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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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  • USA #1 (Score:2, Informative)

    by viablos (2018696)
    Do Americans know that no one else in the world does this? Not in Europe, not in Asia. They sell you the service and you use it how you want.

    But this is Apple's fault too. If you go with Windows phones you can tether how you want, as they only care about iPhone users and can't detect Windows traffic from other Windows traffic.
    • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Informative)

      by crossword.bob (918209) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:35PM (#35531674)

      Do Americans know that no one else in the world does this? Not in Europe, not in Asia. They sell you the service and you use it how you want.

      O2 in the UK charge £7.50/mo for a tethering + 500MB bolt-on for consumer tariffs (you can't buy the tethering without the additional data). I believe 3 offer it free, but not sure about others.

      • by pstils (928424)
        Virgin charge nothing extra - you pay for your data plan, it's your data to use how you like, through which ever device you like
      • Vodafone UK offer an additional 500MB allowance for tethered usage for £5 a month. It's automatically added to your bill when you tether with an iPhone.
    • 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.

      • 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!"

    • by drb226 (1938360)

      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.

      • 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.

        • by AdamThor (995520)

          I have been thinking lately that perhaps the increasing amount of things to be known, the specialization available in every area, makes it impossible to be more than marginally informed on a handful of subjects. This isn't so much an original thought. Recently, I've been thinking that this has been more successfully exploited that maybe in the past. Or perhaps it isn't so much a malicious and calculated attack, as much as the Information Superhighway having just increased the flow without improving the s

    • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Toe, The (545098) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:38PM (#35531768)

      There is one simple little reason: Americans appear to be willing to pay for it.

      Most US cell phones are free or almost free. The fact that you're getting a free phone in exchange for paying thousands of dollars over two years for service seems to be lost on most consumers here.

      Americans also regularly pay over $100 per month for cable TV... and there are ads on almost every channel (often taking up a full third of every hour of programming!), not to mention pay-per-view channels.

      Indeed, how do Americans fall for this stuff while people in other nations seem to be able to get better deals? Are we really just that dumb?

      • 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.

          • 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.

            Say I have finished the contract. Or say I bring my own phone instead of taking a subsidized phone in the first place. Then why don't I get a discount of (ETF / length of contract) off Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T monthly service? At least T-Mobile is honest about its subsidies and offers such a discount (ask about "Even More Plus" in any T-Mobile store), but it also reportedly has the worst coverage among the big four.

          • by profplump (309017)

            A) You can't get a contract without an early termination fee even if you bring your own equipment.
            B) The cost of the early termination fee often greatly exceeds the value of the equipment subsidy. For the high-end phones the value may be comparable, but entry-level, voice-only phones are not worth $400.
            C) On many carriers it's essentially impossible to convince their sales staff that you can create an account without a contract. Try it some time -- I have with 1 regional and 2 national carriers and was only

      • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Informative)

        by andrea.sartori (1603543) on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:01PM (#35532226) Journal

        Indeed, how do Americans fall for this stuff while people in other nations seem to be able to get better deals? Are we really just that dumb?

        Not that much. The "will happily pay thousands of dollars because they're giving me a free phone now" is possible thanks to a logical fallacy called "hyperbolic discounting" [rochester.edu] -- the article in the link refers to lab animals, but it's proven that it works on humans, too. Simpler descriptions here [damninteresting.com] and here [wikimedia.org]. Of course it's being exploited and used as a marketing method since years.
        And: not only Americans fall for this, and endless businesses all around the world use this trick to, well, screw us. We Europeans just like to think we are smarter than the yanks ;) but this marketing technique is so widespread we don't even notice anymore.

        • by s73v3r (963317)

          Just a question: Have any of you ever actually done the math between a regular, subsidized phone and a plan, and buying a phone outright? My Galaxy S cost $500, and my contract-free, subsidy-free T-Mobile plan is about $60/month. By going contract free, I save about $10-20/month, but it still comes out to $2k over 2 years.

      • 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.

      • by xded (1046894)

        Americans also regularly pay over $100 per month for cable TV... and there are ads on almost every channel (often taking up a full third of every hour of programming!), not to mention pay-per-view channels.

        About that, look at the bright side: at least you are producing great stuff (tv series, documentaries) or, at least, stuff you in the end export. Here (Italy) the last consistently good stuff was produced 50 years ago.

