Last month, we learned that AT&T was sending messages to users who were tethering their devices using MyWi, an application that can allow the iPhone to be used as a mobile hotspot when the device is jailbroken, advising them to stop or adjust their data plans. It doesn’t seem like too many users were deterred by this, and continue to use their iPhones as mobile hotspots with MyWi. So AT&T is still at it, sending the following text message to the culprits:
AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone service. Remember, you need a tethering plan ($45/mo, incl. 4GB) to use this feature, so we’re planning to update your line with the required plan soon. Visit att.com/dataplans or call 888-860-6789.
Oh, they’re definitely enjoying the tethering feature. But AT&T wants you to remember that you’ll have to pay an arm and a leg and your other leg on top of your existing data plan in order to continue enjoying the feature — if that can still be the word for it once you’re paying and capped.
Perhaps it’s only fair. AT&T’s shoddy network is hardly capable of handling data demands from its users – it admitted it just recently – so those who are streaming video and torrenting via an iPhone might be making the experience that much more crappy for others.
The question has always been how AT&T determines who is using the tethering feature, and who is simply a heavy user. I rarely hit 2GB of data usage each month, but I do know that I went just over that with some light Netflix and Slacker use over a few days. I’m sure someone who is watching movies and streaming music every day can hit 5GB or higher (I’m one of the lucky ones who are still on the unlimited plans). And back when I was tethering, I still didn’t hit 2GB or more of usage.
AT&T’s response to us last month wasn’t very clear:
The ability to manage our network and enforce our policies enhances the quality and consistency of the customer experience; this is nothing new. In this case, our network is able to determine if a smartphone customer is using the device as a broadband connection for other devices.
Basically, it just knows. So shape up or you’ll be forced to cough up another $45 a month.