The Verizon iPhone finally became a reality Tuesday, and it brought with it one feature the existing AT&T (s 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 (s aapl) 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 (s vz) 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 (s goog) 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):
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