        These days we may pay less for tv, but the stuff we get is either cr** or coming from the US a season later...

      • by MtHuurne (602934)

        Most US cell phones are free or almost free. The fact that you're getting a free phone in exchange for paying thousands of dollars over two years for service seems to be lost on most consumers here.

        In Europe most people buy subsidized phones too. But unless you want a very expensive phone + plan, it will add up to hundreds of euros, not thousands, over two years. Buying phone and service separately is slightly cheaper, but not spectacularly.

        Americans also regularly pay over $100 per month for cable TV... and there are ads on almost every channel (often taking up a full third of every hour of programming!), not to mention pay-per-view channels.

        Where I live (the Netherlands), the cable networks were owned by the local governments until the 90s. When the networks were sold, it was done under strict conditions about pricing and availability of channels. I think I pay about 16 euros/month for about 30 channe

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>Not in Europe, not in Asia.

      And what happens when your European neighbors are netflixing or bittorrenting at the same time, over the wireless internet? Does it slow to a crawl? That's what happens in the US.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        You're still limited to 'x' GB of data transfer, it's just that you can use it on whatever device you like. AT&T limit you to 'x' GB on your phone, and only allow you to tether if you pay extra.

      • by mikael_j (106439)

        I don't really know anyone who uses 3G/4G connections for torrenting. Youtube and similar content? Sure, but I can't say I've noticed any performance issues myself.

        A little off-topic, for wired connections, I've tested the speed of my connection (100/100 Mbps) a number of times at different times of the day and week and never gotten less than 90 Mbps downstream for any test site in Scandinavia. Outside of europe it tends to drop a bit when using only one connection but with multiple connections to various h

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>Feel free to speculate where the bottleneck is...

          I have the same problem in the opposite direction: US hosts are fast for my US-based home, while European or Asian connections are slow. It's because of the multiple hops (i.e. distance).

          It's also why Opera Turbo doesn't work properly for me. The inherent latency of loading data from a Norway proxy Negates any speed-up from the compressed webpage.

      • Netflix doesn't operate in Europe, you insensitive clod!

        I don't have wireless internet, but is bittorrenting a real problem? Everyone I know with smartphones also has a cable or fiber connection, which is must faster.

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

      Here in the UK, some telcos try to charge for tethering. I have a custom ROM on my phone for one thing, so I can do it without paying for a package for it. I have hardly ever used it anyway, so I don't know what would actually happen if I started using it a lot. I'm on a business data plan anyway so I doubt it would matter..

      How exactly is "Windows traffic" on a phone indistinguishable from "Windows traffic" on a PC, yet somehow those are both different from iOS traffic? For one thing even the default browse

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        >How exactly is "Windows traffic" on a phone indistinguishable from "Windows traffic" on a PC, yet somehow those are both different from iOS traffic?

        iOS electrons wear purple with sunglasses.

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        a >2,000,000 UID

        There are >2mil UIDs? Noobs.

      • Its the usage patterns that are different - desktop usage is typically significantly higher than phone-based usage, its quite easy to tell which is which.
    • That would impossible here in Brazil due to our consumer laws in two way I can think of: they can't limit the way I use the service (unless I'm doing something illegal) and they can't change a contract term or assign a paid service unilaterally.

    • Wrong. In Germany, I would have to pay additional fee if i wanted to tether my iPhone (at least with T-Mobile). Anyways, I bet, if you read the contract you signed you'll find out they are selling you exactly the service that you are then allowed to use.
    • by SkyDude (919251)

      But this is Apple's fault too.

      Heresy. Off with his head. I hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Apple fanbois.

      Now say something un-PC about Jobs, you brute.

    • Vodaphone does it for iPhone users in India too.
      If you have a smarphone, and want a 2.5GB GPRS (EDGE 2G) plan? Price = 199/month (4$ approx)
      If you have an iPhone?
      You need to buy iPhone GPRS plan which costs 450rs for 500MB/mo :)

      So its like the carriers saying "We know you iPhone uses are dumbos who will pay extra for nothing.... so we will take your money, thank you!"

  • Detection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:29PM (#35531580)

    How do they detect if the users are tethering??

