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Apple may be working with AT&T on iPhone tethering plan

post #1 of 165
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Apple is discussing with U.S. wireless carrier AT&T the possibility of offering iPhone 3G users the option to purchase an additional data plan that would allow the handset's 3G connection to be shared with notebook computers.

A $10 application called NetShare from iPhone software developer NullRiver briefly enabled this functionality earlier this month but was subsequently plucked from the App Store by Apple after AT&T expressed its disapproval.

In an email to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs on August 4th, shortly after NetShare's disappearance, one iPhone owner argued that it's "ludicrous" that a tethering option is not offered alongside "such an advanced device."

The owner pointed out that AT&T offers this option to users of Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones for an additional $30 per month, and said he'd be willing to shell out the extra change each month for the same luxury.

In a response via his iPhone, Jobs is reported to have said: "We agree, and are discussing it with ATT."

AppleInsider has worked to verify the authenticity of the email passed on to gadget site Gizmodo, as it does with others alleged to have come from the Apple co-founder. It can confirm that the transmission originated from an Apple I.P. and via the same D-class as other responses from Jobs known to be authentic.
post #2 of 165
I would love it if this would also lead to a piece of software that would work "the opposite way" of NetShare, that is, the iPhone creates the "ad-hoc" network and the computer(s) can join it.

Seems somewhat easier to use than the current solution, even though NetShare works well when set up correctly.
post #3 of 165
It was not right for them to remove NetShare. That was a crappy move on part of AT&T (which I believe to be the one to have had the say on pulling it). I was lucky enough to get it.
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post #4 of 165
It was ridiculously poor management on Apple's part to allow NetShare to be sold in the first place if they were going to pull it in the way they did.

Um.. where is my mother F**in refund Apple ?
and yes, I want this from you and not NullRiver

AT&T... you're idiots.

Although... let's agree on something... I don't think their network can afford any form of additional activitity until they upgrade it.. add more cell stations or something... I was at the US Open yesterday and couldn't use my dang iPhone.

Personally, I don't think Nullriver's app is the best.. you need a way to keep the iPhone awake in order for the app to work well... additionally.. you can only use a few apps on your computer.. you can't use things like VPN, Skype, etc.

I think THE ANSWER is : 1. allow full wireless or wired tethering for $10 a month and 2. upgrade your network AT&T


we pay too much for this phone plan already to charge an extra $30 a month

or at least have a tiered plan for tethering.... like: $5 per 50 Mb of usage

listen up!
post #5 of 165
Just plug a usb cable up the cellphone's undersides and the other end to the PC and bingo.
What the heck is this drama about charges and the rest ?
I am paying for the device, I am paying for the net - why pay extra for using the net I am paying for already ?
This is like saying - "Oh, you have comcast high speed internet, you can't use your wireless PC with it - that will be $45 extra".
Morons.
And to top it off, their network is nothing but crap.
I'd rather by an AirCard from Verizon for the same prize and have better coverage.

Aside, why does the iphone not have a bluetooth based syncing or OBEX yet ?
post #6 of 165
And you will know....my name is the LORD....when I lay my Vengeance upon thee!!! LOL
post #7 of 165
Quote:
The owner pointed out that AT&T offers this option to users of Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones for an additional $30 per month, and said he'd be willing to shell out the extra change each month for the same luxury.]

One way or another you will get capped. If they do offer tethering, they will secretly disconnect you every couple of minutes - and if you complain, they will make up some excuse like that a passing vehicle must have caused interference. We already have unlimited data on the iPhone it is just impossible to actually take advantage of it because of the poor network quality. I think they really just want to keep VoIP off their wireless network.

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post #8 of 165
It makes absolute sense that they are discussing it. What makes little sense is that AT&T's policies are conditioning Apple's policies in countries where other cell companies are allowing tethering in the first place. (Not to mention the fact that the extra $30 AT&T would be charging is unreasonable, in my opinion.)

Maybe there were some technical difficulties in rolling out the tethering function from the start in a way that's more convenient than what NetShare provides (or I should say provided, perhaps). But if a more official tethering solution is in the iPhone's future, after the whole NetShare fiasco Apple should have been a bit more open about its intentions. It would have saved people (users and developers) time and money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvosx View Post

Aside, why does the iphone not have a bluetooth based syncing or OBEX yet ?

