Many owners of jailbroken iPhones have been using apps such as MyWi and TetherMe to tether devices to their phone, without having to pay for the specific, $20 a month tethering plan required by AT&T. So far, the wireless provider did not seem to mind much, and despite a couple of extreme cases in which at&t suspended the user’s account, the vast majority of MyWi and TetherMe users have been using the feature on a daily basis without any hiccups. Last month, AT&T’s tone changed drastically, as several iPhone owners who use the tethering feature without paying for it were greeted by a text message and an email from AT&T to remind them that tethering is not a free feature, as it requires a specific subscription. The ‘first strike’ came as a simple text message, inviting the MyWi/TetherMe users to subscribe to a tethering plan:
AT&T Free Msg: Did you know tethering your Smartphone to a computer requires a tethering plan? Pls call 888-860-6789 for details or visit att.com/dataplans.Users also received an email, to give them more details about AT&T’s tethering plans. While the email did not explicitly require the user to sign up for a dedicated tethering plan, users who failed to either stop using the phone’s tethering capabilities, or did not sign up for a new data plan, eventually received a ‘second strike’, to tell them that they would be automatically enrolled into the DataPro 4GB plan, after a specific date. The plan costs $45 a month, and gives users a total of 4GB per month, as it combines both iPhone data plan for $25, as well as the tethering feature, an additional $20. Users who still failed to make the switch have been recently contacted by AT&T again, to tell them that the automatic plan change was imminent:
AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone service. Remember, you need a tethering plan ($45/mo, incl. 4GB) to use this feature, so we’re planning to update your line with the required plan soon.In other words, if you happen to use MyWi or TetherMe, be prepared to be forced to sign up for AT&T’s tethering plan if you’ve been enjoying the capability without paying for it.