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DanTheManMS (1039636)

      How do they detect if the users are tethering??

      From what I've read, it seems like they're really just looking for people who use up tons of data per month, on the suspicion that they're tethering. I've already heard a few stories of people calling them up, saying "I stream Pandora all day so why am I being charged extra for that?" and being let off the hook.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)

        From what I've read, it seems like they're really just looking for people who use up tons of data per month, on the suspicion that they're tethering.

        Why do they care how much traffic a user is consuming? There was a report a year or two ago about AT&T having network troubles due to the iPhone, because while the average user actually consumed 1/8th the bandwidth of one with a laptop modem, the type of traffic they were sending actually put more load on the equipment. The only real reason they meter by data is it's a lot easier to explain to a user than packet throughput.

    • by Cutriss (262920)

      Current guess is they're snooping on user agent strings in packets to determine if PC clients are being used to browse the web.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        And the user-agent is so impossible to change?
        • by Ruke (857276)
          No, but that doesn't mean that people are doing it. There are twenty different ways that AT&T could be detecting tethering, each with a workaround that would defeat AT&T's snooping. This doesn't mean that each tethered user is aware of each of these methods, or even aware that AT&T is snooping on them in the first place. Nor should we assume that everyone with a jailbroken iPhone has the technical wherewithal to correctly implement any or all of these workarounds.
        • For most people it is, I'd say. Just say "user agent" around and count the number of blank stares. (Does not apply if you only hang around with techies.)
    • by hellfire (86129)

      Could simply be encoded in the network tracking. The endpoint of the TCP request is not the phone, it's the machine attached to the phone. Can you somehow track that in the network traffic regardless of the jailbreak and then cross reference with the user's AT&T account?

    • Quoting the summary, "unofficial tethering methods like MyWi and PDANet"... Through apple, AT&T knows what apps you have installed. If you have MyWi or PDANet installed, and you're using a larger-than-normal amount of bandwidth, then they'll claim you are tethering.
      • by mark-t (151149)
        If they aren't official, how does Apple know they are installed? If they were from the App store, in which case Apple knows you installed it, how is that not official?
    • Re:Detection (Score:5, Informative)

      by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:42PM (#35531848)

      If you look at your bill, it shows how much data per day and when the sessions started and stopped. Short sessions are not counted separately, rather grouped into the previous or next major session. I tether, and I just checked my bill, currently about 2.5 g per month is what I am running on the high side.

      here is a sample from a few days of use last month..

      336 MON 01/31/2011 9:23AM Data Transfer Data 222,366 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00
      337 MON 01/31/2011 11:30AM Data Transfer Data 75,889 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00
      338 MON 01/31/2011 11:02PM Data Transfer Data 513 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00
      339 TUE 02/01/2011 12:02AM Data Transfer Data 4,323 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00
      340 WED 02/02/2011 8:27AM Data Transfer Data 38,168 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00
      341 WED 02/02/2011 11:32AM Data Transfer Data 107,778 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00
      342 WED 02/02/2011 2:50PM Data Transfer Data 38,417 KB DPPB AT GPRR Out 0.00

      Even if I was streaming pandara all day, and surfing the internet, and using various network aware apps and youtube (which would conflict with pandora from an audio standpoint), it would still be hard to hit 220 meg between say 930am and 1130am on lines 336 and 337.

      That would be a dead giveaway. They would not even have to use deep packet inspection to pull agent strings, or anything.

      But like someone else said, they are probably just going to hit people that use exorbitant amounts of bandwidth, although as a security person, I could easily develop something automated to find the majority of those tethering without any human interaction required..

      • A lot of apps helpfully make it easier for them too. It's not deliberate, they're trying to avoid consumer dissatisfaction with their service, but very few apps will download large files over the cellular network. Just bought a new audiobook from Audible, but I can't download it until I get to a wifi hotspot. The Audible app won't DL files larger than 20MB over the cell network. I'm fairly sure that Audible isn't in collusion with AT&T, they just don't want people to get crappy download speeds and/o

    • by mjwx (966435)
      IMEI.
  • 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?

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Pay up or we force you to pay.

      This... probably shouldn't be legal. Automatic subscription to a $45/month service seems like it violates very basic principles of how agreements work.

