone to my laptop (via USB), which I guess is tethering by the definition, and I had also used 3G unrestrictor to allow downloading of iTunes and App Store content over the 30Mb limit over 3G. I knew my data usage was also pretty high, and I suspected this is what tipped them off, so I called the AT&T number provided in the text message.

    The representative checked my data usage history, and told me that last month I had used between 12 and 13Gb of 3G data. I said that shouldn’t matter, I have an unlimited plan. She told me AT&T had detected “tethering”. I asked her how they had done this, and she said she couldn’t say, but that it was _not_ just based on data usage. (The rep went on to say that her ‘neighbor’ uses 10Gb a month no problem, and that the amount of data I used was not at issue, but that they had detected tethering). When I asked her if they were looking at port numbers (thinking most of the non email/web-surfing traffic thru my laptop was torrent related) she said she wasn’t sure, that it would be a question for the technicians. I asked her if they were monitoring which websites I visited and what I was downloading, and she said ‘no, that would be an infringement on privacy, and they aren’t allowed to do that’.

    I told her I used my iphone to connect to my apple Tv, and that I would frequently download movies to watch on the big screen through my Apple Tv. She asked if the Apple TV had an existing internet connection, I told her no, so she told me that by AT&T’s definition, this was tethering, and I perhaps I should re-think my movie watching needs.

    I told her I did not want the tethering plan, because I would lose my “unlimited” plan. She said OK, and she would remove the ‘flag’. She then read me a scripted ‘if we detect tethering again we will automatically upgrade your plan to include tethering and you will lose your unlimited data plan’ speech and asked me ‘do you understand the terms as I have relayed them to you.’ I answered yes, and it sounded like she made note of that.

    I asked her, if I have an unlimited plan, obviously 100Gb is unlimited, but probably AT&T doesn’t think that is reasonable, so if 13Gb a month isn’t reasonable, what is. She evaded my answer, instead telling me that her neighbor uses like 10Gb a month again, and it isn’t the volume of data, it is the tethering that AT&T is prosecuting.

    On all the forums I have visited, everyone who has received this letter is on an unlimited plan, and has used over 5Gb of data. In only one case did the person use less than 5Gb of data in a month, but in the two previous months they used more than 5Gb per month.

    Pretty much everything that I can do is NOT allowed. I can download large content from the app store or itunes over 3G because of tweaks allowed from my JB, but Apple doesn’t like this (maybe because AT&T doesn’t like this?) and restricted it in every version of the iOS so that you need to be on Wifi to download large content.

    I can connect my iphone to stream movies from my iphone to my apple TV, but if I’m travelling (or even @ home) and my Apple TV isn’t already connected to the internet, then AT&T sees this as tethering.

    My phone was capable of tethering long before AT&T/Apple made it so, but AT&T seems to differentiate data downloaded on my phone and exclusively used on my phone, and data downloaded on my phone and used elsewhere (basically, a legal scam).

    I’m watching what I download for the next couple weeks/months, trying to stay under a 5GB limit (a rumored soft cap for the unlimited plan). For kicks I’d like to purchase a whole lot of itunes movies and download them on my phone over 3G, watch a lot of youtube videos on my iphone, and transfer lots of videos to youtube, and see if I can break a 5GB/month limit. (shouldn’t be difficult if you’re consistent), and see if AT&T says anything. If they do, it would be nice to take them to court for singling out people based just on usage. But as of right now, I see that they have a clause for ‘no tethering’ in my contract, which I am violating (although I don’t agree with a no tethering clause), and so they have the upper hand here for the moment.

    • AD says:

      Its not the data usage.. To identify illegal tethering, AT&T looks at the type of packets hitting its network; any packet that doesn’t come from an iPhone is checked and warnings are then sent to the offenders informing them they must cease their wrongdoing or be billed for their use.

      PDANET 5.01 on Cydia is a solution

      • Bob says:

        The data usage is not “illegal,” you pay for it as part of your unlimited plan. Tethering does not place a person in the class of “wrongdoer,” because an Iphone comes hardware enabled to tether.

