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iPhone 4 Beta Shows AT&T Tethering 240

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dear-god-yes dept.
An anonymous reader found news that will strike fear into the hearts of every 3G user in NYC. "Apple released iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 4 on Tuesday evening and it wasn't long before developers found the strongest evidence yet that tethering for US-based iPhone customers may happen sooner than later."
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iPhone 4 Beta Shows AT&T Tethering

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  • by imamac (1083405) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:53AM (#32263704)
    Because, unlimited data isn't really unlimited.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Unless you live in New York, where 5GB is the most you can possibly ever pull down in a month due to network issues and speeds. That makes it unlimited! Who needs thottling or limits, when you can just overload your network and overcharge your customers!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Culture20 (968837)

        Unless you live in New York, where 5GB is the most you can possibly ever pull down in a month due to network issues and speeds. That makes it unlimited! Who needs thottling or limits, when you can just overload your network and overcharge your customers!

        And this is why I don't understand why companies would spend so much on throttling; it's a naturally self-limiting system.

        • Because they get complaints from users that they can't watch Youtube videos in real time. So it's perfectly natural for companies to throttle downloading activities, while giving priority to Youtube, Skype, and othe realtime applications.

          As for cost, I don't think wireless will ever be as fast or cheap as wired. There's only ONE radio spectrum and it has to be shared with everyone within the cell tower's zone. In contrast the wired internet has an infinite number of spectrums, limited only by the number

          • by Gruturo (141223)

            As for cost, I don't think wireless will ever be as fast or cheap as wired. There's only ONE radio spectrum and it has to be shared with everyone within the cell tower's zone. In contrast the wired internet has an infinite number of spectrums, limited only by the number of wires laid down.

            Actually a huge number of initiatives, technologies and effort are thrown every day at the problem.

            First of all, reclaiming chunks of spectrum previously allocated to other uses (analog TV being just one example. There are also chunks allocated for military usage and mostly unused since the '70's adnd stuff like this (note: talking mostly out of my ass here, since, living in Italy, I only have a vague idea, mostly from google news headlines and a few tech blogs, of what the USA spectrum allocation looks lik

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Em Emalb (452530)

        Unless you live in New York, where 5GB is the most you can possibly ever pull down in a month due to network issues and speeds. That makes it unlimited! Who needs thottling or limits, when you can just overload your network and overcharge your customers!

        WTF uses over 5GB a month on their phone?

        Seriously, has this EVER been an issue for anyone here? I'm asking because that's a shit-load of data coming across a phone.

        Are you downloading ISOs or something? Via your phone? WTF for?

        Look, I get the idea that i

        • I'd be amazed if people used that much data just on their phone, but remember that tethered phones are just routers for laptops. Sprint is actually advertising this as a feature for their new 4G Android phone. You pay an extra $10 a month for unlimited 4G data, and then another $30 on top of that for a service that lets you use the phone as a WAP. Bam, your phone is now the Internet hub for your home. Since you can connect up to 4 computers to that service I'd imagine you can expect people to download A

          • by Altus (1034)

            If you lived along it wouldn't be that bad. Depending on the actual speeds and latency of course.

    • by Scutter (18425) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:06AM (#32263834) Journal

      Because, unlimited data isn't really unlimited.

      If it's anything like AT&T's current offerings, you'll pay $49/month just for the ability to tether, but you'll have to pay $5/month per website, plus $5/month (per "channel") to stream internet radio, plus $5/month for video, plus $5/month for 200 e-mails. It's unlimited alright. The only limitation is how deep your pocket is.

      • by Wiarumas (919682) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:42AM (#32264248)
        My biggest complaint is the market's price fixing on text messages. There is no way in hell that unlimited texting warrants a $30 price tag when the iPhone comes with a $30 unlimited data plan. Yes, you can play FPS, stream music, videos, browse the web, etc, but those 8 digit text messages are somehow made separate and charged at the same price?
        • by jonpublic (676412)

          agreed. mod up.

        • I pay $5/mo on Virgin Mobile for 1000 texts. Not too shabby. Your point and parent's points are still valid; telcos find every possible way to fee your ass.

          I still wait for the day mobile data plans are offered without phone plans, e.g. have a PDA with broadband connection ONLY and I can use Ekiga/Skype, mobile web, etc. for one low price.

      • If it's anything like AT&T's current offerings, you'll pay $49/month just for the ability to tether, but you'll have to pay $5/month per website, plus $5/month (per "channel") to stream internet radio, plus $5/month for video, plus $5/month for 200 e-mails. It's unlimited alright. The only limitation is how deep your pocket is.

