AT&T’s fails to deliver iPhone tethering as promised by end of 2009

Apple Online Store“Boos echoed throughout the audience at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in mid-2009, when Apple vice president of marketing Phil Schiller delivered the bad news: Tethering for the iPhone would be provided by 22 carriers around the world, but not AT&T,” Brian X. Chen reports for Wired.

“The company did not deliver an official tethering plan to AT&T iPhone customers this year, even though de la Vega said during the 2008 Web 2.0 Summit conference that tethering would arrive for the iPhone in 2009,” Chen reports.

“Despite damage to its brand in 2009, AT&T is still seeing massive subscriber growth, so the company is still doing great from a shareholder perspective, said Tero Kuittinen, an MKM telecom analyst,” Chen reports. “According to the company’s financial results, AT&T generated $40 billion in revenue and $10 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2009.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: AT&T’s company motto: “Over promise and under deliver.” Cue the class action lawsuits; to which we would not be opposed. Unsurprised — AT&T obviously does have quite the issues — we continue to await iPhone tethering and would like to stop overpaying Verizon for our EVDO service and start paying AT&T a reasonable rate for the service via our iPhones as soon as possible. Hello, AT&T? Hello?


  1. Why should AT&T;offer anything? The no-tethering issue is not affecting their iPhone bottom line. The day that the no-tether issue hurts their iPhone sales, then we may see a change of policy.

    just my $0.02

  2. …”Why should AT&T offer anything?”

    Perhaps because they promised it originally? It was quite possible for Apple to announce the tethering feature with the carriers that were shown on that slide and leave it at that. There would have been boos (as there were), people would have been outraged at the lack of tethering on AT&T and in a week or two, the issue would have died. However, with promising tethering at a later date, the issue kept coming back.

    I never had any issues with AT&T’s network performance (and I live in NYC), but some of their business moves are just plain stupid.

    I’m sure opening up iPhone to multiple carriers will cause an increase in its retail price ($300 will be the minimum we’ll see), or a longer mandatory contract (3 years), but it will most certainly motivate carriers to refocus their efforts from providing crap add-on services and crippling handsets to actually reinforcing their dumb pipe, which is what they all ought to be (and be doing) in the first place.

  3. Will A T & T get any more exclusives from Steve Jobs? Not if history of Steve’s reaction to vendors falling short of promises to either Steve or Apple can be applied.

    Remember IBM and Motorola PPC that were 1 1/2 months late for the iMac. We have Intel inside now!

  4. MicroCell??

    Last February I read on MDN that ATT was coming out with the MicroCell and I thought this was great news as I was moving further into the Colorado mountains where no one has service.

    Eleven months later? Nothing. Only in select cities.

    Thanks ATT. How could it take an entire freakin year to beta test?

  5. AT&T;is dropping the ball on multiple counts. They have been, and continue to be a liability for Apple and the iPhone brand. It’s time for Apple to open it up to other carriers.

    The iPhone now carries with it some serious cachet, and Apple itself now has the credibility to make some demands about how the iPhone is sold and serviced. The carriers can take or leave Apple’s demands, but the market is overdue for some options. AT&T;’s time is up.

  6. Let’s see.

    I promised my wife and eternity of bliss.
    I promised my son a new car on his 18th birthday
    My boss promised me a great future before the company folded.
    My son promised to take out the garbage every Friday.

    Class action anyone?

  7. ATT will get hit with class action lawsuits over something which few iPhone users would probably take advantage of.

    The really sad thing is that ATT could have just said it was studying how it could implement tethering without adversely affecting the network performance or capacity, and that it was not announcing a date for tethering for iPhones.

    The fact is ATT is scared of how much data traffic it may see if it allows iPhone users to tether. Maybe it’s trying to increase capacity before allowing tethering, but I think ATT knows that it can’t handle significant numbers of iPhone users tethering to their laptops.

    The interesting thing is that when an iPhone is tethered, it can’t be using data services (like streaming TV shows, etc.), so I would think the actual data usage wouldn’t be that great.

  8. This illustrates the problem with a single provider. Although ATT provides a discounted iPhone with a two year commitment, you are stuck with and only with ATT short of jailbreaking and/or unlocking your iPhone.

    Now, this could be a problem with multiple providers if all providers decide not to provide tethering.

    It sucks, but ATT has no competition in providing tethering. Where there’s no competition, there’s no incentive to provide anything but what the provider wants to provide.

    Single payer health provider, anyone?????

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