Better yet, wi-fi snyching Ã* la Apple TV. My guess is it will come. My other guess (based on Apple's more or less recent behavior) is that more features will be released in time. And as much as I would want something right away, I'd rather wait a little longer (say a month or two ) for something that works, instead of having it right away and spending the next few months complaining that it doesn't (or trying to find solutions).
post #9 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

One way or another you will get capped. If they do offer tethering, they will secretly disconnect you every couple of minutes - and if you complain, they will make up some excuse like that a passing vehicle must have caused interference. We already have unlimited data on the iPhone it is just impossible to actually take advantage of it because of the poor network quality. I think they really just want to keep VoIP off their wireless network.

They don't have to do that. Apple and AT&T can create the tethering application and use bluetooth instead of wifi while limiting the bluetooth connection speed.
post #10 of 165
Since July T-Mobile Germany allows its iPhone users to buy up to 2 so called Multi-SIMs (at one time fee of $30 each) and use them in any other device and share all minutes and SMS and data across them. They all ring to the same phone number but its great to use one card in a 3G DataCard with a laptop.
post #11 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post

Since July T-Mobile Germany allows its iPhone users to buy up to 2 so called Multi-SIMs (at one time fee of $30 each) and use them in any other device and share all minutes and SMS and data across them. They all ring to the same phone number but its great to use one card in a 3G DataCard with a laptop.

TIM in Italy has had a multi-SIM option for business users for quite a while (at least 10 years), to the advantage of those who bought those "novel" car radio systems with GSM support (that was before Bluetooth). If I'm not wrong, they go for 7 a month. Add that to the cost of a datacard, it's still an added expense that I'd rather avoid.
post #12 of 165
Today people whine at the prospect of paying an extra chunk of money for tethering, down the road they will whine that AT&T's network is continuing to struggle with its load. $30 is a perfectly reasonable data plan as it is equivalent to that of other smart phones--and iPhone users are using more data than anyone else. If we get tethering through AT&T, it will probably also be at a competitive monthly rate. There is absolutely no reason why an iPhone user should expect special treatment in these regards.
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post #13 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

There is absolutely no reason why an iPhone user should expect special treatment in these regards.

As a non-AT&T, non-U.S. user, I'm not expecting any special treatment. I'm expecting to be able to tether (if technically possible, whether or not using NetShare) at no additional cost, since tethering was available at no additional cost when I was on a SonyEricsson P990i or a Nokia 6630.

And yes, I was fully aware of this lack when I bought the iPhone, so I'm not really complaining. I just wish this impasse would get solved at least where AT&T should have no word on Apple's business.
post #14 of 165
To do this on my T-Mobile phone in the US, I have to buy the $20 to $25/month Internet service. I've done this before when traveling and then when done, get rid of the service.
post #15 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiorario View Post

As a non-AT&T, non-U.S. user, I'm not expecting any special treatment. I'm expecting to be able to tether (if technically possible, whether or not using NetShare) at no additional cost, since tethering was available at no additional cost when I was on a SonyEricsson P990i or a Nokia 6630.

I wonder if the concern in this regard is simply that Apple hasn't added the tethering capability to the iPhone's software. They may be focusing on the US market first, and since carriers in the US are a bunch of jerks, tethering probably hasn't been a top priority. Hopefully they get this sorted out soon. As soon as the tethering capability is added to the software one would think it would be available to less crotchety carriers around the world.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #16 of 165
Only in the US could a mobile provider get away with a rip-off like this- it's almost as bad as having to pay to receive calls.Why on earth should you pay extra to use your mobile account in this way?
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post #17 of 165
I'll see if I can cancel the credit card transaction where I paid $10 for NetShare. If we all did this, perhaps heavy handed marketing people at AT&T would get the hint that WE pay their salaries.
post #18 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonomaCider View Post

I'll see if I can cancel the credit card transaction where I paid $10 for NetShare. If we all did this, perhaps heavy handed marketing people at AT&T would get the hint that WE pay their salaries.