      And to all you people that will be complaining on here, and not doing anything about it, here's something really simple you can do:
      Donate to the EFF. (www.eff.org/support/)

      They're the only organization taking a stand against all this kind of stuff.

      >>How do Americans put up with this crap, when other countries pay so

      • It's a standard clause in many consumer-to-business contracts: The business just gives themselves the right to alter the conditions of the contract at any time. Sometimes requiring notice some period in advance, but said notice is typicially in the form of a letter with five pages of tiny legal print that everyone throws away. Unless you explicitly end the contract upon recieving the notification (Which, in itsself, often means a termination fee), you are assumed to have agreed to the new terms by default.
        • If they want to change the contract, they can, but you can also stipulate that you'll live out the contract as it was originally signed. When you do that, of course, there's no early termination fee, but your line will be disconnected five minutes after the contract expires, and so you'll lose the mobile number.
      • by alen (225700)

        the contract you sign for the service says that if you want to tether you have to buy the service

      • 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.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      As a Canadian I wish we had things as good as they do in the US (phone plan wise that is).

      Seriously.. rates and plans are insane over here. Unless you live in one of maybe 4 areas that have anything approaching competition, you pretty much get bent over the barrel.

      I'd love a phone with GPS, and a data plan for the occasional quick search or map lookup.. but for $70 a month (which is really what you end up paying here) it's just not worth it for something I'd use a few times a week.

      • by Ruke (857276)
        $70-80 USD/mo is standard for a smartphone with a data plan in the United States.
    • by JustNiz (692889)

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

      Because the US government and legal system are for sale to the highest bidder, so the US system only works on the behalf of the big corporations.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      It's not quite like the mob... if you don't like it, you can switch to another carrier when you contract expires. And that is the problem with subsidizing phone purchases with monthly connection fees -- companies don't get the feedback that they've screwed up until 2 years later when the contract expires.
    • You signed a contract. In America, you can't break a contract without penalty.
    • Don't sign the f*cking contract! How hard is that?
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:33PM (#35531650)
    Charge them for how much data they use, not for how they use it. AT&T is just assuming that anybody tethering is using more bandwidth than they would otherwise. The real problem is that they hooked subscribers with a promise of "unlimited data" in the first place.
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Charge them for how much data they use, not for how they use it.

      Moving bytes doesn't cost the phone company money, once they have the towers built the cost of moving the data around is very very low. They sign up people to flat rates that theoretically oversubscribe the network because they want flat revenue to build new towers and maintain the hardware on a predictable schedule. Remember you're getting in fact two services: the bytes over the air, and the network's availability over large stretches of ge

  • I'm past my contract terms with them and sick of them, to boot! If they do this to me, then I'll tell them to take their plan and shove it.

  • 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.

  • ...a Class Action.
  • 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?

    • 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?

      Your phone company squeezing more charge for something they don't even provide themselves, and netting hundreds of thousands of subscriptions because many people will likely not even pay attention to that notice that was sent out? I'd say you figured out exactly the whole situation with crystal clear insight.

    • Not if you contractually agree not to tether when you sign up for service.

      Of course, if they change my plan to charge me for tethering and I'm NOT tethering, well, that would probably not be legal.

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

      by jambarama (784670) <jambarama@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:02PM (#35532232) Homepage Journal
      Yep, you're missing the incredibly 1-sided contracts users sign to access any cell networks. Here are some relevant gems from the AT&T contract:

      We may, at our discretion, suspend your account if we believe your data usage is excessive, unusual or is better suited to another rate plan.

      Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/smartphone to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH\® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose.

      Accordingly, AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network...

      Tethering without a tethering plan breaches your contract, so they can refuse to provide service, request you pay more for your plan, or do about anything.

      • by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday March 18, 2011 @06:35PM (#35537264)

        I had my data plan abruptly terminated for a month because AT&T figured out that I chopped up my SIM into a micro-SIM to fit in my iPad. Never mind the fact that I could only use one device at a time. They wanted me to pay the extra $25/month for a data plan on the iPad. It wasn't even high usage--I basically did it to browse the occasional website and use Google Maps.

        And on top of that, I was billed the entire amount for the data plan during the month that it was cut off--in effect, AT&T charged me for a service it deliberately refused to deliver.

    • 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?