        They can cancel you at the end of the contract. They may be able to force you into a limited usage plan at the end of the contract. But, they can’t sell you something you already have mid-contract, it violates every principle of American commerce, and the law.

  86. John doe Pinolero says:

    Ok… SOLUTION TO THIS HIGH CHARGES…
    this is what i did, i went to walmart and got a 9 dollars pay as you go phones.. Called and switched my iphone number to tbis pay as you go phone… Then tried cutting the sim card to the size of the mini sim card… Didnt work.. So went to the at&t store and got a mini sim card with my current number and whallaa it still works.. With a unlimited web.. $10 and all working perfectly fine..
    The internet is as fast as the other one… And alot cheaper.. Wouldnt you do it?

  87. AD says:

    PdaNet Updated to Mask Tethering Usage,

    While a lot of you may be more familiar with MyWi when it comes to tethering, PdaNet is the forerunner to MyWi, and still has quite the loyal following today.

    AT&T isn’t using bandwidth as a means of gauging whether you’re tethering or not; their detection methods aren’t that elementary.

    Instead, it seems as if AT&T is identifying the type of packets that are hitting their network, and if they detect them as coming from anything but an iPhone, red flags are raised, and text messages warning the perpetrator are automatically dispatched.

    Their 5.01 update includes the following changes:

    Adds an option to hide your tethering usage.
    Now allows multiple WiFi connections.
    Rewritten to give you the max performance possible.
    Also fix a few crashes from previous releases.

    Do you use any tethering service with your iPhone; Personal HotSpot, MyWi, PdaNet, etc?

    What has been your experience so far?

  88. Bob says:

    If ATT raises your rate without your permission, and you have a service plan, then they are in breach of contract. You *must* pay your bill, they *must* provide their end of the bargain. Their end of the bargain does not include charging you because they made a bad price plan on unlimited usage.

    ATT could cancel at the end of the contract with all unlimited users, but it doesn’t want to lose customers. ATT wants to have its cake and eat it too.

    At bottom, tethering is a hardware function of your phone, not a “service plan.” The proof of that is that you are tethering now without ATT’s plan. If they harass you, tell the “If you don’t like tethering why not shut it down on your end.” If they can’t shut it down on their end, then its not a service they offer.

    Whatever you do, don’t admit to them you tether. Not because you should lie, but because its none of their effing business. They have a contract. Make them stick to it.

  89. Joe Gilmore says:

    AT&T hit a new low. I’ve now received 3 notices (Email, txt, letter). After the second notice, I informed them that their information was in error and that if I received any additional communication on this it would be considered harassment. Then I got the third. I’ve kept the dates, times, and sources and will be moving forward on this, especially if they modify my account without my permission. The only option we have here is to end the contract and move away from AT&T. If they modify my contract, that could be as soon as the day after modification. My opinion is that is their way of dealing with the revenue loss from losing exclusivity with the iPhone. I would suggest moving away from AT&T as soon as you can get out of your contract or at it’s end. This isn’t a “one time” issue, it’s a corporate philosophy. When you do, don’t forget the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. As soon as I can end mine, I’m gone! With there help, I hope it to be soon.

  90. Chingiz says:

    Att just sent me msg saying they already have changed my unlimited plan to limited tethering plan(45$/4gb) couple days ago. I called them and told to rep that after i got last warning msg from att about them changing my plan if i keep tethering, i stopped tethering since i didnt want to loose my unlimited plan. He said that their system detected that i was tethering after deadline date (wich was march27) so they automatically changed my plan. I asked him to prove it that i tethered after march27 he said system doesnt allow him to provide me with such proof. I said they cant change my plan without my authorization especially since i didnt tether after march 27. He told me they dont have to provide me with proof, and they can legally chamge my plan without my authorization cus i violated term and conditions and/or when i sign contract with them i authorize them to do changes on my plan if i violate t&c. When i asked to speak smone higher than him. He told me he is my account manager and he is as high as i am going to be able to talk about this on food chain.
    So
    Starting my next billing cycle i will no longer have unlimited plan. And i cannot do anything about this and it pss me off. Does anyone knows how to deal with these blood suckkers? I already heard enough “they cant do that, data is unlimited, its not legal for them to change ur plan” B#S. Save ur time, the fact is they can and they did! So what can i do legally?

