If you’d pay $55 a month to tether your iPhone, you’re just plain stupid

Appmodo reports that the iPhone MMS is coming in July, and that tethering will be $55 a month. This can’t be true: tethering simply means that AT&T is allowing the iPhone to share its internet connection. To nearly double the data plan’s price as a result means either that AT&T’s network simply can’t handle it, and it’s pricing it to kill it, or it’s just concluded that iPhone users are gullible spendthifts.

Tethering is a $10-$15 extra on other phones: even that is a scam, given that you’ve already paid for the bandwidth. One does not require a tethering plan at all on Windows Mobile handsets, in fact, which are easy to dupe into sharing their connection using PDANet.

Prediction: this is a seeded rumor, designed to make the eventual $25 tethering plan appear generous and cheap.

Update: AT&T says that it won’t be $55 on top of data.

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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25 Responses to If you’d pay $55 a month to tether your iPhone, you’re just plain stupid

  1. Sumit says:

    I’m not sure about other carriers, on AT&T with Blackberries too tethering adds $45 or so to the plan. These plans basically cater to corporations. It’s the corporations that are gullible, not customers.

  2. Jim says:

    But can I tether AND talk at the same time? Any loss of bandwidth speed?

  3. mrmikey05 says:

    “There are a lot of reports out there, but wanted you guys to know that rumors of $55 tethering plan on top of an unlimited data plan are false.” – AT&T Facebook(http://facebook.com/ATT

    Did you guy hear that? It’s just a false rumor guy, it will be free of charge! Don’t sweat, they are just taking their precious time to expand their server because it cannot handle all the people tethering yet. If you are tethering already, like myself, enjoy it, you won’t get billed! Now I’m just waiting for MMS this July.

  4. hemidemisemiquaver says:

    I don’t get this whole fuss. AT&T doesn’t even bother to disable tethering on half their phones. I’m 3G tethered to AT&T at this very moment over my branded subsidy handset using the $15/mo data plan intended for phones only.

  5. Eric B says:

    Totally stupid if this turns out to be true. If it is true, it’s false advertising in my opinion. I just bought the 3G S and the plan says UNLIMITED data plan…wtf?! Why should they care how it is used?

    If it really does cost that much, I HOPE THAT NO ONE BUYS IT SO THEY ARE FORCED TO RETHINK THEIR GREEDY WAYS.

  6. pwntalive says:

    Apple users are all about paying for things everyone else gets for free. But the Iphone is is a status symbol first and foremost anyways. And nothing says status like conspicuous consumption.

  7. DTPhantom says:

    not only is tethering free on WM but I have a program which shares the connection over wifi, essentially turning my smartphone into a wifi hotspot. Now that is very handy.

  8. akbar56 says:

    “…that AT&T’s network simply can’t handle it, and it’s pricing it to kill it, or it’s just concluded that iPhone users are gullible spendthifts.”

    Or possibly both.

  9. josh909 says:

    This is one of the (few) times I hug my Nokia and don’t find myself having iPhone envy. That said, the second largest carrier here in Australia has announced they’ll be charging AU$10 per month for the privilege of tethering.

    FYI, a clever lad has created a page – http://tetherme.lstoll.net/ – where you select your carrier and then download (or receive via email) a config file that will enable tethering. By all reports it works on the carriers here in AU – will be interesting to see if ‘big brother’ can detect when this has been done with particular attention paid to the next bill.

  10. Omid says:

    I’m glad I got netshare when it was out…

  11. AT203 says:

    I think it may be ambiguous, or you are reading it incorrectly if you think it is $55 for the tethering plan in addition to whatever ATT charges for the data.

    I think the most likely explanation is that $55 is the total cost of data plus tethering. Which is roughly competitive with other carriers. I think on Verizon it is $30 for unlimited data and then $20 to tether.

    If that IS the tethering price, I agree with your conjecture that it would be designed to limit the number of people signing up, due to the already huge strains on ATT’s network.

  12. strider_mt2k says:

    Advantage: Tech geeks.

    (said with pride, people)

    Seriously, having to pay for this is a joke.
    The only thing you should have to pay for is if you need help setting it up.

    If you’re paying for the data plan, then who cares how it’s utilized?
    As long as you aren’t hogging bandwidth or breaking some law or another.

  13. robert u says:

    3.0 has been broken. you don’t have pay extra to tether.

  14. garoo says:

    $55 for tethering alonewould be insane, but:

    “Tethering is a $10-$15 extra on other phones: even that is a scam, given that you’ve already paid for the bandwidth.”

    No, you haven’t. You’ve paid for the bandwidth you’re estimated to be using on your phone; nobody uses as much bandwidth on their phone as they do on their computer. You don’t download high-resolution images, HD video, Windows or browser updates on your phone (and of course you don’t use BitTorrent).

  15. ZekeSulastin says:

    #5 – I have actually seen and tried out a BitTorrent client for Windows Mobile, and it seemed to work fine. Then again, you wouldn’t use it for truly huge packs …

  16. foresmac says:

    AT&T said in a “press video” that it would cost about the same as their laptop data plans, which I believe are about $60. So it’s not a total fabrication. But it is total bullshit.

  17. Felix Mitchell says:

    @ Garoo:

    “You’ve paid for the bandwidth you’re estimated to be using on your phone;”

    Not true. That might be how AT&T calculated the cost, but they SOLD it as unlimited.

    In the same way as an all you can eat buffet might be calculated around each customer eating only three plates of food, but the owner can’t say when a Sumo wrestler walks in and eats ten plates that he hasn’t paid for the food.

  18. Rob Beschizza says:

    See, when the rumor was $70 tethering, *that* sounded like data + tethering, combined perhaps with a drop to $60 or $50 for the data plan.

    However, $55 is cheaper than the current, no-tethering minimum data plan. It’s also a weird number — just doesn’t seem real.

    Now, if it means that basic iPhone plan is going to be $40, plus $15 for tethering, as you think likely, that’s a damned good deal!

  19. Anonymous says:

    The source is “Appmodo” not “AppleModo”

  20. Hmm says:

    Seeded? To a no-name blog with no readership? More likely they just got a crap tip and ran it… Or a good tip and ran it.

  21. dculberson says:

    Well, really they do have a bandwidth cap – I believe 5gb. So regardless of how you use your bandwidth within that cap, it should be no additional cost under the data plan. Now, if the tethering option raised the cap or provided higher speed then they would be reasonable charging for that. But something tells me that’s not the case.

  22. garoo says:

    @Felix: Tethering your phone isn’t analogous to a sumo wrestler coming into an all-you-can-eat, it’s comparable to expecting to be able to carry a giant doggy-bag away.
    It would still be “all you can eat” if you swore to only eat it yourself, but when you get to the buffet you understand that it’s “all you can eat while sitting there for a couple hours,” just like when you signed up to AT&T you understood that it was “all the bandwidth you can use right there on your phone.”

  23. Kenny says:

    Tethering is about £14.68 for 3GB from 02 in the UK: http://www.o2.co.uk/assets/O2HybridNav/Static-files/iphonebrowser/iphoneboltons.html

    Bloody idiots.

  24. strider_mt2k says:

    Agreed with #1

    My i910 Omnia rocks as a hotspot or over USB sharing it’s connection. -either way.
    Heck, after installing Resco Pocket Radio last night I’m ready to ditch my Sirius Radio too.

    I’m ready to get the most from my mobile internet connection for as long as I possibly can.

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