AT&T Warns Jailbreak Tetherers Again: Stop It Or Pay

AT&T Warns Jailbreak Tetherers Again: Stop It Or Pay

AT&T’s issued its second warning to jailbreak tetherers: either sign up for their official Personal Hotspot tethering plan, which costs $45 for 4GB, or AT&T will upgrade your mobile data plan for you.

In March, AT&T similarly warned iPhone users via SMS and e-mail that unless they either stopped tethering their computers to their iPhones through jailbreak apps like MyWi, or they’d automatically be signed up for AT&T’s DataPro plan, which costs $45 ($20 more than the base iPhone data plan alone) and allows for 4GB of data between an iPhone and any tethered devices, such as a laptop.

It’s just a reiteration of a previous ultimatum, but it’s pretty clear AT&T means business here. Expect life for the frugal jailbreak tetherer to become a lot more complicated in coming weeks.

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  • Theapplemobileblog

    I originally had MyWi installed on my jailbroken iPhone 4 and it worked very well. Once Apple allowed the tethering option I contacted O2 here in the UK and changed my calling plan to include the tethering (I lost minutes that I didn’t use though) and it actually cost me less. Is this not an option in the US?

  • Paul

    How do they know??

  • Ben Yah

    The problem here is that we have grandfathered unlimited data plans that AT&T no longer offers for $30. If we opt for their tethering plan, we lose that unlimited plan and are forced to settle for a 4GB plan for $45. It’s absurd.

  • Trey Cranson

    Them trying to block tethering is ridiculous! I sure hope the T-Mobile acquisition fails to get approval. I’m loyal to T-Mobile and despise what AT&T has done with their iPhone customers.

  • Theapplemobileblog

    Given the recent bad press about the tracking situation the question should be “What don’t they know?”

  • Theapplemobileblog

    4 Gb for $45 (£27) not actually that bad. My contract is for 300 mins, 500 MB and costs £35 ($58)

  • Alfredo Callejas

    the $45 is the data part only, this is on top of what you already pay for the airtime.

  • AaronBushell

    I have MyWi installed on my 3GS and have been using it for two months to tether my iPad2 and have received no warnings from AT&T about tethering. My overall data use has never been over 2GB per month, though, even with the iPad tethering. I’d be willing to bet that the individuals receiving these warnings from AT&T are the top tier of data users and AT&T is singling them out for their extensive data use. Because I don’t fall into that category, I do not expect to every be singled out for my tethering. Perhaps if I suddenly jump up to 10GB, but I do not expect that to happen. I use my iPhone/iPad for data all day long and don’t get anywhere near 2GB in a month. What are people who are using 10 times the data I use are using their phones for?

  • dcj001

    Despite the rationalizations that some people make to justify this, tethering without paying for it is theft.

  • Jay

    Theft? I already pay for 2 GB of data , why should it matter how that data is used?

  • AlterThending

    For 100 dollars a month I should be able to tether it to my ps3/xbox/comp/ipad I mean seriously I pay less for DSL/Cable internet then I do for this iPhone internet. I’m almost over at&t and the iPhone. Apple take your next phone to a better company. Make your own cell phone company, Apple!

  • AlterThending

    Plus I am grandfathered in on the Unlimited Data from iPhone 1 I should be able to tether to anything I want! At&t released a story not long ago saying only 2% abused the internet on the iPhone so why is this a big deal?

  • Ed_Kel

    I don’t want shit head thieves like you clogging up the towers with your laptops! You want to use your CELL PHONE data plan for your LAPTOP, then pay for it!!

    Stupid fucking assholes always wanting shit for free then gets fussy when a service provider lays down the law.. :/

  • Ed_Kel

    Surfing for porn probably.. Haha..

    Laptops are capable of using more data… I heard somewhere that AT&T wants to put a cap on ADSL usage at like 45gb (which they say will only affect 1-2% of users).. I could imagine usage from a laptop consistently connected to be more in that range… And if that’s true, then I can see why AT&T is pissed! Their GSM network cant sustain that type of usage (not to mention, illegal)!

  • Airabious

    WOW! Sounds like somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning… Do you need a hug?