Excuse my ignorance, but why would you do that? Are you saying that your NetShare doesn't work on AT&T?
post #19 of 165
Steve Jobs in answering a lot of emails these days. I wonder if he's gotten a phone with email on it, or something?
post #20 of 165
By releasing Netshare, then pulling it - Apple and at&t got a free market study. I have to say, I would hope there isn't widespread tethering if the 3G network couldn't handle it while maintaining a good user experience for those surfing with the iPhone. Apple and at&t may be forced to offering tethering now that many will be doing it anyway with Netshare or other methods on jailbroken iPhones.
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post #21 of 165
HTML Code:
"LISTEN UP -- Apple and AT&T !!!!
It was ridiculously poor management on Apple's part to allow NetShare to be sold in the first place if they were going to pull it in the way they did.

Um.. where is my mother F**in refund Apple ?
and yes, I want this from you and not NullRiver

AT&T... you're idiots.

Although... let's agree on something... I don't think their network can afford any form of additional activitity until they upgrade it.. add more cell stations or something... I was at the US Open yesterday and couldn't use my dang iPhone.

Personally, I don't think Nullriver's app is the best.. you need a way to keep the iPhone awake in order for the app to work well... additionally.. you can only use a few apps on your computer.. you can't use things like VPN, Skype, etc.

I think THE ANSWER is : 1. allow full wireless or wired tethering for $10 a month and 2. upgrade your network AT&T


we pay too much for this phone plan already to charge an extra $30 a month

or at least have a tiered plan for tethering.... like: $5 per 50 Mb of usage

listen up!"
Totally agree.

I won't buy an iPhone (even though I'd really like too) because:

1) No tethering option with iPhone is a deal breaker. Currently my Sprint-Palm 755P does a fantastic job of tethering to my MBP and I use this feature regularly while traveling.

2) ATT seems to be having problems with their network penetration and bandwidth for 3G devices. Especially now that they have so many more 3G iPhones on their network, makes me think that staying on Sprints CDMA 3G may be a better option. Although this is just my casual observations.
post #22 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvosx View Post

Just plug a usb cable up the cellphone's undersides and the other end to the PC and bingo.
What the heck is this drama about charges and the rest ?

That's not how it worked when I used my 8525 a little over a year ago. For tethering actually to work, I had to activate AT&T's Laptop Connect service at $60/month, which is $20/month more than the 8525's $40/month unlimited data plan a year ago, $30/month more than the current 3G smart phone data plans, and $40/month more than the original iPhone data plan.
post #23 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmedia1 View Post

Totally agree.

I won't buy an iPhone (even though I'd really like too) because:

1) No tethering option with iPhone is a deal breaker. Currently my Sprint-Palm 755P does a fantastic job of tethering to my MBP and I use this feature regularly while traveling.

2) ATT seems to be having problems with their network penetration and bandwidth for 3G devices. Especially now that they have so many more 3G iPhones on their network, makes me think that staying on Sprints CDMA 3G may be a better option. Although this is just my casual observations.

How true is the following:

"According to RCR Wireless News, Sprint has dropped the price of their "phone as modem" plan from $50 to $15.

However, customers must own a Power Vision (CDMA2000 1x EV-DO) phone with connection capabilities to their laptops.

The $15 tethering plan is also only available alongside certain Sprint data plans, namely the Sprint PRO Pack ($30 per month), Blackberry Personal Pack ($30 per month), Worldwide Blackberry Personal Pack ($70 per month), Primary Data Plan ($50 per month) and the Worldwide Data Plan ($70 per month).

There are ways to unofficially tether -- just be wary of Sprint's 5GB cap, implemented last May."*

*http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/wi...ering-fee.html
post #24 of 165
I do not what possessed Apple to get into these exclusive deals with companies like ATT which is known to have an unstable network. The best way to sell these sophisticated phones is to sell them to all the major carriers and then let them subsidize, compete on service plans like RIMM has done with Blackberry. If the consumer wants an unlocked phone, they should clearly have that option... so they can use anybody's SIM when they travel, etc.

Instead, Apple took an a great product and hog tied to the lowest quality carrier... at least in the US. The Cingular/ATT network has been terrible for years and now worse with the 3G/WCDMA upgrade on top of their GSM.

From a technical point of view there is no reason why the phone could have GSM for global coverage with CDMA/EVDO for carriers like VZ and WCDMA/3G for ATT, Vodafone, T-Mobile. Companies like QCOM do offer these solutions... Apple already pays royalties to QCOM anyway.

