AT&T Auto-Updating Unauthorized iPhone Tethering Accounts to Paid Tether Plans

May 9, 2011 - 6 Comments

AT&T iPhone Tethering Fee Being Charged for Unofficial Tethering

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 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.

MyWi and PDANet are both apps available exclusively on the Cydia store to users who jailbreak their iPhones. Jailbreaking is not illegal, but it is frowned upon by Apple.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, News


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  1. Chris says:

    Yep spent the better part of the mornin trying to negotiate with AT&T
    And regardless that it was determined by their own people that my apparent tethering was using a Apple RCA jack cord to use my non Internet capable tv to watch HULU that is considered as tethering by AT&T term of agreement
    My data plan will be auto enrolled from unlimited to 4gb for the low low price of $15 dollars more a month than I pay now for unlimited
    Gee aren’t they nice.

  2. Jim says:

    I had the same thing happen; I’m probably just going to cancel and go with Verizon. Its such bs

  3. Mark says:

    Today we got bumped from our Unlimited Data to the 45.00 4GB tethering plan because of suspected tethering on both our iPhones. I don’t even know what to say. I spoke with them for almost 1 hour and they could not do anything about it. What they recommended was that if I was not tethering, I can log onto my account and switch it over to the 2GB plan, but Unlimited was no longer an option.

    So basically, they kicked us off our unlimited plan.

    Anybody else reporting AT&T to the Better Business Bureau?

  4. […] personal favorite use of ad blockers comes along with internet tethering. We all know by now that AT&T doesn’t like unofficial tethering methods so if you want to tether an iPhone, you have to pay for a tethering plan to use the […]

    • Nick says:

      I just found out that even using slingbox can cause a tether notification to att so even if your not technically tethering to a computer they can still get you!

  5. J says:

    Who’s have been updated with tethering package?
    I have received the same emails called them twice and the same BS feedback.
    FYI JB with PDAnet and above 15gb user…

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