AT&T CEO: 3G tethering coming to Apple iPhone ‘soon’

“Here’s a bit of cheery news from the Web 2.0 Summit: AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega just told interviewer Michael Arrington that the company is working with Apple to let the iPhone serve as a tethered wireless modem for laptops soon. And he says it’ll be available ‘soon,'” Harry McCracken reports for Technologizer.

“Even if AT&T wants more money for a tethering plan–and I’m assuming it will charge something like $50 or $60 a month–I think a lot of people will sign up,” McCracken opines.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re on board as soon as it’s offered (although, we’d prefer it to be less than $60 more per month as we’re already paying AT&T for our iPhone service). NetShare works (and it costs us nothing extra for service), but we expect a less convoluted solution from Apple and AT&T. Verizon Wireless is about to lose multiple $60/mo. EVDO accounts from us!

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


  1. AT&T’s greed is unlimited and very prominent. Therefore, they’ll charge for this. Depending on the level of that greed, it might be less ($15-20), or more $40-60). If the level of greed is lower, and the charge is an additional $15 to the existing $30 data plan (plus minimum $40 voice, plus optional $5 text), unfortunately there will be many who will bite the bullet and sign up.

    Realistically, though, AT&T isn’t selling users anything. The level of service is hardly going to change for them. Keep in mind, they aren’t selling tethering to Nokia crap-phone users who never use WAP browsers. IPhone users surf the web, check e-Mails and stocks, send and receive pictures, extensively. Their data usage hardly differs from that of a laptop user, especially road warrior.

    The $30 data plan for iPhone is already higher than the original EDGE plan. There should be no reason for AT&T to prohibit tethering for free on iPhone. In the end, how many of those iPhone users are really going to be tethering their laptops anyway? One in 100 at most. And even those do it fairly rarely. Personally, I could fall into that group, but my usage would average no more than a few hours per year.

    Again, this is clearly about greed and unless they make it some $5 per month or free, they’ll get plenty of negative press and very few buyers.

  2. I’ll go up to $5, but I’m not traveling on the road that much and have internet just about everywhere.

    Might be wise if ATT just adds a very efficient app for tethering at no cost to build up the customer base faster. It would take away some of the competition’s customers and also protect them when their exclusive deal is finished.

  3. The amount they charge will probably depend heavily on the expected usage. Most of the commenters here sound like they’d use the tethering only occasionally for road-warrior type stuff.

    But I’m guessing that AT&T are concerned that some folks will get the bright idea of ditching their land-line internet entirely, and go tethered for *all* their home internet needs.

    I pay approximately $40/month for land-line internet access – not sure if that’s average or not. But if they add tethering for less than that, how many people would be tempted to roll all their phone and internet access into just their wireless account, and ditch the land-line stuff entirely?

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