AT&T to downgrade unlimited data accounts tethering via jailbreak

By on August 4, 2011, 5:49 PM

After years of being hassled by iPhone owners, AT&T finally added official smartphone tethering support last summer -- albeit with a catch. Tethering was introduced as part of a new tiered bandwidth scheme that charged $15 a month for 200MB of data, $25 for 2GB, or $45 for 4GB with tethering. To purchase tethering, subscribers had to abandon their precious unlimited data plan, which costs only $30 a month.

Naturally, heavy data users found that transition undesirable as it would require them to pay overages of $10/GB, so many simply acquired tethering support via unsanctioned means (i.e. jailbreaking and using apps such as MiWi). Privy to such activity, AT&T began issuing letters, emails and text messages to customers using their smartphones to tether without paying for the company's pricy tethering option.

When those warnings surfaced earlier this year, it was reported that AT&T eventually issue a stern ultimatum to folks who tether via jailbreaking, and that's precisely what happened today. The carrier has announced that customers using jailbreak-derived tethering options now have three choices: you can stop tethering and keep your existing unlimited data plan, contact AT&T and purchased the required tethering plan, or simply continue your unapproved activity and AT&T will charge you for tethering anyway.

Subscribers who violate AT&T's terms will be automatically downgraded from their old unlimited data plan to the new tethering plan. The company's announcement doesn't mention a specific date when this initiative will begin, but according one 9to5Mac reader, the transition will start one week from today on August 11. The reader's full comment is below. Considering AT&T already has unfavorable customer satisfaction ratings (sitting behind all other major US carriers), this won't earn it any new friends.

I was just informed that as of Thursday August 11th 2011, if you use MyWi or any tethering on the phone or using the phone as a modem, AT&T will automatically change ur unlimited plan to a 2Gb tethering plan for 45 dollars without the customers consent. This is for those who received emails or texts about the use of tethering without an AT&T tethering plan.

User Comments: 4

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MrAnderson said:

Maybe T-Moble and Sprint should Merge... too bad they do not create a cross CDMA/GMS system... are they really that different besides using a sim card and having the circut integrated into the phone itself... there has to be some way to technologically cross them... it is time to move toward a standard... Both have invested in either side... supposed to have competition, but competition has become moot when consumer hardware is the abstraction for the competition and not infrastructural upgrades and creative services. The last 2 creative services I have heard of (excuse my ATT bias regarding knowledge of plans) but the concept of ?Rollover Minutes,? which was really Cingular's and Apple's Visual Voicemail that came along with the iPhone (not sure if Android phones are enabled with a similar service).

Please enlighten me to other carrier services... besides the standard you get this many anytime minutes and this many night and weekend... and you pay this much for txt. Someone on the data only spectrum needs to come in and Do a pure VOIP and Data plan. I rather have throttling than data caps... it sets the stage to further damage and cause desire for a non-net neutrality based web. Some company needs to disrupt the industry with a VOIP and Data service over Wimax, Lightsquared, and any other technologies like the LTE stuff. We need a push.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

My ISP (suddenlink) has nearly cut off access to bit-torrent connections. I can upload maybe 0.2kbps max. I've tested this from multiple modems across the county. Hope you report on this soon.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

So, this is just iPhones, right? No Androids? I can tether my android, and I dont pay a fee... I still have unlimited data plan... maybe I should check my plan? I havent received a letter yet....

Techgambit said:

Not to rub it in but I download Gigs of junk week to week, thank you SPRINT! No extra charge on my EVO 4G, but if your really an iPhone5 fan rumor is Dec 2011 on Sprint Network everyone wins and stick it to ATT and Verizon for raping the consumer

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