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AT&T gets serious about illegal tethering, will move rogue users to an official plan automatically

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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AT&T gets serious about illegal tethering, will move rogue users to an official plan automatically
We wrote back in March that AT&T is sending warning messages to covert tetherers with jailbroken iPhones, using apps like MyWi to share their wireless Internet connection and use the phones as hotspots. We also wrote that you can avoid being tracked with apps, which, however, don't come free.

Now it seems to be too late for those caught in the MyWi act, as an AT&T spokesperson commented:

"Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan.  Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers.  (This impacts a only small percentage of our smartphone customer base.)

The letters outline three choices:

1) Stop tethering and keep their current plan (including grandfathered unlimited plan)

2) Proactively call AT&T or visit our stores and move to the required tethering plan

3) Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the dated noted in their customer notification"

The problem is that many users on grandathered unlimited data plans are using jailbroken iPhones and tethering data across the board as if this was their cable Internet connection. If you read our article about smartphones and data, you'd see that carriers are reaching a tipping point with their capacity to serve so many ones and zeros, so they are tiering data, and exploring every option to limit consumption, including caps for the heaviest users on AT&T after October 1st.

All in all, if you keep on tethering and are not on a suitable plan, you will be moved to one automatically after the date AT&T will send you. The rumors have been for August 11th as cutoff date, but that hasn't been confirmed by the carrier.

via 9to5Mac

31 Comments
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posted on 05 Aug 2011, 03:48 6

1. monstermash123 (unregistered)


ATT is looking to be, "fair"? Really? then stop charging an arm and a leg for data and let people tether if they want without looking for every excuse to change their data plans. Also, why not charge a fair price for text messaging as well if you're looking to be, "fair." Eff Att.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 04:02 5

2. rabbit (unregistered)


I agree this why people jail break their phones to begin with

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 06:09 4

4. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1650; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


too hack and free our phones!!! Oh and too tether our paid Internet ;).
Lol

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 05:14 7

3. PhoneLuver (Posts: 463; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)


I think the U.S. is the only country that has these ridiculous rules!

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 06:34

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Maybe.. but let me ask you - how much do you pay for megabyte of data if you go over your data plan's monthly quota?

We in Israel pay 5$. Thats 5$ PER MEGABYTE. That seems fair to you?

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 08:04

11. IhaveATTplan (unregistered)


We in Israel pay 5$. Thats 5$ PER MEGABYTE.
That is outrageous!!!
that is 100 mb over = 100x5=$500 is crazy....

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 09:00

13. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Exactly.. I got 23MB over quota last month.. payed 280NIS - and that was cheaper than the usual rate b\c I'm a student.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 10:39

19. PhoneLuver (Posts: 463; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)


We pay $0.17 per MB for out of bundle usage.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 06:42 2

6. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


AT&T Unlimited Data Plan and unlimited tethering is 1 Data Plan because cell phone screen is too small to watch a movie or to see larger letters on full screen so we are tethering to a laptop with larger screen and easy for eyes. People can sue AT&T for banned free tethering to a laptop when your eyes getting blurry and needed eye glasses from a cell phone screen. People pay for Unlimited data plan because we wanted unlimited of everything data now AT&T said no tethering because AT&T wanted make more money from nothing. AT&T crazy ideas is chasing away new customers.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 09:08 2

14. Geeksarebest (Posts: 34; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)


The unlimited data was *never* unlimited tethering. In fact, outside of jailbreaking your phone, up till iOS 4 something came out you couldn't even tether with an iPhone in any official capacity.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 07:13 3

7. dude (unregistered)


Everyone is making it seem like it's AT&T's fault, but it's not. I mean come on people look at Verizon or any other company they all charge you money for tethering. If you use your phone for tethering then don't be a cheap ass and get the tethering plan if not then just get the regular data plan and quit whining.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 09:41 4

17. quakan (Posts: 1140; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


It's not about being a cheap ass, it's about people feeling nickel and dimed by the phone companies. We need more phone companies in America instead of a soon to be Big Three. The more competition there is, it'll force the companies to lower prices and make more affordable plans. The consumers win in a competitive market.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 07:48 2

8. thieves unite!! (unregistered)


I say rob these crooked mf ' er's blind!! they have been screwing us for years and are now gobbling up the competition to screw you even harder and faster...shaking every last nickel and dime out of your wallets!!! we need to stand up against these corrupt ass companies!!!!

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 08:01 2

9. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


I am a huge "you cannot abuse unlimited" supporter. Tethering is one of the exceptions because I can sort of see the thought they were thinking of phone use only. Honestly I am sort of on the fence because the same data could be consumed on a phone as well.

For unlimited plans, I support their actions. They should tell these people to tether just get a tiered plan. I see the sense (charging a tether fee) for "unlimited" plans to cover costs for what probably would be higher usage.

The idea of charging for tether on a tiered plan is dubious. It makes NO difference if the amount of data is used in 3 or 30 days.

All the carriers are doing this, they are hedging their bets and maneuvering to make more money in what I think is at least and sneaky way. They say "
abusers" is what is causing this, that tiered service will be fair, yet they STILL put limitations on how you can use your FINITE bandwidth you pay for.

The sad part is the normal consumer doesn't pay attention enough and will let it happen.

