Illegal iPhone Tetherers on AT&T to be Slapped With Fees; Android Users Next?


AT&T’s bringing the banhammer down on unauthorized tethering, it seems, after they discovered users on iPhone and iPhone 2 sharing their data connection using an application called MyWi. After reading several accounts of the story, it appears AT&T has only targeted this specific group.

The letter sent to suspecting tetherers warn them that such actions are against the carrier’s terms of service and that if they don’t stop before March 27th, they’ll be automatically added to AT&T’s Data Pro plan (which affords users two extra gigabytes per month allowance for account-wide data and enables tethering.)

Us Android power users know the act of “illegal” tethering well, of course, so this story worries me as it may come back to haunt you AT&T users. Folks can remain hopeful after hearing iPhone users take advantage of iOS’s built-in tethering mechanism to facilitate their needs. This means AT&T can most likely detect whether or not you’re supposed to be doing what you’re doing.

On Android, phones with Froyo+ have tethering options built-in (at the carriers’ discrection), but most rooters (including those on 2.1 and earlier) use third-party applications which don’t interface with Android’s built in mechanism and that may make it difficult for AT&T to determine whether or not you’re tethering.

You folks should be safe for the time being, but take this as a quick PSA letting you know that your days could be numbered if AT&T figures out a way to catch you. You can find a full copy of AT&T’s letter to tetherers here. [TUAW, Thanks James!]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. screw at&t! How do they have customers? They clearly only care about money rather than customer satisfaction

  2. @mike

    they care about customers the network sucks and then you have people stealing data by tethering and not paying for it. smh

  3. I so “love” the idea of “unlimited data”, unless of course you tether a device to it. So, once again, how is that “unlimited”? I’m on VZW, so am not sweating it right now, but these douchebag carriers are already milking every last cent out of us ($20 for SMS, really???) and they continue to want more. They all need to burn in hell.

  4. Another reason why AT&T sucks:-)

  5. Thats what you get for stealing.

  6. how is it stealing when you are already paying for DATA plan

  7. What surprises is me is they pull this now, and not when they had the iPhone exclusively. What better way to drive iPhone users to Verizon than have them open their monthly bill to see it’s a different plan. Or better yet, come to T-Mobile and get an Android phone, where unlimited is unlimited and you can use it however you want.


    I’m Batman and I approve this message.

  9. Read your contract and tell me how it isnt stealing. You signed it, and Im pretty sure it will expressely state that this is not what you “pay” for.

  10. I haven’t had any problems with at&t for the past 9 years of service. If I get a letter like this for tethering my aria, which I hardly ever do, I will be leaving.

  11. I have a N1 with a 2G limit. If this hits home I hope AT&T losses a lot of business. I can understand there issues with unlimited plans. If you tether to a laptop or tablet why even pay for an Ethernet connection from your local internet provider? Verizon will we ever dance?

  12. This is one thing I believe carriers should not charge for. It is like they charge you twice once for data and once for mobile hotspot. Besides it is the consumers phone. Carries should really look at this especially since unlimited data is going away

  13. ATT’s new slogan “We’ve got people working around the clock to come up with new and innovative ways to lose customers every day.”

  14. I took back my Atrix and Inspire after the data capping debacle on the quasi 4G phones.

    I have a nexus one which has tethering and I use it for my tablet when traveling. If I pay for a data plan via my phone, I am using the same data whether the UI is on the phone or the UI is on my tablet. Tethering fees is the biggest scam since $30.00 for texting.

    I can’t wait until I i jump ship to any of the other providers. Probably the same experience but at least it will send a message to AT&T. The question is which carrier to jump to.

  15. All of the “AT&T only wants money” and similar statements are garbage. Every carrier is like this (although I’m not positive about tmobile). Try tethering on Verizon or Sprint WITHOUT subscribing to their add on plans- you’ll be breaking their rules too. The real problem here is ignorance, not inconvenience.

  16. AT&T does suck, but honestly I see the other carriers soon following suit. Seems Sprint is the only carrier currently offering true unlimited at the moment, but their coverage sucks. As I have mentioned before, Boost Mobile and Virgin are really starting to look great with their $25 a month unlimited everything plans. They are both really starting to offer some high end phones too, so I may be looking to drop Verizon when my contract is up if I have to.

  17. And how do they determine people are tethering? Do they sniff the packets and somehow determine that you are tethering? There is no way unless the app tags each packet. How about the technical detail about how at&t determines you are tethering your laptop for instance? If no specific details explain how, then this is just dumb scare tactics.

  18. I don’t blame the Iphone heads… Ass t&t are idiots anyway they are the INDUSTRY LEADERS IN SCREWING THERE CUSTOMERS AND VERIZON FOLLOWS EVERYTHING THEY DO…. I didn’t think iphone users were that smart…. great for them all at&t does is disable features from all phones iphone and android they get what they deserve. @NIsme your stupid anyway

  19. If AT&T switched me from Smartphone unlimited to a tethering plan, I would switch back to Sprint immediately. I wouldn’t even give it a second thought. AT&T’s calls are so unreliable. Sprint was such a good network when I used it.

  20. ya’ll saying tethering is stealing are stupid. Ever buy a usb modem? Same price as our unlimited data plan. The phone is simply a mobile modem. You can tell me all day that tethering is not included in the data plan, but im going to laugh at you. If im paying for unlimited data, im going to use it how i please. Tethering to my laptop im doing practically everything i do on my phone. Its just easier to use the internet on a bigger, better equiped device

  21. ATT always pushing their phones up their customers ass as far as they can well FUCK YOU ATT. Verizon much love.

  22. Att, the worst company for mobile phones that do more than their network can handle. They really should stick to their broadband and not dabble in the mobile world

  23. Lol, america

  24. Looks like Sprint is about to get ALOT of customers seeing as Verizon is getting rid of unlimited in the summer…all these carriers care about is their bread, not us customers.