      You are missing the plain terms of the contract that forbid this. You don't like the contract terms, I'm sure but that doesn't change the fact that the consumer did not enter an agreement whereby they can consume their 2GB of data per month on any device they want.

      Whether or not there is extra overhead or work on their side is not relevant to those terms. Individuals contract all the time with conditions that are not relating to extra overhead or work. My house lease forbids overnight guests for staying mo

  • Hmmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:38PM (#35531760)
    Isn't it against regulation to force you into an added-charge service unless you opt out?
  • As long as the customers pay for the services I don't see any problem with tethering (whatever medium they sue).
    It could be an EULA issue. But then it'd be an issue between Apple and the users ...
    What's the problem, in the end?
    • by webdog314 (960286)

      The problem is that they offered "unlimited" data plans and still (stupidly) honor them. People tethering with an unlimited plan would be a huge drain on their network. The solution is to finally face the music and drop the pretense of "unlimited data". Like you said, if you're paying for the service (the "service" being a set amount of data per month 2/4/6 gig etc) then what's the big deal? If I only have 2 gigs of data to burn through, tethered or not, I'm not going to waste it on Netflix. Maybe some peop

  • so, this is why we need net neutrality, so that ISPs don't charge based on content type (iPhone data vs. tethered data).

  • heh, when i ran 100+ connections and d/l 12G of torrents in 2 days on my wife's non-jailbroke android phone, which we tethered when a drunk driver took out our internet for 12 days, all we got was a warning after 10-12G that we'd be reduced to dialup speeds. Which, considering I had no dial tone (also due to drunk driver who smashed telephone pole[3rd time]), was better than the alternative, and apparently better than if we'd done this with my jailbroken iPhone (which I got for free, and would never buy, but also would not just throw in the trash).
    • by Xacid (560407)

      "all we got was a warning after 10-12G that we'd be reduced to dialup speeds."

      This is how it should be. Charging for simply enabling another device to use bandwidth that you're ALREADY paying for is fucking stupid. I don't even understand how that makes sense or why customers would tolerate it.

      Anywho - with that said - which companies out there offer android/iphones, allow tethering, and don't ream their customers? I'm an ATT customer (since 2003) and pretty much ready to jump ship.

      • by ClintJCL (264898)
        this was a T-Mobile HTC Dream (like $130 in 2007??), based in northern Virginia ("heart of the internet" area).
  • ... but how do they know if a phone is being tethered?
  • If you would like to continue tethering...here are details on the plan:
    -DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
    --$45 per month (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
    • by ptbarnett (159784)

      Error in summary: $20 more per month, not $45.

      Mod the parent up. The error is in the original article, as well.

      AT&T charges $25/month for the 2 gigabytes/month data plan for the iPhone. Adding tethering increases the charge to $45/month for 4 gigabytes/month. However, if you are currently on the $30/month "unlimited" plan, it's only $15/month more to change to the 4 gigabytes/month + tethering plan.

      I switched from the unlimited dataplan when iOS 4.3 was released, as I could finally replace my Sprint MiFi hotspot with my iPhone. I didn't f

  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Friday March 18, 2011 @06:34PM (#35537256)
    I'm wondering how AT&T is going to justify how they know you're tethering in the first place? They can base it solely on amount of data consumed...but that's in no way accurate. Are they going to admit that they're monitoring your data stream without your permission or notification? Ouch...that's gonna get ugly. Are they going to admit they've backdoor'd your phone to see what apps you're running...double ouch.

    I don't see any way for AT&T to definitively identify people who are tethering without a fairly egregious privacy violation.
  • by davesag (140186) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:03PM (#35538096) Homepage

    What I don't get is what is the real difference between data used by my phone when, say, streaming some video from YouTube, or data that's being used by my phone to provide net access to my laptop? Assuming the phone company simply bills for the data, or has a plan with some sort of cap, as is normal here in Australia anyway, surely they'd want to encourage more use of that data so as to increase their billing? I really don't understand why tethering isn't just another always-available function of the phone, rather than something you are expected to arrange specially with your phone company.

    Here my iPhone and iPad are both on Telstra but I can only tether with my phone, but not my iPad. It's just annoying, and I can't see it's any of Telstra's business what I do with my data, so long as I pay my bill and am not breaking the law.

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