Official iPhone Tethering Rumored to Cost $30/month


A MacBlogz source is claiming that the AT&T’s iPhone tethering their CEO Ralph De La Vega mentioned last week as coming “soon” will roughly add an additional $30 to your plan.

It is rumored to offer a 5GB/month allowance with the expected speeds of “GPRS: 30k – dialup speeds, EDGE: 110k – ISDN speeds, 3G: 1000k – slow broadband.” This would match AT&T’s current tethering option for BlackBerry customers and the plan, overall, works out to about $0.006/MB. That doesn’t sound terribly expensive, but for users who were planning to use it for data extensive applications and desire unlimited data, they will supposedly be told to “get a wireless PC card.” However, oddly, while BlackBerry customers can pay for additional data at more costly $.48/MB, iPhone users will purportedly have their service “automatically disconnected” if they “use too much bandwidth.”

Considering that iPhone 3G owners already have to pay a mandatory $30/month for “unlimited” data, this will come as a bit of a sting to some users. Even more so considering the brief availability of the now infamous NetShare app that took advantage of said iPhone’s bundled data plan to offer tethering at a one time fee of $10 for the cost of the program. However, it should be noted that, while Apple has not utilized it, they do have their “kill switch” that makes it possible for Apple to reach into your phone from afar and disable malicious applications. There is nothing to say that once AT&T’s tethering option is finally available — which still has no timeframe for availability as they are practicing “extreme caution” with this roll-out — that Apple might not exercise this option and disable NetShare forcing users to go the official route.

While most users probably don’t use a significant amount of data on their iPhone’s alone (looking over my previous months data usage, I averaged at about 200MB/month), it would be easy to see how once tethered to a laptop that would no longer be the case, especially for mobile professionals and frequent travelers who are constantly on the go. As more and more is done online, AT&T is looking to profit from that. Just last week, they announced that they would join several other U.S. broadband providers in testing tiered pricing for home internet users. Charging an additional fee for iPhone tethering would most likely fall in line with making a distinction of the level of services and options (and possibly speeds) you are allowed.


Matt J

Or get unlimited tethering for $free/month when you jailbreak. Decisions, decisions…

You are of course aware that tethering is at this point against your terms of use contract. And my suspicion is that AT&T will get stricter on those tethering without the tethering plan, once there is an official way to do it.

Michael Perlman

AT&T is probably being so crazy about the data plan usage caps in order to keep their network from collapsing, as we’ve seen happen in the recent past. Perhaps they don’t want people streaming video to their notebooks tethered to their iPhones.

I’m betting that AT&T is being stricter with data plans on the iPhone than they are with the BlackBerry devices because business users (who often favor BlackBerry) are more willing to give up their money to the telcos for data services than consumers are. It’s hard to say that the iPhone is not a consumer focused device – the iPod software and the camera are most likely aimed at Lizzy the college student more than John the entrprenuer.


Or get unlimited tethering for $free/month when you jailbreak. Decisions, decisions…

Tom Reestman

I have no idea why anyone would be surprised that AT&T would charge for this. The $30 monthly fee paid now is for data TO ONE DEVICE (i.e., the iPhone). It was not promised or intended as a free conduit for high-speed access to any other device you happened to have handy.

Meanwhile, the NetShare app is nothing more than a leach off a service Nullriver doesn’t provide. Bringing them up in this article gives them more credit than they deserve. Awfully nice of them to write an app to “steal” bandwidth that’s not theirs, for use in a manner that is prohibited, and to charge you for the privilege. Then, when they got called on their leaching, they throw up their hands and act surprised? Please.

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