  25. Its stealing because it is not in. The contract. Usb modems have a differant contract. When you sign your contract, YOU AGREE to the terms of that contract. Sorry you cant see that. Anyone with a law degree would tell you the same thing. Dont like it, dont sign the contract.

  26. The solution is for everyone to cancel their data plans. They also should not be allowed to say unlimited data if it is not unlimited data. Tethering should be a default enabled feature. Factor it into the data charge if they need to.

    I welcome the non-yet-existent new provider to the table that would only offer an unlimited high speed data plan for one price. Then have us do VOIP over that data plan and be done with it. Come on Google, you can do it.

  27. @ toastnjam: you know boast and virgin use sprints towers right?

  28. @C… Good move switching back to sprint espically with the htc Evo2, Nexus S 4g, Motorola Atrix 4g, man the list goes on and on. And on sprint UNLIMITED MEANS UNLIMITED.. PLUS YOU CAN SIDELOAD THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS ANYTIME YOU WANT… This is the only carrier that allows devices to be used as intended from the manufacturer NOBODY ELSE DOES THAT

  29. Really, sprint doesnt disable the native tether? Sprints contracts dont expressly state that tethering is a breach of contract? Please.

  30. I signed a contract with Alltel in 2006 and have never signed anything with Verizon since. I was simply informed of my transfer by mail and have been paying them since last year. I bought my Droid X off-contract and I’m still using the unlimited data plan I had with Alltel, from BEFORE tethering was even around.

    So, all you “tehtering is stealing” people wanna chime in on my situation? I’m using a grandfathered in “unlimited” data plan… am I not free to use it as I please?

    If AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. want to stop ‘illegal’ tethering, then they should make their case to the app stores in question. I got my tethering app from the Android Market, and as a consumer I assume that anything hosted through the official Market is ‘legal.’

  31. I guessing (and hoping) that this letter is pretty much only going out to people still on an unlimited plan who were identified by huge amounts of data consumption.

    IMHO ATT has a right to ask these people to stop, because there really is only a limited amount of bandwith in the airwaves.

    If ATT is sending this letter out to anyone on a limited plan though, that’s another story altogether…

  32. Your an exception, not the rule. Its all in the contract.

  33. I had a nightmare dealing with AT&T and ended up switching to Sprint. Loved my iPhone but couldn’t deal with such a money hungry company. Using an EVO now and loving it! (with REAL unlimited internet).

  34. @Lex
    In your situation, I would definitely not say you are stealing as you are abiding by the terms in your contract. I might say you are hogging bandwidth if you are using just tons of data though ;)

    Also, I have no moral qualms with occasional tethering on an unlimited plan, or tethering as much as you like on a limited plan, regardless of terms of service.

  35. Everyone stop…and do one thing. Take a look at the Motorola Atrix 4g. You can purchase a dock…that allows you to use it like a laptop. There are no tethering fees.

    So when I plug my phone up to my laptop…there is no difference…but AT&T wants to charge for “tethering”.

    If AT&T didn’t realize how stupid that is…then switch carriers. I’m gone as soon as the Atrix or Nexus S hit Sprint.

  36. This is pretty funny, especially the people calling this stealing, when they don’t realize they are being screwed over :D

    Just glad I don’t live in America.

  37. @toastnjam you know virgin uses sprint towers and boost mobile is sprint right… I am in Alaska and have great service here on all 3 of my phones…LOL

  38. The atrix aeguement is pointless, and only backs the “stealing” arguement. You are still using THE PHONE.

  39. to all those people complaining, you signed a contract and if you want to tether pay up

  40. I’m sure there is only two phones that will bot be affected, the Nexus One and Nexus S. AT&T is targeting illegal tethers and free tethering come with a Nexus branded devices. Of course if they sold too many then I’m sure Nexus devices would lose their tethering also. This is “one” of the big reasons I stick with these devices.

  41. Okay, wait a minute. ATT is charging you for a future that already built in to your phone and that is legal and they calling people who is using this criminals. They are the ones who are criminal. I already pay for my data plan. How I am going to use it it is my concern not theirs.

  42. AT&T… Dictators….
    T-Mobile… Freedom!!!!!

  43. Jimmy, you shouldnt have signed thecontract that let you know this then.

  44. Yes @NIsme… Is truly a DUM STUMPLE BUM

  45. if they don’t stop treating the same data differently they’ll just end up getting the gov’t involved and nothing good ever comes of that. What difference does it make if you put use 1kb on 850×480 or 1kb on 1600×1200? And someone clarify “stealing” from at&t when you PAY for the data, would I not be stealing if i saved the page as HTML and copied it to my PC back and forth?

  46. Why the f am I being asked to pay for something that is supposed to be free?

    I’ll be happy to pay AT&T for anything, as long as


  47. You can try to justify it all you want, it is in your contract. Its that simple. Contracts are legally binding. Call a lawyer, they will tell you the same thing. Call the BBB, they will tell you the same thing. They have every right to put in the contract anything they want. Just as you have every right to not sign the contract. Only an idiot signs a contract THEN cries about what is in it.

