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MyWi 4.0
AT&T isn't playing games when it comes to unauthorized tethering apps

Things are quickly changing when it comes to internet data plans. While we were used to a plethora of unlimited data plans for our smartphones and even our home internet connections, service providers are now implementing bandwidth caps to curb data usage

When it comes to smartphones, many users feel that that should be able to use that data anyway they please, however, service providers clearly don't feel the same way. For this reason, data tethering -- which allows you to share your smartphone internet data connection with other devices -- is usually a separate charge from your data plan.

Those that get around this extra fee by jailbreaking and using "unauthorized" apps had better start watching your back -- AT&T is beginning to crackdown on users. According to TUAW, AT&T is sending out letters to customers that it believes are using unauthorized tethering solutions. Here's a snippet from the full text (which can be found here): 

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 we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 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.

One of the most popular apps for jailbroken iPhones is MyWi. MyWi allows a user to tether their iPhone without payingthe additional monthly tethering fee to AT&T. The app allows tethering via USB, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi and is available for a one-time fee of $19.99

The letter doesn't say how AT&T was able to determine that the customer was tethering, but it stands to reason that grandfathered unlimited data plan customers that are using multiple gigabytes of data per month are prime suspects.

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RE: Imagine...
By Murst on 3/18/2011 11:21:07 AM , Rating: 1
ISPs already kind of do that.

For example, Time Warner charges something like $5 or $6 for turning on the wireless in the modem they provide you.

The difference is that they don't force you to pay extra if you use your own wireless router. However, if the cellular providers somehow succeed in forcing users to pay for tethering, I could see ISPs using the same logic to force subscribers to pay extra for using wireless, even if the subscriber buys their own wireless router.

RE: Imagine...
By Gzus666 on 3/18/2011 12:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
Correction here, they charge you to turn on the wireless cause they have to support you at that point. It costs money to support the many non-technical folks out there with their wireless. They charge a fee so they can cover this cost.

RE: Imagine...
By DM0407 on 3/18/2011 3:05:25 PM , Rating: 1
Correction here, they charge you to turn on the wireless cause they have to support you at that point. It costs money to support the many non-technical folks out there with their wireless. They charge a fee so they can cover this cost.

Six dollars to explain to someone how to connect to a wireless router? I bet its unencrypted to prevent a deluge of calls and they probably charge extra for in house service of the wireless... In other words they are both profit makers.

RE: Imagine...
By Murst on 3/18/2011 4:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
The provided support ends with them turning on the wireless. If you actually need support after they turn on the wireless, you are charged with their standard support visit fee.

If the charge was truly based on the 60 seconds it takes to turn on the wireless, it would be a one time charge. However, this charge is a recurring monthly charge for their wireless router being turned on.

RE: Imagine...
By spamreader1 on 3/18/2011 12:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
But time warner doesn't fine you or unilaterily add additional contract plans for using your own soho wifi router either...

I'm in the boat of due to geographic location I use an aircard which has a tiny limit of 5GB/mo. When I use about 4.8GB (about 1 out of 3 months depending on remote support usage) I tether my iphone using mywi for the additional 500MB-1GB to avoid the .05/mb overage charges for the 5GB hard cap that is now imposed.

Now if ATT used sense and charged air card fees the same as cell phone data plans I would never have to do that in the first place. I'd love to pay the same way for the air card data the same way as cellular data. $10-$20 per GB is a bit high but reasonable, $0.05/MB is unreasonable. ($50/GB for those who don't want to do the simple math) If the 5GB plan is $59.99 why can't they simply charge for each additional 1-2GB the same way as smartphone users?

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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