        So what you're saying is AT&T is offering unlimited fees? Add that with the unlimited dropped calls I endure and unlimited iPhone lockups I encounter and it's just a hat trick of unlimitedness ... [Ren Höek] Joy! [/Ren Höek]

    • iPhone has has the ability to tether in the UK since 3GS came out. O2 sell plans with "unlimited" data, but if you want to tether, you have to pay another £15 per month (on top of the £35 per month contract) for 5Gb of tethered data transfers.
    • by jittles (1613415)
      Oh tell me about it. I love how I can't download something from the App store over 3G because its larger than 10MB. Because I pay $30 a month to have unlimited data in 10MB chunks? I don't think so. And don't get me started on how text messages some how magically aren't part of that unlimited data? Last I checked texts were just ones and zeroes... of course, so are the voice calls, aren't they?
    • >>>unlimited data isn't really unlimited.

      Unlimited TIME is what they advertise, not unlimited data. Read the contract. And I agree with their position. If you're downloading 1000 gigabytes each month while your grandma downloads just her emails, why should you pay the same amount each month? Electricity, water, gasoline, natural gas - all metered. It makes logical sense to do the same for data.

      For example Comcast has a current cap of 250 GB. They could sell additional gigabytes at ~10 cents

      • If you're downloading 1000 gigabytes each month while your grandma downloads just her emails, why should you pay the same amount each month?

        So what you're saying is that AT&T should raise my grandma's rates? Please don't give them any ideas ;-)

        • Actually I think somebody like grandma should have service like I've got - a mere $15 a month with ~100 GB cap. Or maybe even less - Netscape Dialup is only $7. If she only reads email then that would work just fine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099)

        Because unlimited means without limits? If that's not what they want to offer then the lying weasels should quit saying it! Yes, my electricity is metered and they charge for each KWh. They do not, however, advertise unlimited electricity for just $30/month.

        They do this to make sure the consumer can't make informed choices. If the offer honestly said 5GB for $30/month and someone else honestly said 6GB for $40/month, guess what consumers would do? However, if they call 5GB "unlimited" They look better than

    • by aug24 (38229)

      Be fair... unlimited at present is implicitly "unlimited on an iPhone without tethering" and so is effectively constrained, and they've done their maths based on that. It's perfectly reasonable to charge a different price for a tethering option that will probably result in much higher download totals.

    • A colleague has an iPad, which he carries with him almost everywhere. He tethers it to his non AT&T phone for free.Why would anyone buy an iPad and an iPhone if it requires either two data plans or one expensive one given the cheaper alternatives. ATT will keep me as an iPhone customer once I own an IPad by allowing me to tether the iPad to it,

    • by MikeFM (12491)
      Which is why I'd rather they let me tether to my iPad. More data for less money. I can anyway but THAT is really the only reason to jailbreak IMO so if they'd just let me do it it'd simplify my life. Or they could just let my buy a USB device for accessing their network via my laptop (or rather my wife's net book) for $15/mo without a contract and I'd be just as happy. Or hey offer Mifi for the same price. So far with the iPad 3G I've only used about half my $15/mo plan in the couple weeks I've had it and
  • iPhone or AT&T? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShadyG (197269) <bgraymusic@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:03AM (#32263812) Homepage
    I have no doubt the device can easily support it, and may even have the software installed by default in the OS. The question is will it or won't it be disabled and hidden for US consumers by contract with AT&T?
    • Re:iPhone or AT&T? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:23AM (#32264006)

      It's *already* in the iPhone OS - my 3G tethers out of the box here in the UK - no jailbreaking or extra software. This is entirely an AT&T limitation in the US.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      The feature's been in the OS for ages. The discovery is a special message prompting the user to call AT&T on a particular number to enable the tethering service, which suggests AT&T may provide a mechanism for enabling said tethering service.

    • The capability is there from the get go, but there is a set of files, IIRC, that describe each carrier and what features to allow. With a jailbroken phone, you can change that and allow tethering. This is why,say, UK users can tether but US users cannot.
    • by erpbridge (64037)

      Seeing it active in the beta doesn't exactly mean that the carrier will include support in the final version. For a short time in the iPhone OS 3.0 beta (a week or two), Tethering was active, even though ATT had not officially acknowledged support.

      We all know tethering is available in the final OS 3.x code for all carriers in the world, and that ATT has refused to activate iPhone users to tether, while other phones on ATT can tether fine. Tethering for ATT users can be activated in the OS via jailbreak (as

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:06AM (#32263836) Homepage

    If a company has a device that doesn't support tethering, why would you buy their products if you want to tether it? Why hype-up that they've "finally" included the damn thing, when it's been a standard feature on phones since GPRS and Bluetooth were available (my phone does it and that was released in 2003)?