  48. I don’t want to pay to tether but the reality is that the terms and conditions state that tethering is not supported. You are paying to have data on the device. (That’s singular, 1, uno) You have the option to buy internet at home or buy other mobile web including paying to tether. Data is not cheap for carriers. I’m sure we’ll see more changes to come with data usage.

  49. AT&T’s network is so anemic, just the iphone alone brought it to it’s knees. Now add in all the data hungry Android phones and AT&T is wimpering. They can’t handle the phone data usage, and with tethering how many more devices will be streaming data?

    Sprint has unlimited data, this is true but it doesn’t mean free tethering. For me to use my built in EVO hotspot means an additional $30/mth on my bill. It is obvious the intent of unlimited data is for the sole phone and to go beyond that is against the contract.

  50. WTF is a “DUM STUMPLE BUM” RICHARD? Have the decency to spell correctly…
    “DUM” should probably be “dumb” and “STUMPLE” should probably be “stumble”, and even then, the insult makes no sense. But then again, I don’t write nonsensical, sensationalist stuff like you.
    And to your 2nd comment directed at C, if you actually read his comment, you’d notice that he said he “would” switch to back to Sprint, not that he “is” on Sprint. READ

  51. All these people bitching about tethering is steeling is full of it. You can’t steal something you already paid for – the data. What you are doing however is breaching your contract but you aren’t stealing. If anyone is stealing it’s the carriers…

    I paid for my phone. I OWN my phone. I OWN my laptop. And I pay for my data plan monthly. Once the data comes across the network (the service I’m paying for with my data plan) and into the device I PAID for and OWN I should not get charged AGAIN to move it to a different device. If ANYONE is stealing it’s the carriers – they should not be allowed to double dip and charge for the same data twice because I’m tunneling the data across MY network to another device. The service I’m paying for is to bring data across their network, to the tower, and ultimately to my phone. The buck stops there, once it’s there they don’t get to charge me to send it somewhere else. Is it going back out to the tower then to my wifi device? No it’s not, its not going back on their network its going across mine so they don’t get to charge me.

    Here lets look at it this way. You pay monthly to use data on their network. Once the data is on your phone the data is no longer on THEIR network but yours. The connection between the phone and the celltower is THEIR network. The connection between the phone and any other devices I own are MY network. This is the same scenario as a wifi router. I pay for internet service between the provider and my modem. Where it goes after it comes into the modem is my business. I’m paying for that tunnel between the carrier/provider and the modem/phone. No one can tell me where and how I can move data once it’s on my network. And they definitely can’t CHARGE me for it. That’s like buying an HDTV, having it delivered and installed. The charged me for the TV, the charged me for delivery. If I wanna put it in a different room later that’s my call and they can’t charge me to move it.

    Contrary to what’s in the Terms of Service what they’re doing should be illegal and amounts to theft charging me again for something I already paid for. I’m thankfully not on AT&T but if wanna tether the carriers can bite me – I already paid for my data.

    Oh and for those who asked, here’s how AT&T is most likely tracking users that are tethering. They’re simply looking at the browser data from the requesting browser. Since every browser identifies itself they can see the type of traffic being requested. Mobile Safari and Safari are identified differently. So if they see Safari, Firefox, Chrome, IE, etc. and not Mobile Safari requests then you’re most likely tethering plain and simple. The same can (and probably will) be done for Android users on AT&T since the Android browser identifies itself completely different than a desktop browser.

  52. Everyone is griping about this, but I bet it is just the very rare outliers that are really abusing this that have ruined this for the rest… i.e. those who canceled their home internet and have been using their phones as a replacement, using bitTorrent, etc…

  53. Its stealing, because you are getting a paid service for free. Your lengthy post doesnt mention this. And, it doesnt matter. HOW you steal something, all that matters is the fact you ARE stealing.

  54. @Nlsme

    At home you buy a monthly hardline broadband internet service. However, then you also make a one-time purchase of a router to share that service amongst multiple computers concurrently. In essence, you have 10 devices (computers, phones, printers, etc) using the internet service shared by one (the modem/router).

    How is this any different from a single smartphone (your “router”) sharing that connection for free to other smartphones and tablets?

    The problem isn’t that you have to pay for tethering. The problem is that instead of being seen as a given right/freedom that you should gain innately with the data plan cost, tethering is instead seen as a service/privilege of its own. If this was the case with hardlined internet, we would still be in the stone ages today and computers and the WWW would not have exploded as fast as it did.

    No one wants to buy new data connection for each and every single device they own and I don’t see why the carriers feel they should impose this draconian policy onto wireless devices either.

  55. @NIsme:
    You’re right: Officially it would be ‘stealing’ because AT&T upsells a service for tethering which your aren’t buying.

    However, for me, this upsell looks like a bar that sells me a beer and tells me that they would charge me extra if i drink it (too) quickly. The extra charge is stealing in my opinion (although legally perfectly fine).

    Of course, I can take my business elsewhere. But I can still say that I don’t like it.

  56. boy i feel like a douche

  57. Data is not a finite resource, it all comes down to how robust a company’s network is.

    If YOU don’t use data much, and someone else uses an exorbitant amount, so what? You’re paying the same rate, and no one should be telling me what I can/can’t do for a service that I pay for.

    The fact is, carriers will have to build better networks, or the whole growth of the internet will stop in its tracks because watching one video, playing one online game, any of this will breach the coming tiered dataplans.

    If the content outpaces the carrier capability, shame on the carriers.

    And stop whining about “stealing”. Need I remind you that several cities have wanted allow wireless access throughout, for no charge or a very minimal charge, but the evil carriers will lobby against it til the day is long even though internet access IMHO is a right. Stop defending greedy businesses. If they can’t handle data, maybe they should stick to phone service.

