UPDATED: AT&T cracking down on jailbroken MyWi users?

Some AT&T iPhone users, Jailbroken and tethering via MyWi, are getting text messages and e-mails from AT&T that imply they know they are tethering even though they aren't on an official tethering plan. One of our own writers, Andrew was one of those who received the message.

I use MyWi to tether as well but have not received anything yet. (I actually was just tethering today.) I'm not sure how they are detecting MyWi users but I can make some educated guesses.

  1. Since AT&T offers Personal Hotspot under iOS 4.3, they may have access to data they didn't before, and they're choosing to use it in a pretty crappy way. So if you're on iOS 4.2.1 still (almost all jailbreakers are) and they see you're generating traffic that looks like Personal Hotspot, they know you're doing so without a plan.
  2. Like Chris says below, browsers use the wap APN. Tethering uses the ISP APN. As such, larger data is expected through ISP not through WAP. So if AT&T sees a lot of WAP data it may raise a flag.
  3. As several people say in the comments and Twitter, if AT&T sees a TTL reduction that suggests a device like a laptop or iPad in between the connection, it may raise a flag.
  4. They're just going after heavy data users again and trying to bluff them into switching to a tethering plan and losing their unlimited data. Andrew tethers a heck of a lot more than me. I only consume a fraction of what he does. So that's a viable answer too.

Originally Jailbreakers used MyWi because AT&T took a year longer to offer iPhone tethering than international carriers. Since then they've used it to get around AT&T's ridiculous fees for tethering. (Tethering is free on some international carriers as well.)

Hit the jump to read the e-mail AT&T has been sending out as well as to let us know what you think! Anyone else been getting messages from AT&T? Anyone on iOS 4.3 using official Personal Hotspot? Any PDANet users?

UPDATED: AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom told Phone Scoop:

[ModMyi Forums and Phone Scoop]

Dear [Customer],

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 Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans - Wireless from AT&T, 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.
Here are details on the plan:

DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
• $45 per month (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
• $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
• Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones

If we don't hear from you, we'll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB afterMarch 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.

It's easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan's threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go towww.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage.

As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.

Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.



Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 216 comments. Add yours.

Mike says:

We'll see if I get this one- 16 days into the billing cycle and roughly 3.6GB used

Vic says:


pobregizmo says:

I love a few things here:
1. "it's easy to track..." seems like a few words to scare people, then it backs off and talks abou usage...

  1. "our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge...at home" I think that's either misleading, or I need to start sending AT&T my Comcast bills so they can "include" that in my service.
MG says:

Why do you say AT&T is using information in a crappy way whey they ask you to pay for something. Try going to MACYS and walk out with a item without paying, if they catch you, they will not tell you "please pay for your item". They will call the Police and put your ASS in jail. I am tired that my internet speeds are slow when I want to check my email because some A@@HOLE is using mifi and streaming a movie on the same tower i am. I hope ATT cracks down and throw your jerks off their network.

BLiNK says:

Yeah! get 'em!! .... wait...

Altimate31 says:

Guess what? If you tether, whether you buy that feature specifically or not, you are not stealing. If you have 2Gb/month, 4Gb/month, or unlimited data then that's what you have. It does not matter how you use your data, and AT&T should not care. If they're having trouble keeping their network running optimally then the problem is not on the consumer, it is on the provider.
AT&T indirectly admitted that it was wrong to charge extra for just tethering by switching tethered plans to include increased data caps (originally the tethered plans just charged more for tethering rather than including a higher data cap).
So, my prediction is that AT&T is going to lose BIG if they try to pursue this. If they change people's plans without the plan owners consent then there will be a lot of contracts dropped. I hope people know that if they do change your plan on you without your consent that you can drop the contract immediately, no penalty, and switch to another provider. This activity is also only going to encourage net neutrality . . . AT&T doesn't want the government enforcing that so they better just adopt it on their own if they don't want more regulation.
Also, from what I understand, AT&T doesn't know how your data is being used anyway. Also, does that packet argument hold up for people connected to a VPN? I sincerely believe they're only looking at data usage for this. I also believe this is just an excuse for AT&T to purge a few more unlimited plans too. Jackasses.

djmannyd says:

Just go to Verizon like I did. No issues so far......I have the UNLIMITED package and tethered about 6gb my first month with MyWi..

Sly says:

I agree with the first that companies can't be trusted to make the necessary investments to give their customers service they are entitled to as for what and how they know well you should know that corporate citizens trumps flesh and blood citizens rights every time. Live with it you and or others voted for it.

slalomskie says:

ATT rules are up front, you get data from your phone, you don't get tethering unless you pay for it. If you jail break to tether it's stealing. If Macy's sells a shirt and requires you to pay for the buttons but Sears sells you shirts with buttons included you cannot take the shirt from Macy's without paying for the buttons and argue the other store has it included, it would be stealing.
Just because you don't like or agree with their plan doesn't make it right to steal from them.

wbeem says:

NOTHING is being stolen from AT&T. You have to pay for the bits whether they originate from your iPhone or from tethering it to your computer.

Chase says:

No it's not stealing. If a person has unlimited data (like me) then you can use it any way you please. Just because it's tethering doesn't change the fact that you are using data. Also, to another person that said something about Macy's, basically if a person is tethering, it won't slow you down. Even if they buy it.

Faslane says:

NOTHING is being stolen, you are going to get the data regardless of tethering or using you plan.
If anyone is stealing it's the carrier's themselves for adding a paid feature to my plan without my approval regardless of my breaking a rule or not they have to inform me of the change or they are in breach of agreement.

totalimmortal363 says:

Uhhh no you cant. It's in your contract that we reserve the right to change the terms of your agreement at anytime. It's called a TOS violation, you do it and we change your plan, you're still held to your contract. PLEASE understand how a cell phone contract works before you comment on how one works. Ok?

Faslane says:

So you obviously qwork for ATT then right? Because you used a LOT of "We's when referring to AT&T. ;-) Get It?

t.J.c. says:

Actually it's like going into Macy's, purchasing a shirt and then being told you can't leave the store with said shirt unless you also purchase a special Macy's shopping bag to carry it in...

robes1 says:

YHow dare you talk to us that way?! You sweat from a monkeys nuts! Do you not see what they do to us?! That includes you! They charge you for all kinds of invisible/made up crap! They make you get a data plan but wait! You can't use that data like that! What if I told you that you could pay for groceries and cook them but you can't eat them. What if they added that to the fine print at the grocery store?! What if you had to pay a separate fee to connect a fork to your mouth with the food on it?! Is that any different from telling me that I MUST pay for data but I can't use that data with my computer? I have to pay them again to use it the way that I want!

Wierdninja says:

Best answer I ever read. Absolutely right.

slalomskie says:

"! They charge you for all kinds of invisible/made up crap! "
Just like the Water company, The Gas company and the Landline phone company.
Water and Gas charge you a monthly fee for the regulator / Meter. This device is only used to monitor how much you use but yet we have to pay for it.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

This is a completely different situation.
If you want cable Internet, do you not have to buy or rent a modem? If you want to have electricity, you have to pay to run the wiring. If you want gas and electric, the original owner of the property must purchase meters. Most utilities do not pass that fee to the customer. Most of the fees you see on a utility bill are transportation fees that are passed on from respective pipelines. Based on a price from the source through the pipeline to the city gate. Then your utility charges you delivery fees from the city gate to your burner tip.
(oh, I work in the natural gas industry :p)

MG says:

You are just an angry idiot. Chill out dude, its just a iphone and its just 20 bucks. I understand that you might not be able to afford 20 bucks, just dont use that feature. Cheers..

slumptin says:

Robes is SO right and hits the perfect tone. This conversation should have ended right here.

Bill says:

guys and girls, MG works for at$t. can't you tell? haha

wbeem says:

Bits are bits. The people who are tethering their iPhone have already paid for a data plan. AT&T is imposing an additional fee to enable a feature. It's a rip-off. If you need more bandwidth capacity, you have to pay for that, so your analogy of walking out of a store with a stolen shirt is not applicable to this case. It's more like the store is charging you extra if you decide to put the shirt on your dog.

Ron says:

And let me guess you've never driven above the speed limit, or rolled through a stop sign late at night, stop whining, stop using e-mail and go back to the old system of stamps and and the mailbox.

djguerrilla says:

From Reditt via modmyi
Originally Posted by byu146
For all you wondering how they can tell:
All IP packets have something called a TTL associated with them. It stands for Time To Live. Every "hop" along the network from one router to the next reduces the TTL by one. When it reaches 0, the packet is dropped. This was introduced to keep routing problems from overloading the network. If for example, by some error a packet was going around in a circular path, the TTL would eventually reach 0 and prevent a packet storm.
The thing is, ALL routing devices do this. OSes use standard TTLs. For example, let's say both your iPhone and laptop use 127 for the TTL. AT&T will receive packets from your iPhone with a TTL of 127, but since the packets from your laptop pass through your iPhone first, they arrive at AT&T with a TTL of 126. They can detect a tethered device this way.
EDIT: Some people below have suggested changing the default TTL of their tethered device (which is possible). I would just like to point out that the max TTL allowed is 255, and if the iPhone uses 255 as its default TTL, well there's no way you can set it to 256.

kirbini says:

@djguerrilla: ^^^ Proof that a little knowledge is dangerous.

