Dear cellular carriers, Internet Sharing is good



Dear cellular carriers,

Hi, my name is Kevin. You might not remember me since you have so many customers, but I send you about $2,000 year for your services. For that amount of money, I thought that perhaps I could send you a proactive suggestion for your Windows Mobile 6 devices. Microsoft has included a small program in WM6 (and AKU 3 for WM5) called "Internet Sharing" (IS) that lets me use my handheld as a cellular modem over a Bluetooth PAN or a USB cable. It works well on my T-Mobile Dash; the EDGE connection is fine for very light surfing and for e-mail on my Samsung Q1P UMPC. In the past, my choices were to pay you extra for "tethering" my phone to a device for modem use or to purchase third-party software. Now that we have native IS in the mobile handheld operating system, those options aren’t necessary. In fact, it’s even easier for us to use the phone data connection with a notebook computer since the connection is initiated from the phone, not from the computer.

Although I haven’t heard of you doing this recently, I suppose you could do what what’s within your rights and whatyou’ve done in the past: disable features and functions or removesomething from the OS in your custom ROM. Previous approaches were to disable Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking, or BT DUN, from the phones, but that won’t work this time. Since the connection is handled by the phone, DUN is no longer necessary. I’m sure there are some new ways to limit phone usage as a data modem, but I’m asking you not to pursue those methods.

While my $2,000 a year is asmall contribution to your overall coffers, I hope that you value memore as a customer and leave IS alone. To put it a different way: if Iwas a potential data plan customer but wasn’t sure if I wanted to giveyou $30, $60 or more per month for a data plan, the Internet Sharing functionalitywould be a great selling point to get you that extra revenue. How about it?

Hugs and money monthly,

Kevin C. Tofel


Arlen Dominek

My Cingular 8525 died one evening a few weeks ago. Not being able to live while traveling without a mobile phone, I went out and paid $600 or so for a new 8925. Note that three AT&T customer service reps couldn’t figure out why I would go out and buy a new phone when I could just wait a couple of weeks to return home, where my warranty replacement would be waiting for me. (Also note that I couldn’t get a discount because I had shelled out money for the 8525 just 11 months earlier; it really rubbed me wrong to see that as a new customer, I could pay $300 with a two year contract – and get a $100 rebate.)
At any rate, I tried to tether my new phone, but I just couldn’t. (Oddly enough, I had been able to tether two PC’s with my old 8525. Admittedly, it only took 10 or so phone calls along the way to get my AT&T VPN to play with the 8525 tethering – success finally coming by reaching VPN Level 2 support.)
So, after spending 23 minutes on hold last night while being subjected to an onslaught of non-stop commercials and terrible rave-style, repetitive music, an AT&T support person told me that I was on the wrong plan, that my current plan did not support tethering. I thought that that was pretty odd given that the reason that I was on the Cingular PDA Connect Unlimited plan, rather that the MEdiaNet plan, was to support tethering – otherwise, MEdiaNet would have given me everything that I need on my little ol’ 8525.
Since it was after 2AM, I decided that I would have to call back later. Today, I learned that I would need the Data Connect Unlimited Plan with Tethering. This would only cost me another $20 a month to have what I just had a month ago with PDA Connect Unlimited. The AT&T rep told me that technical requirements had changed, and I had a different device. Yea, that’s it. A different device on the same network. I told him that if he were paying $30 to have his oil changed on his car and the garage jacked the price to $50, he would probably go a different service provider. (He had previously indicated that all of the other service providers would be the same.)
For the heck of it, I asked what a separate data card would run me. I was told that it would be about another $70 a month – in addition to my voice plan and my PDA plan. Great, eh? Add that on to my T-Mobile hotspot monthly bill (for Hyatts and Crown Rooms) and my monthly AT&T broadband (DSL) service at home. Oh, the occasional hotel fee when I’m not at a Hilton. Just great, eh?
Now, I wonder if I could just use Internet Sharing – not that it’s so easily found on AT&T’s implementation of Mobile 6.0 on the 8925…

Rob Halligan

My ATT rep tells me ATT Billing will bust me if I start using my SmartPhone/MediaNet in a Blackjack and start charging by the megabyte if I do. The only dif otherwise is $20 month. He’s technically informed and has been straight up with me for years, but he could be wrong.

Kevin C. Tofel

Oliver, while many would correctly accuse me of talking too much, my cellular service bills do include one family plan (two phones) and EVDO with one carrier plus one individual plan plus EDGE & Hotspot access with another carrier. I had a data card plan for $60 a month on top of all that, but I canceled that last year in favor of phone tethering.


$2000/year? Maybe I am not talking enough, but I pay about $1200/year for my Treo 700p’s voice/unlimited data plan plus my separate EVDO PC card unlimited usage plan. Are you including other family members?

William C Bonner

I finally played with internet sharing from my DASH today after reading your post. I’m using a Fujitsu P7120 as my laptop, and it has bluetooth via the Toshiba Bluetooth stack.

I’m not happy with the Toshiba solution, but I don’t think I really have a choice. I’m running Vista on this laptop.

What bluetooth stack are you using? to get the PAN from your laptop? Do you manually connect to the phone to bring up the connection, after you enable sharing from the phone?

I did all that and used bluetooth PAN to connect to the internet and got about 108k download speed and 20k upload speed at speed test. The main issue was that vista wouldn’t reconnect to my local wifi after I turned off the phone and re enabled my local wifi. It kept complaining that the bluetooth pan had a disconnected cable. I rebooted vista (not something I do lightly because it seems to take ten minutes) and was able to connect on my wifi.



It sucks. The trend is, if you get a data plan with your phone, you’re only suppose to use it from your phone. No tethering.
If you want data on your computer, get a PC Card and shell out an additional $70/mo.

Just looks at AT&T’s data plans. It’s a huge mess.
There’s a separate data plan for Smartphone’s, PDA’s, and Data cards. Of course, the cost is different for each type.
The weird thing is, the Blackjack requires the use of the PDA plan. Only the WM5 flipphones can use the Smartphone plan.
Guess what? Each data plan type functions exactly the same. So like if you buy a WM5 flipphone and use the Smartphone data plan, you can swap the SIM card out to a better phone and it would work exactly the same as if you bought the PDA plan.

I hate em all. Greedy bastids.


very true, cecessity is a good reason. my reasons are embarassing more than anything. i get suckered into extending my plan when they come out with the hot new phones, this time it was the dash. =(

Kevin C. Tofel

Actually, I’ve only been a T-Mo customer since I got the Dash about 3 months ago. I’ve been a VZW customer for years. What keeps me staying with any of the carriers is: lack of choices and necessity of service for what I do.


i really dont like t-mobile but i’ve been with them for a long time. I assume you’ve been with them for a while also, what makes you stay with them as your cell carrier?

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