  58. Whether it’s a paid service or not is moot. Bottom line is you can’t steal something you already own. I own the phone, I own the laptop, I own my wifi equipment. What I don’t own is the wireless tunnel between the carrier and my phone. They’re charging me a toll to utilize that tunnel. They don’t own my phone, I do. Once the data gets to the phone the buck stops there. They don’t own the phone, they don’t own the wireless network between my phone and my laptop. They can NOT, whether it’s in a legally binding contract or not, charge me a service fee to move data between two devices that I own on a local network that I own. Bottom line – charging for that service is legalized theft.

  59. If you take something you’re not entitled to have, it’s theft. Plain and simple, no rationalizing allowed. If you have a contract with ATT that disallows tethering, you’re not entitled to tethering BY YOUR OWN AGREEMENT. It’s no different than someone piggybacking on your WiFi network because they don’t want to pay for the speed you have. If someone did that to you, bypassed your network security and started watching streaming HD video on your network, you’d be pissed off. So why would it be OK for you to do that to ATT? What makes you so special?

  60. What does this teach you guys? Buy Unlocked nexus devices…. like me! *holds up nexus one* Free Tethering and Wifi Hotspot!

  61. @destardi. pull your head out of your ass, please. Bandwidth _is_ finite. Your own post admits that when you say that carriers will need to build bigger networks. And how do you propose they pay for the equipment, maintenance, etc? Ask their mothers for a bigger allowance?

  62. @Lucas, I did not know that. Thanks for the heads up.

  63. I hate to side with AT&T, but with all due respect, the customer is not always right.

    Data plans are designed and priced on the assumption that you will be using data for a specific device, and these devices’ data needs are well known to the carriers. Data plans are priced according to these needs, even if all customer’s won’t be using the same amount of data. They need to have parameters to make sure their networks operate as intended and that other people’s connections are not crippled by other users using their data connections to feed other devices as well. They also need to charge for tethering to make sure enough profit is made to maintain and expand these networks.

    These parameters are in place in other services and goods we consume as well, such as one price “all you can eat” or “unlimited refills,” for instance. You will be able to enjoy these benefits, for said price, as long as you don’t leave the establishment, or share the food with other people. Sure, you paid for the food, but you paid for this food for you to consume, not to share it. Otherwise they’re losing money if you want to feed other family members you deem necessary to feed.

    If you don’t like the contract terms, don’t sign the contract and take your business elsewhere.

    And Mike, poster #2? It’s no conspiracy theory. Carriers are in business to profit. Not to make customers happy. If they can’t profit there’s no reason for them to exist. You being happy is important because you being happy means they have a better chance of making money off of you. I’m sorry to break it to you: yes, they only care about money, it’s the only reason they’re here. They don’t care about you any more than you care about them, and that’s fair. It’s just…well, it’s just business.

    Want “all you can eat” during this visit? Pay up. Want to share with friends that tagged along with you? Ahh, not so fast, they gotta pay too. Good thing tethering plans are less expensive though. Your friends will have to pay full pop if they want to come eat at the buffet.

  64. If push comes to shove (im on verizon) rooting is legal on a device you own, AND I have UNLIMITED data…thats all I would need to win in court. I choose not to pay 20 dollars a month to use an app I dont need(mobile hotspot)….so I dont.

    Anyone on an unlimited plan should fight this in court and win.

  65. @Ankit – In the earlier days of home broadband that WAS the case. As a former early days support person for Roadrunner cable internet we regularly told customers it was a breach of the TOS to have multiple computers on the same cable modem and we could only provide support if a computer was directly connected. They had “sharing” plans where for $20-30 extra per month we’d support additional computers. It wasn’t until the widespread use of home Wi-Fi that those policies started to change.

  66. AT&T just settled a class action lawsuit and have been involved in a number of them over the years because of overcharging the customer. Just do a Google search and you’ll find them, but here are a few links.

  67. opps, hit submit too soon.
    Anyone with half a brain would leave AT&T asap. But then again, I don’t want them flooding Verizons network so you should really stick with them and be a loyal customer! ha

  68. AT&T are hungry bitches. The only time yull see me on AT&T is when new iphones comes out, n I cancel right away on the 31st day.

  69. The whole point is that tethering presumably uses up more bandwidth. However, if I use my device in hand as much or more than I do tethering, I’m using more bandwidth regardless. The thinking is that if you tether, you’re using more bandwidth (they throttle down your data access if you use too much for their comfort anyway). Hence, the tethering/hotspot fees.

    Also, they don’t want to risk unauthorized use of their data by you setting up your device as a “free” hotspot for your non-AT&T buddies.

    But honestly, I’m not going to use my device to try and download a huge file, stream movies, etc to my laptop since the network is not NEARLY fast/powerful enough to do so in a pleasant manner. At most, I’d use it to check my email/facebook or browse phandroid.com, ALL of which I can easily do from my data-enabled device. :)

  70. Don’t know how to break this to you att people but I just got the thunderbolt yesterday and it comes with unlimited 4G hotspot for no extra charge.
    And damm its fast.
    Phoenix getting 14 mbps download on phone and on computer running hotspot.

  71. Yes tethering is against the contract.
    Yes I do it anyway.
    No I do not have “excessive use” (usually less than 10MB)
    No I do not consider it stealing because a contract to provide a client (you) with Internet connectivity through their network does not have the jurisdiction to police how you decide to move data in your personal network that you OWN.