Derrick says:

I've used 50 gigs for the past 6 months and already 15gigs 10 days into this cycle.
I believe they are trying to target heavy users. I genuinely used 40 gigs one month just using the netflix iPhone app so that's what I'll tell them

David says:

It's not a firmware thing. I got one today and I'm using 3.1.3 on an iPhone 3G.

Frank says:

I got that message this afternoon. My billing cycle ends on 3/24 and Im at 8GB right now. I think Renee is right and they are going after the heavy users and like he said, Im on Netflix 24/7

Shaun says:

Wow you guys get ripped haha I get free tethering on my carrier in australia.. Weird the states has more users yet u still have to pay. Does AT&T supply lube or just screw you all to quickly

Bill says:

Shaun, that would be a yes, and a yes, to your questions.

che says:

Att wants more money again.

websyndicate says:

I once hit 6gbs in a month and i thought it was a lot. I don't need tethering much now but I don't want to loose my unlimited.

Chris Parsons says:

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. AT&T has always had the ability to track your usage and tethering w/o a data plan. Just now that the hotspot feature is included, they’ll crack down on it for a bit until they sucker some folks in and roll some more cash out of you. A plausible explanation works like this:
ATT makes use of two APN options. isp.cingular and wap.cingular
Think of these as pipes..or tunnels. The wap.cingular APN is reserved for smaller bits of traffic. While the isp.cingular APN is for bigger bits of traffic. If you do not have a tethering service, you cannot access the isp.cingular APN. A SOC on the account allows access.. No SOC, no access.
That means, anyone using other methods of tethering are using the wap.cingular APN and large portions of data are being pushed through what is supposed to be for smaller portions of data. Given that larger portions of data are now being seen on the account with no tethering they automatically know something is up, and as such trigger off the alerts.
Granted, things could have changed recently but this is how it’s been since devices started being able to be tethered. They do IMEI sweeps and billing data sweeps and pull out those that are sticking out like a sore thumb. After a while, the sweeps get costly and they stop for a few more months.
Does no one remember the previous AT&T letters advising folks to use WiFi? Yeah, they knew what you were doing then too

Elijah says:

I got the text but no email...... Yet. Been using MyWi since it first came out and cost $5, and had unlimited data since the first iPhone. Never been charged anything extra, but I guess we'll see now. Don't remember getting any texts or emails before this.

BrianTufo says:

I use APN edits/hacks to tether my Atrix now and have plenty of wap.cingular addresses showing on my bill but no letter or email. I'm not too worried about AT&T at this point.

NaplesiPad says:

Don't like it? Its simple, drop AT&T.

muckdog says:

I use mywi infrequently, but the unlimited iPhone data plan is what keeps me at ATT.
If ATT eliminates my unlimited data, then I eliminate ATT and go somewhere else. It's just that simple.
And I do realize that the unlimited data era is ending, anyway. ATT is even going to start limiting U-verse members soon.
you have to wonder if the DVD industry is trying to do this. Limiting data will kill streaming video.

Jebadoa says:

Have any of you gotten emails/texts but don't ever tether?

mikey says:

nope. no emails no texts. however i just try not to go over 2gb total. if i need to do heavy downloading i just find wifi. downloading over 3g is just too slow anyway. mostly i just use it for checking bank, transferring money, email, facebook, sometimes world of warcraft but the ping is horrible most times. im not on it longer then half an hour.

RobCal says:

Eff it.. I'll tell them chumps to prove it, or good day sir!

jason says:

haha just tell them you use the phone alot. you pay for unlimited, who cares lol

Grifftology says:

Here's a quality question. say you get a txt, i havent yet, and you definately dont want them putting your onto a plan. so you call but what do you tell them? "UM NO SORRY, I DONT WANT THAT. LICK ME. GOODDAY. ...click" ?...i've seen explinations of what you were doing with so much data but if they chest up, what are you supposed to say? NO and hang up is my guess. telemarketer style.

nDuBeu says:

I use the Hotspot feature with AT&T and love it. I only use it for my iPad and it works great other than now I can't go a day and a half on my iPhones battery. I cut my sisters and girlfriends data plans down from the unlimited (they use less than 1gb the past year) and added hotspot to mine so I'm really not paying any extra! Very simple to turn on and use, you can also add it and take it off your plan at anytime!

wdiggums says:

yea if they make changes to your contract you can void it . verizon will be doing the same too soon count on it.

EagleyeSmith says:

Never been a big fan of MiWi. I use TetherMe (enables native tethering) I can't wait for iOS 4.3 jailbreak for the iPhone 4. Next to BiteSMS, I will be installing TetherMe. Hotspot, Bluetooth, USB tethering, only $2. I'll Take It!

Crypton says:

Haven't read all comments, but did anyone think about traffic analysis?
If you're on a mobile device your web-browser is sending out its "name", most websites do offer different sites for mobile and "full" Internet access.
Just analyzing data traffic may show an internet data provider whether someone is tethering or not.

Stephen says:

Exactly what I was thinking. I used 14gb so far this cycle. I was in hospital watching Netflix through xbox and playing COD. They have to know that a mobile phone has no need to connect to xbox servers.

Fred nerk says:

I was going to JB just for mywi but here in Aus I get personal hotspot for nothing so no longer need to ( yet as I may still find a need to JB )
If they do figure it from the TTL as has been suggested then can the MyWi guy patch his program to reset the TTL?

CristianTM says:

I don't understand WHY 4.3 will avoid AT&T from detecting. Once you are on AT&T, they still will have 3 kinds of trafic:
1 - Normal traffic, from people using only Mobile Web
2 - High traffic, without tethering (they know when you are using it, since they can charge you for it)
3 - High traffic, with tethering (they know when you are NOT using it, but they can't differenciate it except by the traffic type, like now on 4.2.1)
So... what's the difference? Is just like now! The 4.2.1 x 4.3 assumptions are all wrong.
Well.... I'm happy I'm in Brazil and I've already tested and they are not detecting even the iPhone tethering.

Johnnyreb09 says:

Back in 07 when iPhone was released, usage and data contracts where identical across the board. Even for the half dozen or so smart phones that could tether. The contract that was signed then had no stipulations, NONE! So the only way for it to have changed is to signed a new one. Capped data to save a buck ringing a bell, or breach of contract on AT&T's behalf.
Former (Cingular)AT&T employee

Johnnyreb09 says:

If you still think your right, prove it!

Johnnyreb09 says:

One last thing. It's very prejudice to talk about people's income. You have no idea about my or anyone else's income nor if we inherited tons of money. If you have to rant and rave like that, keep it off public sites and start your own blog. Then you can have your own followers and you can write all the blissfully ignorant things you want (without research).

emtp563 says:

I signed my contract for the iPhone 1 back in '07 and have never signed a new one since then. I wonder if that's why I have not gotten a text.

Johnnyreb09 says:

I really don't think so. We are mad because we have unlimited data and AT&T is trying to make us change that. Your unlimited data plan was developed for folks like us who consume move than the average. There was no stipulations on how you could use it until about the time iOS 3.0 enabled it for iPhone. Think about it. Now smart phones in general are very popular. Everybody has them and uses data. Thus bigger strain on thier network and a huge margin for profiet. Our original contracts should not be changed without consent. AT&T can try anything to make you switch but forcing you (like the email from this article) to is illegal.

jay eazy says:

yupp so tru and a huge lawsuit to win is awarded to you

Brian says:

30 bucks for unlimited. 45 bucks for 4 gb. I don't mind paying more to tether however I don't like the limit. I love sprints commercial with the mention of metering. Att and verizon are going to do this even with lte. Even with a so called advanced 4g network. Tmobile throttles speeds at a certain point. The problem with sprint is wimax does not travel well.

jjb70 says:

I've never read "I hope you get crabs, you idiot!" as a discussion response. I think I peed my pants a little from laughing so hard. Good stuff today. Gold.

Guy says:

Why not just run traffic through a VPN? There are security services out there that offer VPN service for frequent travelers to protect their data from public wifi and the such.
With your data encrypted and encapsulated, the carrier has no way to probe the tunnel or analyze traffic.
There are services the offer free VPN for limited data or more for a monthly fee, but surely not $45 a month.

