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AT&T 'evaluating' using iPhone's new hotspot feature

updated 02:55 pm EST, Tue January 11, 2011

ATT on the fence about Verizon iPhone hotspot

AT&T in a statement to Electronista said it was "evaluating" the iPhone mobile hotspot feature added with iOS 4.2.5 on the Verizon model. It didn't reject the feature out of hand but said that it had only just been unveiled. The company didn't give an estimate but hinted it might come in the future.

"This is a brand new software feature from Apple," spokesman Seth Bloom said. "We are evaluating the feature, but have no plans to announce today."

It's unknown so far whether AT&T was aware of the hotspot feature in advance, although by necessity it would have been aware of the end of its US exclusivity.

The company doesn't necessarily have to use the feature upon its inclusion and has previously been cautious relative to other carriers. Tethering was added to iOS 3 in mid-2009 but, due to the oversaturated AT&T network, was available everywhere but the US until a year later. Android devices from AT&T have also typically omitted hotspot support where it's present on Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Verizon has yet to reveal how much it will charge for hotspots and could ask $20 or more while capping the data to 2GB.

by MacNN Staff



  1. FastAMX79

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Wasn't tethering supposed to already be with the iPhone on ATT??? Isn't this the same song and dance ATT has been doing for 2 years now?

    (Don't flame, honest question as I am a Sprint user)

  1. yannickraw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Will Telus/Bell/Rogers offers that too?

    To answer your question FastAMX, the hotspot is not exactly the same thing as the tethering. It uses the wifi instead of the Bluetooth or iPod connector. So if you have a iPhone and a iPad without 3G, you will be able to go on the internet through your iPhone. This is currently impossible via tethering. BTW I'm not sure At&t offers this option. It's offered in Canada for sure, but I have no clue about At&t

    Concerning Canada, do you think Apple will offer the hotspot option on the canadian devices?

  1. mjtomlin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tethering vs. HotSpot

    As a few others have pointed out, tethering is not the same thing as a WiFi HotSpot although they're used to accomplish the same thing, get connected.

    Tethering allows you to use a device as a network interface; this is similar to using a USB modem or USB WiFi adapter on your computer. In this case it turns your cell phone into a USB (or bluetooth) mobile adapter to connect to the cell network. These types devices can be purchased separately with their own data only service plans.

    HotSpot turns your phone into simplified WiFi routers much like you might have at home connected to your cable modem or DSL modem (or built-in to those devices). This allows you to connect any WiFi capable device to it which then routes data through to the mobile network. This feature has been built-in to OS X for a long time now, it's called "Internet Sharing." So I'm sure it was trivial for Apple to add it to iOS.

    So think of tethering as a direct connection and HotSpot as an indirect method of connecting.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another way

    In other words, tethering is internet sharing via USB or Bluetooth, while HotSpot is internet sharing via WiFi. Same thing, two different flavours.

  1. coitus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Something else for ATT to fail at adopting...

    This will likely come to ATT years after everyone else and for a significant upcharge to gouge end-users for something else. ATT never overlooks an opportunity to exploit us for more cash.


  1. chris2519

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh, they're "evaluating" it...?

    That means it'll be ready in three or four years.

    Really, could any modern, giant company SUCK more than AT&T?

  1. chris2519

    Joined: Dec 1969


    By the way...

    Does anyone know if there's any sort of class action suit against AT&T and Apple for promising tethering? If memory serves, it's something that was promised back when the iPhone 3g came out, and then again with the iPhone 3gs, and I don't think it surfaced until much later. I distinctly remembering buying at least two phones (3g and 3gs) where it was promised and then never delivered on. When you promise features, and buyers make purchasing decisions based on those promises, isn't it actionable when those companies don't deliver, or am I just being naive?

  1. AllanCook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good sign

    I have no intention of switching, but I think the competitive pressure that Verizon's adoption of the iPhone will put on AT&T ultimately will be good for those of us who stay. I think we'll be seeing unlimited data pretty soon, either included or at a very reasonable price.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    comment title

    I'm buying an officially unlocked iPhone 4 from Canada in less then a month. Anyone know if this phone will have the feature? Will it be usable on T-Mobile's EDGE in USA?

  1. normr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T is screwin all of us unlimited data customers

    I hope millions of people eventually jump ship for better plan rates, it's ridiculous that unlimited plan owners have to give up their unlimited plan in ordervto get tethering and go gown to a paltry 2gb plan, obviously they want owners to burn through their 2 in days.

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