    It is against the contract, but I am certain that if the issue ever went to court the verdict would be that telling you what you can and cannot do with data legally obtained through a paid service is not permitted by law, as that would be an invasion of privacy at the very least.

  72. Will customers that pay for a data plan but also use their own personal wifi receive a credit?

  73. You dont “own” it. The contract YOU sign says as much. Like I said, try and justify it all you want. Fact is, legally, your wrong.

  74. And to the people saying the carriers would lose in court, courts dont really like tearing up contracts.

  75. There are many reasons one can justify tethering. Just because it’s
    in a contract doesn’t mean it’s valid. That’s why all those contracts
    have statements to the effect that if any of the terms of the contract
    are found unenforceable, then the rest of the contract still remains
    valid. Of course, it’s probably not wise to sign any contract that
    has terms that you feel are unenforceable; however with the collusion
    that goes on with these types of natural oligopolies, often one
    doesn’t have much of a choice.

    Unfortunately, these things need to be decided in court to see who is
    right. These big companies take advantage of the fact that almost all
    people will not fight it because of the expense. That’s why there are
    so many ludicrous terms in contracts and licenses. However, just
    because these things don’t go to court does not imply that the
    companies are in the right. Also just because a company has a
    business model that depends on an unenforceable contract does not give
    them a right to make a profit. If you feel that the contract terms are
    void then go ahead and tether, but be prepared to deal with the
    consequences. And if you push things far enough to get to court, why
    not add in a lawsuit for their underwhelming 4G service.

  76. I have seen this debate back and forth on many forums, and I feel that it comes done to this:

    Free “tetherers” will rationalize it and at the end of the day they will still be tethering for free.

    Self-righteous paid “tetherers” will rationalize their side and at the end of the day they will still be tethering for $.

    Eventually a court will have to rule on this issue if the carriers persist with their ridiculous crackdown, and that will put it to bed once and for all. I don’t think either side will be convinced until there is a court ruling. (and maybe not even then?)

  77. Aren’t they contractually obligated to allow us to use a certain amount of data each month? Why do they care how we use the data? So not only are we being forced into limited data plans but they are going to start limiting the ways we use that data?

  78. It’s why I left AT&T years ago, because they nickel and dime you to death over every little thing. And if you do a search, you’ll see they’ve lost a number of lawsuits for just that. Not to mention still having mulitple lawsuits still pending for over charging iPhone customers, over charging sms data, tacking on phantom charges and inflating customers data rates. While every carrier has their own greedy fees, AT&T is the master of them all and have been doing it for years, getting busted for it but they still continue to do it because the fines they pay are nothing compared to the money the pull in from ripping people off. Until the customer grows a pair and decides to stand up for themselves, nothing is going to change.

  79. Verizon is going to be doing this too. The kernel in the leaked Froyo builds for the Samsung Fascinate have a monitoring module that checks for tethering activity. Fortunately that’s already been “fixed” by the folks at XDA.

  80. once again
    t-mobile=free movbile hot spot

    tmobile bitchessssssssssssss

  81. Don’t go to AT&T just because they offer the Atrix. It’s time to end that game of going to carriers just for their latest phones and ignoring their service.

  82. “Aren’t they contractually obligated to allow us to use a certain amount of data each month? Why do they care how we use the data?” @anon, perhaps because you signed a contract for a non-tethering plan. You agreed to pay for one type of service, but are using a different kind, one for which you did not pay.

  83. I love Spriny

  84. I love reading some of the AT&T employees posing on here as phandroid commenters and using the term “STEALING” every chance they get. Kudos to you. Scientology could learn a thing or two from your tactics.

  85. @Sam, one doesn’t need to be the victim of the theft to be grown up enough to know that it’s wrong.

  86. Stealing? I’m sorry, but you can’t steal what you have already payed for. I’m an aussie, so I know what its like to get screwed over in telecoms…
    And yet the big T (telstra) doesn’t charge extra for tethering, this from a company that used to sell a 12gb then shaping plan for adsl as unlimited.
    I pay for 1gb of data, my carrier isn’t stupid enough to think they have a right to tell me how to use it.

  87. I don’t care about “stealing” from AT&T since they are crooks. Tiered data AND you have to pay extra to use it how you want to use it. The people here who are defending AT&T, if not employed by them are braindead retards. I actually agree with Yarrell on this one. Sorry, no sugar coating it, you guys are complete morons. Braindead, retarded. The day AT&T sends me a letter like that is the day I leave.

  88. if you think AT&T are crooks then switch to another carrier

  89. Ace Curry why did you sign with them if you don’t like their pricing models? What a sad immature way to view the world. What else do you steal because you feel the price is too steep for you?

  90. If you are paying for the bandwidth already, how is single user tethering illegal? I’m glad I have no interest in getting a service with AT&T.

  91. Mommy never said “No” often enough, did she?

  92. “If you are paying for the bandwidth already, how is single user tethering illegal?” Because your data plan does not include tethering, AT&T did not provide you a means to tether (because you didn’t buy a plan that included tethering) so instead you use a 3rd party hack to circumvent AT&Ts imposed limitations and the data plan to which you agreed. That’s how. You know they restrict you from tethering, but not only do you do it anyway, but you go to lengths to get around the restrictions. That’s not only illegal, it’s willful.

  93. Ace, what of someone said, “I don’t care about walking into Ace’s house and taking his stuff because he’s a crook, stealing data service from ATT?” Great logic there. Mommy didn’t tell you “No” often enough, did she?

