Skip to comments.AT&T cracks down on tethering cheaters
Posted on 03/18/2011 3:24:04 PM PDT by Swordmaker
AT&T has started to issue warnings to customers unofficially tethering their smartphones to its network. In an email to unauthorized tetherers, the company writes, Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan. The correspondence goes on to note that users will be automatically enrolled in the $45 per month DataPro for Smartphone Tethering plan if they ignore the warning. The new plan whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan, the email continues. The standard DataPro offering is $25 per month and provides users with 2GB of monthly data, although some users are still clinging to a discontinued, $30 per month 5GB data plan. It is safe to assume that a large portion of the unofficial, tethering populous is jailbroken iPhone users and rooted Android users. If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required. A copy of the email tethering-cheaters are receiving is after the break.
Dear [Name of Account Holder],
Weve noticed your service plan may need updating.
Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&Ts mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.
Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.
If you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at www.wireless.att.com, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday Friday, 7 a.m. 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering. Here are details on the plan:
DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
$45 per month (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20) $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones If we dont hear from you, well plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.
If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.
Its easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plans threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go to www.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage.
As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.
Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.
When I recently got my new Android. the rep told me that it costs $20 per month to tether a laptop(in addition to the $20 I already pay for data on the phone itself). I just gave her a funny look and asked her why I should pay that, while I can simply do it anyway, without paying anything (always have). Of course, I don’t abuse it. I only tether under certain circumstances, such as when I’m on call and have to remote in to work. My Android can turn into a wireless access point. The perfect companion to my non-3G iPad.
How is AT&T still in business? They have crappy coverage, crappy service, and they charge though the nose for every little thing.
Maybe they think they'll make more money if they charge people more? It is a business, you know...
From what I’ve heard, the way they catch people is by the user agent, which is pretty easy to spoof.
It’ll be a cold day in hell before I pay AT&T $45 a month so I can tether once in a blue moon when I need to use a full screen to do something on the road.
It’s a dishonest business. He ran an honest one. That’s probably why he doesn’t get it.
Because their competition is just as bad if not worse.
They are currently the only provider currently offering a dual-core phone (Atrix), will be the only ones getting the new I-phone in June.
I hate AT&T.
ATT and other ISP’s are looking at new pricing scheme’s to increase revenue.
They know people are going to go over the bucket of GB’s alotted to a plan.
They measured plans just like the old days of per minute charges.
Personally, I think they should improve the network for all subscribers and raise the cost per subscriber.
But it’s still tough to price as the first thing people consider is minutes and texting.
After that they want a better connection.
So the pricing problem is driven by customer priorities.
They tried that with nailed up circuits and it was totally rejected. Now the cable companies are trying that scheme too.
I’ve been tethering on my Blackjack II phone for three years now. I had to re-install files they removed from windows software when I bought the phone to re-enable tethering. I guess I made out on that deal. I haven’t had a need to tether anymore except in emergency connectivity needs. I used it for covert connectivity at an old job where they blocked my interests...right wing talk radio...:-)
There's your answer, right there. AT&T is first and foremost a telephone company, with the mentality that that entails. They do not want to allow cannibalization of profits derived from their voice/data rate structure. A pure ISP makes no such distinction, outside of connection speed.
Okay, call me stoopid (I’ve had a few beers here).
What exactly is, “Tethering?”
“Maybe they think they’ll make more money if they charge people more? It is a business, you know... “
Sort of like the government taxing you more to make more money..
I had tmobile and thought they had crappy coverage and lots of dropped calls. I don’t have any trouble with At&t - is it just bad coverage in your area?
i especially enjoy dropped calls on at&t phones calling to complain about at&t uverse service.
Using your phone with data plan to provide a mobile internet connection to your computer (typically a laptop or netbook). This is typically done either with a Bluetooth connection or with an actual tether, a cable from your phone to your computer, usually USB.
