Are you using your iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot using an unofficial tool without AT&T’s permission? According to a warning issued by the carrier, if you’re still using AT&T’s discontinued but still honored unlimited plan you might be thrown out of it by August 11th.
AT&T currently offers a hotspot solution allowing users to turn their iPhone into a wireless hotspot on which up to 5 people/devices can connect to use the Internet through the iPhone’s 3G network. The only problem is that said solution is rather costly: $20 per month on top of an already costly data plan. This is why several unauthorized tools, such as MyWi, have been made available on jailbroken iPhones and these, unlike AT&T’s official solution, doesn’t cost users a dime on top of the carrier’s data plan.
It now turns out that the fun is over for those users, with AT&T’s announcement that it will be cracking down on those using unauthorized tethering solutions by pushing them off the now-defunct but still accessible to existing users unlimited plan.
Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan.
AT&T used to offer a fully unlimited data plan for a static monthly fee until it was discontinued one year ago and replaced by a tiered data plan that charges customers additional fees for going over the plan’s cap, currently set at 5GB per month. When AT&T made this disappointing announcement, it promised the users of the existing data plan that they wouldn’t be forced to switch to the new tiered plans if they didn’t wish to, a promise which the carrier has kept to this day.
Those currently using custom hotspot software can simply stop using it in order to remain on the plan. They will also be able to voluntarily switch to the new tiered plan and remain using the unauthorized tools while paying the hefty new data fees.
This move might be outrageous but also understandable: tethering and wireless hotspots consume a lot of data and on an unlimited plan, too many iPhones being used as routers could exhaust AT&T’s available bandwidth. Hopefully we won’t see any more exceptions to AT&T’s “unlimited users stay on the unlimited plan” rule.