David says:

I think it would be easy to detect by just looking for flash files among all the files sent over http. If you're tethering, there's a good chance you'll browse to a page that has flash of some sort. Since the iPhone doesn't support Flash, anyone whose traffic includes Flash files must be tethering. Right?

Stephen says:

No, I watch flash video on skyfire browser. That is an app store app.

Ashyukun says:

Actually, you're not actually watching the flash files- you're watching iOS native video files that SkyFire has converted from the original Flash files.
You'd only have native flash files coming down if a) you were tethering or b) you were downloading them to store on the device using a browser/app that will download such files.

Zudy says:

Wow I would hate to see all you people have to pay for something that you use, If you take something like this what else do you do. Pay up Humps like the rest of us if you want the service.

Edward says:

This is a "scare tactic" people. Don't give into them as they only want to scare you into calling them and signing up for a tethering plan out of guilt. I say F@&K UM IN THE EAR!!!!

CellPhoneJedi says:

And you wonder why companies are charging more for their services?

Edward says:

And you wonder why they're richer than God.

beaub says:

Nice, so let them automatically subscribe you, then you can get out of your contract without penalty as they'll have unilaterally changed the the terms.
Might have to amp up the MyWi usage at end of May/June so I can be on target to switch to Verizon with the iPhone 5!
Has anyone got this text/email that truly doesn't use MyWi? Even better, isn't even jailbroken?

Ratsttam says:

I thought it was rather funny that I got this text from AT&T. Especially since I'm on Sprint (and have been for YEARS!). Although granted, I do connect the iPhone 3g my cousin gave me through the tether on my other phone. But in this case, the Iphone is what is tethered to a hacked up device, rather than acting as the gateway.
This isn't the first time I've gotten a wrong text from a carrier. I got a notification that I was almost out of minutes with my Verizon Prepaid phone (sent to my sprint phone on contract)...
While I DO NOT agree with what they are doing, the TOS does state that tethering isn't covered under the unlimited data plan.
To everyone saying it's an easy out if they change it, good luck with that. The contract is only breached if they change the base, not an ADDON, such as a data plan. Your contract is for XX Minutes for $XX/mo, you ADDED your data and text plans on top of that (Even if they are mandatory with certain phones). Now if they turn around and say they are taking away 100min a month from your plan, than they are breaching your contract, and you are free to walk away. AT&T adding the tethering plan is no different than those that got iPhones, and they arbitrarily added the iphone data plan to your account.

Mike says:

I don't know about anyone else, but the data plan is PART of the base plan. with an iPhone, I can't opt out of the data plan. I MUST get it. So it is part of the base plan. Sorry.

chirmer says:

No, not true. It's a matter of definition. Just because you need something for the phone you chose doesn't make it part of the base plan. The base plan is what you have to have no matter what phone you choose. The data plan IS an addon, even though it is required for the iPhone.

Manuel says:

I guess its good to be a Verizon iPhone owner today. I'm sure they will start as well, but I would call them, tell them you got a weird text / email and advise them that you did no such thing. When they ask why your gig ratio is so high, tell them your using Netflix and Pandora and other high data eating plans.

CellPhoneJedi says:

Its just like getting free cable tv. Eventually its going to end and you will have to Belly-Up to the tethering bar and pay!!

wbeem says:

Not it's not. You've already PAID for a data plan. There's nothing free about it. AT&T is jacking you for $20 just to enable a feature so bits can flow from a different device over the SAME data plan that you bought.

Mephisto says:

No, you've paid to use a dataplan which allows you unlimited data on your phone, NOT tethered to another device.
It's in your Terms of Service and is quite clear and not difficult to understand, I'm amazed a lot of people on here can read the comments as they obviously struggle when reading the small print in their contract.

Johnnyreb09 says:

Like I said above, you can't prove your statement. Show the old unlimited plan holders the fine print!

Jason says:

Mephisto, Jeez dude what are you some kind of angel? Why are you crying about people not getting ripped off by using mywi or another jailbreak app? I have mywi, and use it once in a while. I also have internet at home which I use. Simply put i don't use tethering enough to lose my unlimited data plan and pay $20 for the feature. But i did, just to pi$$ you off, tether my iPad to my iPhone just to type this comment =}
Comment posted from my wifi iPad which is tethered to my iPhone via mywi
You sir, are the loser

fastlane says:

So much for the author's claims to remove inappropriate comments. I guess as long as they're not directed toward her, they're okay.
Maybe it's time to look elsewhere for iPhone and iPad news.

emtp563 says:

What are you, the inappropriate comment police?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Actually, I have a day job. What comment are you referring to? I have not been on here since I wrote it.
I do not have time to weed through them right now. Tell me which ones are an issue and I will lookt them over and remove anything offensive.

fastlane says:

I don't have time to weed though them either. I don't work for the site. I read at least ten to fifteen comments with insults and name-calling before my post.
It always seems they're removed only after someone complains. Unless that happens, it seems anything goes (unless, of course, a blogger is insulted). One can't mention a "volume kΩob" without the second word being censored, but people can freely call others morons, jerks, jackasses, idiots, and trolls?
It completely ruins what, otherwise, is a great site... and it wastes people's time who are here to exchange information with other mature adults.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I just went through a lot of them. I do not write every single post on this site. I also do not have endless amounts of time to weed through comments. Not just you, but anyone - if you see something you consider offensive in particular that one of us has not seen yet, shoot any one of us an email. We get those immediately and will be able to act on it quicker.
I browse comments as time allows. But some days are a lot more hectic than others. Bear with us. I'm not asking you to patrol. But if things get out of hand, email us a link and let us know. That's all I'm saying.

Bob says:

If these thieves TRULY believe in what they are doing, they are being dense. They cannot honestly believe that these ridiculous bandwidth usages are what companies intended to happen. I don't know what individual contracts stated, but who cares about all the nigglying details. Obviously streaming gigabytes of crap over a 3G cellular connection is not a good thing to do. If everyone did it, the network would halt. These guys are likely the same ones that cut in lines (whether it be at events or in traffic). They think it's OK to do since they believe the handful of people that do it aren't making a huge impact and are sticking it to the man. As a IT person, I can say that abusers of any systems DO wind up impacting the community as a whole and wind up wasting many resources (people and technology) to track down and rein in. The cell companies have a responsibility to their user base as a whole to provide a stable environment.
You guys can argue and make excuses all you want, but you ARE wrong. You will realize it one day.
I'm also disappointed that TiPb contributors are so blatantly supporting this abuse. I'd hope that the owners/editors would set some standards there.

chirmer says:

+1, man. Couldn't have said it better myself.
AT&T isn't doing this solely for money (though I'm sure it's a big part), but also to discourage some people from doing it. If thy had so many issues with just iPhones slowing down the network, how are they supposed to handle a majority of them ALSO tethering?? They'll collapse.

sting7k says:

Also agree, if it hurts my network experience AT&T can just cut their service off totally for all I care until they get it sorted out. All these people should read the contracts they signed.

Stephen says:

I use PDAnet and no text or e-mail. I wonder what they consider "high traffic" I'm at 14 gigs this month, ends 27th. It's not every month I go that high though, I usually use bout 2 to 4 gigs without tethering just with pandora and Netflix apps.

Sev says:

"As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan."
gotta love how they make it seem like they're giving you something by allowing you to use unlimited wifi for free...even though wifi has nothing to do with carriers or their data at all. if tethering charges weren't so ridiculous to begin with, especially for being capped at 4gb...TOTAL!!...people wouldn't need to use things like mywi.
maybe if they decided to change their pricing to a one time charge to enable tethering, the carriers might actually get that money they so desperately, apparently, need instead of those 3rd party app developers. another case of greed being counterproductive

sting7k says:

Just what is everyone doing using all these GB every month? Is streaming video over 3G that great and important? The quality is so poor...watching the NCAA tourny yesterday over WiFi at work with my iPhone was even too poor of quality to be worth it.
Stop hogging the data!

stop_takesometimetothink says:

I was reading on modmy some guy saying he used MyWi for his PS3, laptop, desktop etc in his apartment. He also said he used something like 40gb a month. I guess I could understand people using MyWi for occasional tethering because AT&T really didn't have a good solution. It is still breach of contract but so is ripping a DVD (which a ton of people do). But using it in your home instead of paying for an ISP is stealing from all of us and IMHO is not fair. Welcome ot the entitled society, so happy where this country is going.

nickpthemft says:

Fantastic. Yet another example of large corporations continuing to try to squeeze blood from a rock. I guess AT&T didn't get the memo about Verizon snagging the iPhone. Cue the mass exodus...now!