  91. [...] few months ago, AT&T began cracking down on unofficial iPhone tethering usage by sending warning messages to account holders. The message was simple; if you’re using [...]

  92. [...] probably know by now that AT&T isn’t a fan of unofficial iPhone tethering, and they are now auto-updating accounts to paid tethering plans when they detect an iPhone users [...]

  93. hammy says:

    I’m on the $15 unlimited plan. does anyone know if att can detect I have a smartphone (htc desire) if I turn on and use gps? I have avoided tethering like the plague.

  94. Brian says:

    This is executive customer service, hopefully they can answer some questions.

    AT&T
    Eastern States: 877-707-6220
    Western States: 800-498-1912

  95. [...] to quickly preserve bandwidth for another task, or if you started a download on something like a tethered data connection and you want to save your precious data plan and finish the download [...]

  96. Ken says:

    It seems that even if you have an unlimited data plan, at&t will still slow down your download speeds to about 450 kbps. There have been months of less that than 1 GB of usage. Some months I’ve used 0 kbps of data, because the area that I lived in had a degraded network, and data only worked at around 3:00 a.m. That’s when all the texts, emails, and visual voice messages come in. I’ve moved now. I used to live in a HSPA area before that, but never used much data. This time I used 2 GB with the same unlimited plan. My download speed is at 450 kbps constantly. The upload is still at 88 to about 1.25 mbps.

  97. Cason says:

    I think this is a good idea…it’s making AT&T lose money because you don’t pay for a service that costs them money. They have to pay an Internet provider for every MB of data you share on their network. So if you are using it for free, then AT&T is at loss. Sure, an extra $25 doesn’t sound like a big loss, especially for a big company like AT&T, but it is if you consider that if 10,000 iPhone users tethered without paying. That’s $250,000 a MONTH that AT&T would lose. Not that they don’t have billions of dollars anyway, but it’s still a noticeable loss.

  98. james says:

    my contract started befor att offered teethering they cant brake my contract without paying for it. i will teether as much as i can untill my contract is up

  99. Brad says:

    I was notified today I was officially switched. My bandwidth usage since I was first warned in April has been just over 4gb per month. This is asinine. If anyone knows of a class action lawsuit against this let everyone know. I understand the costs involved but they should not be advertising “unlimited” if it is not “unlimited”. NOT our fault there is a way around their system. It is perfectly legal to jailbreak the iPhone and add all the other apps we could not get earlier. Just another way for the corporate greed train to keep on chuggin!

    Looking into another provider. Too bad cause I liked my iPhone.

  100. [...] ATT sent a letter to tetherers requiring them to stop or be automatically charged a $20/ month DataPro plan on their bill. [...]

  101. Susie says:

    They start to charge me for that tethering and I’m absolutely sure I’m switching to Verizon… So what’s the use of UNLIMITED DATA PLAN! AT&T is full of CRAP!!!!

  102. Alex says:

    OK, I didn’t read all the comments, but I havent seen this on any other websites. AT&T says that cracking down on unauthorized use of tethering is for “fairness” in the customers. I assume this means fair for the customers that pay for tethering. Well here’s my question, how is paying ($20 in my case) for MyWi and using that as tethering unfair, but people can download apps from the AppStore such as TextNow for FREE, and text as much as they want. How is that “fair” to people who pay for unlimited texting? I realize the “fairness” excuse is just that, an excuse on AT&T’s part to get more money. But this puts a huge hole in their answer. If fairness is what they’re trying to achieve, they should tell Apple to no longer allow texting apps, because it isn’t “fair” to people who PAY for texting with their plan.

  103. Will says:

    I got the email today..and I am using just 4GB of data a month! I told them to note my account that the day they try to charge me for tethering will be the day I switch. DO NOT STAND FOR THIS PEOPLE, LEAVE AT&T IF THEY CHARGE YOU!!!!

