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AT&T fed up with you milking its data network, sends warning letters to covert tetherers

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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AT&T fed up with you milking its data network, sends warning letters to covert tetherers
AT&T has started sending out warning messages to owners of jailbroken iPhones, which use the MyWi app for unauthorized sharing of their phones's mobile data connection. By unauthorized we mean you don't pay the $20 a month AT&T asks for tethering, and you don't sleep in peace with yourself and the world. High-usage subscribers are reportedly also receiving such messages, and we wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of folks with rooted Android handsets are in the crosshairs for off-the-grid tethering, too. Here is an excerpt from AT&T's letter:

" Dear [Name of Account Holder],

We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating.

Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones– a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&T’s mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.

Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.
If you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at www.wireless.att.com, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering...

If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.

If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required."

So those of you with such letters have basically until next Sunday to sign up for the $45 a month DataPro 4GB plan and tether all they want, or be enrolled in it automatically, unless you stop the illegal tethering and/or excessive data usage.

Quite the move on AT&T's part, and if you wonder how they know who does what, it's probably a combination of abnormal data usage and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) the carrier is using to determine where to send the warnings to. You can get around DPI by using a VPN, but the legality of this is debatable for individual users.

Have you received such a letter from AT&T, and what do you think about the whole "to tether or no to tether" conundrum the carrier is creating?

via OSXDaily

52 Comments
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posted on 18 Mar 2011, 08:29 8

1. todd (unregistered)


I think my idea is better than AT&T's. WHY DON'T YOU FIX YOUR CRAPPY NETWORK ! Ok i feel better now, because that pretty much sums up AT&T.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 09:20 6

2. jtucker1987 (Posts: 89; Member since: 06 May 2010)


At&t does have a lot of problems with their network.....when no one is on the network the speeds are incredible but between noon and rush hour, the speeds are slower than that of dial up....I remember it was the afternoon and it took 2 minutes to load the mobile version of google, I couldn't take it anymore so i switched to verizon....with verizon the speeds are slower than At&t BUT they are consistent throughout the day and don't slow down to a halt....with all this extra money At&t is getting they should invest a lot more in backhaul and towers but I feel they wont until the very last minute when competition gets fierce between them and verizon

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 13:11

17. jon098 (unregistered)


2in 3 months 4g will take effect..in 2013 it will be final..what r u complaining about..go elsewhere

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 15:30 3

25. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Ok....lol

posted on 26 May 2011, 14:38

52. WunFiiSH (unregistered)


4g data speeds have to be 100mbs no one is near that speed regardless of service. We are all paying for a non existence service by companies that advertise what they don't have.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 19:55 2

33. Bob (unregistered)


OOOOOOORRR you could just realize that when you signed up for ATT service your contract DID NOT have a tethering plan and thus you are not entitled legally to tether your phone!!

Gotta love the entitled people.....

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 22:28 3

40. pickles (Posts: 14; Member since: 18 Jan 2011)


but BOB! i'm already paying for my data! i should be able to use my data however I want! at&T cant tell me what to do with MY DATA!

ITS MY DATA, AND I WANT IT NOW!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 09:28 3

3. MrWilli5 (Posts: 74; Member since: 13 Feb 2011)


damn at&t sucks

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 09:56 3

4. Sellcell (Posts: 118; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


I smell lawsuit, can AT&T actually get away with doing this to customers? Can they actually prove someone is teathering? Sounds more like a scare tactic than anything. People should just drop AT&T, they're only about themselves and don't care about there customers.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 10:31 4

6. box (unregistered)


If anything, AT&T is showing they care more about their general data user by doing this; the power users who hog the network is one of the reasons AT&T originally had to go with the tiered data plans (and other customers complained unlimited was too expensive and unneccessary), because it creates a negative user experience for most everyone else in the area. Data uses much more network capability than voice, typically around 10 times as much for a smartphone when it's not running full tilt, so you have just a few hundred people tethering on their unlocked/rooted/jailbroken phones in a major metropolitan area, and you can see just how much of an exponential impact that could have. I applaud the people who were able to find their way around paying the extra, but the people who are negatively affected probably wouldn't, and if AT&T can take in more revenue to improve and repair their network, I think that makes much better business sense

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 11:00 6

8. remixfa (Posts: 13938; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


they've had years to build up their network. its been an issue since before the iphone which highlighted how flawed ATT's network was way back then. They still havent updated their network and they will do as little as possible because they think they will keep u as a customer regardless.
No other network has ATT's consistant data problems. Not VZW, not Tmobile.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 11:32 1

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7119; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I beg to differ; AT&T is working on fixing their network, and they have even introduced a quick coverage problem reporting system that even salespeople can fill out so they can fix immediate problems with their network. They've also expanded their 3g coverage significantly since Verizon started running the 3g coverage ads the year before.

