RUMOR: Apple and AT&T prepping iPhone tethering plan

“According to a pretty legitimate-looking email thread from one of our readers, Steve Jobs may have responded to complaints that, since the pulling of NetShare from the App Store, iPhone-to-laptop tethering is impossible without jailbreaking one’s phone,” Mark Wilson reports for Gizmodo.

MacDailyNews Note (added: 9:52am): Tethering in this case means using your iPhone as a modem to connect your Mac – or heaven help you, Windows PC – to the Internet.

According to the rumor, an iPhone user sent Apple an email stating that since AT&T offers data plans for BlackBerry that include tethering for an additional $30 per month, he’d be willing to pay for such a service for his iPhone. And, supposedly, Steve Jobs responded via email, “We agree, and are discussing it with ATT.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Roger’s already offers iPhone tethering in Canada, so it’s possible that AT&T wants to add tethering in the U.S. Perhaps AT&T first wanted to work on getting their network more optimized for the millions upon millions of iPhones hitting it before they will add an official iPhone tethering plan?


  1. @scottm

    Tethering means using a chellphone’s data connection to provide internet access for a computer. Typically, the cellphone appears to the computer as a modem and the connection process is similar to using a modem. Bluetooth can be used for the phone-computer link, although sometimes carriers limit the connection to cables.

    Another way to think of tethering is that it allows a cellphone to act as a data modem rather than requiring a dedicated ExpressCard device.

  2. John, don’t worry your pretty little head about it…

    just know that I invented it.

    Oh, and tomorrow the world will be engulfed in a flood. That is, unless we all stop breathing… and start eating tofu & kelp… and use $50,000 windmills to power our houses. Yeh, that’s the ticket.

  3. Its a good thing I have NetShare… I will use it only in an event of an emergency, and I currently have the enterprise data plan so my cap is much higher than the “retail” user.

    I can do this in a pinch, or I can use VPN and Teleport to log into a secondary desktop in my office. Either way I’m covered…

  4. That’s because our VanFruniken misspelt the word; it is tethering.

    Acting as a hub for WiFi means that with a special app, such as the now no longer available NetShare, yout iPhone can be turned into a WiFi hotspot. Essentially, it shares its 3G internet connection over WiFi, much like what you could do on your iMac by sharing your wired (Ethernet) connection over AirPort.

    I am still trying to understand why a user would have to pay extra for tethering from AT&T;. This reasoning used to make some economic sense from the carriers’ point of view; users were using little to none of their data plan with their cellphone/smartphone, and when they tether their laptop to the phone, data usage suddenly goes to the roof. However, with iPhone the data usage with a laptop won’t make much of a difference on their network.

    Once again, carriers’ greed rears its ugly head.

  5. Sixvodkas, this is from the Oxford English Dictionary:

    tether |ˈteðər|
    a rope or chain with which an animal is tied to restrict its movement.
    verb [ trans. ]
    tie (an animal) with a rope or chain so as to restrict its movement : the horse had been tethered to a post.
    the end of one’s tether see end .
    ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old Norse tjóthr, from a Germanic base meaning ‘fasten.’

  6. Heck, they can’t even get the low-throughput iPhone 3G’s native traffic to work right on 3G, much less the higher-throughput thethered (that’s a soft tethering) traffic of a laptop. With AT$T’s current network I don’t know that thethering would work well. (AT$T doesn’t cause havok with semi-colons and HTML codes like AT&T;plus it seems more appropriate considering $5 extra a month for 200 SMS messages and now $30 extra a month to thether. So I recommend typing AT$T on here rather than AT&T;.)

  7. If I am elected president, tethering will be provided free of charge to everyone.

    And I will raise your taxes 50% to pay for it and all the other stuff I promised already.

    I’m Barak Obama and I approved this message.

  8. Obama: I want to bring change to tethering . . . . . . and socialize it
    McCain: I have the experience necessary to tether; I was tethered in Vietnam for years
    Hillary: Women can tether too!
    Bush: Tethernating is essential to stop nuk-u-lar proliferation
    Cheney: Lets rebuild NetShare (contracts)
    Gore: I invented tethering
    Clinton: I did not have sexual tethering with that woman
    41: Read my lips: no new tethering!

  9. To Bunsen Honeydew:

    Ralph Nader: Tethering belongs to the people not special interest groups.
    Bob Barr: I said tethering is good for America. I meant it’s bad. No wait, it’s good. It’s good to be bad. Are we still on the air?

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