  104. Mg says:

    The analogy that comes to mind is where do you draw the line on what is being provided. AT&T does not provide the Internet-just a connection to it. If I pay for a land line connection, the phone company has never had any business:
    A) telling me who I can call and who I can’t call,
    B) restricting me from using a speaker phone and including multiple people on a call,
    C) adding an answering machine
    D) adding extra lines
    E) adding a modem and computer
    F) restricting my hours on the line
    Etc
    Why do consumers put up with these crooks?

    • Momo says:

      Back in the day you absolutely were charged for “D) adding extra lines”.

      They also owned the phone you rented from them. You would not have been able to “add an answering machine”, etc.

  105. Mg says:

    D) should read “adding extra phones our outlets”

  106. Eric says:

    AT&T’s worms their way through your wallet in other ways, too – several of which I think should be illegal. Here’s my favorite:

    The FemtoCells that AT&T sold me uses my Comcast data connection to transmit data to and from the Internet. However, AT&T still bills me for that usage.

    I paid for the FemtoCell, I pay for Comcast, and now I have to pay AT&T for data that’s not even being humped by them!!?!?

    Yeah, there is definitely a formula for a class-action lawsuit against AT&T for questionable business practices here, and I’ll happily sign-up given the chance.

  107. Sam says:

    Wow, AT&T are a bunch of crooks….admittedly, my iPhone is not jailbroken, I do not use wimyfi (or whatever it’s called) and needless to say I do not tether. Well I got the above email and AT&T’s response: “we detected tethering in your phone and if we see it again we will charge you for a tethering plan and take you off the unlimited plan.” I then asked what app does this since I’m no techie and I have over 100 apps on my phone and noneif them ever brought it to my attention that they would tether. They said they have no idea, I will need to go to the apple store and have them tell me. Basically the way they explained it was they are loping for “IP” addressing to see who is tethering and they are cracking down…apparently it has nothing to do with my 25GB of monthly data usage…yeah right!!! I went to apple they said there are no apps on my phone that require tethering when in use and they have no idea why AT&T has determined that I am tethering. So, in the end, if they “catch me” tethering past the “act on” date they will alter my data plan.

    Basically, apps are approved by apple, no mentioning of danger of tethering by the app, we use the apps freely not thinking twice, and AT&T accuses us of some BS and sticks it to us. Really a very crooked company with no answers, always saying it’s the other guys (apple’s) fault and to go to them directly and not bother AT&T.

    I hate AT&T!!!!!

  108. Sam says:

    Does the PDANet really work to hide usage as I was reading other posts? Maybe I should jb and install that app?!?

  109. David says:

    They sent me the notice that my unlimited has been cancelled, problem is I quit tethering 3 weeks ago after my iPhone bricked itself yet again over the jailbroken iOS. Called them and they basically said don’t let the door hit you on the way out

  110. TTGator says:

    MiWi now useless unless you want to pay for a tethering plan I guess.

    Just got my second text from AT&T today saying they detected tethering on my account and they are adding the tethering plan AND removing my unlimited data plan! WTF.

    First text I got a couple months ago and called and said I didn’t tether, and they said they would remove the flag. This time I call and there is nothing they can do. I talked to a manager and got an “extension” (i.e. one more chance), but if it’s detected again, same thing. The crappy thing is that I actually HAVEN’T tethered in about a month because I finally ponied up for internet/wifi at home (from AT&T none the less… bastages). AND my data usage this month was 1.2MB!!

    So it seems like I can’t use MyWi at all anymore. I heard that PDANet has a way to “hide” the fact that you’re tethering. I haven’t seen any talk of this from MyWi at all. Anyone have problems from AT&T (or not) with PDANet?

  111. [...] tethering methods by means of a jailbreak. This isn’t really news though, we mentioned that AT&T was cracking down on unofficial tethering back in March, but nonetheless those who are still using apps like MyWi are continuing to get [...]

