Apple Pulled iTether From The App Store To Keep Carriers Happy

Apple Pulled iTether From The App Store To Keep Carriers Happy

We told you about iTether last night, a new app in the App Store that let anyone have unlimited tethering from their iPhone’s 3G connection for a one-time purchase of $15.

We were all amazed that iTether made it past Apple’s stringent App Store review process, and no one expected the app to remain available for very long. Apple has since pulled iTether from the App Store, and the developers behind the app have explained why.

iTether is developed by the folks at Tether.com, a well known company with similar apps for both Blackberry and Android. Tether has been featured in publications like The New York TimesEntrepreneur, and TechCrunch.

In an official statement provided by Tether this morning, the company explains why Apple pulled their app:

Around 12PM EST, Apple called our head office to let us know they were going to go ahead and pull our app iTether from the App Store. They stated it was because the app itself burdens the carrier network, however they offered us no way to remedy the solution… We were very clear when listing the app what the primary function was and they even followed up with several questions and requested a video demo then they approved the application.

We strongly disagree that it burdens a carrier’s network, as from our own data history on more than 500,000 users we know the average user consumes less than 200 MBs of data per month on Tether. In comparison, one TV show streamed from Netflix, an approved Apple App, could easily be in the 300-400 MBs range. Sure, there are some users that will consume way more than the average however that’s the case with any of these types of products.

Our team is very disappointed in Apple’s decision; as we strongly believe we help carriers better monetize their data stream by pushing customers into new data tiers further increasing their bottom-line. It is very anti-competitive to not allow any Tethering application to enter into this space to innovate. Our team has created a lot of innovative solutions for the BlackBerry product, which we were hoping to port over to the iPhone like end-to-end encryption, compression, website filtering and port filtering.

According to Apple, users who purchase iTether before it was pulled will continue to be able to use the product.

Our team is evaluating all of our options… Stay tuned.

There is currently an app in the Cydia store for jailbreakers called “iTether,” but the app is made by a different developer.

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  • Jack McClauren

    haha I can stil use it!

  • MacHead84

    I wonder if they could fight this. Im not a legal guru but couldnt your carrier be monopolizing the tethering business and forced to allow competition?

  • Avilart

    I wonder if AT&T will be able to track this. Anyone know what protocol is used by iTether?

  • markatlarge

    Bull S*it. Fight it. The consumer get so abused by these carriers. They charge exorbitant prices and gives us more of the same. Instead of trying to nickel and dime customer deliver 4G.  Wish I knew of this app before they pulled it. 

  • Demonstr8r

    If I am paying $30 per month for a 2GB data plan for each member of my family, I should be able to choose whether I access the Internet from my iPhone or my tethered iPad without having to cough up an extra $20 per month. I am a firm believer that companies are entitled to a fair and reasonable profit, but the carriers are not reasonable and take this way too far in many ways, such as forcing us to pay in advance for minutes and data not yet used, and pay for text messaging in addition to the data plan.

    How many of you would be ready to revolt if the utility companies charged in advance for unused gas, electric and water based on usage that far exceed the average? Phone and Internet are nothing more than utilities, and should be billed accordingly based on metered usage.

  • Etienne Maheu

    Sue Apple for violation of the antitrust law. Plain, simple, efficient.

  • AlterThending

    Just sell it on a website!!

  • Rick Chalton

    “According to Apple, users who purchase iTether before it was pulled will continue to be able to use the product.”

    Sweet!

  • JMO360

    I signed up for AT&T’s unlimited plan years ago and as such have been grandfathered in since they canceled it. I called AT&T to sign up for tethering and was ok with the $20 fee until they told me it would be like signing up for a new plan and would get rid of my unlimited plan for 2GB cap. I was so pissed, I’m fine with paying them more but then they have the audacity to try and get me off something my plan. These companies are practically stealing money and then want me to thank them. I’m so happy I downloaded this program, it works great and even though I almost never go over 2GB anyway, it’s nice to have the best of both worlds. I wouldn’t do it if AT&T were reasonable but if they want to try and steal my cash rather then earn it, I need to defend myself 

  • Kieran O’Leary

    Yesterday I paid the 15 bucks & downloaded the app but now all I get when I open the app is: “Failed to accept a client”
    I contacted tether about it but they did not respond. I then contacted iTunes support and they said they will refund the $14.99

  • gabriel jones

    Not sure how many of you will benefit from this but if your iPhone is jailbroken then you can still download this app. You must have “installous” in order to D/L it. I’m barely reading this article hours after CoM posted it and I was still able to d/l & use it no problem.

  • Goldie20

    If Apple pulled the app based on inducements or threats by carriers then the App developer has a tort claim against the carriers for negligent inducement of breach of contract and/or intentional interference with contractual relations. Given that this would have been a very popular app the developer should have at the carriers.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

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