  94. You’re all a bunch of socialists

  95. Listen you all. Let me tell you why ATT or any other carrier who is doing this is wrong. Everybody has electricity service right? How would you feel when electric company charge you extra for each room or each device you connect to the wall outlet or how would you feel time warner, comcast Verizon home Internet service charges you for each device you connect to their line or a land line phone company charging for each phone even for cordless, because this is exactly where this is going. ATT already capped their DSL service if we do not speak up now and continue to argue among our selves one day we will find ourselves paying for the air you breathe. If you think that is exaggerated, THINK AGAIN!

  96. And for those who defend the contract. Where in the contract it says you can not use a future that your phone comes with. Tethering is a built in future for android 2.2 and up. FYI.

  97. Just as Google has a kill switch to remove apps with malware, I’m sure it wouldn’t be very hard for AT&T or Verizon to see if you have any 3rd party tethering apps installed on your phone if they wanted to. I’m not saying its right but all they have to do is say if you have the app your paying the fee.

  98. I can’t believe how many fake posters there are here shilling for ATT.

  99. no one is stealing anything from a carrier by using their phone in a tethered mode. once the data has reached my cell radio, it’s mine to do with as I please, including transferring it over a USB connection to my computer. If I download all the web pages I want to view as HTML and copy them over it’s exactly the same as sending them immediately, but why is one allowed in the contract and the other isn’t? Because the cell phone companies are counting on you being an idiot and believing that there is a difference.

    FYI the reason that the companies are complaining about “overloads” has nothing to do with people tethering their phones, it’s the fact that the companies themselves are selling faster and faster plans when their networks aren’t ready for it. DSL and cable providers do the same thing — oversell and underprovide.

    All you people who are on AT&T’s side here are idiots who don’t even realize that you’re being screwed in the ass and saying you like it!!

  100. the following does not intend to offend or discriminate anybody, it will be my honest opinion on this,if you would kindly allow me to do so:

    1) a bussines provides a model and/or product (in the most cases) and presents a way of selling it, for profit. fair!
    2)the custommer revisez the presented offer, and agrees to pay or not pay the requested fees. in most cases the on going consummer of the said service is required to sign a contract,for whatever reason. ~fair!
    3) the established parameters are then obligated under law, throw the said contract ,to not be breached by neither of the included parties. fair! it is actually the very base of a productive society, at any kind of level.

    4) the U.S. is very well known for it’s poor law system (of making one bad decision after another), so many businesses use this excuse to abuse of a potential consumer’s budget, going after their ignorance mostly. fact!

    it is unbelievable to me how a relatively new concept as “tether”, is used by some business models to add an extra fee to what is already paid for,just for a “little” extra profit. it is understandable to cap the bandwidth,every thing has a limit, especially at&t, but don’t make me pay more for your lack of hardware for a internet based phone that has the capacity to transfer my allready paid data to a third/ forth….n’th device of my choosing,and hide it under the concept of tether. I am legally allowed to do so by the manufacturers features included in the already owned device, so by tethering nobody is stealing anything, since it is just a transfer of the data. T-Mobile kind of understands that,and maybe sprint to. in the very end of this polemic, in this society, 51% rules over 49%, so for a business to even exist, it has to tone down to the will of the majority of consummers of their service, but if some of the consummers are ignorant of the entire state of what they are required to pay, some business models just use that as an advantage to make more profit.

    for those who say tethering is stealing, I beg to differ. if I agree to pay for ” unlimited ” data,but no even,whatever amount of data, and u decide to cap it cuz of your lack of resources at one point, and then ask me more money for more data… and bla, bla,bla, I could understand that,it makes sense, I need your service, you want my money, but when u as a business hide your money hunger under whatever offer, and then decide to charge an extra fee for what is already paid for… now how do you call at&t? fair business or a big all classy rip-off someone who don’t know better?

    gimme a freakin’ break with this BS yo!!!

  101. My friends and I use Android, and some of them tether (even some ones that work for t-mobile). But, your data plan that you buy is just for you phone. They sell MI-FI devices at verizon, sprint, & tmobile for those who want to run their laptop. I never want to cheat my carrier because they provide a good service.

  102. @Brent
    what you call cheating I call full use of a feature my device comes with,limited by carriers who truly cheat for making me pay extra just for that…double standard! I now the mentality behind this: ow, its new, lets make an extra buck of it.
    loyality for good service? I pay for what you advertised to provide, that’s it, witch in at least half of the time doesn’t happen. so if I agree with your lack of resources, that u don’t advertise, cuz its not good business, why don’t u agree with me tethering my device! what I choose to do with it after is nobody’s business.
    and where’s the loyality to the costumer? behind some of those hidden fees and taxes,I’m sure…no wait, its behind the fees of something as brilliant and innovative as tethering. lets trash that concept to, cuz a couple of extra bucks doesn’t sound bad,right? really brilliant manner to get new costumers!

  103. quick question phandroid, and I DO want an answer to this, cuz it is unacceptable:
    why is it that when i used my phone to load comments 96 and 98 on this topic, they in deed appear, and when i use my laptop to check in on updates, like i just did, post #96 is Brent, and there in so #98.

    and yes, i am tethering, cuz my carrier allows it, and it doesn’t call it theft!
    if i don’t get an answer, this goes on xda!

  104. @Jimmy: First off, the article is talking about iPhone right now, which doesn’t have tethering enabled by default as I understand it. Second, even though Android supports tethering, carriers can choose to have that feature unavailable and absent unless activated.

  105. Plain and simple if you use your phone for tethering, in violation of the contract, you are legally wrong and if you are caught you should face consequences.