  112. John says:

    It’s nice to see AT&T has downgraded their “Illegal” and “Unauthorized” claims to “Unofficial” (wth does unofficial mean?)
    NONE of these terms apply to my contract. My 2005 TOS does not forbid me from connecting my Iphone to my laptop for tethering. I have never jailbroke my Iphone (I simply haven’t updated to their “new and improved” software that disabled tethering years ago).
    I’m sorry if some of you are pissed that AT&T doesn’t offer my plan anymore, but that doesn’t alleviate their obligation to fulfill their side of the contract. They have already lied to me and sent threatening letters in attempts to get me to abandon my contract. If my tethering is “Illegal”, “unauthorized” or “unofficial” then why would they want me to abandon my contract? Simply charge me for violation of my user agreement. OH WAIT,,, I haven’t done that.

  113. att sucks says:

    I’m glad my iphone is on straight talk $45 bucks for unlimted everything and i use mywi no one has ever said anything 2 me. I don’t get all the bs you guys get even though i’m not suppose to be useing a iphone on straight talks network…

  114. airwave1206 says:

    Hello to all,

    I got the texts that told me of AT&T changing my plan cause I was tethering. Then I got a letter in the mail of the same thing. I call them and got the run a round. They wouldn’t let me talk to a supervisor, they just kept saying “I am sorry sir that is not an option!” after 2 days of fighting with AT&T. they finally told me that it wasn’t the data usage that they were looking at, it was that my Iphone and its MIWI app shows up on there system on a special IP address. Then AT&T matches that IP address to your account. If you don’t have tethering plan, then they will switch you. I told AT&T that they can’t change my plan without my approval and that they were breaching there contract. AT&T told me that I was the one that breached the contract. Apparently there is a clause that states if you tether voids you contract and they can do what every it want. What bull Sh**. There was a company man out there that posted Just get over it. Well I will tell you what, I am like all the others out there on this blog, I pay well over $300 per month for 3 Iphone’s with all the bells and whistles through AT&T. all I ever get is poor reception, dropped calls, server is down and hassled all the time by AT&T . They have been trying to back up of there deals since the mid 90’s with me with the unlimited nights and weekends. I will find a way out of this and when I am done, I will let every AT&T user know how to stick it to them. From my point of view, “AT&T’ alligator mouth wrote checks that it alligator ass cant cash.” They sell you plans and then try to weasel you out of them and make you feel good about it. As for “MR. Getoverit” look at it this way, say you have a phone hard line. The phone company can see that you are using it for a dial up modem and getting on AOL. The phone company has an idea and wants to charge you extra for you to connect you phone to a computer on top of what you are all ready benign bill for? Just be cause people find other way around systems (and maybe smarter), doesn’t give the big companies the right to screw there customers be cause there loosing money. In today’s economy, the all mighty dollar rules. I just might take my $300.00 a month else were. Yeh, I know BOO WHOO form AT&T. but if everybody found other way and told them to stick it were the sun don’t shine, were would the big bad AT&T be then. If you really look at it out there are the other wireless companies spread all over the internet on how there screwing there customers! AT&T I am coming for you!

  115. jla says:

    I got the letter, the quick solution is to stop using myWifi and start using the latest version of pdanet with the hide usage feature turn on.

    • dan says:

      Of all the comments on here- this is probably the most helpful- PDAnet has a feature that defeats AT&T’s ability to know you are tethering. I think TetherME is the same. Try any of these 2 apps and they won’t know u are tethering.

  116. Scott says:

    This tethering issue with companies is rediculous. The bandwidth is purchased at a set limit per month, who cares how many connection points to it you have. Tethering / Linking up your laptop to it is YOUR network.

    Whats next? Comcast and AT&T will change home users for each computer hooked up to the internet? Rediculous… I own my network up to their service, not the other way around.

  117. AT&T says:

    We will find you little mother F’ing data gobblers and charge you up your @$$. Good luck. You can’t hide from us little beeeeeytchez! Muahaha!

  118. Mr Bob says:

    Greedy bastards.

