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Apple looking to allow iPhone tethering?

updated 09:20 am EDT, Fri August 29, 2008

iPhone tethering coming?

Apple may be looking to permit tethering iPhones to computers, at least in the United States, rumors suggest. Tethering enables people to treat cellphones as external modems, connecting where Ethernet or Wi-Fi is not an option. While the technology is increasingly popular in Europe and North America, AT&T has expressly forbidden the practice with the iPhone, even though other devices have permission, and the iPhone is offered with unlimited data plans.

Apple may not be happy with this, an e-mail exchange appears to indicate. In response to the removal of the NetShare tethering app from App Store, one person says he complained directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "AT&T offers data plans for BlackBerry that include tethering for an additional $30 per month (a total of $60 per month for the BlackBerry+tethering plan)," the complaint reads. "It seems ludicrous that the same thing is not offered with the iPhone. I understand the desire to prevent tethering with the current data plan, but I am willing to pay more money to allow tethering! With such an advanced device, why can I not do so?"

Jobs is said to have offered a rare personal response, writing, "We agree, and are discussing it with ATT." The message is appended with "Steve" and "Sent from my iPhone," in a fashion similar to an alleged e-mail about 3G connection problems. How iPhone tethering would function is unknown though, as Apple and AT&T could allow apps such as NetShare to return, or else insist on a form of proprietary software.

by MacNN Staff



  1. sicembears

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Please say no AT&T

    Your network is crumbling under the iphone as it is and you wanted to add more stress to it? Classic.

  1. David Esrati

    Joined: Dec 1969


    data is data

    The reality is- data is data.
    How much we use- on an iPhone or a laptop is none of ATT's business. We pay for mobile access- and mobile access should be what we're getting. It's insulting enough they try to charge "business users" more- but, singling out iPhone users to not be able to tether is WRONG. It's time for ATT to get a spanking from Congress for this discriminatory and backassward move. How is America supposed to compete? We already have a pathetically slow "broadband" network- and then limit mobile too?
    The Finn's and the Koreans are laughing at us.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Greed, once again

    With ordinary smart- or cellphones, I could see the reasoning; people with unlimited data plans use very little data. When they tether the laptop to that phone, data usage skyrockets.

    However, with iPhone, there should be little to no difference - that little time you use your iPhone with your laptop should be barely a blip on your weekly data usage graph. Add to that the fact that we're already paying quite a lot for that unlimited data plan and it shows clearly what it really is: carrier's greed, nothing else.

    AT&T, you need to offer tethering on iPhone without extra charge.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Extra Charge

    Oh, you better believe there will be an extra charge....

  1. sagan1989

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ATT offers a wireless PCMCIA card or USB stick for Laptops that connects to the ATT 3G network. It cost $59 / month for unlimited data. Why buy an extra device when the iphone can handle the same chore on the same network with the same plan. It sound like a bit of greed here, and when Apple thinks it is a nickel and dime issue, it must really be. Btw, my motorola phone can tethering against ATT slow dial up (28.8K baud) and it is free. Apple offers the modem script for several ATT phones under the support forums.

  1. JackWebb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Last issue for me

    This is the last issue for me, although I'd even like them to offer limited plans with tethering. My current plan is $20 for 5MB with an AirCard. That means on the months I make a trip I have to be very careful to just use it for email. Give me something more like 50MB for $30-$40, voice extra fine, whatever.

  1. tedgrigg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pure cell carrier greed

    vaisic said it right:
    "Add to that the fact that we're already paying quite a lot for that unlimited data plan and it shows clearly what it really is: carrier's greed, nothing else."

    AT&T and all carriers need to get out of the way and let us use our excess minutes for data instead of just voice and charge us $0 extra for the right to do so.

    They have a license to steal.

    Cell companies are literally standing in the way of progress. As a customer, only the IRS competes with my contempt for their ways.

  1. Mackan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    In some countries carriers do not mind tethering at all. They should definatly have the option.

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