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AT&T Cracking Down on Tethering for Those Without a Plan



AT&T iPhone jailbreakers who tether up need to be aware. AT&T is cracking down on tethering now that the carrier has finally decided to make tethering a possible revenue stream. Apparently AT&T is sending messages to those who are tethering without the plan saying that you have until March 27 to get on the plan or stop tethering. If you don’t stop off plan tethering by then, AT&T will gladly sign you up for it.

Keep in mind if you’re grandfathered into the unlimited data plan from the early days of the iPhone, that you’ll lose that privilege if you sign up or if AT&T signs you up for a tethering plan. Here’s the text of the message AT&T is sending out.

Dear [Name of Account Holder],

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, 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 after March 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 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.



Please update your data plan by March 27, 2011 if you intend to continue tethering

To learn more and update your plan, visit

Reach us for assistance during business hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST at 1-888-860-6789



  1. tivoboy

    03/18/2011 at 2:35 pm

    just out of “curiosity” but how are they tracking this? Is there a port that mywi uses, or do you think it is simply data LOAD based?

    • Sumocat

      03/18/2011 at 3:03 pm

      Hard to say. One guy on the MyWi forum said he talked his boss into bluffing his way out of the data plan change, but that only means he tricked a CSR, not a tech. Another guy claims AT&T uses packet sniffing for browser detection.

      I burn 4-5 GB a month without tethering on my unlimited plan (mostly Pandora, high-quality stream, 35+ hours a week) and did not get this notice (at least not yet). That’s above the current 2GB plan, but well under the 10-25 GB some are reporting with their MyWi tethering. Perhaps they use load as a trigger, which is they already track, and then confirm with browser detection.

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