  119. BF says:

    Gee, how many UNLIMITED DATA PLANS CAN THESE GREEDY BASTARDS MAKE ONE PERSON BUY!!! If you dumb ass Americans keep paying I guess they are SMART for taking your money..So is it worse to be dumb or greedy..I guess dumb because YOU are paying twice , or more, for data..

  120. Chris says:

    I have had an UNLIMITED data plan with my smartphone since I can remember. Now, with smartphones being so affordable and and more bandwidth being used, AT&T is doing everything in their power to get loyal customers (we have to be if we have an UNLIMITED plan, right?) OFF of UNLIMITED data! When I tried to add tethering a few months back, I was informed that I would lose my unlimited data plan. WTF? The greedy corporate thugs at AT&T were fine with charging outrageous rates for unlimited data when it wasn’t the “in” thing and those subscribers weren’t using that much data, but the minute the demand for unlimited data arose, AT&T saw an opportunity and eliminated all new unlimited data plans and then began working on how to make people switch to a plan that is capped. But I digress. After learning about this, I did a little research on the web and found that I could tether for free and USE THE UNLIMITED DATA THAT I ALREADY PAID FOR! This was just a few months back because up until I moved into an area where Hughesnet is the ONLY internet option, I had Verizon FiOS.

    So now I get this letter telling me if I continue to use tethering, they will automatically switch me to a tethering plan with 4GB/month. I have no problem paying for tethering…but it is a breach of contract to remove me from an unlimited data plan.

    All

  121. [...] utilizar una misma tarifa plana de datos para una conexión multiplataforma. En Estados Unidos, AT&T ya eliminó hace varios meses los servicios de tethering piratas de aquellos usuarios que no tenían la tarifa especial para [...]

  122. Phuck Momo says:

    Wow Momo, how does it feel to be a company shill?

  123. BF says:

    corporate raping America will continue raping the consumer for as long as all you fools continue to “comply’ with the constant assault of “unlimited” or “choked” or ” Throttled” etc and let’s not forget to mention the forced data plans for PDA phones ..AGAIN..PDA USE NO DATA.I keep hearing that from idiots,,,PDA’s DON”T USE DATA , THEY CANNOT THEY ARE NOT LIVING THINGS THAT INITIATE DECISIONS..THE ONLY DATA THEY MAY USE IS THE DATA THE CARRIER CONSTANTLY USES TO UPDATE THEIR ADS !! I used a PDA for 10 years before there was even a data plan at all!! IT still worked and did everything I want it to do !!!!!!! SO HOW DO THEY USE DATA ???..I think I’ll head pop the next idiot who says it to me !!
    So keep arguing among yourselves, corp America loves it when they get little idiots to argue their point for profits.GREEDY SELFISH LITTLE KIDS WITH MOMMIES PHONES!! Oh, AND KEEP PAYING MORE FOR ALL THAT UNLIMITED DATA GUYS, Geniuses !!!

  124. Tony says:

    Wow, i LOVE it! In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” AT&T, eat it. You made your bed, now lay down and take it!

  125. Robb Love says:

    I just received AT&T’s letter today. I have a 2GB data plan and usually go over that plan by a 1GB per month. That’s an extra $10 for them. I called AT&T’s customer service and told them to leave my plan the way it was. Then I posed a question to the customer service lady- “What is the difference if I sign up for tethering through AT&T or do it the way I’ve been doing it? Either way you are getting paid the $10 per month per extra GB. I don’t usually go over the extra GB and if I did go over, I’d be paying you the extra $20 for the second GB as well ($10 per GB), the same amount you are asking for the tethering. I’m paying you the money proportionate to the usage of GB you are already currently asking for.” The lady had no response. She said she understood what I was saying but if I wanted to tether, I had to sign up for their tethering plan. I then told her that “that doesn’t make sense to me. I only tether because I need to send e-mails via my computer that deal with flash, and my iPhone doesn’t support flash.” She once again said she saw where I was coming from but still said I need to sign up for their tethering plan if I want to tether. I then said to the lady “well, I can stop using the extra GB all together and not give you the extra $10.” She said that was fine and repeated to me what she repeated twice already about needing a tethering plan to tether AT&T is up it’s ass.