Apple needs focus on the consumer first... then the carriers. This biz of taking the tethering software from their store just to please ATT is a conflict of interest.

I am long AAPL and I spend around $100/mo on my individual plan with the current carrier... and I would like to buy the iPhone, but I can not hold my breath long enough to sign up with an onerous carrier like ATT. Looking for an Iphone 1st generation.
post #25 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Steve Jobs in answering a lot of emails these days. I wonder if he's gotten a phone with email on it, or something?

What is Steve Jobs' e-mail address:ro lleyes:
post #26 of 165
Well this should be fun! Most, if not all, other phones have the capability and you *can* tether without paying the fee it's just that you risk getting busted. Would AT&T follow this path and allow for tethering and just wait to 1) have people "on their honor" pony up the $30 a month or 2) just wait and bust people with huge bills?

Perhaps if they allow a third party to make the tethering and then just have apple "encourage" that if you're going to download this *and* use it then you need the tethering plan. I mean - I shouldn't have to pay AT&T for the tethering if, for example, I wanted the application but don't plan to use it until an undetermined later date right?
post #27 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiorario View Post

It makes absolute sense that they are discussing it. What makes little sense is that AT&T's policies are conditioning Apple's policies in countries where other cell companies are allowing tethering in the first place. (Not to mention the fact that the extra $30 AT&T would be charging is unreasonable, in my opinion.)

Have you seen the iphone plans for other countries?

These countries are giving out 250 MB or 500 MB or 1 GB a month iphone plans.

250 MB will give you a couple of days of tethering.

It looks good "on paper" about some of these iphone carriers allowing tethering --- but it makes no sense in reality.
post #28 of 165
i can't imagine relying on my spotty iPhone connection to do anything so serious that i need a full laptop machine. let alone pay extra for it.
post #29 of 165
Additional $30 is too high, the iPhone already has an unlimited plan and a web browser, and when you use a tethered iPhone you can't use the browser on the iPhone so it's more like moving the browsing off to the notebook, why should that be extra? The speed of the connection is also the same. If anything the option should be $10 a month.
Sounds like pure greed to me.
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post #30 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Additional $30 is too high, the iPhone already has an unlimited plan and a web browser, and when you use a tethered iPhone you can't use the browser on the iPhone so it's more like moving the browsing off to the notebook, why should that be extra? The speed of the connection is also the same. If anything the option should be $10 a month.
Sounds like pure greed to me.

Welcome to the smart phone game. It sucks for sure but that's the same price they charge everybody else...
post #31 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by djbeta View Post


we pay too much for this phone plan already to charge an extra $30 a month

or at least have a tiered plan for tethering.... like: $5 per 50 Mb of usage

listen up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post

Welcome to the smart phone game. It sucks for sure but that's the same price they charge everybody else...

Seems like AT&T is missing a huge opportunity here - make an official patch to allow tethering with iPhone and include it at no extra charge with the existing data package. Would be interesting to see the impact on increasing their customer base and loyalty.
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post #32 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

Have you seen the iphone plans for other countries?

These countries are giving out 250 MB or 500 MB or 1 GB a month iphone plans.

250 MB will give you a couple of days of tethering.

It looks good "on paper" about some of these iphone carriers allowing tethering --- but it makes no sense in reality.

O2 in the UK - unlimited data.

Give me my f'ing tethering NOW!

Oh and in case I haven't said this before - The USA != The World
post #33 of 165
Personally I wouldn't go for such an arraingement as the price is way to high for web surfing. In my case that is what tethering would be used for. When I need true high speed,say for updates, I'd go to the library or other high speed access point.

As to AT&T well let's face it their fees would be more bareable if the simply showed serious investment in their network. I mean this I understand the need to make boat payments and satisfy the wife, mistress and whore but that needs to be balanced with investment. Investment in something we need to hear more about from the carriers in the US instead of the constant whineing about the need for bandwidth controls. Bandwidth caps would be one thing if reasonable investments where being made in hardware but that is clearly not the case.

