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iOS 4.3 to bring Wi-Fi Personal Hotspot to GSM/AT&T iPhone?

Rumors are afoot that a forthcoming iOS 4.3 update will bring the just announced Verizon iPhone's Wi-Fi Personal Hotspot feature to the GSM (AT&T) iPhone 4 as well. Personal Hotspot, as shown off on the Verizon iPhone running iOS 4.3.5, lets you share your phone's 3G connection with up to 5 other devices over Wi-Fi (like an iPod touch or iPad). Current tethering only allows 1 other device to share access over Bluetooth or USB.

However, not all carriers may choose to offer Wi-Fi Personal Hotspot even though Apple makes it available -- AT&T famously took a year longer than most other carriers to offer regular tethering. Even if carriers do choose to offer it, there's no word yet on what kind of extra fees, if any, will be levied for the privilege, though upwards of $20 a month wouldn't be surprising.

Also, Wi-Fi Personal Hotspot will no doubt put a dent in iPhone 4 battery life as it does on other devices that already support the feature.

What do you think, will your carrier choose to carry it?

[iPhoneclub.nl, iPhoneHellas via Macrumors]

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

54 Comments
  • Umm...us jailbreakers having been using hotspot (via MyWi) for years without any extra carrier charges...
    another reason to Jailbreak...
  • Wouldn't it feel good to just be able to tether the right way? Instead of hacking Apples dream and JBing your phone. In 2011, let gain Integrity people and restore your iPhone and do things the right way this year. But YES if AT&T goes with the hotspot, that would be amazing and you would still be able to take calls unlike if your using data on the Verizon iPhone. (VERIZON FAILED) Lets be real, AT&T service isn't as bad as people are saying.
  • So now integrity is defined as "using your own legally purchased property according to how somebody else tells you."
    Curious.
    And no, I'm not jailbroken.
  • I don't think you understand legally purchased property. When you purchase an iPhone you AGREE to the way it is run and the limitations. Just like the OS on your computer, you are a licensed user NOT AN OWNER OF PROPERTY. So in the case of iPhone you own the physical phone but are a LICENSED USER of the software that runs it. If you don't want that restriction, don't buy an iPhone.
    First the following is not directed @(Copy of) Dev but in general. Just because someone wants an iPhone, pays for the hardware activates it and agrees to the Software license does not mean you can do anything you want. That is why you AGREE to the license, let's all grow up and put on big people pants and have some integrity. Want an iPhone live with the license and the software, want to put anything you want on a phone, that is what Android is for.
  • Slowly extending his right arm and raising his middle finger to Apple's "agreement".
    I'll use my phone how ever I want. I paid for it. I don't give a rip about how Steve wants me to use it. I'll continue to jailbreak and use MyWi until Jobs is able to pry it out of my dead cold hand.
  • AT&T will only activate new features if they know they can charge an arm and a leg for them. So it will not be pretty if or when AT&T announces it.
    AT&T is the sorriest company. They are the worst. You think they'd do something to try and restore their position instead of gauging customers over a feature that we should have had and taking pot shots @ verizon.
    AT&T you have to know spending millions on a stupid ad campaign is not going to restore you to the top. You have to work on your network and make your customers happy. Which we all know you won't do.
    AT&T deserves to lose every customer that leaves to go to verizon and they deserve the bottom spot because they earned it.
    A show of good faith would be to enable hot spot functionality without beating your customers over the head with a charge for it. But, like I said, you won't because you love being @ the bottom and having people diss you 24/7.
  • Can't we stop with all the AT&T beating :(
    3+ years never dropped a call cause of me always when I was talking to a VZW user
    Verizion is the worst about charging an arm and a leg for everything and getting you to get that "free" extra phone so it will make your bill 2x as large
    When I had coverage issues at VZW the rep told me to buy a different phone seriously!
    Everytime I call or go into an AT&T store with a problem 15 mins later I'm happy even on IP4 launch day left apple store cause it was crazy after picking up my IP4 and went over to AT&T and the rep spent so much time with me
    AT&T does have it's flaws just like every phone company but for me it's the best out of the big 4
  • Thank You Scott, someone with balls and picks up for AT&T. I've been with AT&T since 2006 and love it. I go from the city to hours away and my phone never fails me. I talk on the phone and surf the web, check email and text and it works everytime. If I couldnt use data while using voice, I'd die. So a big THANK YOU to AT&T!
