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AT&T: iPhone Tethering in the Works

Apple announced that iPhone Software 3.0 will support tethering, but the list of partners supporting that feature didn't include AT&T. Despite their absence from the list, the cell carrier says it does plan supporting iPhone tethering, but isn't offering a time frame yet.

AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel told TMO "We will be offering tethering, but I can't give you a time frame." He added "We are committed to offering tethering."

AT&T typically offers tethering, or sharing your smart phone's data connection with your computer, as an add-on package. The company's iPhone plans, however, haven't been set in stone yet. "Typically we would have tethering as a separate data plan," Mr. Siegel said. " But we have not made a final decision on plans or pricing."

The company won't be offing MMS, or multimedia messaging, on June 17 when iPhone Software 3.0 launches, either. According to Mr. Siegel, AT&T hasn't decided yet how to handle MMS on the iPhone. The Boy Genius Report, however, claims it received information that AT&T has to manually remove the "Opt Out MMS code" on each iPhone user's account.

Since AT&T hasn't decided how it wants to handle iPhone tethering and SMS, users will be left waiting while the company sorts out the issues. Considering that cell carriers tend to charge extra for features like tethering, it's likely that AT&T customers can expect to do the same.

7 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Tiger said:

I can sort of understand charging a premium for tethering, it is afterall enabling a device that will put serious demands on the network bandwidth.

But MMS? Give me a break. My previous data plan with AT&T for a Samsung phone gave me MMS as part of the package.

And it’s not like AT&T didn’t know this was coming. They could have dealt with these issues long before today. But the hold out is to attempt to gain leverage on Apple to keep the contract exclusive….and I think it’s going to backfire miserably for AT&T.


Lee Dronick said:

I wonder if those of us who have DSL with AT&T will get free tethering. As part of my DSL service they already give me WiFi at their hotspots, I used that a lot while on my road trip last week.


Tiger said:

How hard could it be for Apple to include in a firmware upgrade the removal of the Opt out MMS code? AT&T says they have to manually do it on each phone? REALLY? Considering what they can already do to track stolen phones, brick jailbroken ones, etc., they have to manually remove this line of code? I’m not buying it. The line that is. I already have the iPhone and am waiting for OS 3.0


DanielDecker said:

I would wager the Opt Out code is in your account database record, not on the phone itself. Still, how hard is it to write an efficient SQL statement to dig that out?


vasic said:

There is absolutely NO reasonable justification for extra charge for tethering the iPhone to a laptop. The actual data volume is practically the same. iPhone accesses the same web sites, same YouTube, same e-mail as a laptop. The amount of web surfing, e-mailing and YouTubing on the iPhone is no different than on a laptop.

This is just a highway robbery charge for a convenience of having this feature. And since you’re locked in, you have no choice but pay for it if you need it.

Let’s see how greedy they will be about this.


Tiger said:

vasic, that’s not necessarily true.

People who tether back to the computer are more than able (and likely) to download MUCH larger files (i.e. movies) to the computer to watch, not to mention more robust games, and attached files for work.

Though I still don’t get tethering. If you want that ability, get a card for it. You make your cell phone unusable for voice if you have it tied to your PC or Mac. Kind of defeats the purpose if you think about it.


gopher said:

>You make your cell phone unusable for voice if you have it tied to your PC or Mac

Not if you have enough bandwidth.  DSL isn’t unusable for voice.  No reason for tethering to be unusable.


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