TumnusMr says:

How are Verizon's plans any better?

dloveprod says:

I like that new sprint commercial where he says his competitors need to look up what unlimited means in the dictionary lol.

dloveprod says:

First caps on home Internet service and now this, maybe they want to get rid of customer, luckily there are other Internet providers in my area, soon as they complain about my Netflix and hulu streaming I'll switch. I currently pay the extra 20 for tethering and I'm still using under a gig a month, I can only use one device at a time, when I get torwards the end of the cycle imma start streaming video til I almost hit my 4 gig allowance.

charlestonsc says:

Some people are "to stupid". Really? Dude, its too, not to. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Mephisto says:

So you are capable of reading then? Now go and check your ToS and come back to me...

Mephisto says:

Wow, so much anger. Yap yap yap...

Eric says:

Since AT&T is so worried about contract terms how about fixing the dropped calls they are notorious for.

andre says:

Paying for tethering is like double dipping your chicken wings in same bowl of ranch dressing. Its Gross and I cant wait to have my plan modified so I can jump ship to Verizon.

TumnusMr says:

It may suck but contactually people on unlimited plans (like myself) signed up for iPhone only data. We can argue all we want about how data is data, but ultimately AT&T is demanding a fee for a service and no one is entitled to use it for free. It's like buying a coach class plane ticket to anywhere in the world and then thinking it is perfectly acceptable to sit in 1st class.
Oh and Verizon are even worse IMHO. They also charge for tethering and you only get a 2GB data cap for tethering. At least AT&T allows you to use the whole 4GB for tethering.

Bob says:

That ticket analogy is perfect MrC. A great example of people that feel they can take advantage of a situation at the expense of others.

elijah says:

Keep it fair for all customers?, AT&T? How is charging someone with an UNLIMITED data plan for tethering fair? They must not know what that word means.

FLskydiver says:

Unlimited on your PHONE. Not unlimited on your phone, and simultaneously on your laptop, desktop, ps3, apple tv, xbox…
Rough day for Team Jailbreak.
Go Team Pure! Bummer for anyone who just recently bought miwi. Wonder if they'll offer refunds?
I applaud AT&T for this action (assuming it only affects legacy Unlimited customers). Personally, I figure if I am on the 2gb limited plan, they shouldn't care if I use miwi or not. In this case, I actually DID pay for the bits and tethering would only make me more likely to go over my limit - so win for them.
I don't use enough mobile data to justify the tether plan, and use too much at home and the 3G here is too slow to sacrifice my home cable Internet for.
And all you people thinking you'll jump ship to Verizon because of this obviously forgot how quickly they dropped their own unlimited plans after iPhone arrived. They'll start 'upgrading' cheaters too in no time.

elijah says:

If people use just as much data watching Netflix on their iPhones as I do tethering my iPhone to my laptop, what difference does it make? It's all the same in the end. I wouldn't have a problem paying for tethering if they upped the data caps. They are simply not flexible enough.
My situation is just the opposite as yours. The 3G where I live is very fast, while the internet is painfully slow. And since I live in the dorms at my school, there's not a whole lot I can do to make the internet faster besides not using it and creating a hotspot with MyWi instead.

Ed says:

Its hard to believe that AT&T is really stupid enough to try to enforce this. Whether of not their contract gives them the technical right to move against their customers for tethering misses the point entirely.
What is clear is that a large number of AT&T's customers feel, rightly or wrongly, that they paid for a block of bandwidth and they should be free to do what they want with it. Those customers, and the popularity of MyWi suggests that there are quite a few of them, may in fact be in the wrong. That being said, the ill will and horrible press that AT&T is generating by doing what they are doing will likely produce lasting damage to their reputation that goes well beyond any short term revenue that their tethering plans may generate. Requiring customers who don't necessarilly want the extra 2 gigs of data to effectively pay twice for the first 2.5 gigs is going to rub anyone the wrong way. More importantly, it will have a chilling effect on wireless data users in general as the message that is likely to percolate out is that heavy data usage generates AT&T penalties.
This is the sort of foolish decision that produces stories of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. The only silver lining is that the way is now open to an AT&T competitor to land a solid marketing coup. Any takers...

Bob says:

This is not only about the money. I'd say it is even more about them providing a stable network for all to use. A minority of abusers should not have the ability to affect the greater population of users. That's lame. That is not what these cellular networks were designed to do.

Dyvim says:

Agreed. AT&T might actually make MORE money if it drops the worst abusers, but replaces them with new customers attracted by more stable/faster data connections.
I don't anticipate this being a big deal outside of the tech blog-o-sphere.

Ed says:

Agreed. But I'm not talking about unlimited data. I'm talking about the 2.5 gigs that most of us have paid for. It shouldn't make any difference to the stability of their network if that is delivered through an iPhone or an iPad. Additionally, if network stability really was the issue, why make the ability to tether available at any price. Doesn't make sense to me. And I find it hard to believe that either AT&T or Apple appreciates the bad press.

chirmer says:

My guess is they're not really concerned with that... They're probably doing this to nab the people, like some who posted above, who tether 20+GB.

Ed says:

That's possible. And I suppose that would make some sense too.

OneOfDaKine says:

I believe this whole Hotspot functionality is a waste of battery life c'mon do we really need this option? Anyways this guy from AT&T should stop crying he's a freaking millionaire he should at least give back to his customers. To bad we don't have a union fighting for us sence

OneOfDaKine says:

Sorry, like what I was saying to bad we don't have a union fighting for us since we all AT&T, Verizion Inc customers is under contract this guy or any other companies would get a new a**hole from our union. Hahaha. Would that be sweet having a union backing us up. But o well gotta stop dreaming..

chirmer says:

You don't get a union for something you purchase. It's like when you buy a shirt and you get pissed off you have to dry-clean it. By making the purchase, you agree to the terms of the item.

Dyvim says:

C'mon, unlimited means unlimited use from your phone. Not from any device you can connect through your phone. The people who are using their iPhones to act as an ISP for their whole frat house are ruining it for everyone. I'm not against a little tethering (like you need to send something from your laptop at the airport), but c'mon.
Anyway, it was a fun ride while it lasted. Honestly, most carriers end up throttling back your "unlimited" data connection after 5 or 6 GB or so (even home ISP's do this after 150 or 250 GB). Not sure, why AT&T hasn't just done that. It would also take care of the problem.
And yes, I'm on an unlimited plan.

Jinn says:

Cmon' no one is using at&t''s 3g to act as an isp for a frat house, it can barely handle casual browsing for 1 device on a good day. it just is not happening. i use MyWi on my Ipad to tether to my ipod and somehow i am using less data. it's just funny to here people defending a tel co that over charges and delivers bad service. i am not saying that just cause they stink we should have our way with them but i would love to see people spend the energy on writing to these Tel Co and getting them to bring down prices and push for net neutrality.

Steve says:

Look...I agree that AT&T should let people use their alloted data however they want. That's a whole different argument. However, what you're doing is jailbreaking your phone to install an App that allows you to CIRCUMVENT AT&T's clearly stated terms. If you can't understand why AT&T would have a problem with this, then you're lacking some serious brain power. You knew when you paid for and installed the App that you were doing it to avoid paying AT&T their tethering fee, and now that you've been caught, you're crying.

kayno says:

I would pay for a tethering plan if AT&T would let me keep my unlimited data for my phone even if I got a limited amount of tethering specific data. Like a dedicated 2GB or so dedicated for just tethering. I will definitely pay, but making us have to change our plans to get tethering to me is the real crime.

Steve says:

And I agree with you 100%. AT&T's tethering rules suck. I just think it's funny that all of these people are up in arms about a loop hole being closed and can't admit that they were trying to scam the system.

Michael Williams says:

that's very reasonable and I agree. you shouldn't have to lose your unlimited all together to get a tethering plan.

Chris says:

Here's the problem... I purchased the first gen iPhone with unlimited data. There were no restrictions and nothing about tethering. Tethering is a feature of the phone just like the camera or placing a caller on hold. Should ATT start charging for that too. Streaming from Netflix via iPhone, iPad and laptop consume the same amount of data. I received this email from ATT. I tether my iPad and used less than 5g per month. My wife as an unlimited plan and uses 500mb per month. She doesn't tether and still got the email. That tells me with certainty that they are targeting customers with unlimited plans. Also, if you haven't received the email/text, you will. They are sent out in waves. When I talked to the ATT rep she said my data usage flagged my account as possible tethering. I played dumb and she started to tell me about tethering. Did you know you can't connect your iPhone to your TV to watch a video on the larger screen? ATT thinks so. They say that's tethering. Well I guess when I connect my phone to my cars Bluetooth device, that's tethering too. Don't connect your headphones either since that would be listening to the sound out of something other than the phones built in speaker. Sounds ridiculous. Guess what, I am using the same amount of data now as I was before tethering. I just use it differently. I can do the same stuff on my phone as iPad, but it's easier on the iPad. I told the rep that I stream Pandora and Netflix. The rep said she would note the account and remove the flag. She said I shouldn't be bothered again. Interesting... If they knew I was tethering what is there to document? She could have simply said we'll change your plan if you tether after the date in the email. She said if I get another email just call and they'll remove the flag. I asked her why this was happening and she said she wasn't sure and didn't agree with it either. Pretty sad when the ATT rep can't stand behind there actions. One last thing. Contracts get broken all the time. Putting "we reserve the right to change this contract" won't hold up in court. That's already been proven when it was ruled that jailbreaking wasn't illegal. Nobody is stealing anything. Theft of service is a crime. The key is what service is being stolen? Data? No. ATT doesn't lift a finger to allow you to tether. The phone does all the work and we already paid for that and quite a lot, I might add.

hecticstairs says:

you pay for the data. once it lands onto your phone, you should be free to use, share, and send data any way you like. it is not a question of cost. you have already paid for it.
do you have to pay the water companies extra if you decide to make ice cubes instead of doing laundry?