In my humble corner of the world AT&Ts network is highly variable in it's ability to sustain data through put. This on an iPhone without signal problems. This isn't a 3G issue but rather issue with performance of certain cells to the web. Yeah you can say 3G is new and adjustments will be made as needed and so forth. The problem is the carriers clearly have the profits to do a lot better as far as the investment in hardware or capacity goes.

So how do we adress this. Well I'm not one for a lot of regulation but there are something that can be done to let the market decide. The first thing would be to make the long term contracts illegal along with the corresponding carrier ties. Second and closely allied would be to get rid of subsidation of cell phones, this to help people identify the costs of services better. IPhone is a good example here because I doubt many people could even say how much the iPhone hardware actually cost or how much of their bill actually goes to sustaining the service. In the end I do wonder why the cell industry has gotten a free ride for so long considering some of the business practices seen there.

Dave
post #34 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Today people whine at the prospect of paying an extra chunk of money for tethering, down the road they will whine that AT&T's network is continuing to struggle with its load. $30 is a perfectly reasonable data plan as it is equivalent to that of other smart phones--and iPhone users are using more data than anyone else. If we get tethering through AT&T, it will probably also be at a competitive monthly rate. There is absolutely no reason why an iPhone user should expect special treatment in these regards.

Aren't you paying attention? iPhone users don't want special treatment, they just want equal treatment! Other phones have tethering plans, why not the iPhone!? iPhone users would be willing to shell out extra, on top of the existing $30, to have it.
post #35 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

In the end I do wonder why the cell industry has gotten a free ride for so long considering some of the business practices seen there.

Well, for one thing, telecommunications companies make massive campaign contributions
to both major political parties in the US.

See: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=B08
post #36 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by BB Sting View Post

What is Steve Jobs' e-mail address:ro lleyes::......

See: http://forums.appleinsider.com/archi...p/t-60371.html

I assume you will -- as we we all should -- use it advisedly.
post #37 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraithofwonder View Post

Aren't you paying attention? iPhone users don't want special treatment, they just want equal treatment! Other phones have tethering plans, why not the iPhone!? iPhone users would be willing to shell out extra, on top of the existing $30, to have it.

Have you read the blogs?

Do not all carriers charge extra in some form or other for tethering?
Are not most of the comments above demanding free tethering?

Does not the article suggest that there are movements toward providing a tethering plan?
post #38 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Additional $30 is too high, the iPhone already has an unlimited plan and a web browser, and when you use a tethered iPhone you can't use the browser on the iPhone so it's more like moving the browsing off to the notebook, why should that be extra? The speed of the connection is also the same. If anything the option should be $10 a month.
Sounds like pure greed to me.

For the tethering plans, they're charging computer users more for the unlimited, because computer users are going to use more data on average. The iPhone's browser is pretty good, but it's still a phone, a tiny screen and it's not a replacement for a computer. The unlimited part of the plan is just to remove worries on the part of the user that they're going to go over a limit. A person using a phone as a modem is going to use far more data than a person that uses the phone itself for the browsing and data stuff.

I hope they offer a way to pay for tethering by the day. I only need a backup internet service at most one day per month. If I were a road warrior, then $30/mo more wouldn't be a problem, but I'm not, my needs for the service is intermittent at best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvosx View Post

Just plug a usb cable up the cellphone's undersides and the other end to the PC and bingo.
What the heck is this drama about charges and the rest ?
I am paying for the device, I am paying for the net - why pay extra for using the net I am paying for already ?

Because it can be done with other phones, doesn't mean that your contract for that phone allows for it without paying for that kind of use.
post #39 of 165
It is the same Internet and the same web page or email regardless of being retrieved via the iPhone or the laptop.

Since I got my iPhone 3G about a month ago, I hardly use my laptop except for editing documents, so I do not see how I would use more bandwidth just because my laptop is tethered. Same web page, same RSS, no extra images, no difference.

While I could be convinced to pay 10 more a month, all I can say is NO WAY JOSE to more than that. There is no extra cost to AT&T.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Have you read the blogs?

Do not all carriers charge extra in some form or other for tethering?
Are not most of the comments above demanding free tethering?

Does not the article suggest that there are movements toward providing a tethering plan?

Just because it has become common for customers to get raped by the providers, does not make it right. The least they can do is kiss me first.
post #40 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Do not all carriers charge extra in some form or other for tethering?

No, they don't.
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