  • Advocate of Change

    I think gasoline is too high and is a manufactured price, but I pay for it. Stealing gasoline is not an option. If you think AT&T is wrong then don’t use their service. If you don’t like Apple don’t buy their products. Use something else it it is not priced to your liking…. when does theft become an arguable point?

    If people spent as much time doing the right thing as justifying the wrongs we would all become more powerful in our protests for change.

  • Mx418

    Yea, But if your looking at it that way if I go buy gas and pay for it. I can take that gas and put it in my car or I can just pour it on the ground or what ever I want to do with it. What I do with the gas in on me after I pay for it.
    Why would the data plans not be the same???? I dont see how it it stealing if you already pay for it.
    We are paying for the data service and that is what we are using tethered or not. We are being charged for it twice. And how does that make it OK on ATT&Ts side????

  • WVMikeP

    Kel’s right.

    If someone won’t give you something without payment and you take it anyway, that’s theft.

  • WVMikeP

    You’re paying for data consumption by the phone, not just data, period.

    Don’t want to pay? Don’t play.

    I personally hate the tethering charge, but I’m not about to steal just because I think we shouldn’t have to pay extra.

  • Doug Schlenker

    You guys are crazy. If you’ve paid for the bandwidth, it should not matter how you consume it. Data is data. It’s 1′s and 0′s. If you use it on your cell phone or your laptop it’s the same thing.

    WVMikeP please keep in mind, they *have* paid for the data. If they had not, then they would not be able to use data on their phones.

    Next thing you’ll have cell phone companies saying that you can only use your data plan when you are not at home.

  • Don Pope

    It is abuse (not theft) only if you have an unlimited plan, because that was never meant for tethering. I am OK with AT&T putting a stop to that.

    However, if you are paying for 2GB of data it doesn’t matter how you use it. The additional fee for tethering is a complete ripoff.

  • Don Pope

    Do you pay one price for gasoline for a car and an additional fee if you want to use it in a JetSki or a generator?

    If I pay for 2GB I can use 2GB, period.

  • Anonymous

    It’s people like you who don’t really understand what’s happening here. Yes, you get *more* data by purchasing a tethering plan, but some people don’t need more data, just the tether itself. Tethering is a function of the PHONE, not the device.

    This is no different than the power company trying to bill you more for running a Mac instead of a PC, or the water company charging you more for the water you drop a dooskie in over the water you drink. In other words, it’s none of their business what I’m using the service for. I pay, they provide, end of story.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, that should have read: Tethering is a function of the PHONE, not the network. The network does nothing to enable tethering beyond providing standard TCP/IP support (which is what allows your phone to be online in the first place).

  • Anonymous

    You’re completely wrong. You’re paying for JUST the data, not what consumes it. It’s not stealing by any means if you’ve paid for the data, and if it is, then there’s just as much theft going on from AT&T not refunding me for the unused portion of my 2GB of data. Stop being a corporate apologist.

  • MattSTKC

    it’s not illegal to use data you paid for. If I buy unlimited data, I should be able to use it as I please.

    I pay for home internet and am not limited as to how many devices I can run either independently or at the same time on my internet. Similarly, I am paying for “Mobile Internet” therefor I should be able to use it as I please, especially if I am still on the “Unlimited” Plan, meaning no matter how much data I use, they have no right to do anything to me, legal, or otherwise.

  • WVMikeP

    Is that what your TOS with AT&T say? I’m sympathetic to your stance, just not your action.

  • MattSTKC

    So I’m a thief when I buy unlimited data and then try to use it? My AT&T 3G is faster than my home DSL! I have been able to use 3gb without even tethering another device because I need and want to.

    You know why? Cause I bought a FUCKING UNLIMITED PLAN. You’re just a pissy douchebag (and probably AT&T employee) who pays out the ass for data twice and don’t like the people who refuse to cow tow to AT&T’s BS. I buy unlimited data, or I buy 2GB of data, I can use it any way I want. If I got a portable hotspot, I could use 5 devices on it simultaniously and NOT pay more for data than the 2GB plan.