Dyvim says:

Has anyone on a 2 GB (or even 200 MB!) plan gotten one of these messages? Or is it only those on unlimited plans?

Dunkle says:

I'm on a 2GB plan and I got the email and sms message and I barely ever tether! They're really cracking down now!

zwei says:

I'm loving all the rally calling here. It's like Braveheart: Neckbeard Edition.

Darwin says:

Has it been established if they are just sending these to certain people like those using MyWi or just those using Personal Hotspot unofficially?

manuel says:

I'm sure someone has said this, but I'll say it too. AT&T has always been crooks. I understand they want to get money, but it's wrong for them to take off the unlimited data plan and not give users a choice to put a one as their plan when they got their iPhone 4.
I know some people will say an unlimited data plan does not cover tethering, but why shouldn't it? It's 30 dollars, plus tax, and it's your money. It's wrong for AT&T to give customers 1000 rollover minutes, now say ...
"Well hey, I notice your not giving us more money even though you've been shelling us so much, while other companies offer more or even better service then us. You know something, we want more and will make sure you give us more."
I'm on Verizon, and yes, I do know Verizon will be doing this too. If not now, then soon. The point is though, any one who has been on AT&T and has an unlimited plan is most likely been with AT&T for a long time know since it's been almost a year since the unlimited plan was cut. Saying that, they have been loyal to them, but if they really want to hit that curve, then I'm seeing A LOT of people hitting big red soon.
I know you want your money AT&T, but for once, just take a small lost and let users be happy. I know this makes data slow and puts a strain on their companies data, but with all the money they make, I'm sure they can address the issue. It's not like they butt-rape people for dough any ways.

OrionAntares#CB says:

We'll have to see what Verizon ends up doing. For now they have said they are going the throttling route making the blanket statement that they will be throttling people they view as excessive users. My guess on that is it would start after that 5GB "fair usage" policy their unlimited plan has written into it but that hasn't actually been enforced up to this point.

manuel says:

I'll try to go pass 5 gigs this weekend and see. I think the throttle route is best IMO if Verizon knows users want to tether with unlimited plans. But, I think they should not throttle those who do have tether plans. I'm just saying my opinions though, however I think it's a good one.

OrionAntares#CB says:

Well I don't know if they are enforcing at 5GB or not. They have the wording in there that they could but their public statement was they were looking at enforcing throttling on the top 5% of data users. Obviously that 5GB fair usage is a double edge such that if by some chance some of the 5% were below 5GB they can't throttle them but they left a lot of grey area for their discretionary use.
Verizon runs a split plan for tethering (where the tethered data is always limited) where the on-device program indicates if the person is using phone data or tethering data (and while tethering all phone data is considered tethered data). It's likely if someone's phone data usage goes high enough for them to start throttling that they'd set up a trigger to watch for the tethering program to disable the throttling for the duration of the tethered use.

sting7k says:

What you think is wrong doesn't matter, you signed the contract. The unlimited data plan does not include tethering in that contract. That's the end of the story. Do you think Comcast would just turn a blind eye if everyone started hacking their cable boxes to get HBO for free? Not a chance. In this case I say it's worse because people circumventing this system with their jailbroken phones can impact the network experience of other's which I think is not right.

manuel says:

This is a comment board to express opinions. If what I think does not matter, your opinion is as small as mine, even less to existence. Please don't come to troll other comments with your foolish stupidity to things I've already address within my comment.
"The unlimited data plan does not include tethering in that contract. That’s the end of the story."
I address that in my comment. If you read my comment, it would have allowed you to realize that.
"Do you think Comcast would just turn a blind eye if everyone started hacking their cable boxes to get HBO for free? Not a chance. "
A situation like that ^^^, was also addressed in my comment as well. Please read, don't troll. If you need to do that, I can seen you a nice link to do it. it's called YouTube.com
I'm done with my comment and near not to write back, although I'm sure you waiting to just trigger back.

imgettingaferrari says:

Sure they and anyone with a cell phone signs a contract. But the internet and tethering go hand in hand like the buttons on my phone. You can't tell me that I'm going to buy a phone from you and your phone service for X amount of dollars and then tell me, "Oh by the way, there is a "convenience fee" of $1.00 each time you want to use the buttons on your phone" This is just illogical. Tethering goes hand in hand with the internet, if you didn't want people to use your $30/month unlimited internet then why did you even offer this as a service? If AT&T and any other phone company was smart (in particular the big names such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon) they would under sell their competition by giving full unlimited everything including: Internet, txt, and voice. If your network can't handle the added traffic, well you better get working on that BEFORE you market something like the internet. Its not hard to see how fast the Internet and cable alone took off at home. That is just when it was dial-up! Think about it, all the way back to XANGA..., then myspace, then pops up facebook...theres a trend...then comes youtube, netflix...obviously the net isn't going away. Either beef up and work with your customer or they'll jump ship. I have unlimited everything and its not cheap, but I am definitely not going to sit back and allow AT&T to charge me more. They can lose me as a customer who brings them a guaranteed excess of $1500+/yr or they can lose that $1500+/yr and spend 10 fold trying to get me or just one other customer to replace me. That will cost even more in the long run. What happened to customer service in America. If ppl would think about the customer for just a second and not about how much they'll make, they'd be surprised how many customers they had.

kbcox0327 says:

Tethering is a feature to the iPhone/not AT&T. I pay AT&T for unlimited data. I paid apple $299 for the ablity to tether. What if they start separating & charging for streaming? Or downloading large apps. OR ANYTHING EXTRA. I pay for unlimited. I don't need anything more than unlimited. By the way, unlimited does not mean 5gb, 10gb, or 999tb. AT&T aims to deceive from the beginning.

BLUH@X0R says:

Hacking into Comcasts equipment is "illegal" as it is not your property to be hacking.
SWIM has an app for Android devices still in beta that allows a user to tether without the carrier knowing 100% if there is just the subscriber or 20 people connected to their network. They can assume all they want to but can not prove it.
The above was thoroughly tested using "actual tethering" with multiple devices hammering over 50GB of data (up/down) through the system and a "mock tethering" situation using a download accelerator,bit torrent and large files over 60GB were transferred (up/down) and the system could not tell which one was which. The type of transferred data looks identical but as to whether the subscriber used their device only or 20 people were connected is unknown. So "legally" they can not say SWIM is tethering or not for sure.
Users have rights just as much as the Carriers as far as their contracts are written, AT&T can not make you change your plan because they think you are doing something and falsely accusing you.
It may be written that they can change your plan if they feel you are doing something but I would challenge it and make them prove it. If you have the means to simulate a high data use situation as above.
Now before anyone attempts to show what color panties they are wearing. Whether or not the above mentioned is legal or not is irrelevant, it's the fact that it is possible. Make sure whatever it is you are using as proof that you are not tethering and using bit torrent is not copyright protected so the bastards don't try and get you on that.
You can not fix what doesn't appear broken...

OrionAntares#CB says:

I'm curious if any huge data users that don't tether have received once of these warnings?

James says:

No. I have an iphone 4 runnin 4.2.1 jb with greenpoison. I max out my 4gb usage hlfway thru the month n use roughly 2+ more gbs. I get txts telln me its costing me more. But none accusing me.