    If a network does not support tethering for your particular device, why would you join them if you one day hoped to tether?

    There are other companies, other devices, other networks that *do* support tethering. Stop hoping for half-arsed solutions, trying to "jailbreak" your phone to do that, etc. Just buy one of the cheaper, easier, simpler devices that supports it out of the box without getting in your way or voiding your warranty. The companies that make those devices obviously know what you want and, crucially, will have been doing it properly, for longer.

    And, besides, phone tethering is old-hat anyway. It costs literally a few pounds / dollars to connect a PC to a 3G always-on connection on a decent tariff in the country of your choice. Most laptops have options to have it built-in, or external devices can be bought for less than a meal-for-two. There are PAYG and contract data tariffs that work out more than cheap enough (providing you don't roam internationally on them, but that's the same for anything). They won't interfere with the use of your phone, won't be tied to your keeping a stupidly-expensive phone, are designed for the job and don't have the security / network-lock / price / etc. issues that tethering to an iPhone would.

    Stop being surprised when years-old features are suddenly "added" to products that should have had them (and technically *could* have had them for absolutely no price difference whatsoever) in the first place.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Stop hoping for half-arsed solutions, trying to "jailbreak" your phone to do that, etc. Just buy one of the cheaper, easier, simpler devices that supports it out of the box without getting in your way or voiding your warranty. The companies that make those devices obviously know what you want and, crucially, will have been doing it properly, for longer.

      This is my primary problem with the iPhone. I shouldn't have to hack my phone to do basic stuff.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @09:25AM (#32264042)

        Talk to AT&T about that - in the rest of the world, the iPhone has tethering as a basic non-jailbreak feature. The lack of tethering on the iPhone is the US is *entirely* AT&T's limitation, which is strange since they allow it on other phones on their network (of course, those phones are not as popular).

        I didn't have to hack my iPhone to get tethering.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by OzPeter (195038)

          Talk to AT&T about that - in the rest of the world, ........

          One day the US consumers will wake up and relize that they they do not have the best phone system in the world or even a decent one. However I am pretty sure that the required dose of reality that will bring about such an epiphany is much greater than the FDA approved daily dosage for American citizens

          • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:14AM (#32265474)

            The second Americans figure out that things aren't as good here as it is in other countries...

            We just went through a year and a half of healthcare debates and no one got really upset that we pay out the nose for 2nd rate care.

            Do you really think that we'll give the same level of caring to lousy cellular service?

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            Dont need to wake up. I already know we have the WORST cellphone system on the planet.

            We have the worst internet infrastructure, etc...

        • by rcastro0 (241450)

          > in the rest of the world, the iPhone has tethering as a basic non-jailbreak feature

          Not in the whole rest of the world. Not here with Claro in Brazil, at least.

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            Pff! Brazils are clearly nuts, not a country!

            (ok, so not everywhere else in the world, but in many locations).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by UnknowingFool (672806)

          There was an interesting BusinessWeek article [businessweek.com] about the blessing and the curse that AT&T got when it got the iPhone. It was a blessing as it got many new, exclusive customers and moved itself into the front of US cellphone carriers. The curse was that the capabilities of the iPhone was overwhelming their data network. Part of the problem was that users of the iPhone were actually using it to surf the web like they would at home and the proliferation of apps meant that iPhone users could be constant 3

        • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          As a consumer, why should I give a shit "who's fault it is"? All that matters to me is that the problem exists.

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            Because identifying the source of a problem is often the first step to solving it.

            What if the iPhone's exclusivity deal with AT&T ends - as a consumer, are you going to assume that there won't be tethering on Verizon or whatever other provider it becomes available on?

            We make a lot of noise about the "ignorant sheeple" and you are now promoting that as a tenable position as a consumer? You can't have it both ways. Maybe you don't care, but you are not the person I replied to - perhaps they do care to be

      • by dskzero (960168)
        Well, that's pretty much the deal with iPhones.

        Either you hack it, or you're left to play with whatever Apple and your phone company wants you to do with it. In this case, the problem is Apple for playing along, and the phone company for... i'm not even sure what they are doing by locking it. Saving money, i would guess.

        Down here in Venezuela we don't really have that problem, as our phone companies apparently don't give a damn about what we do with our lines, but we're cut short by the crapiness of t
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Only need to jailbreak it because AT&T disabled the tethering in the phone.

        Oh look, all AT&T phones have tethering disabled! Chose to ignore that fact did you?