    To those that argue that you paid for the data and therefore it is yours: If you pay Time Warner for cable access on one T.V. does that give you the right to buy a third party cable box and set up cable access on every T.V. in your house? No, you are contractually obligated to only use your cable service on one T.V. unless you pay for access on multiple T.V.s. Same goes for your data plan.

    To those of you arguing that it should be allowed for free because it is a feature that is included on the phone: Should I be able to use VZ Navigator for free because it is a feature that is included on the phone? With that logic, why would you even pay for a data plan since internet access is a feature included on the phone and therefore should be free? Just because a manufacturer includes a feature for free doesn’t mean that the carrier has to let you use it for free.

    Either follow the contract or be prepared to face the consequences.

  106. dani26286, I’ve noticed that it occasionally takes a few minutes for comments posted through the Phandroid app to actually post to the site. If you posted fairly recently you may want to wait a few minutes and see if the comments show up.

    I would be curious to know why this delay happens.

  107. @brian
    first one i uploaded,#96, was posted a little over 2 hours ago, and it’s brent’s in exchange of mine on my computer, although still properly displayed on my android browser i use. it is ok, maybe i’ll repost it on talkandroid, it’s on the same topic, if allowed of course… :)

  108. not using phandroid app, just a regular browser.

  109. and about the tv cable box thing: i dont need a third party box, i just get another cable, and use the same box to hook up the two tv’s i own with the box i paid for…LEGALLY, with DIRECT TV, and others.
    as with tethering, i ask again, why am i charged to use the data i paid for (cuz i do pay it at the beginning of each month, before use, making thus the term “unlimited” viable), when i use my own resources to transfer it to whatever device i choose in my own house with my own resources…
    maybe i am stupid, explain it to me again, with a better example, please.

  110. why dont they charge me for using pdanet? tell me that. cuz it uses cable, and tether is wireless, thus making it a luxury feature?…

  111. this way, if u wanna talk about features included by the manufacturer, why am i not charged when i use dlna for screenshare on my tv thru my device, regardless of what os, carrier or manufacturer i use, while using intenet enabled devices to stream something like youtube on a tv, for example. this kind of logic used in some type of contracts is an insult to consumers inteligence, and also extremely rude…but whatever.

  112. Fuck AT&T. Seriously. Fuck them to Hell.

  113. its not even about the damn 10-20-30 extra dollars, its about lack of common sense, and there’s a very huuuuuuge lack of it in some of the above stated cases, and for some reason it always has to involve iphone and/or at&t, mostely.
    sad! tmo for life…at least they’re onest, and have proper customer care service, compared to alternatives.

  114. Like I said, my friends tether, I don’t. They are the same ones that say “Why get a voice plan, just use VOIP”. Answer is simple, Verizon is spending Billion$ on making this kick-ass LTE network available, and they would not be able to unless people are each paying about $69 a month each.

  115. There are rumors floating around both Sprint and T-mobile stores, among the employees that the both companies are considering dropping their unlimited plans. However, that seems to be only when/if T-mobile’s buy-out of sprint go through.

  116. i say go for it. spend those billions, and charge me properly for it, but dont use tethering fees as an excuse to meet your end, give me a truly unlimited data plan, as u trick me into one, before signing a contract, and if its in my budget, ill gladly take it, but as i said, the way carriers disapprove of rooting and tether, i as an end user disapprove of hidden fees and taxes, and bogus extra fees…

  117. i pay ~$90 on tmobile for “unlimited” data + whatever voice plan, by way of what they call flexpay. its fine with me…at least they dont charge me for a feature my phone already comes with, thus making it part of the hardware i own…for now, but if they ever do, verizons lte sounds to sweet and around the same amount with all the wisels and bells, plus more stabilty…and if they still continue with this bs of charging improperly people, well, ill buy the device, use it for voice, and get me a third party modem from someone like clear, and all the drama will fade away…what if one or more will decide to go this way to? but thats what happens when things are not thought through properly.
    again, it is not about the money. i would say the same thing if the fee would be just 25 cents. its about common sense.

  118. No one? I’m go n to sleep

  119. I like how people like to hide behind the court system. I dont see why these laws have to be in place just makes things worse for the people who dont understand the law. Damn you legislature or whoever makes those shitty laws/contracts happen

  120. Hey how bout everybody get’s less butt hurt, it’s for people using an app on an iphone. Odds are the iphone tells att what apps are being used.

  121. @Brian
    The problem with your argument is that internet access costs something to deliver. Therefore there rightfully should be a cost for using it.
    Tethering costs ZERO to deliver. Therefore there should be no cost for it. I’m paying for my data. That cost should pay for the network infrastructure to route packets to/from my phone. It is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS what the source or destination of those packets is.
    VZ Navigator (or in my case AT&T Navigator) costs something to develop and deliver. Therefore if they want to charge for it, you should have to pay. No argument. And I choose not to use it nor pay for it. I use Google maps for free and am happy. This also costs Google something to deliver but they have a different revenue model that allows them to give it to me without cost to me.
    Having signed an unconscionable contract is not a defense of why tethering should be “ok” and you should just bend over and take it. What makes a contract unconscionable is that it is totally one sided, and something that nobody would agree to if they had any real choice about it.

  122. @southwick: You are an idiot. I am not “stealing” from AT&T, I paid for that data and I am using it how the hell I want it to use. Shut the hell up.

  123. They are stealing from people by creating tired data plans AND charging extra for tethering. They are crooks. If you can’t see that, you are braindead.