Glenn#IM says:

Is it me, seems like we are going backwards. I can recall the days of using a Bluetooth phone to read the Internet on my palm device, all the time wishing the PDA could do it by itself without being connected to another device. We leaped forward, and were able to do this. Now we are back carrying more stuff just to connect. Only difference, in the Bluetooth days there was a flat charge. Now it is different levels, and can be costly.

kbcox0327 says:

And Bluetooth works for 25ft.

sherlock says:

What Seth Bloom really said, and I am paraphrasing here: Our goal here is to screw all of our customers and really I think we're doing a pretty good job of it.

hoffa says:

People are putting the blame in the wrong place. Blame Netflix. It seems to me they are a major reason all this is happening. It has cellphone and cable companies in a uproar over data usage. Me personally would pay for it if I used it, but I think the price and data cap is killing me . I'd pay that if could ditch the voice plan and just pay for data of course

OrionAntares#CB says:

I know Verizon and Tmo offer unlimited data/msging plans. Verizon only offers it to smartphones for those that are legally deaf. For the hearing you'd need to use a Feature phone (ex. Dare, enV).
But if you really wanted to just run on a data plan and not bother with voice, couldn't you go to a small "tablet" or use one of those hotspot plans?

dc73pd says:

ATT says their goal is fairness for all customers... what a line of BS... their goal is to make the biggest profit they can and they dont care about the consumer....

Gordo says:

AT&T doesn't care about customer service, only cares about the how much profit they can make. Do you think this is a revellation to anyone? You've just described every company in the Fortune 500.

cardfan says:

To those saying they purchased 2GB of data and should be able to do what they want with it, this isn't how AT&T thinks.
They go by what people actually use and make marketing plans accordingly. While you may purchase a 2GB data plan, AT&T doesn't expect you'll use it all. In fact they're counting on it. Heck, i'd say most don't use close to half of it.
But if you could tether for free, you're more LIKELY to use more data than you would otherwise. AT&T doesn't want that to happen..at least not for free. And so, they charge extra.

Joe says:

I pay for "X" amount of data per month.. what is the difference if i use "X" data via my phone or my laptop / ipad connected to my phone. It does not make much sense... data is data, and bandwidth is bandwidth. If I get 2GB / mo then I should be allowed to use it any way I see fit.

Pepper says:

Agree 100%. An ISP's job is to deliver packets between the customer's device and the destination on the Internet, on that simple job AT&T fails miserably quite often, don't get me started on how reliable their 3G service is in my area.
It is not an ISP's job to count certain packets as "special" and charge more for them.

cardfan says:

Again, you don't pay for 2gb. AT&T sees that as a package that you can use up to 2gb. They clearly don't expect most to use close to that 2gb.
But if you tether, you will use more data. That requires an extra charge.
It's all marketing/accounting bs. It'd be best if they could hide the tethering charge in a higher tier package..such as 1gb =20, 2gb=30 and 4gb = 45 with tethering being included in all.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

And I would gladly pay 30$ for 2GB of data if it included tethering. As long as I can use those 2GB however I want, I'd do that. I tether less than 50MB/month and use a total of less than 500 on average. So for me, paying 15 extra $$ just for the privilege of MAYBE tethering 50MB isn't worth it on a continuous basis. If they had a plan better suited to my needs, I'd use it.

Drew says:

For me, this is the most relevant comment I have read. My need to tether is very infrequent e.g. power is out at home, on the road in a location with no wifi. I have the 2G data plan and use less than 500MB every month. To have to pay ATT another few hundred dollars per year for the ability to tether less than 100MB per month just does not work. However I do agree that "it is what it is." It is a game of cat and mouse - Apple updates the iOS and hackers crack it for the jailbreak. The question is will the developers of MyWi and other tethering apps be able to come up with a solution to mask "illegal" tethering.

BLUH@X0R says:

Already been beta tested for some time now on Android platform.
I'm sure someone will if not already do it for iOS.

jay eazy says:

pfftt I use 2gb in one day thats crap for me and not even using tethering just the phone... i use the phone pretty much all day even at work

kbcox0327 says:

I had MiWi (& PDA net) before AT&T allowed it. I paid the MANDATORY $30 data fee that all iPhone owners were forced to pay (before streaming video and many other data intensive apps were allowed by almighty AT&T). I have paid $30 for "Unlimited Data" every month for 3+ years. The new law says I can do whatever the Fuuu I want to do with my device & I pay for unlimited data. I only use when cable/wifi goes out. I haven't received the text, but if I do AT&T can kiss my fckin a$$!!! Seems to be a good early out to move to verizon(hopefully June) when they get that simultaneous voice & data issue figured out. And 4G! AT&T will be on 3g till 2020.

BLUH@X0R says:

KUDOS! lmao
We will (and already are) prevail against Old Big Blue.

BrindawithanI says:

As I stated in the other article...give me 4gb with tethering plan for $30 (since I'm using less than 2gb every month on unlimited now) and I'll take it.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

These are my thoughts exactly. I'd drop my unlimited if I could tether stock for what I'm paying now. I don't use enough data to justify spending the extra money just for the convenience of doing it 3-5 times a month.

jay eazy says:

so u will give up a UNLIMITED data plan for 4gb?? not a smart move

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Oh heck, I'll throw my 2 cents in.
Do I think AT&T is being unfair? I'm not sure yet. I don't think we really know enough about the situation. As of right now, I have a sneaky suspicion that they are only targeting users who are extremely abusing the network. We are talking users that are pulling 15+ GB/month on a regular basis, if not more.
I know a lot of users that have MyWi personally. The ones that are getting the notices seem to be those that are pulling down well over 15gb/month. Those that I know (myself included) that barely ever even clear 1GB a month, didn't get anything.
Maybe it's a combination of things. They make only be putting the effort into monitoring those that are pulling massive amounts of data every month. The cost to look into every single AT&T account that has data tied to it would be tremendous. Yes, a system could crawl for identifiers that may indicate whether or not someone is tethering but the point stands that someone would have to be hired to weed out all those users. Not to mention the CS phone time it would consume. That's tons of money in resources. Knowing AT&T, they won't spend that kind of money.
I think AT&T needs to have a better rate plan selection when it comes to data. I have unlimited right now. I also only tether a max of less than 5 times per month and it's always just when I desperately need something on my laptop or iPad and I don't have wifi access. I have never cleared more than 600MB in a month.
If AT&T would let me have a plan with tethering for no more than I'm paying now, I'd drop my unlimited. But I'm not going to pay more just to tether less than 50MB a month. That's a waste of money.
But I do agree some users extremely abuse that ability. But AT&T doesn't help by having an extremely limited selection of plans. I guess that's just my input. :)

BLUH@X0R says:

The problem is if AT&T would only target the heavy users that would NOT be an issue. AT&T continually rapes ALL their users for what an extremely small amount of abusers do and sheep (people with no backbone) allow this keep happening.
Fight back and the way to do that is hit them where it hurts their pocket. Dump AT&T and go Verizon or T-Mo or whomever but just get rid of them.
I myself have paid top tear pricing for over 3 years with them and now that is over.
They may make the rules but we are now kicking the crap outta them in their own game.

jay eazy says:

shiiit i aint gonna lie last month i pulled like 17gb all thanks to netflix on my wifi ipad but i guess i have to tone it down a lil lol

Allyson Kazmucha says:

@Johnnyreb and @Mephisto
I just had to edit or trash a ton of your comments. I am only going to say this once...
Conduct conversation and debate like adults. there is no need for name-calling or slamming one another. Make a point and argue them, fine. But if I see troll or any other word that isn't necessary, I'll simply delete your comments no questions asked going forward.
You can debate without the hostility.

BrindawithanI says:

Like I mentioned in the other article....I don't want what's not coming to me BUT, why would I possibly "want" to give at&t $45 for 4gb of data/tethering when I pay them $30 for unlimited (in reality, I've never gone over 2gb). Give me 4gb/tethering for $30 a month and you've got yourself a deal. If I go over 4 (which i won't) , they get more money AND they get to cap my data in exchange for keeping me at the same price point that I'm currently paying. I think that would be more than fair! I won't stand still for an increase AND a data cap though. Gotta love a free market system!!

BrindawithanI says:

Sorry for the repeat! The first one didn't appear to show up so expanded on it the second time! ;)

Brookstaylorh says:

At what data usage marker are they starting to send these messages out? I use about 1.5-2.5 GB a month, occasionally tethering.
Are they sending these messages to people who use like 10 and more GB a month or what?

Elka Bong says:

When I got my iphone 3g with unlimited data I was told that some day iphones would be able to tether, There was nothing said about a different price (I have upgraded my phone a couple of times to keep up with the newer iphones but kept my contract as it was originally) If they try to make me change my plan, they can kiss my mad a$$! They will lose a 5 year customer with 3 unlimited data accounts plus 2 other lines (5 total) only because they get their panties in a wad over a few gigs of data. Ill go over to Verizon and pay their unreasonable rates. Screw AT&T.

Roy says:

This is absolutely crazy. I originally saw AT&T as more "customer friendly" than Verizon, because of their use of SIM cards. The ability to quickly and easily switch phones has been the only thing keeping me from switching to Verizon for years, but charging for tethering may make me overlook that. Why the hell does it matter if I tether to my iPad/laptop if I'm staying within my data limit? Grocery stores don't sell you food and then charge you again for choosing to ration it out amongst your family members. That would be making you pay twice for the same good/service. What AT&T is doing is no different. As someone with an unlimited plan who uses under 2 gigs of data total (tethering with MyWi included) monthly, I better not get one of these messages, or I'm dropping AT&T.

