AT&T Auto-Updating Unauthorized iPhone Tethering Accounts to Paid Tether Plans
A 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 tethering but not paying for a tethering plan, you will be automatically upgraded to a tethering plan. Now AT&T is making good on that promise, and has started to automatically update user accounts that they suspect of using unofficial tethering methods.
Those who use a tethering app such as MyWi or PDANet are being notified of their plan changes through text messages:
AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone. Your plan has been updated to a tethering plan ($45/mo incl. 4GB) and you’ll soon see this change reflected on an upcoming billing statement. Visit att.com/dataplans or call 866-679-7136.
Outside of having your data plan updated and including a new monthly tethering plan fee of $45, there does not appear to be any repercussions or animosity from AT&T. The biggest complaints from users about the AT&T crackdown pertain to data usage rights, with many suggesting that once they pay for wireless data they should be able to use it as they wish. Furthermore, grandfathered unlimited data accounts that are automatically updated to a tethering plan lose their unlimited data capability, and instead receive a 4GB transfer limit.
For some users this could be seen as good news, since the original iPhone and iPhone 3G are not capable of using official wireless tethering through Personal Hotspot due to the inability to update to iOS 4.3. While AT&T hasn’t specifically OKayed the usage, this suggests old iPhone owners can use wireless tethering through MyWi and PDANet without incident, assuming they pay the standard tethering fees to AT&T.