    • The iPhone already supports tethering. For all it's issues, Vodafone NZ has supported this (for free, but with crappy data caps) since the 3gs came out.
    • Technically it's had the ability for a while now. I used to tether with my iPhone over bluetooth with my MBP for a short while when version 3.0 was released and before they required signed IPPC files from the carriers. I know a number of people in Europe who are able to tether because their provider allows for it. Here in the US, it's all square on AT&T for the reason tethering is not allowed.

      I have a 3G card from the company (actually we have 5 of them) with a contract up in July. Those are $60 a p

    • If a company has a device that doesn't support tethering, why would you buy their products if you want to tether it? Why hype-up that they've "finally" included the damn thing, when it's been a standard feature on phones since GPRS and Bluetooth were available (my phone does it and that was released in 2003)?

      NOOOO!!! Now you've done it! Asking a rhetorical questions founded on logic will bring Jobs' iSlaves out of the woodwork, screaming apologist tripe and nonsense defending the indefensible stance of t

      • by fotbr (855184)

        Did it occur to you that most people that bought the iPhone don't really care about tethering?

        Those that did, apparently found a way. Those that didn't care weren't really affected by not having it available.

        • by swb (14022)

          There is a middle option, those that care, but not enough to hack/jailbreak.

          When we were in Disneyworld a couple of months ago the expensive (overpriced?) hotel we stayed in had high speed internet but Disney demanded even MORE money to use it.

          Tethering my laptop to my iPhone would have been great, and I run into this kind of situation once every couple of months where local internet access is either hosed, too restrictive or expensive for what I need to get done.

          Overall it's a "would be nice" but isn't imp

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Trashman (3003)

      You make very good points. And I agree with you that you should vote with your dollars. Unfortunately, your comment doesn't address the reality of the market forces and competition between the big 4 telcos in the US.

      The reality is: There is no competition.

      1. Look at the txt messaging rates between the big four. They basically charge the same rate. when one raises their price, the others follow shortly thereafter.

      2. Look at the ETF's for the (usually, 2 year) contracts you sign. they're all very high

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @11:59AM (#32266064) Homepage Journal

      A Jailbreak and openssh is all you need to tether to the iPhone. :)

      The issue is that people buy the iPhone based on advertised features, and it wasn't until Apple starting moving to disable tethering (quickly bypassed trivially) that they added the * and a footnote stating "in selective markets." The problem is if you pay full price for a fully (officially) unlocked iPhone, Apple still will not give you the ability to enable tethering; they refer you to the carrier. The carrier refers you to Apple. The situation has improved somewhat if you have an "official" Apple reseller as your provider, but if you own an Apple-unlocked phone and don't use their blessed providers, you are still SOL.

      This problem began when AT&T and Apple in their joint press conferences announced each iPhone with all of its bells and whistles, and tethering being one of the key advanced features Apple was pushing (advanced? It is something other phone manufacturers have offered dating back to the late '90s by allowing the phones to be used as a modem, and later, many phone manufacturers allowed via a wired, wifi, or bluetooth network connection, passing the full bandwidth of the phone's data connection). Apple's yanking tethering pissed off a lot of customers who bought the iPhone with an advertised set of features, and then reneging after getting our money.

      This is NO different than the Sony PS3/Other OS issue. Remember the outrage when Sony yanked the feature, and many had purchased the PS3 to be able to run PS3 games, play blu-ray, AND run a basic Linux box as part of their entertainment center? Sony removed a key feature that sold many units.

      The difference here is Apple is FINALLY giving the functionality back after a lot of feedback over the last six months or so since they pulled it.

      Stop being surprised when years-old features are suddenly "added" to products that should have had them (and technically *could* have had them for absolutely no price difference whatsoever) in the first place.

      The iPhone 3G S had it originally, and Apple yanked it. They're just giving the feature back now.

  • I'm sure my porn downloads will FLY with this new free feature.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This doesn't sound new.

  • Posted from a laptop tethered to a WinMobile device, which has supported tethering since release, over USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi (act as wireless router).

    But yeah, you enjoy your "progress."
    • by thijsh (910751)
      WMWifiRouter FTW! Program works great, I get several Mbps over 3G with multiple laptops...
      Only disadvantage I found: This requires massive power (3G, Wifi, CPU), even while charging my battery *slowly* drains.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      WM5 had a simple hack to enable tethering... WM6 removed that hack per the request of AT&T.

      Only windows Mobile phones that still had tethering working were unbranded unlocked ones.

      P.S. iphone has had tethering for over 2 years now. AT&T simply has it disabled.

  • I can't wait to pay (Too much Money) a month to complain about it!

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.

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