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  1.    #1  
    AT&T has begun cracking down on smartphone customers—particularly iPhone users—who have been secretly tethering their smartphones to their laptops without paying for a tethering plan. The company sent text messages to the offending users, followed up with an e-mail, that says they've been identified as taking advantage the feature without paying up. If those users continue to tether and don't make changes to their accounts, AT&T will automatically begin charging for the DataPro tethering plan from March 27. Those who quit tethering before then won't have to upgrade their accounts.

    "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," reads the beginning of AT&T's e-mail.

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

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  2. #2  
    Is there something particular about the tethering method on a jail-broken iPhone that allows the carrier to identify it as such? Am I mistaken that this should not be an issue for webOS/freetether users? I was assuming that the carrier is just taking a guess based on high usage seen on accounts without their official tether plan.
  3. #3  
    no,they just sent those emails to people that use a lot of data,regardless if they have proof of tethering or not
  4.    #4  
    They are many methods they can identify tethering.. Take a look at the comments section at the ars article

    -- Sent from my Palm Pre using Forums
  5. #5  
    I would think (edit: hope) they weren't spending time scrutinizing user-agent strings or TTL values for all those customers they sent letters to. That would seem to be a bit heavy handed (but surprisingly astute) even for AT&T. I'd love to know for sure if anyone ever finds out.

    Either way, this is why many webOS users are rightfully loyal to Sprint.
  6. #6  
    Has there been any report of this message being sent to anyone other than iPhone users?
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Cantaffordit View Post
    Has there been any report of this message being sent to anyone other than iPhone users?
    well the reason they are going after iPhone users ... as far as i understand , is bc up until ios4.3 there was no native way to tether , other than jailbreaking, all other phones had an application to connect to.. but now that theres the hotspot app , well things are changing...

    my concern is any smartphone that falls under the similar criteria will be under scrutiny , especially if att doesnt offer a application via pc or app to tether... which brings them to webOS
  8. #8  
    I want to know how it's legal to switch plans on people on contract. They've done this before with people who use a smartphone for even a short period. Why do they have this "right"?
    How about just adding a straight tethering charge if they must?
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    I want to know how it's legal to switch plans on people on contract. They've done this before with people who use a smartphone for even a short period. Why do they have this "right"?
    How about just adding a straight tethering charge if they must?
    the problem i believe is more for users on the grandfathered unlimited data plan

    here are a couple of notable quotes from the comments section at arstech...


    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...mment-21446174

    Tethering has allways been seperate, and you;re not currently subscribing to it. it;s breach of contract to be using it without paying, they can simply terminate, back-bill, and demand ETFs...

    Also, there's clauses in cellphone (and cable, and satellite, etc) contracts that LET them change rates, periodically, for everyone, without giving you an out.

    You chose to tether, that incurred an automatic right tor them to bill you. tethering is listed as an extra charge (always has been), so they're not even changing the rate or terms that "might" in some cases on some contracts give you an out, they're just enforcing EXISTING terms.

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...mment-21446153

    Not on open air it's not, there' no PIPE! Its more like a community pool, where 300 people can sit around it getting a tan but only 75 people can be swimming at a time. You can be by the pool as much as you want, and swim when you want (provided there's space), but at some point you get out so others can swim in the lanes. Tethering is like putting your pool chain in the pool but not swimming in it....

    Connecting a PC does not necessarily use more packets (it does, a little, especially if you let it do updates OTA or something), but the BIG deal to the carrier is a phone is programmed to only transmit when necessary, and relies on push services, where a PC has a dozen apps constantly hitting online services, refreshing pages (which mobile browsers don;t do), and in general, even if not sending/receiving more data; it keeps the transmitter active more often, thus using an airspace channel more often. Its like refusing to get out of the pool when you're no longer swimming.

    Transmitters for landline systems use microvolts, transmitters for cellular use several watts, meaning each active conenction is a power drain significantly more than landline. Also, landline can add more channels easily (by running lines, or using digital channels or multi-mode fiber), but cellular carriers can;t just add more RF channels (it costs billions, takes 5-10 years, and requires handset replacement).

    Connecting a PC uses more aitime, even if no more packets. You might have unlimited data, but you do NOT have unlimited AIRTIME. That's why they charge more.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    I want to know how it's legal to switch plans on people on contract.
    By tethering without paying for the tethering option, it is the end user that is first breaking the terms of service agreed upon between AT&T and the end user. Basically, if you don't abide by the terms of the contract you signed with AT&T, you are pretty much ripping up that contract--the contract that you signed your name to, promising you would agree to it--in their face. Legally, that is how AT&T is justified in switching their plans.

    They would also be completely justified in canceling their service without any notice or warning, if they wanted to go that route. Would be completely legal, as long as the end user failed to abide by the terms of the contract. At least with the method they have chosen, users are given a choice: Pay for tethering or stop tethering. That way AT&T has a lower risk of losing a customer altogether.
    Touchscreens are a fad.

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