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AT&T Cracking Down On Unofficial iPhone Tethering 513

Posted by Soulskill
from the convenience-charge-for-different-bits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "AT&T is sending warning notifications to jailbroken iPhone users who use unofficial tethering methods like MyWi and PDANet. 'Customers are being notified that their service plans need updating to subscribe to a tethering plan, and that they will be automatically subscribed to a DataPro 4GB package that costs an additional $45 per month if they continue to tether.'"
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AT&T Cracking Down On Unofficial iPhone Tethering

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  • Its like the mob (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:30PM (#35531602)

    Pay up or we force you to pay.

    Oh, and yeah, our service isn't really top notch. But if you try to go to someone else, we'll break your legs (well, charge you a fee anyway).

    How do Americans put up with this crap, when other countries pay so, so much less for mobile?

  • Re:Detection (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:34PM (#35531666)

    People view Flash based sites.

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:35PM (#35531708)

    They do know this, however unlike other places in the world, we are a captive audience when it comes to wireless providers, the 4 major carriers (and now I will put on my tinfoil hat) appear to collude to a point that price and features all cost around the same. The only thing that differentiates them is how good their coverage is in the different areas.

  • That makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:36PM (#35531716) Homepage

    It's like when your ISP charges you more to use a desktop than a notebook or tablet. Oh wait, no they don't. That would be crazy.

  • Legality? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:36PM (#35531722)

    How is this even allowed? I pay for 2GB of data per month. Whether the traffic goes to my iPhone or to my iPhone and then to my iPad isn't really any of AT&T's concern. There is no extra overhead, no extra work on their side. All the routing is done on the phone itself. This sounds like a double charge on a single service. Am I missing something?

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:52PM (#35532038) Homepage
    I don't think it has anything to do with intelligence. It's about being brought up in a culture where such stuff is the norm and thus not seen for what it is - simple exploitation. Of course, it doesn't help that a lot of Americans are simply unaware of what goes on elsewhere..

    I came to the US from India a few years ago and was absolutely stunned by how the phone thing works here. Stay locked in to a phone for two fucking years? Seriously? What if you want to upgrade your model? Two years is a loooooong time in the tech world. What if you want to change your carrier AND change your phone? What if you want a prepaid phone with as cheap service rates as a post paid one? What if you want to pop in a new SIM from another carrier. What if.....oh forget it!
  • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumPion (805098) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:09PM (#35532406)

    The answer to all of the above hysterical "what if" questions is simply you pay the early termination fee - which is the difference in price between the subsidized and retail price of the phone. Or you sign up for service with no contract using a used phone you buy off craigslist/ebay.

  • by Americano (920576) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:10PM (#35532416)

    And when you (the customer) agree to a contract that says "tethering costs extra," and then you tether anyway without paying that extra fee... aren't you violating the very basic principles of how agreements work as well?

    This isn't "changing" the contract, this is telling you, "Either abide by the contract you signed, or pay up for the services you're consuming."

    Whether or not charging extra for tethering is reasonable is certainly debatable; that you're violating the contract (in which you agree that tethering costs extra and may be added to your plan if it's offered on your phone) by tethering without paying for the plan is not debatable.

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:10PM (#35532432) Homepage Journal

    Do Americans have a choice? I can't find a wireless carrier who has reception in my area who offers anything other than these plans.

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:32PM (#35532880)

    Do Americans know that no one else in the world does this?

    Well, us American slashdotters are very painfully aware. But I once (actually, twice to the same person) had to explain to a friend that I didn't need to pay for a data plan in order to use wifi on my smartphone. -_- I do not have high hopes for the general awareness of this country.

    In fairness, your 'friend' probably knows little of networking in the same way you know very little about what goes into manufacturing a cardboard box. We follow our interests.

    In other words, there are lots of people who think you are lacking in 'general awareness', too. I bet your car mechanic thinks you shouldn't have a license to drive.

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:37PM (#35532994)

    And if our politicians make any efforts to free us from any collusion or abuse a majority of Americans rise up in arms to stop their "Fascist, communist, anti-business agenda."

    Consumer protection in the united states is seen as tantamount to tyranny. Our government isn't in the pocket of big business... our citizens are. They've been convinced by savvy lobbyists that anything which protects them will ultimately ruin their lives.

    "You want to regulate toxic chemicals leaching into your water supply? Well you *could* regulate us but then you would be unemployed, your children would be in concentration camps and you'll starve on the street destitute!"
    "Oh my God, no, keep dumping!"

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:49PM (#35533230) Journal

    The fact that the prices are tending to converge just shows that there is some competition in the market.

    That would be true only if the profit margins were also consistently reducing - that then would be the sign of price competition.

  • Re:USA #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday March 18, 2011 @02:24PM (#35533864) Homepage

    Both you and GP are wrong.

    Oligopolies naturally produce a market with somewhat artificially inflated prices. The barriers to entry into the cell phone market are ridiculously high, so the big 4 don't need to be worried about new competitors showing up. Also, society has more-or-less collectively decided that cell phone use is a necessity for nearly everyone, and most of the potential substitutes have been effectively shut down, so the big 4 don't need to be too worried about consumers deciding to do without.

    That means that each of the big 4 has only 1 incentive not to completely gouge their customers, namely competition from the other 3 of the big 4. But they have 2 ways of dealing with that while still trying to increase their profits. They could:
    A) Try to steal market share from their competitors with better service and/or lower prices. This will in the long run increase profits, but in the short run will be costly.
    B) Increase prices, but either do it in a way that the customers don't notice, or ensure that their competitors "catch up" to their pricing changes.

    If they all pick option A, laissez-faire paradise ensues with great value to customers, but not so great value to investors. If they all pick option B, it will look an awful lot like they're colluding, even though they are in fact each making the same rational decision. From what I can tell, they went with option A when the market was still pretty volatile, but nowadays stick with option B most of the time.

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