AHH! So, using my iPhone on my home network (Or any other available network) isn’t tethering?
Tethering is when you link 2 devices together using a USB connector so the 2nd device displays whatever data the 1st device is streaming. A very useful functionality since most smartphones automatically have the capability enabled out of the box. :)
If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.
they can only tell via the volume.
I would imagine this is for people who download very very large files.
Since this is comming out people are going to learn how to do it.
This is like att not letting people unlock phones they paid for.
My samsung galaxy s has a wifi hotspot on it. I have been using it at no charge so far on US Cellular.
Bummer. I just learned how to do this.
>>>What exactly is, Tethering?
basically, you turn your cell phone into a modem - used to be you had to do that with a cable, hence “tethering” - but now, the phones can be a a wifi hotspot - and use the cellular network for sharing the phone’s data connection.
I’ve been seeing reports of the increasing use of smartphones and bandwidth-hungry iThings stressing the wireless networks. Now the squeeze starts. You either pay what they demand for bandwidth, or you’re left with a 600.00 paperweight.
Correct. That’s just using WiFi instead of 3G.
Right, except AT&T doesn't hold a gun to your head; you can always take your business elsewhere.
For my 3000 or so rural customers, it would have cost more to administrate the plans, adjust the speeds, vary the billing, etc..... than we would have made. It was overhead we couldn't afford for the ROI.
We had a solid business plan. We took in more than we spent. We provided a service that customers couldn't get anywhere else. We didn't waste any motion on trying to squeeze the last ounce of blood out of the turnip.
Good gig until we sold out.
Same story posted on ModMyi.com. After the dust settles, AT&T doesn’t have an effective mechanism to “know” the data going through a jailbroken iPhone is from teathering, or just heavy data use.
On the above site, at least one source said that they received the same notice, but had never used tethering (but they stream videos and audio hours each day under the grandfathered unlimited data plan.
Further, those with jailbroken phones using MyFi (the Cydia app for mobile hotspot/tethering - their “tethered usage” reading still says “0Mb” as the usage through that hack just shows as standard data.
So - my suspicion - AT&T is monitoring the total data throughput, hoping to catch those getting around the “need a tethering plan” and/or to scam customers who have the old unlimited plan and use a LOT of data...
Thing is - with the current AT&T data plans, even the larger plan gets used up very quickly if you have your email set to check regularly, and maybe stream audio via Pandora.
Watch a few YouTube clips and you start bumping the limits. Go 1kb beyond your package data, and you get charged a whole extra data chunk.
I gather they're also analyzing graphic sizes being requested by the browsers as an indicator. If there is a disparity between the device on contract and it's ability to display the browser requested graphic, that's a strong indicator of tethering.
No, you are not being charged whenever you use WIFI to send data to your device... BUT if you use 3G and use IT as a WIFI hotspot source to feed your other devices such a computer or your HDTV, then they rightly expect you should pay for the use of their 3G bandwidth.
Why would you say that? First of all it's highly unlikely anyone paid the $600 non-contract price. Secondly, even if they stop the tethering it's not a paperweight, it's still a smartphone that makes and receives calls, connects to the Internet, runs apps, and provides useful services.
No, I go with an unlimited data plan with another carrier.
Hyperbole is all the rage.
AT&T loves to punish their customers.
I’m aghast that the voice, internet, and texting data streams are considered “separate” - so that they can charge for each separately.
It’s ALL data.
Yep. They're all ones and zeroes.
Computers don't care. The billing is a human abstraction.
True, except I don’t have Pandora, I don’t watch youtube, and I usually go through wifi, on the rare occasion I use my phone for internets. The only data-using stuff I do do is an occasional map when in an unfamiliar area. Maybe a quick google search every now and then. But even then, my point was that I never received any warnings from ATT about nearing my limit, they just sent one text saying they were charging me for going over :/
Hyperbole is the worst thing that has ever happened in human history.
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