With the current ailing economy, the saying “the best things in life are free” truly holds. However, these things do not last as in the case of AT&T with its free tethering service which has been accessible for three years via jailbroken iPhones.
Tethering is a method to share the Internet connection of an Internet-capable mobile phone. This sharing can be made via cable, or wirelessly over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
AT&T announced Friday, March 18, 2011 via notifications in the form of emails, letters, and SMS text messages sent to consumers accessing their tethering service illegally using unauthorized tethering application such as MiWi to stop using it or they will be forced to automatically charge tethering service to their monthly bills.
An AT&T spokesman said in an email: “”We are sending emails, letter and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on the required tethering plan. Our goal is fairness for all of our customers.”
Accordingly, the letters say: “We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating. 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.”
AT&T gave a deadline until March 27 for consumers to make their own choices. If they want to continue using AT&T’s tethering service, they would need to call AT&T themselves to have it added on their current voice plans. After this deadline has lapsed, all consumers using AT&T’s unauthorized tethering service in the past will now be automatically billed an additional $45 per month.
Currently, AT&T offers three data plans – DataPlus, DataPro and DataPro 4GB.
DataPlus has a capped data of 200MB for $15 a month; DataPro has a 2GB of capped data for $25 a month; and DataPro 4GB has a 4GB capped data for $45 a month ideal for smartphone’s tethering service. For users who will exceed the 4GB capped data offered by DataPro 4GB, there will be a $10 per each additional GB.
For more information about these data plans, you can visit AT&T’s site here.