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Apple pulls iTether from App Store, cites carrier burden

updated 03:45 pm EST, Tue November 29, 2011

Developer calls move 'anti-competititve'

As expected, Apple has pulled iTether from the App Store. The removal has been confirmed by the app's developer, Tether, which has issued a statement revealing some behind-the-scenes details. "Around 12PM EST, Apple called our head office to let us know they were going to go ahead and pull our app iTether from the App Store. They stated it was because the app itself burdens the carrier network, however they offered us no way to remedy the solution," the page reads.

"We were very clear when listing the app what the primary function was and they even followed up with several questions and requested a video demo then they approved the application," the statement goes on. "We strongly disagree that it burdens a carrier's network, as from our own data history on more than 500,000 users we know the average user consumes less than 200 MBs of data per month on Tether. In comparison, one TV show streamed from Netflix, an approved Apple App, could easily be in the 300-400 MBs range. Sure, there are some users that will consume way more than the average however that's the case with any of these types of products."

Tether adds that it is "very disappointed in Apple's decision," claiming that it helps carriers "better monetize their data stream by pushing customers into new data tiers further increasing their bottom-line." The developer in fact alleges that it's "very anti-competitive" to not allow any tethering apps, and says it had been hoping to port over a lot of its BlackBerry work to iOS, including compression, website and port filtering, and end-to-end encryption.

"According to Apple, users who purchase[d] iTether before it was pulled will continue to be able to use the product," the statement finishes. "Our team is evaluating all of our options...Stay tuned."

Apple is likely keen to protect its relationship with its carrier partners. Companies like AT&T charge subscribers extra to tether an iPhone, even though many plans already have data caps. In theory, though, a tethered computer can put a higher strain on cellular networks.

by MacNN Staff



  1. simdude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android tethering?

    Why is it my co-workers with Android can tether without a tethering plan? If the relationship is so important, why don't the carriers simply dump all Android phones since the platform easily allows users to tether without paying?

    Personally, I think it's pretty stupid to charge for the service. As long as I don't have unlimited data, why not allow me to tether? If I use up my allocated data, I will have to pay you more so who cares?

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Captain, this plan is

    not logical.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hate AT&T's stupid

    data/tethering bull. I can't help thinking AT&T is the reason behind the pulling of this app. Other service providers do not have the limitation that AT&T has, so why pull the app? It's nonsensical.

  1. drumrobot

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Here's a translation of Apple's message: "The carriers were bitching to us about how they couldn't charge their customers extra money to use the data they already paid for on a different device, so we have to pull it."

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