  126. aloha says:

    I got a letter and text two weeks ago. I did not contact them and they haven’t changed my plan. Of course I stopped tethering. ALSO, I was going to upgrade both my iphone 4 and 3GS and sign another two year contract. BUT, because of this I’m holding off. I dont want to get tied to a new 2 year contract then they change my plan. So screw them. Just waiting for them to change it, then all my 5 lines of 5 years will move to either sprint or verizon. Oh well…

  127. Smith says:

    I always use MyWi and I love it!!! There is nothing they can do about it. They can’t catch me, nor can they prove it! I do what I want!

  128. EVERYONE_SHUTUP says:

    ATT SHOULD NOT CHARGE FOR TETHERING WETHER ITS THRU THE IPHONE OR THRU A JAILBROKEN APP!!! IT’S SIMPLE…THE ELECTRIC COMPANY DOESNT CHARGE YOU EXTRA FOR USING A POWER STRIP IN YOUR HOUSE OR DEPENDING ON HOW MANY ITEMS ARE PLUGGED IN AT UR HOUSE!!!! WE ALREADY PAY FOR DATA…USAGE IS NOT AFFECTED BY TETHERING EXCEPT THAT IT MIGHT USE MORE IF YOUR USING IT FOR A LAPTOP AND DOWNLOADING OR STREAMING!!! STILL JUST CHARGE THE OVERAGE FOR THE DATA CONSUMED!!! ATT YOU LIKE EVERY OTHER MONEY HUNGRY COMPANY ARE A BUNCH OF RAT BASTARDS!!! HERE’S A SOLUTION…DONT BUY TMOBILE AND POCKET YOUR $39 BILLION DOLLARS SO YOU CAN SHOVE THEM AND LEAVE YOUR COSTUMERS ALONE!!!!

  129. V4Vendetta14 says:

    AT&T is out of their damn mind! I have been looking into the Motorola Altrix. You can keep your unlimited plan, but if you happen to buy the dumb terminal (laptop minus the computer) they force you to switch to a tether plan. Why would looking at your phone’s screen on a larger monitor require a tethering plan when unlimited data is fine on the phone alone?

  130. Temcos says:

    That why I’m still with Sprint. Rooted phone, wireless tether and no data cap.

  131. BF says:

    YEAH, AND AS THE CRAPPY COMPANY PERSECUTED THE INDIVIDUAL FOR USING THE INTERNET TO GET THE WEATHER CHECK, GOOGLE MADE A LEGAL MOTION FOR HIM TO IMMEDIATELY stop !! IT our OUR our PHONE AND INTERNET SO stay off puke !!!

    I WAS CONCERNED AS THE HUMAN WAS USING AN unlimited plan ,,YEAH LIKE WHAT YOU WOULD SEE ON A DOUBLESPEAK CONNECTION..you KNOW, SAY ONE THING AND STEAL A LOT MORE …CORP DO IT ALL THE TIME JUST READ ALL THE TINY TINY LITTLE POINT THAT you agree to WHENEVER YOU GOTO A WEBSITE ..FOOLS, I SAY FOOLS THEY BE, NOW RAMMING SPEED MEN!! MUCH MCUH MUSH MUSH

  132. Tony says:

    it is fake – check the account in the email if it match your account. it does not even match. someone is just trying to get your info

  133. Tony says:

    update – i call att and gave the account on the email to the agent and the name on the account did not match my name – therefore must be fraud..i only have one line and the again was nice enough to say that on that account there were two line active…..

  134. Tom says:

    Welcome to ATT, how can i we rip you off today?

  135. move on.. says:

    remember the students protest in london about tuition fees? All that hard work, fighting, rioting.. and then they all just went and applied to universities like sheeps and paid fees, where all they had to do is just NOT apply to unis, then unis will ‘bankcrupt’.. samething here guys, jus tell them ur going and thats the last payment they are getting, ever.. also ask for the PAC code to transfer your number to another network, that should p*ss them right off :D

    theres this sayin “where ever you turn away from loss, its profit”

  136. [...] carriers have begun automatically turning on the monthly tethering service charge for customers it determines are doing it without paying. Verizon and AT&T have blocked tethering apps in the [...]