  • Also LisaLisa is talking about a new feature who says AT&T has to give it away for free it would be nice if they did but they don't have to making it 10$ a month would make people who really want it get it and those who don't really need it not instead of everyone using it and hurting data, I think a good chunk of people will switch to VZW and about half will like and the other half will just complain how they wish they didn't sign a 2 year deal to VZW right before IP5 20 months till upgrade yeah I'll take AT&T :)
  • Dude love your site but please do a proofread before posting. Verizon iPhone has 4.2.5 not 4.3.5
  • Quit your crying! This is a blog, not the nytimes! All of these posters crying about proof readin on a blog boggles my mind. Get over it! He probably does this from his iPhone and occasionally has fat finger/iPhone auto spell errors.
  • I'm pretty sure it doesn't say 4.3.5 anywhere
  • AT&T gave me cancer. They didn't even call the next day.
  • They tried, but you had no service.
  • They almost have to offer the wifi hotspot because they can't afford to give verizon a club to beat them over the head with. They ell do smithing to keep ipjone users from leaving and this function asking with being a global phone could really help with globe trotters.
  • I'm sorry, but as bad as AT&T is, there are not the worst. Comcast has that title. Let's not direct all hate towards AT&T people.
  • Sorry man, I would never get rid of Comcast. I had Verizon for 2 months and took my hammer to the Modem and the next day cancelled everything. Been with Comcast ever since and my internet is blazing fast and TV is great. Then they add Security, apps and online all for free. Comcast is the best. I worked and Verizon and I felt bad for my customers because they had to pay for every little thing.
  • I think anyone who pays for tv with commercials is a sucker. If it's gonna have commercials it should be free. Ota plus Netflix and iTunes more than covers conventional cable/satellite. You can now also purchase ppv events direct from the providers websites. There is finally whole seasons from HBO and such.
  • They are not*
  • To be competitive AT&T should allow the WiFi hotspot and at no charge.
  • Kind of but in reality there gonna charge but I hope they let us Grandfathered in Unlimited users get tethering for $5 more(I'd even pay $10 more for hotspot)
  • Not a chance. Assuming they release it, AT&T will treat it like they have standard tethering, i.e. not available to those of us who choose to keep a grandfathered unlimited plan.
  • Actually he is right. Hotspot is new. In fact, it's not released yet.
  • its not that new, its been out for a few months and at&t knows about it. so why would at&t jump at the gun now just because verizon has the iphone. Just stupid.
  • hopefully this will be as easily enabled like wallpaper was on the iPhone 3G.
  • Bluetooth tethering actually supports more than 1 device. I've been sharing mine with the fiancé all the time.
  • For 30 a month, you too can share your 2gb of data with up to 5 devices/users..
  • AT&T would be smart to offer this for free to keep there customers
  • If they got a percent from iPhone sales for the over 3 years Apple stuck with them and they made millions from it, then I think they'll give the service for free to keep the customers. BUT if AT&T didn't get a dime from the iPhone sales and only have been getting the monthly service charges, then theres no way there gonna give it for free. They are going to probably bring back unlimited now that users are going to free up there servers by going to Verizon but now they gotta make up for the lost money from that as well. I just can't wait to see whats gonna happen because I'm staying with AT&T and just being able to voice and data at the sametime satisfies me.
  • Good luck AT&T. You're network chokes even with the iPhone missing wireless tethering. They had better prepare their network well.
  • It amazes me that this supposed "smart" phone is just getting this feature..Amazing how they say this is the best..No way!!
  • Its amazing the hate towards a carrier. Lol get a life people. They all suck and there all the worst. No one carrier is better then the other. There all for one thing. Making money. Do you think att or verizon cares if you leave them for another carrier. Now we have carrier fanboy
  • Its amazing the hate towards a carrier. Lol get a life people. They all suck and there all the worst. No one carrier is better then the other. There all for one thing. Making money. Do you think att or verizon cares if you leave them for another carrier. Now we have carrier fanboy's.
  • What are you talking about most of America is on one of the big 4 networks so networks are fighting for existing users not new ones for the mostpart 90% of the big 4s marketing is about getting you to their network
