AT&T is reportedly cracking down on unoffcial tethering apps used by iPhone owners who have jailbroken their handsets. According to the report, customers using MyWi and similar applications (and even who are not) are being notified they need to subscribe to a tethering plan if they want use the tethering feature. If customers do not subscribe to a DataPro 4GB plan with tethering, AT&T will automatically sign them up for the $45 per month plan after March 27, 2011. The circulating letter is as follows:
Dear [Name of Account Holder],
We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating.
Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones– a practice commonly known as tethering. 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 you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at www.wireless.att.com, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone 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)
• $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
• Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones
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.
It’s easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan’s threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go to www.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage.
As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.
Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.
Please update your data plan by March 27, 2011 if you intend to continue tethering
To learn more and update your plan, visit att.com/dataplans
Reach us for assistance during business hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST at 1-888-860-6789
MyWi is not mentioned in this letter but the jailbreak app is commonly used to tether without subscribing to an expensive tethering plan. Using unofficial tethering applications such as MWi is possible on all the major mobile platforms, but this is the first time this tethering practice has been identified and called out by a wireless carrier. Of couse, it is possible this is a hoax and AT&T is not the sender of this notification. We have reached out to AT&T to comment on this developing story.
[Via OSX Daily]