Interesting goings-on over in AT&T land today, with the US carrier seemingly going after jailbreaking iPhone users.
As ModMyi is reporting, AT&T customers who are using a jailbreak solution to obtain free tethering are beginning to receive SMS and email communications informing them they will need to pay a tethering fee if they wish to continue using the service.
What people are finding a little scary is the way AT&T knows that users are using tethering at all. It was assumed that bits were bits, and carriers wouldn’t have any real way to know a user was tethering using an app such as MiWi. Turns out we were all wrong.
AT&T also followed up with the following email to their customers:
We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating.
Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones– a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&T’s mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.
Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.
If you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans – Wireless from AT&T, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering. Here are details on 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
If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB afterMarch 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.
If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.
It’s easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan’s threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go towww.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage.
As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.
Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.
So, the gist of it is this – if you really have to tether, just pay for it. If you don’t, AT&T will make you anyway!