This article was published on March 18, 2011

AT&T begins crackdown on jailbroken iPhone tethering

AT&T begins crackdown on jailbroken iPhone tethering
Matt Brian
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Matt Brian

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Despite Apple officially introducing its Mobile Hotspot feature in its latest iOS firmware, many iPhone owners are still utilising third party solutions to enable tethering on their devices.

CultofMac reports that US mobile operator AT&T has begun cracking down on customers that have not signed up to its official tethering plans and do not use official means to tether their devices. It is affecting iPhone owners that have jailbroken their handsets and have downloaded popular Cydia tethering solutions including MyWi, PdaNet, and TetherMe.

The company has begun sending SMS messages to jailbroken iPhone owners, reminding them that they must sign up to an additional tethering plan if they wish to take advantage of the feature whilst on its network:

AT&T also sent follow-up emails to customers, explaining that customers will need to register for a tethering plan, or risk being automatically upgraded to one if they didn’t cease their tethering usage:

Dear [Customer],

We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating.

Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones– a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&T’s mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.

Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.

If you would like to continue tethering, please log into
your account online at Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans – Wireless from AT&T, or call us
at 1-888-860-6789 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST
or Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011
to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering.
Here are details on the plan:

DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
• $45 per month
(this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
• $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
• Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones

If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB afterMarch 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.

If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.

It’s easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan’s threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go to learn about other ways to track your data usage.

As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.

Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.



It is not known how many people have been contacted but there are reports of disappointed AT&T customers that are angry at the fact the operator is trying to extract more money from customers that already pay a significant amount of money for their mobile data plans.

Whether AT&T is contacting all customers utilising jailbroken tethering or just “power users” remains unclear.

AT&T customers will need to be aware that their mobile provider is beginning to crack down on jailbroken tethering. The company will automatically upgrade customers to a tethering plan if they continue to use tethering without specifically signing up for one. Unfortunately for AT&T users, that’s an additional $45 a month – for just 4GB of usage.

Do you use tethering on your jailbroken AT&T iPhone? Have you received contact from your mobile provider? Let us know in the comments below.

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