    • Corporations Are Criminals says:

      GREAT TIP: EVERYTIME you talk with ANY corporation RECORD the call secretly unless it’s illegal in your state. I’ve won four lawsuits because I sued corrupt companies saying one thing and doing another. It’s very easy to catch them in lies or inconsistencies and you can use that as evidence in a court of law.

      STOP allowing yourselves to be swindled by corrupt corporations. They do it all the time to people because they know most people won’t fight back. TAKE THEM TO COURT! Don’t let criminal corporations get away with their constant crimes against people. Corporations own our government because they use billions of dollars to buy political prostitutes. But you can still beat them in small claims courts.

      Lastly, ask yourself if you are a republican why you continue to vote for republicans when they are enemies of every human being, except the super rich? Republicans are currently fighting to block the head of a CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY because republicans are totally owned whores to their corporate masters, like ATT. Republicans in the House and Senate were even against the creation of a consumer protection agency because they want the rich and powerful to be able to screw the most vulnerable people in our society at will. Republicans are AGAINST any corporation being held accountable for their heinous acts against human beings or the environment. Anyone who votes republican must be either brain dead or stupid. When they vote for republicans they are voting to screw their fellow man. What kind of people would side with ultra evil and corrupt corporations and the wealthy over hard working Americans?

  137. Anonymous says:

    Wait. So if I am using planet and hide usage, they”ll find out?

  138. [...] keep it off the carriers’ radars for very long.Recently, carriers have begun automatically turning on the monthly tethering service charge for customers it determines are doing it without paying. Verizon and AT&T have blocked tethering apps in the [...]

  139. Corporations Are Criminals says:

    How long are people going to allow criminal outfits like ATT to screw them out of money? ATT did NOTHING to produce the iPhone that has tethering capabilities. ATT encounters ZERO expense when someone uses a THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE to use tethering. ATT is using EXTORTION to swindle people out of money.

    How long will people allow corrupt, soulless corporations to swindle them? How long will people allow corrupt corporations to buy our government and write laws? How long will we the people allow evil corporations to screw us every time we do anything?

    This is just one of millions of examples if how the ultra corrupt rich & powerful manipulate our government and country so they can screw as many people as possible! How long are we going to allow the evil 1% to steal everything from the 99% of the people who built this country. The poor and middle classes built this country, NOT the lazy, corrupt, soulless and evil 1%. How long will you allow yourself and your families to be victimized by corrupt thugs like at ATT who are sending out extortion letters to take money from you they DID NOT EARN or DESERVE!!! Wake up people and vote out every politician who is owned by the rich, powerful and corporations! ALL republican officeholders are prostitutes to their corporate masters. Many democrats are too. But if you vote republican you are making the nooses from which you will be hung. Wake up people and STOP allowing criminals to destroy our country!

  140. [...] is only supposed to impact the top 5% of data consumers and unofficial tetherers on AT&T on Verizon. These users typically get a warning text message notifying they are using [...]

  141. gsxrha says:

    i use alot of data without tethering and got a text the other day that im in the top 5 Percent of data users and they were going to slow down my download speed or something and now i keep losing service i also have unlimited evrything my bill is $150 a month…so how can they do that…skumbags
    i have three lines with them and im thinking of shutting them all down

  142. balistic says:

    Move to the uk lol, about the tethering (3) network charge £15 p/m for unlimited data usage (all you can eat data) 3Mbps, 300 anytime (or 5000 3-to-3)minutes and 3000 texts on pay-as-you-go NO CONTRACT.

  143. Blah Blah says:

    for Getoverit he’s institutionalized

  144. babu says:

    Can I Sign A Contract With AT&T And buy a phone and leave the country?
    what are the consequnces of doing so? I bought using my credit card Will They take all my money after i leave the country?
    does anyone hav. experience?
    What are the particulars Needed to Buy A contract Phone?

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