iPhone

Poll: Would you use an iPhone application that lets you tether the phone to your PC, even if it violates your cellular service contract?

If a carrier detects that you're using a tethered iPhone, they could conceivably charge you hefty additional fees, cut off your service, or both. Are you willing to take the risk and tether your iPhone without the carrier's blessing?

I recently featured a video from CNET TV's show Hacks. During the video, Brian Tong explains how to enable tethering on an iPhone using a mobile configuration file from a Web site called the iPhone Help Center by BenM.at.

As Tong notes in the video, and the BenM.at Web site warns, using a tethered iPhone may violate your cellular carrier's service contract. For example, AT&T (currently the only iPhone carrier in the US) does not officially support tethering on the iPhone. They do however, support tethering on several other smartphones, including the Nokia E71m, Palm Centro, Blackberry Curve, and others. According to a CNET News.com article, AT&T does have "smartphone tethering plans, which offers Web connectivity for a laptop plus personal data usage for a smartphone, cost an additional $65 a month. The BlackBerry tethering plan costs $60 a month. Both services include 5GB of usage per month. Customers who exceed the allotted bucket of data usage are charged for overages on a per kilobyte basis."

If a carrier detects that you're using a tethered iPhone, they could conceivably charge you hefty additional fees, cut off your service, or both.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

10 comments
rluongo.luongoit
rluongo.luongoit

When done properly, AT&T CAN'T tell if you're tethering. You have to access via WAP@CINGULAR.COM. If you're accessing ISP@CINGULAR.COM, you might screw yourself.

stevez
stevez

If unlimited means without limits, then why are we "limited" to only using the data on the iPhone? Isn't the bandwidth used the same whether you viewing a web page (supposedly the same as you would on your MacBook Pro) on the phone or on a laptop? I unlocked the tether ability on my iPhone, checked my bank account and that was it...still waiting to see if my ATT bill is going to be $1,000. Personally, I believe that if you pay $30/month for unlimited data, then you should be able to freely tether your phone to computer whenever you like. As it is, I pay $34 for my dry loop DSL. So there's your money ATT!

rluongo.luongoit
rluongo.luongoit

I used my old SIM card from my RAZR V3a when I got my BlackJack II. I have full 3G functions, and I tether by using Windows to configure the connection. I pay $19.99/mo for a basic unlimited MediaNet plan. Just DO NOT use ISP@CINGULAR.COM as the login or will screw yourself. Use WAP@CINGULAR.COM instead.

QAonCall
QAonCall

That is why they can do it

bkleonard
bkleonard

Strange... I had an LG Incite(BTW, I think I hate Windows Mobile), and I regularly tethered it to my laptop. It was freely mentioned on the website, store personnel mentioned it as well, and no additional fees were charged to my employer.

Jaqui
Jaqui

cause Apple don't play well with GNU/Linux, I won't touch an Iphone.

jmbrasfield
jmbrasfield

"If a carrier detects that you?re using a tethered iPhone, they could conceivably charge you hefty additional fees, cut off your service, or both." I say that this statement is a certainty. To my minds eye, I would say that the carrier has the user over a barrel, so to speak. They could charge you whatever they want and you have no recourse but to pay and pay and pay...... I am not an iPhone user myself, but why take the risk of loss of service for your "over priced, over advertised, over blown" techy toy. Makes no sense in the long run.

deskhero
deskhero

What is tethering? Never heard of it in the UK context - but I'm not an I phone user.

QAonCall
QAonCall

Testhering is the function of using a mobile devices web connectivity, either via cable or wireless connection, to a computer, to allow the computer to use the broadband access. Essentially it is using your phone as a braodband card for your computer/laptop/netbook etc. Coompanies like ATT/Verion/Sprint used to promote this, now they do not like it, as more and more users are sucking up their bandwidth by browsing sites with more video content etc. I believe this is a good demonstration of their oopinion on the matter(it might also answer another post about 'unlimited0: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/legal/plan-terms.jsp software or other devices that maintain continuous active Internet connections when a computer's connection would otherwise be idle or any "keep alive" functions, unless they adhere to AT&T's data retry requirements, which may be changed from time to time. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited. Furthermore, plans(unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH? or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose. Accordingly, AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network, including without limitation, after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage and (ii) otherwise protect its wireless network from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance, which may impact legitimate data flows.