They're still not perfect, far from it, but they are actually trying now. That I can give them.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 15:14 2

22. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


They're only trying now because they have to. They realize that now without an exclusive phone that everyone wants they have nothing to offer and they can no longer ride on Apple's back. I think its more like AT&T scraping their pockets for extra change to throw into a terribly mediocre network.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 17:22 1

30. Sniggly (Posts: 7119; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Well, wouldn't you rather see AT&T turn around and become a competitive provider again? I like to see companies turn around and do good instead of falling apart completely.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 11:03 4

9. Hallucinator (Posts: 344; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Technically the lawsuit would go the other way. People are stealing a service. AT&T has every right to do this.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 12:32 2

14. shrop486 (Posts: 12; Member since: 10 Dec 2009)


I don't agree or disagree, but have you ever seen the American legal system? Anything is possible. Just look at how the music companies have fared going against the music pirates.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 15:20 3

24. remixfa (Posts: 13938; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yea... they shutdown napster.

oh yea.. and metallica tried to sue their fans!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 10:31 1

5. ATTCallCenter (unregistered)


Simple fix, stop tethering until start of April and do it up again...simple hint is simple!

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 13:12

48. NOnenone (unregistered)


It wont work, once they start a program like this it is ongoing, the system will continue to find the violators and adding the plans, just like if you stick your sim in ANY smart phone the system knows and it adds a data plan after 5-6 txt mesgs.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 10:44 2

7. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


I call bullshit on ATT. Take my HTC inspire for instance. Before I got it I was averaging about 4 gb per month of data, no tethering just straight use. I got the inspire and in 1 month I'm almost near 11gb. I do no tethering whatsoever this phone just eats and shits data. I did eventually root the phone for the hsupa only but noticed the data wasn't being used as much for some reason. I got tired of cm7 so I went back to a stock Rom and guess what, I've used 1 gb in 1 day no tethering. So I wish they would text me or email me. Maybe they shoulda tested this phone because I literally drive all day, the phone uses its own data. They better get use to it. These phones are data hogs period.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 11:35 3

12. Sniggly (Posts: 7119; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Your phone used 11 gigs in a month? I call bullshit. If that were the case with the Inspire they'd have never released it.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 12:08 1

13. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


Call it what cha want but my data usage shows 10599.92 mb used so far with 2 days left in billing cycle. Also they aren't gonna not release a phone because of data because most people use WiFi at home. I never use WiFi and I won't use it either. I don't care either way because I have unlimited data. I didn't get a letter so it is what it is. Now go stay under your 2gb data and don't worry about my data usage.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 02:02 1

42. dv (unregistered)


You would literally have to be rocking Pandora at unrealistic amounts or streaming tons of video to reach 10gb plus in a month on your smartphone. I use an aircard for my internet service and have a smartphone and I have to work very hard to use 10gb between the two. I am an above average user. I think that I would have my phone tested for a software abnormality that is causing the extreme data reporting. I would say the reporting is wrong!

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 07:21

44. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


I swapped the phone out. I don't use Pandora either. I would say its not reporting right but this has been happening since I got it. the weird thing is when I loaded a custom Rom over it, the data slowed significantly. Like with stock Rom it always shows h+ but with the custom rom it would actually drop to the 3g signal and do h+. Whatever its ATT problem.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 17:33

49. remixfa (Posts: 13938; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i had an old person come in showing me that their broadband card showed 7TB of usage. lol. the meters arent always right. :)

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 11:28 3

10. PacBlueKilla (unregistered)


A'yo...AT&T...

Take your shitty network and go home.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 12:52 3

15. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


Haha, soon to be America's smallest network.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 13:06 2

16. snowgator (Posts: 3242; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


I am no fan of AT&T and intend to dump them as my carrier as soon as the calander turns enough months off 2011 to let me.As a matter of a fact, I am willing to pay an E.T.F. to do it. But, if it is a pay service, you are required to pay for it to use it. If you have a feature phone, then switch your SIM card to a smart phone, you get charged for a Smart phone plan. If you tether, expect to get charged. Disliking your provider doesn't excuse taking a service you are not paying for in your contract. Now, all you black market tether people- quit making excuses, put your nose in the corner for 10 minutes, then go forth and tether no more.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 13:36 1

18. DOGIEFRESH (Posts: 302; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)


When you pay for data on your phone is a service to be intended for your phone that's it, if you tether is a diff service any other carrier charge for it, try to do the same on slow-rizon and you'll see......pay your 20 bucks you bunch of broke ass ghetto rednecks do be cheap....!!!!!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 15:04 2

21. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


That last sentance made absolutly no sense!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 19:19

32. justworkhere (unregistered)


Jesus Christ, I hope your stupidity isn't contagious. You make absolutely no sense in any thread you taint with your presence and I actually feel as though you reached through the data stream and somehow stole valuable IQ points from my head. I would like to think you are making good use of them, but seeing as though you are still dumb as shit I don't think you are.

