The Verizon iPhone finally became a reality yesterday, and it brought with it one feature the existing GSM AT&T version lacked: Personal Hotspot, which lets you share your data connection with up to five other devices via Wi-Fi. That feature might not remain exclusive long.


The Verizon iPhone finally became a reality Tuesday, and it brought with it one feature the existing AT&T GSM version lacks: Personal Hotspot, which lets you share your data connection with up to five other devices via Wi-Fi. That feature might not remain exclusive long.

Many sources yesterday speculated the Personal Hotspot feature might be coming to iPhones not on Verizon’s network later thanks to an iOS update. This morning, BGR is reporting that it received confirmation from an anonymous source that Personal Hotspot would make its way out to other iPhones by March. The blog has a number of screenshots (with the carrier name blocked out) to back up its claim.

The feature will be included as part of iOS 4.3, which, according to BGR, will carry the version identifier 8F5148b. No pre-release beta of iOS has appeared on the iPhone developer portal since the arrival of iOS 4.2, so it’s possible Apple has been waiting to allow Verizon to be the one to reveal the Personal Hotspot feature.

A personal hotspot feature makes sense for iPhones, since it’s becoming common on Android devices. It’s also a good reason to jailbreak, since the MyWi app for jailbroken devices allows iPhones (and iPads) to act as personal hotspots already.

BGR reports that AT&T users might not receive the feature as soon as it becomes available. AT&T subscribers had to wait quite a while to get tethering, and the company may be wary of straining its network even further. The feature will be even more desirable on a GSM network, however, since it won’t be interrupted by incoming calls, like it is on Verizon’s CDMA network, so AT&T might want to adopt it quickly if it wants to retain more of its iPhone users.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

  1. iPhone 4 with WiFi hotspot + WiFi only iPad = only paying for one data plan on top of the $130 saved on the cheaper iPad model.

    You could argue that it sucks to carry around two devices… but lets be real… who doesn’t have their phone on them at all times?

  2. Jamie Kirkpatrick Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Is there a way to just block all these rumour posts from coming up in my RSS feed?

    Darrell: I’ve asked this before – why do you persist in regurgitating rumours that have been reported everywhere else *way* earlier with absolutely no new information to add???

  3. I wonder how much Verizon & AT&T are going to charge for this. It would be great if they offer it for free. Probably not. Having that hotspot is just convenient.

  4. Goodbye MiFi, Hello Smartphone Mobile Hotspot: Mobile Technology News « Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    [...] five devices, turning the iPhone into a mobile hotspot. Since the functionality is built into iOS, it’s likely that the AT&T iPhone will see the same, although it’s up to the carrier to offer such a feature. This all follows last week’s [...]

  5. FaceTime Over 3G Is A Missed Opportunity For Verizon: Tech News and Analysis « Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    [...] same as the AT&T iPhone, with the exception of the Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which appears to be coming to all iPhones eventually. While it is probably more reliable, Verizon’s network is technically slower than [...]

  6. iOS 4.3: Better AirPlay, Hotspot Settings, iPad Gestures: Apple News, Tips and Reviews « Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    [...] Apple finally allows third-party apps to broadcast video content to Apple TV 2 in the new iOS 4.3 beta released today. Also new in the beta is support for a variety of new multi-touch gestures for the iPad, and new settings for creating a Personal Hotspot, as we suggested it might include earlier. [...]

  7. 14 Tips for Remote Working in Winter Weather: Online Collaboration « Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    [...] nice to be able to tether my smartphone to my laptop, use a mobile hotspot, or use a phone with hotspot capability built [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post