They can do what they want, charge what they want. It will just cost them money from me. I will not enable internet on the 3 other lines I have, or get a 3/4G enabled tablet, until I can buy a reasonable data plan for them all.

I will NOT buy $30 2GB plans for 5-6 devices when even by their own statistics each device will only average 1/2 GB a month.

The tiered plans were to limit high usage or at least have those people pay for the data they use. What about the people that DON'T, apparently its NOT ok for customers to abuse "unlimited" but its just fine for carriers to abuse "Tiered" service.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 09:11 1

15. Geeksarebest (Posts: 34; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)


The real reason that they're grinding down on this is that the majority of the abusers are using anywhere from 50-100gigs of data a month. Using a laptop or computer vs a phone *is* a difference because a full web page will take more data to view on a laptop vs a phone.

Same thing for games and just about any other data use. Phones cut out certain parts of certain features to cut down on strain, laptops and computers don't really have to so don't.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 09:53 2

18. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


As I said... for "unlimited" plans sure I can buy it... but tiered plans... what is the argument there?

Isn't the point with tiered that they will pay for 50-100gigs? If they are whats the big deal... more money to upgrade their infrastructure.

Also android phones have the option to always use desktop version of webpages... they essentially are downloading the same stuff.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 08:03

10. IhaveATTplan (unregistered)


We in Israel pay 5$. Thats 5$ PER MEGABYTE.
That is outrageous!!!
that is 100 mb over = 100x5=$500 is crazy....

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 08:40

12. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


Here I was going to say omg that is pricey... Then I figured out you were talking about overage charges.

The one thing I can say about the US plans is that the overage charges are pretty reasonable. That is a good thing, but I would not personally be against higher overages (unless they didn't notify you when at 90% or going over, which they do, another good thing.). That is the cost of not planning your needs properly.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 09:23 5

16. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I agree that tethering on unlimited is abusing because you can use way more data on a pc then a phone. I also agree on tiered plans you should not have to pay extra just for the ability to tether. As long as you're paying for your data allowance it shouldn't matter how you use it.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 12:52 1

21. Ted Annis (unregistered)


Considering you usually have nothing intelligent to say, your statement holds no water.

Plus, it's contradictory.

Isn't there an iPhone somewhere that you should be shinning?

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 13:06 1

23. jcoberg10 (Posts: 110; Member since: 30 Oct 2009)


I rarely agree with what taco is saying however in this case he is absolutley correct. Cell companies want to have their cake and eat it too. doesn't work that way.(unless you got the market cornered in a duopoly of ATT& VZW) If i'm paying for a set amount of data i should be able to use it how I Choose. If I'm given Unlimited data, there is more potential abuse, so they have the right to control that abuse by charging for tethering.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 20:48

27. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


I don't agree with Taco on this but your the only one that looked ignorant.


PS. I downranked you.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 12:36

20. someguy (unregistered)


I have a grandfathered unlimited plan that I wanted to add tethering to, So I called ATT and they told me to add tethering I will have to change to a different data plan that gives you a total of 5GB of usage between regular and tethering. So again even if we want to do things "legally" they have other ways around it so they will always win and we always lose. So naturally I said NO thank you I'd rather keep my unlimited plan

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 12:58

22. Ted Annis (unregistered)


AT&T are slime buckets, so are 90% of their employees.

Verizon is and has gotten worse in the last year.

T-Mobile will throttle you in the meantime until AT&T fully prostitutes them.

Right now, Sprint is the only HONEST option, but they don't work well where I'm at.

Brutal.

Too bad greed destroyed everything in America, especially the wireless industry.

posted on 07 Aug 2011, 12:50

29. Phoneguy007 (Posts: 218; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)


sprint honest ....really!

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 14:14

24. Chad (unregistered)


How is cracked tethering NOT theft? You signed an agreement that states what and how you can use your allowed data.

My guess is that most of you steal songs and software as well.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 15:00 2

25. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


Honestly I hate that type of attitude. Everyone steals to some degree. The black and white attitude sickens me.

If you are in the US and order virtually anything on the internet tax free... you owe taxes to the state. I doubt you report it... Thus you steal.

I have no freaking problem "stealing" some tether time. Sure I would feel bad if my usage was insane. But it isn't, and they are unreasonable, so I don't really care.

posted on 07 Aug 2011, 15:09

31. idiot (unregistered)


You might want to learn about the tax system before you continue to sound dumb.

You don't owe taxes if you buy things on the internet. That is based on the State you live in. Why do you think all the states are trying to tax all internet purchases????? Maybe because they don't get anything from it???

I bet you don't even know why you pay tax at Bestbuy.com and not Ebay.

posted on 05 Aug 2011, 18:43

26. Moimalo (Posts: 11; Member since: 26 Apr 2011)


Sprint may not be the biggest but it shure is the best with real unlimited data plans.

posted on 07 Aug 2011, 13:20

30. Phoneguy007 (Posts: 218; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)


Your right about that but, Im sure they will eventually go up in price or follow the other companies with tired plans or throttled data.

posted on 06 Aug 2011, 11:14

28. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


The scary thing is, knowing they'll force users to tiered plans. What's to stop them from switching all unlimited data users regardless if they tether or not?

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