  124. business models tend to be copied a lot, if they seem profit proof, they thus become a standard for other companies to achieve, no matter the profile they are into.
    so by saying that this is only for iphone users, cuz they dont have it included in the original os, and it doesnt anybody else for now, is pure ignorance, im sorry. the title of the article states the fact the android users are next. in any case, if i have both ios and android on my iphone, what u gonna do…tell me how to use my device, and making me pay a double standard, and if not, when im on ios u call me a theef?
    for whoever wants to see a wider view about this issue, follow this link, and express your honnest opinion as an end user, if u so choose:

  125. QUESTION: why the hell are you still using ATT???

    FFS leave that sad excuse of a company and switch, get your families to switch, get your friends.

    I have verizon, my contract is over in Sept, Im considering the Droid Bionic, but if im forced to switch from my unlimited 3g to a tiered 4g plan (not unlimited) im switchiong my family to sprint or tmobile

  126. BTW, being charged for tethering is as stupid as being charged for using a router at your home. Data is Data, i can see them taking steps for heavy usage on their wireless network, but not for tethering.

  127. You’re not paying for data. You’re paying for a data plan. You’re paying for the right to use a certain amount of bandwidth and it includes restrictions on how you can use it. You agreed to that plan when you signed up. If you didn’t know what you were agreeing to, it’s your own fault. If you don’t like what you agreed to, too bad. You made a commitment and nobody forced you. No point standing in place stomping your feet. If you don’t like it, use your feet instead to walk elsewhere. Early termination fees may apply.

  128. To mr. nisme, who are you, and what qualifies you as an expert on the specifics of the at&t service contract? Can you post the exact paragraph from the contract that supports your claim?

  129. If you guys hate AT&T so much WHY STICK WITH THEM?

  130. Well now, it seems AT&T is buying T-Mobile. I guess that throws a monkey wrench into the works.

  131. I started a site to help others find their way around their iPhone and Androids mobile phones.Thanks for your good information. Go to iphone droid apps.com

  132. very good chain of logics ROM… very lawyerly like. but let me ask u this? if u as a business still want me as a cosumer , why not be smart and leave tethering alone, and offer it as a reward, if u trully wanna put your mark on it in someway, for, i dont no, maybe the dead zones, the lack of speed do to impropely and poorly managed resources,extra hidden fees and such…wouldnt that be a smarter way to way to make money, then tyranny…cuz only desperate ones become tyrants, when they dont now what else to do, wright? and with options to choose from, in the end history always shows, the tyrant fails, mostly.
    i mean, i know europe is older and wiser, but we all live the same times, people, or at least this half of it!!!

  133. ROM the Spaceknight and NIsme are working for AT&T. Sorry guys.

  134. AT&T does suck, but so does Verizon, and even more so. Sprint sucks too, just not as much. Then there’s T-Mobile, which doesnt’ suck, but now they’re part of AT&T, which sucks. Basically, everything sucks now.

    What we really need is an open market in the US, which we may get with the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Where you can just buy your GSM phone from anyone and use the AT&T/T-Mobile network without a contract. When Verizon purchases Sprint, and they will, same rule with them. We take away the phones from the cellular companies, they just provide the cellular service. We then have competition of the cell phone market independant to cellular networks. And the cellular networks would compete on price and coverage only.

    I really hope this AT&T/T-Mobile deal and the future Verizon/Sprint deal will create this in the US, which will restore order to the cellular phone and service market. Wishful thinking…

  135. that’s obvious, and understandable at the same time, for them to have the attitudes they do,if they indeed work there. its what gives them a life, but this charging tether issue is simply wrong and abusing to the end user, and when customers realize that, and find the better alternative, may it be on a parallel carrier, or alternate source of buying there data, guess how’s gonna cry then. if tmo goes at&t, it will be the end of what started android enthusiasts to pay attention to it in the first place, wich was the abilty to have an os that allows you to have, if choosed, freedom of full acces to its hardware potentional, cuz i mean, I DO FREAKIN OWN IT, AND YES, THE DATA THAT CAME THROW, I OWN IT TO, AND RESERVE THE RIGHT TO USE IT AS I SEE FIT. thus charging a fee for it would not be anything less than an abuse, in the form of a rip off!

    again, how come Europe sees that, and US is still allowed to have such greedy behavior, and lack of common sense ?

  136. @Tim

    what u say now, is what has always been a fact over the pond. for a country evolved in so many ways, this is really a downfall. it’s all about the end user. we have to defend our right to not accept an abusive double standard, like this one, for example.

  137. i pay attention to a certain business cuz they MIGHT have what i NEED. never ever will i allow an institution like that to decide what my needs are, and then put a price tag on it. im the source of your profit, you gotta satisfy me first, if u want revenue…
    and just when tmo got that, almost, it all goes to hell again

  138. The can’t offer unlimited data… so it’s false advertising. Simple.

    The offer “Unlimited Data” is a model they have devised based on predicted usage of bandwith based on people using their mobile phone only as the browsing device.

    Using a mobile phone to browse the internet and do anything beyond the basics is crap… hence people tether and can hammer away a LOT more bandwidth.

    A lot of people don’t seem to understand what tethering does on a fundamental level and how there is NO difference in the way data goes to and fro from the mobile device…. it’s not black magic, the phone and carrier does the same thing to get data to and fro… the data is passed onto a third party device.

    Ultimately the problem, when you stop being emotional about it, is that the modelling of carriers is based on the limitations of mobile devices to use bandwidth.

    If you re-engineered an iPhone so it had a big screen, a nice keyboard and proper speakers… BUT was still an iPhone in it’s core, so there was no tethering involved…. well, the carriers would be just as pissed off because you could surf the internet like a champion and use up their bandwidth.

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