Viper83181 says:

I absolutely 100% agree with you. There is no gray area or "well if they didn't do/charge this then I would pay". No, you paid for the data already, do what you want with it. You paid 299+ for the phone that has the ability to divvy out that data to other devices. End of story.

JayF says:

Just one more reason that should be to the list of "Why users should kick AT&T's butt and switch to Verizon".

Osumailguy says:

If you bought a car that came with an unlimited supply of gas refills …does that mean you could bring that car, plus several other cars you own, to the pump for a fill up?
The data was bought for the iPhone use, not other devices.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

That's not the same at all actually. Try using that gas to tow another car. That's more similar and a better comparison. And allowed.

Nick M says:

Brilliant. You are very witty and I wish more people were able to think through their comments. The analogy is a dying art,due to people like Mr. Ron"Several other cars you own". People: you can't just compare any one thing to just ANY other thing,and expect it to be a logicial analogy, and further-one which makes a strong argument. Before you attempt to dissect other reader's logic,and claim them to be faulty,make sure you COMPLETELY thought through every angle of your counter-argument...you might find a big hole in your own logic. THEN,you might save yourself the embarrassment of having YOUR OWN soapbox crack and crumble right beneath your feet, making you fall on your arse & look silly. It's okay though,you have plenty of other users on here who will fight for "poor underdog AT&T" and their right to rape all of us wealthy, fat-cat, single-line customers who have an unlimited supply of cash to pay for the same amount of data twice(heck,let's just make it three times..makes just as much sense as paying twice!). The funny thing is that you are so ready to lay down all your self-respect for a company that couldn't care any less about you. If you take your iPhone and leave,there will be somebody within 5 minutes to take your place,and they'll have already forgotten that you even existed within their network. They are also thinking-"Well,okay-if he takes his new GSM-ONLY iPhone with him, he'll probably end up on either TMo, who we now OWN, OR some other pre-paid company that pays to use our towers anyway...so it's all good!''
And they will never know about your passionate defense of them on a web-forum...and if they found out,they'd laugh their arse's all the way to the bank,knowing they suckered you out of tons of money, and that they probably still are.
But hey,poor At&t is so defenseless, so it warms everyone to see such extraordinary compassion for these poor,poor souls...especially in such rough economic times. ;-)

Souther Gal says:

I just spoke to a friend of mine that has worked forever for AT&T she's a high level manager. She was the person who initially told me to jb but she called to tell me about this data thing, it's true they will be doing random sweeps of data users and if flagged you WILL recieve the letter or text!!! She wanted to let me know b/c she knows I value my unlimited to much to jeopardize losing it!

Casey says:

Ahhh, I love it. AT&T referring to "fair".
Let me guess, it was somehow fair to me that I be required to spend the same for a data plan while stuck with Edge for two years that 3G users got for the same price... and all because AT&T hadn't installed a single 3G tower in the great capitol of New Mexico yet.
Screw AT&T... I love my #G with unlimited data plan, and I intend to leech it till the cows come home.

Kevin says:

When customers signed a contract for unlimited data plan it DID not state that tethering is not covered and your plan will be change if you break the contract. So I say take them to the court for forcing a law that you did not sign to in your initial contract.

Mac says:

To heck with both big blue and the all holy iPhone. How many of you whiners are short grocery money, overdrawn on your checking account, or behind on your credit card bills? Does that smartphone or that supermega cool cellular service satisfy your hunger? Irresponsible sheep.

kirbini says:

So you're just repeating unfounded and unresearched rumors then? How informative.
I happen to actually know what I'm talking about and I can say for 100% certainty, what you claim is not possible. Ask anyone who actually knows anything about how TTLs work and they will confirm, so you know, take your own advice until you've got something intelligent to add.

Jeremy A. says:

I have called AT&T About this message that my son received yesterday. My son doesn't jailbreak but he uses a hell of a lot of data (At least 3.5gb per month) when we called about it they directly said and i quote "We have no way of checking that you are tethering other then the amount of data you use in a session" So they have no idea wether people are actually tethering or if they just use a crap load of data. I'm a clear example of this because i too tether (With MyWi) but i only use it to do basic web browsing. AT&T is just trying to scare you out of your unlimited plan because 90% of the high usage users jailbreak and use MyWi. You have nothing to worry about STOP FREAKING OUT! =)

THAT GUY says:


jay eazy says:

Downloading faster 10 years ago than now?! lmaoo what are you using dial up still? dude your obviously not using FIOS ...ya better cut that cable tv stuff out lol

Aradalf says:

Or U-Verse... lol
Anyway, @THAT GUY... does writing in all caps somehow emotionally stimulate you?

Michael says:

The AT&T is criminal. We pay 30 dollar for unlimited data plan that means we can use it for unlimited. Since is unlimited why should we need to pay for extra for tethering from AT&T . It is our iPhone. The decision is on us. The AT&T is trying to cheats the customers. If AT&T not allow us to use tethering from somebody else. I guarantee that I will use more and more data on my iPhone. We should stand up and say no to AT&T.

jay eazy says:

This WHOLE Thread should be sent to ATT so they can see how their customers feel and see how many are mentioning leaving them just so they can see and reconsider this robbery their committing. to make it clear to everyone here ATT main goal is to eliminate ALL remaining UNLIMITED data plans THATS their main objective here

Bud Gout says:

Here's why I will shortly Jailbreak and install MyWi on my iPhone 4. First, I have the 2GB/$25/month plan. So, since I am paying for usage anyway, I feel I can use it anyway I please.
But most important, I went to buy an iPad 2 the other day. When I asked how they connect the 3G model to my existing AT&T data plan, I was surprised to learn I'd have to buy an ADDITIONAL data plan! WTF! I already pay for one, that I don't use nearly to its limit, and they want another? It would be like if you put a 2nd computer in your home, and your ISP demands a 2nd DSL account for the 2nd computer.
Reading about the scare tactics of AT&T, it seems they can't really detect tethering, all they can do is detect high usage...which they then label as tethering. Won't be a problem in my case.

Larry says:

When people contact AT&T they are being told that streaming content such as netflix or pandora (or any other streaming content for that matter) is their definition of tethering. This is a load of S**T!
Contracts with AT&T say absolutely nothing about restrictions on streaming, nor anything about Netflix or Pandora. What the contracts DO mention is tethering. This is why AT&T is trying to put their own spin on the definition of tethering... because tethering is mentioned in the contract and they are trying to use it as a means to get rid of unlimited data plans.
It would be like the port authority being given a contractual agreement allowing them to charge a toll on a bridge for "Trucks" and then deciding to get around the contract by telling people "your vehicle has four wheels, so by our definition it is a truck... pay up."
I can put lipstick on a pig and try to call it a super model, but by true definition it is still a pig. AT&T sure has a set of balls trying to write their own definitions of "tethering." Heck, since they are writing up our own definitions of tethering why stop there. Why don't they just say tethering also means any phone call that is over 10 minutes long, downloading any file or app that is over 100mb, or using my iphone during peak hours.

Gentleman Jim says:

My company just got us all iPhone and we have a tethering plan but as far as we know it is unlimited. We are all a little PO'd that our company gave us phones with no access to the app store, so we all plan to tether as much as possible, even if we have a wifi option...just to see if we can reach a limit.
But back on topic: If everyone who is insulted by AT&T's business practices would send an email to their congressperson, senators, and the FCC, maybe we could block the merger with T-Mobile. If AT&T is this arrogant as one in four major cell carriers, they will be even worse as one in three.

Matt says:

I did 50 gig last month and I'm 8 days into my cycle and I'm at 75gig I got the text and I called them and they claim in the terms of my unlimited it states my data is for my phone and my phone only... Personally it's bs that they claim they will auto change your plan without your consent and you give up your unlimited

Dan says:

Ok so I got the notice and Called AT&T from what the rep says when you connect anoter device it notifies their system that there is another ip address on the network. Makes sense there. Now in my opinion our jailbreaking buddies need to find a way to block that data. I know there is a program called peerblocker for a pc that does that however nothing for the iPhone yet. I truly don't see how this action is legal for AT&T to pursue. This feature was not available and people needed to get it thru 3rd party applications. So now they want to try to bill 45.00 a month for 4 gb of data. I think class action lawsuit needs to be explored here. It is my device and I paid 20.00 for a service that AT&T didnt offer and jailbreaking is not illegal.