    VZW BIGGEST MOST REALIBLE
    AT&T FASTEST AND UNTILL NOW IPHONE EXCLUSIVE
    SPRINT CHEAPER AND 1st 4G
    TMOBILE CHEAPEST BUT LEAST COVERAGE
  • I will call you and text you
  • Haha why?
  • Best guess is that AT&T will enable the feature and charge for tethering the same as the current USB/bluetooth option. It's just a different method to accomplish the exact same drain on the network. Oh wait - 2GB tethered costs $20 more than 2GB phone only. Forget logic. AT&T will do whatever it wants! (As for battery - MiWi can be a pretty heavy battery drain, although you can always throttle the power down. I'm sure this feature will be battery optimized (by Apple's standards) and non-customizable. New reason to JB!)
  • And so the fragmentation begins.
  • I use MyWi so I dont care about what At&t Offers Im not paying for it either way
  • I don't see how they would be able to charge if they wanna stay competitive with VZW, seeing how VZW stated that MiFi would be pre-installed with no extra charges. But that would mean that AT&T would have to lift their tethering fees as well, right? God, I hope AT&T makes a lot of changes to stay competitive. I'm stuck with them for another year and a half. YEESH!!
  • For those of you stating this is "stupid" and why would AT&T add this feature now, the answer to that is fairly obvious. AT&T doesn't want to lose a bunch of users over a small "stupid" feature. This is the one difference between the two iPhones other than network coverage. Why wouldn't AT&T take the chance to offer this (even if for a fee) in hopes of keeping more of it's current users as well as attract non-AT&T users?
  • Because with tethering now the grandfathered users with unlimited data such as myself would have to downgrade and pay what is it $10 or $20? Just to use the standard tethering. It would make no sense for them to give it for free.
  • I'm not to bothered about AT&T because j love in the uk. But I hope o2 allow the personal hotspot because then I would be able to use my iPad where ever I go.
  • ur all missing the big picture here. losing exclusivity means a lot more change than most of you are giving credit for. now that at&t isn't the only carrier for the iphone, that means they won't be able to do whatever they want like they've been doing with tethering and taking away unlimited data plans. they will now have actually HAVE to compete to keep their users. monopoly 101.
  • Have iPhone with unlimited data, same with iPad, so I personally don't need it. It would be nice to have though. I bet Verizon brings out tiered data. They said data rates would be announced later. So the MiFi will be part of it, not free. The ability is free and built in, not the actual usage. Many Android phones have mifi ability, but to use it is extra. It will be the same with Verizon and AT&T (if the enable it).
  • so instead of whining about which carrier sucks and all that, we should all just be happy that exclusivity is over. rejoice.
  • I agree with some previous posters: You want it, pick a new data plan and caugh up an additional $20 bucks a month! No grandfathered unlimited data for you!!!!
  • cough
  • The gayness in this thread is astounding. Carrier fanboism must end. Each person has a different experience on each network. For me, all of my work phones through Verizon since 2000 have had abysmal coverage and horrendous call quality. My AT&T iPhone has blown it away. I started with AT&T wireless in 1997 and stayed through Cingular and back to AT&T. Nearly 15 years. Nobody can come close to the quality of AT&T plans (related to the size of their network, so T-Mobile fanbois can stuff it), the coverage, and the speed. For me.
    I have noticed one consistent thing here in DC, though. Nearly everyone who believed that Verizon was the coverage utopia, and left other networks to get it, were sorely disappointed. Most people I know ended up coming back to AT&T. Of course, the iPhone helped in that migration.
    The bottom line from my perspective is that people say "AT&T sucks! without even really knowing why. Either they've never had Verizon, or they had it years before when people were using flip phones. The network and environment are much different now.
    Good luck catching that dream, Verizonbois.
  • I get a little annoyed that they charge extra just for the right to tether when my little old unlocked Nokia that I bought from dell for $250 for work can do it for free plus they have tiered data plans now so, I use a lot of data, I pay for it...granted I need to attach a usb cable to my laptop but it's free and doesn't kill the battery
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  • Let me get this straight.1-I use up my data allocation2-I can get the current episodes free3-Though my cable costs 2xs as much I get 10 the programming channels plus on-demand (back episodesno charge for the channel I already get)for $10 a month!!!Sounds too high to me
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