AT&T wants to auto-enroll you in tethering plan

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Ah yes, the new bastion of fair usage and caps, AT&T, now decided to auto-switch users who tether their phones by using jailbreak to their special tethering plan, which costs more and gives a separate 2Gb bucket specifically for laptop/whatever data.

You probably remember that they’ve done something similar before — Media Net packages with unlimited data used to be available to anyone with any phone, but afterwards AT&T introduced more costly smart phone-oriented plans, and, after “legacy” period, they started to send messages to customers with smart phones warning them that they will be switched to new more expensive plan.

So the history repeats itself with tethering. Except in this case it doesn’t make any sense from the user’s point of view. New iPhone plans are not unlimited, they are for pre-set amount of data (2Gb mostly, I doubt there are people who want puny version that costs slightly less but dramatically increases odds of being charged for overages). And why is it using exactly the same amount of data via tethering to a laptop is any different than just consuming it directly with some app on the phone? You’ve paid for 2Gb you should be able to download/upload 2Gb any way you see fit. But that would make pricing a bit too fair for the carrier’s taste (users getting exactly what they paid for? Shocking!)

Expect a new blitz of press-releases and interviews, explaining to silly customers that having a separate data bucket for laptop, connecting via phone, is somehow different from running a video steaming app or a video chat on the phone itself. Disgusting.

So far the report is talking about iPhone users being auto-switched to tethering plans, but I bet the Android users are not far behind in getting a stern letter…

Oh and getting out of the contract because they changed your plan won’t work. AT&T, like most carriers, has broadly worded set of terms and conditions that allow them to change your plan if you don’t use your phone in accordance with plan terms. And data buckets don’t allow tethering.

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