Buckwild says:

I called them after receiving my notice and told them I listened to pandora and watched netflix. The idiot at AT&T told me that listening to pandora and having go to my car speakers is tethering and is illegal. As well as watching a netflix movie on my phone and using the apps feature to send the video out to my tv was also tethering. She then said anytime my phone was hooked up to any other device that was tethering and it was illegal. Hmmmm.....

Bon bon says:

So in comparison, If I were to get home internet and decide to buy a router to broadcast the signal throughout my home, will the ISP charge me MORE for doing that? NO and AT&T should not either. Everyone I've talked to that has gotten this email or text are on the unlimited plan. Some are not even jailbroken or know what tethering is. I also have a close source to AT&t that they are trying to phase out the unlimited plan.

Dgonzalez says:

I receive the emai first the same day that I download the app crackle in the AppStore for free ( this is a free movie download) I see one movie thetering my iPad and next day I receive the email, I call them and they tell me that if I do it again after may 13,2011 they will change my unlimited data plan to a 4GB plan. Yesterday I use my iPhone again to see another movie buy only using the iPhone not thetering and I receive the text telling me because I still using thetering they will change automatically the plan. Let see what the tell me tomorrow. They don't really know that we are using the thetering service they only look how much data we are using.

Van says:

And to make matters worst... ATT bought out TMobile! This could be a strategic move to data block tetherers on TMobile future tethering.


They are targeting iPhone users using 4.2 or older iOS IMO. I got a letter and my habbits had changed because I'm using a lot more pandora and netflix since I'm no longer allowed to use my work internet much for personal use, and I didn't renew my Sirius satellite radio. But when I did call she specifically asked then why I wasn't on the new iOS, perfectly well knowing that those with jailbroken phones typically will have 4.2 or older iOS.
I have a co-worker that keeps his iOS up to date, yet uses about 10GB a month because he has his internet radio on non stop; yet he hasn't received a letter. So I'm guessing the notifications are going out to those with the older iOS in an attempt to "guess" who is using tethering. If they didn't charge an extra $20 for the "privelidge" of tethering (something the phone does with or without AT&T) I'd have absolutely no problem switching my data plan.
They will have a class action lawsuit against them soon enough.

Nfcg2003 says:

to AT&T,
It is good for you business if you can contain your clients by offering free tethering on top of their present phone plan. this will remove other hot spot competitors that are coming out and loosing your clients in return. :(

Catemarie says:

I have actually TRIED to purchase a tethering plan from AT&T, but they don't offer it in my area! I have to use Hughes Net which is horrible, but the only provider in my area. Now AT&T wants to charge me for tethering, but when I've tried to purchase a plan at the store, they can't sell it to me. Explain that?!

Jerrys0227 says:

This is so true!
I went to AT&T yesterday and they told me I owe over $150 of tethering, the lady said it was because Apple and AT&T made an agreement or something and that apple knows when your iPhone is jailbroken and what you're doing on it. I even told her I was still on 4.2.1 how could I be charged for tethering trough at&t data plans if it's not even supported for this IOS n I was using MyWi.

Steve Cole says:

I'd tell them to fuck off and that I just use the internet and download a lot on my iPhone. Thats why I got the unlimited plan in the first place, if I wasn't going to use the internet on the phone that much then why would I even get an unlimited plan. Then I tell them that if they keep harassing me about using more data then they thought I would use that I'd call my lawyer and take them to court so they sure as hell better make sure they can back up their allegations.
Or tell them that you have just been using the internet on your phone and that the information they have must be wrong and ask them for what information they have to suggest that you are doing this so called tethering. most likely just high data usage.
isn't it illegal for them to get information from your phone if you didn't give them expressed permission to take that specific information. and don't they have to disclose any information taken from your phone if you or preferably your lawyer asks for it.
someone needs to make an app that downloads stuff on the iphone but instead of saving it to the phone it saves it to a network share. kind of like jdownloader for iphone so you can just get a huge list of stuff to download and download it all through your iphone then you would have a very explainable reason for non stop data usage. like yea my iphone is jailbroken (show at&t rep iphone) but I don't use tethering (have MyWi hidden with one of the many security apps from cydia) I use this other program that doesn't violate your terms at all(optional: "so go suck a dick").

Dadectypapi305 says:

This is bullshit!!! I might as well go to verizon n get iPhone there with better signal all round!

Chefison says:

That true!!! I going to switch my family plan to Verizon. Better signal and no drop calls.

Underpar says:

Which jailbreak are you using? My buddy has green poison and I have red snow. He downloads about 10g month and no emails from Satan.

Joseph Becket says:

It's pretty necessary that they do this to try and get rid of the black market that has been produced for the iPhone and Androids. This situation reminds me of record and software companies cracking down on pirating, has to be done. AT&T is a great company, but like many nationwide businesses it can have some weak spots. I was surfing the internet and I found this site where people can vent about poor customer service or products they received... it can get really funny. I would recommend you to check it out here: http://ventme.com/companies/view/95

nomobo says:

if att is a great company, im Santa Clause

McCoy_2008 says:

I called them and acted like I didn't even know what tethering was and told them I use hulu plus and pandora ALL day and they told me that they can tell that my device is being controlled by another device.

ATandTrouble says:

~ I filed a complaint with the FCC stating that I was being threatened and bullied about using too much data on an $130 a month unlimited data plan.
~ I got calls from the Office of the President. But the person simply read what all the other operator were reading. A broken record.
~ NOW ~ AT&T has switched my plan without my authorization.
~ They quoted some number in the contract that everyone reads (right) which states that tethering is not allowed and they can do what they want. And these fucks don't think Corporate America runs this country? Think again.
~ So, FCC and FTC got a complaint, but am guessing that att owns them too.
~ My phone is not working well since they got pissed at me: Downloads slow with full signal and 3G
~ apps won't install
~ updates won't install
They said I would have to pay penalties if I wanted out.
Tell me that Corporations are not running this country and I will show you a FOX News watcher.

Walt Lonsdale says:

So you're mad they are protecting their network? Look, you rolled the dice and you LOST!

I pay for this data says:

I received this letter yesterday. I told them I wasn't readily aware of any tethering activity but that if they were going to automatically bill me for something I wasn't aware of they should provide proof. AT&T told me, and I quote "we are not required to show you any proof". Bam.

Katiemacbryan says:

WELL, I'm currently typing this on my laptop USING MyWi even though I got the stupid frickin' e-mail today. They say you have till the end of the month to quit using tethering, so I'm holding on till the last frickin second. Does anyone know if Verizon or another service will be charging for tethering? I'm SO PISSED I won't be able to tether anymore. I would pay the stupid fee if it wasn't so ridiculous! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GO AN ENTIRE MONTH WITH 4GB OF FREAKING DATA?!?!?!?!?! I CAN'T!! That's the point. More $$$ for them. :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(

Walt Lonsdale says:

So the carrier should absorb it?

Bcsund86 says:

LOL are you really defending the carriers here? You realize that 99% of the people that use smart phones pay for data that they do not even come close to using, because of this the people that use more data are in no way hurting the carriers, they are just trying to capitalize on something we are already being charged for.

kodi says:

My friend has a verizon phone and its an android.. He rooted it and he uses the tether all day .. He's always on xbox live with it and stuff and he uses it non stop . He still hasn't gotten any letters or emails from verizon

ZaP says:

If you want to get AT&T's attention fast get a Prpaid Legal membership and contact a lawyer with the email with a recording of a conversation with AT&T.
In my situation they sent a very firm letter which didn't cost me anything, to AT&T legal. It got their attention in a hurry. It seems they won't even speak to me about tethering now.
Other than this you're pretty much on your own and it's a lost cause to try and fight them on your own.
Remember, if enough people start doing this with Pre Paid Legal memberships they will realize people are getting smart and asserting their legal rights. All the telecom companies want blind ignorant sheeple to fleece. Stand up for your rights and take power back.
I got mine from this lady

Ken says:

What did the letter entail? I have a pre paid legal service already and just trying to see what they should write

Larry says:

I just got the email yesterday ... I'm not tethering ... or jailbroken ... I did just click on the tethering button to investigate prices and options ... I called ... and asked some questions ...

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IphoneUser#1 says:

I would love nothing more than to use my unlimited data plan on a tether, but this is the best analogy I can think of to describe the situation.
When you go to a buffet, you pay $10 to get all you can eat. It's stealing to bring your brother with you and have him eat as well under that same $10 fee.
AT&T has given me a phone and said, use as much data as you can bro, enjoy it. I can't play WoW or CoD on the phone, and that's why the plan exists. Circumventing that disability takes your data usage above and beyond the original purpose of the plan. If everyone just had the keys to the candy shop, the network would crumble. If you want to blame someone, blame the fact that technology hasn't caught up with how much data we use as a country...
Not an AT&T employer, or affiliated with them in any way.