Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tethering Deal Between Apple and AT&T Rumored

You'll remember NetShare, the iPhone tethering app that showed up on the App Store a couple of times before vanishing, seemingly forever. The advantage of a tethering app for users is that they could use their iPhone as a modem for their laptop or PC, in a pinch.

The disadvantage for the carrier is all the additional bandwidth required, quite naturally.

A seemingly Steve Jobs-ish email (meaning terse and noncommittal) in response to a user's question seems to point to a possible tethering agreement between AT&T and Apple.

Currently, the Terms and Conditions for AT&T's plans seems to include language that specifically forbids tethering (under the Prohibited and Permissible Uses section):
"Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to-computer accessories, Bluetooth or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose."
There is that little clause about "unless specifically designated for tethering usage," though. Is Apple trying to get such a plan set up for its iPhone?

According to Gizmodo, here's the exchange between the two:
User:

AT&T offers data plans for BlackBerry that include tethering for an additional $30 per month (a total of $60 per month for the BlackBerry+tethering plan).

It seems ludicrous that the same thing is not offered with the iPhone. I understand the desire to prevent tethering with the current data plan, but I am willing to pay more money to allow tethering! With such an advanced device, why can I not do so?

"Steve":

We agree, and are discussing it with ATT.

Steve

Sent from my iPhone
As we know, occasionally an email to Jobs is responded to in the above fashion: terse, and probably from a rep and not Jobs directly. However: "sent from my iPhone" tends to make it a little less credible to me, as that implies it was actually sent from his personal device. Not really likely.

I'd rather see the 3G issues fixed once and for all before a tethering plan is complete. Who wants to tether in EDGE?

Still, why not have such a plan? What about you readers? Would you pay extra for a tethering plan for your iPhone?



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