Saturday, March 19, 2011

AT&T begins cracking down on tethering scofflaws

iOS 4.3 includes new mobile hotspot capabilities, but users of jailbroken iPhones have for some time been able to use such service, via apps such as MiWi. Unlike the built-in app, which made sure you had a tethering plan on your contract, MiWi bypasses that. Those who felt that AT&T simply didn't notice, or didn't care, are getting a surprise.

Shop4TechAT&T has begun cracking down on such scofflaws. Or at least, it has begun cracking down on those who it believes are such scofflaws.  

The company has begun sending letter to those it believes are guilty of tethering without paying for it. According to the company, such users have until March 27 to stop using tethering, or AT&T will enroll them in a tethering plan automatically.

What's interesting is that such a plan would eliminate the "unlimited option" for those who are grandfathered into the plan. In other words, if you are already the lucky ones who hasn't had to move to AT&T's new capped data plans because you were grandfathered in, you will lose that once this happens.

Naturally AT&T's crackdown would ensnare non-iPhone users, as well.

Arguments have been made before that if a person paid for 2GB of data (AT&T's $25 plan) he or she should be able to use it in any way they deem. That argument hasn't gone over well with wireless carriers, though. Here are the details of 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
How does AT&T know what traffic passing through your smartphone is tethered, and which is not? Most likely, it's the simplest method: noting that the browser ID of a connection might is not attributable to the type of the device tied to the service. In other words, if they expect to see mobile Safari and they see IE, they know something is up.

Of course, that's just a theory, but it makes sense.

Via: AppAdvice

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