Please, do humanity a favor and shoot yourself in the balls. I don't think any of us here want you to be breeding.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 21:50

38. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


I can tether all I want on Sprint and would not get my hand slapped.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 02:34

43. DOGIEFRESH (Posts: 302; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)


I meant don't be cheap not do......sorry misspelled but anyway some people got hurt yesssssss specially those who seem to be broke jejeje pay your bills cheap bastards......!!!!!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 13:58

19. bigb (unregistered)


all i gotta say is i DEFINITELY agree with DOGIEFRESH!!!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 15:03 1

20. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


Good luck with AT&T everyone!

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 15:14 1

23. downphoenix (Posts: 2358; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Hopefully this leads to all the illegal tetherers to leave AT&T for a better carrier.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 16:07 1

26. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


This is no big deal - you guys need to stop crying...look at the screen shot provided - it is obviously regarding iphone users - I have a wi-fi tethering on my captivate and have never received a warning....so, if you are an AT&T iphone user switch to ANDROID....or STFU.
Seriously, AT&T has let it be known what it charges for data - if you are a subscriber that does not like it, then LEAVE!!! More bandwidth for me. All major carriers will do this someday, and now we are seeing DSL and cable internet with data caps in a few months. Get used to it folks...you can always move to another country :-)

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 09:49

45. kcombs (Posts: 248; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)


you will, this is for all smart phone users not just iPhone.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 16:09 1

27. BaiGanyo (Posts: 308; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


This is a shot in the dark. They can't tell who is tethering, they are just throwing this out there to scare people and collect a month of extra charges before people drop them. They'll just make their customers madder than they already are...

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 16:15 1

28. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Well, they can tell when and if they implement the software to do so - right now if you place a sim card in a smartphone, you get a warning and are zapped with a 25.00 data feature. This newest campaign is aimed at IPHONErs and that makes sense as AT&T has tons of them. It may be more difficult for them to track ANDROID users, like moi, doing this as ANDROID phones are made by everyone and are all a little different - could be an advantage for GOOGLE.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 17:20 1

29. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


Classic response with "moi" comment but seriously this is a iPhone issue. ATT had a right to do this but as I stated, they better damn well be sure that its not just the phone constantly updating.(see wp7)

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 19:58

35. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


yeah, first time I used that word, too :-)

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 19:18

31. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)


why can't they tell who is using it? if data traffic is coming thru their network it should be traceable i would think.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 19:57

34. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


There has to be certain monitoring programs setup to do this, so at some point it will be done - every phone has a signature left behind.....

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 20:25 2

36. BigRed (unregistered)


Stealing is stealing. It is funny how folks can say, in the same sentence, that ATT is stupid for making a move to improve their network, and complain that ATT's network sucks. Here is an insane thing to absorb... VZW already has plans in place to follow ATT's lead. Capping data, messages to data hogs, no more unlimited data, tiered data, speed and bucket data plans, capping home fios speeds, etc. Can show you the documents. Us and ATT are identical. I have worked for both. And by this time next year both companies will be running identical data networks. With identical coverage. Anyone sticking up for and defending either makes me laugh. They both enjoy your loyalty and your money. And while you argue on blogs which one is better, they are laughing all the way to the bank. And their bank is in Switzerland.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 21:30

37. downphoenix (Posts: 2358; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Well put. Only way anything's gonna change is switching to a smaller carrier. Of course if they get big enough they may just resort to more of the same.

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 21:54

39. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


you're right it is partisan, but I will always back the value regardless what carrier offers it. Right now that is Sprint where they offer true unlimited plans [for a '4g' phone or a 3G phone with $10 smartphone rider] and offer itcheaper than the others offer thier limited plans.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 10:40 1

46. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Dude, you are absolutely correct - I hear both customers complain about the same stuff - expensive, bad coverage, rude service - they might as well be the same company....

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 23:16

41. koreampuff (unregistered)


lol.. honestly... just one word... crappy network or not....


BUSTED :P

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 10:41

47. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


If you run an ANDROID phone you will be able to 'steal' data a little longer more.....lol

posted on 20 Mar 2011, 03:32

50. O.G (unregistered)


40. pickles posted on yesterday, 22:28 2
but BOB! i'm already paying for my data! i should be able to use my data however I want! at&T cant tell me what to do with MY DATA!

I agreed with this guy. You are paying for data and the only difference i see its you browsing the internet on a bigger screen.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 07:52

51. SoCalAdam (Posts: 10; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Hey AT&T,

Maybe you should look up the term "Unlimited"...

Unlimited, as defined by the Mirriam Webster Dictionary:

1: lacking any controls : unrestricted
2: boundless, infinite
3: not bounded by exceptions : undefined


Which means when I signed my original 2 year contract, I did so with the understanding that "unlimited" data was just that.

If ATT is promoting their plan as unlimited and capping data at XXGB, then they are promoting false advertising. This false advertising could be considered "Bait and Switch" tactics.

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