    Like Zen said, tethering is a function of the phone, not the network. I shouldn’t have to pay more to use a feature the phone I PAID FOR has. That’s like buying an iPhone and having to pay extra to adjust the brightness.

    You’re the stupid fucking asshole probably getting these messages, actually listening to the “poor company” (monopolizing industry douche AT&T) and are just mad that you’re paying and we’re not.

    Guess what? We’re smarter than you because we don’t pay twice to use the same data.

  • MattSTKC

    It’s abuse? That’s like saying if you go to a buffet you’re only supposed to have one plate of food. Pardon the fuck outta me but I paid for all I can eat data. I should be able to download the entire internets if I wanted to. I should turn my phone into a mobile hotspot and give everyone on my train car free rain to download anything off of it. You know why? I bought an unlimited plan. I’m not abusing it, I’m using it as it was intended. Data without limits.

  • MattSTKC

    reign* .. stupid thing won’t let me edit.. damn you IE 7

  • Don Pope

    Yes, the unlimited plan is like a buffet, but sharing your connection is like paying for one person and then sharing the food with the entire family. If you try that at a buffet, you might get kicked out.

    The 2GB plan, on the other hand is like ordering from the menu. If I buy an order of chicken wings it doesn’t matter if I eat them all or share them with the family.

  • David Salzberg

    read the TOS from ATT. It expressly prohibits tethering. You are breaching the contract.

  • Don Pope

    I am arguing the morality of it, not the legality.
    Legal does not equal right.

  • MC

    I’m on a never-locked iPhone (bought in Aus) using AT&T prepaid data. My TOS with AT&T says nothing about forbidding tethered data, yet AT&T won’t let me do it. Jailbraking will. So…

  • Jbthbt

    The TOS does specify that we are not allowed to tether, but I’m just waiting for the day when I have to pay for each internet connected device in my home. Then where will the argument be that says “Your paying for the device, not the data….” I pay my ISP for for internet access. I have like 6 computers, 2 smartphones, 3 gaming consoles, internet connected TV’s and media players, a tablet, etc. If my ‘data plan’ is limited to 1 or 2 devices, I’m in trouble, especially considering the industries move towards connectivity.

  • Brian0505

    All of the comparisons are great, but there are keys to why this might be similar to theft.

    When you tether, everyone knows you can distribute more data and will need quicker (larger) chunks of that data. ‘Quicker’ and more ‘widely distributed’ are the keys. You may share the data with multiple devices — with your neighbors, and with your iPad, and to your neighbor’s iPad.

    If you bought unlimited data, you SHOULD have unlimited data to use. Nobody can argue with getting what you paid to use… but for the unlimited design that the plan was built to provide. You agreed to the design when you signed up for it.

    If your water line was ‘unlimited’ at a set price to your home, for your use, I am sure folks would distribute it to their neighbors in the same way with the same reasoning. And I am sure folks do that anyways while metered, because it’s all just water so who cares how you choose to use it once you have purchased it. It just comes down to the agreement and how it is interpreted. In this case, you agreed to not tether, then you did it anyways.

  • Karolis Makrickas

    One thing about living in USA – your providers SUCKS :) Please come here, to Lithuania :) The most fastest network in the world, also 4G (only waiting for first phones, now only modems) and for $30/month you can get unlimited data/sms/minutes + iPhone 4 with tethering.

  • no

    TOS and EULA are not legally-binding contracts, only a handwritten signature would sign a contract such as piping work. Those are only legal terms under which they are obligated to provide you service because you’re paying them, they can’t force you to sign a contract.

  • Trube

    i agree with you, but you have a foul mouth. have some respect for yourself and others. your a funny guy, but if you were my son we wouldn’t have any soap left in the house because you would have to eat it all. by the way, i tether with the jailbreak so i agree with you and will make good use of your arguments. but your not any cooler for cussing all the time. 

  • Tr

    mx418 your my hero

  • Rezaesop

    Morality? Which moral principle are you referring to?  Thou shalt not screw a mega-corporation of $40 a month even though that mega-corporation outsources who knows how many American jobs. 

  • Don Pope

    I don’t think you read this 4 month old thread very thoroughly. I am arguing AGAINST AT&T’s policy.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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