AT&T sends notices to jailbreak tethering users | iLounge News


AT&T sends notices to jailbreak tethering users


AT&T has started sending both text message and email notices to iPhone users who are using jailbreak apps to enable tethering, letting them know that AT&T is aware of their unauthorized usage. ModMyi reports that the message states simply, “Did you know tethering your Smartphone to a computer requires a tethering plan? Pls call 888-860-6789 for details or visit,” while the email is considerably more detailed. Starting by saying that “We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating,” the email goes on to explain its tethering feature, and then notes, “[o]ur records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.”

It goes on to list ways to get in touch with the company to activate tethering, and explains the charges associated with the feature, before stating, “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.” AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom confirmed the campaign to Phone Scoop via email, saying, “We’ve just begun sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan. Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers.” [via Cult of Mac]

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Is this only for jailbroken apps?  What about those few teathering apps that were once in the App store, albeit for a very brief time, before Apple removed it (ala Netshare)?  I haven’t received a text yet, but definitely don’t want my unlimited plan changed.

Posted by Brianbobcat on March 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM (CDT)


They want fairness to customers? Stop charging ridiculous amounts extra per month for one extra feature we wanna use our DATA for! MyWI is a ONE TIME fee! I hardly ever use it, but I don’t have to pay an extra $20+ per month in which I wanna use it for 30 minutes!!! AT&T isn’t about fairness, it’s about money.

Posted by Justin on March 18, 2011 at 4:04 PM (CDT)


Really? A company that wants to make money…go figure.

Seems to me, and I might be wrong, that when they added teh $20 tethering fee on, they also increased the bandwidth. When you don’t have tethering, you get 2GB. When you do, you get 4GB so it’s not JUST a fee with no bennies.

It is their ball, they get to make the rules. If we don’t like them we can switch games.

Brian: I would imagine it would come to those. They can detect other devices on a network. They probably don’t care about your program you’re using, just that you’re using their bandwidth.

Posted by Teechur on March 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM (CDT)


In all fairness. This story is way over dramatic.

At&t has no way if a user is using his bandwidth for tethering, netflix, pandora, sling, or any other bandwidth hog. To them it’s all the same!

I wouldn’t be worried unless you go above their average cap per person per smartphone device.

If you use less than 10 gb you should be fine….. A small number of users are using almost 20+ gb within a month.

Posted by RA on March 19, 2011 at 2:46 AM (CDT)


@4: In all fairness, your advice is completely wrong.

Yes, they can tell what apps you are using, and therefore, they can tell if you’re tethering - not like it’s particularly difficult to compile a list of apps used for unauthorized tethering. All of the necessary information is in every single packet your device is sending to their cell towers and they are well within their powers to log such information and take action.

Likewise, your advice to keep it under 10GB is pretty laughable considering the maximum bandwidth you can purchase and be allowed tethering is a 4GB plan. Suffice it to say if you’re grandfathered in to the real unlimited bandwidth, using anything more than a couple of GB/month and tethering, you will be on the top of their list to snoop on and they will find out and they will switch you to the 4GB plan if you keep it up.

Whether or not AT&T *should* be doing this is a whole other matter. I am of the opinion that there should be no plans other than a blanket volume transfer pla, no calling, no data, no SMS, nothing, just bytes of information transferred, and what you do with it is your choice, but I clearly don’t make the rules. With the current rules and their ability to enforce it, they can easily do what the article described and I wager they will do exactly that to those who don’t heed the message. Nothing “way over dramatic” at all, merely a typical head in the sand attitude from someone who isn’t even aware of a single relevant fact to their platform from what I ca n tell.

Posted by Code Monkey on March 19, 2011 at 11:19 AM (CDT)


@5 - Dude, you’re wrong…. I don’t even tether or use my iPhone 4 for a personal hotspot. And I still got this message! I stream netflix, movies and news to my iPhone. Called them up to complain and they took that notification off. Even if they do have the ability to check packets and logs, you think they will, probably not for all. But, for the people who are top tiered in high data usage. AT&T is seeing if people are biting the bullet or put the gun down. FYI: I stream about 30gb a month.

Posted by John on March 19, 2011 at 1:06 PM (CDT)


that stinks!!

Posted by anonymous on March 19, 2011 at 4:39 PM (CDT)


“Even if they do have the ability to check packets and logs, you think they will, probably not for all.”

Nope, not for all, which I thought I was reasonably clear about. However, if you’re grandfathered into their original true unlimited plan and using more than 2GB a month you can bet they will snoop on you, because why wouldn’t they? It’s automated, free for them, and every person they catch equals more money and less used bandwidth after you’re forced onto one of the new plans. A win-win for AT&T.

Also, just because you got the message in error, that doesn’t make me wrong. It’s not even related. It just means their system to catch unauthorized tethering users isn’t perfect, not at all related to anything I said.

Posted by Code Monkey on March 19, 2011 at 6:00 PM (CDT)


I have an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2, both of which are grandfathered in to the unlimited bandwith of my original devices.  One thing I realized while browsing articles on this sight is that of all of the countries in the world that offers 3g iPad service, France and Italy are the only places that offer more than 5GB of usage.  Everyone else is around 2-5GB and their prices are just as high as AT&T, if not higher.

My point is that in the world in which we live where bandwith is becoming an increasingly rare and limited commodity, why would anyone possibly do anything to endanger an unlimited date feature.  AT&T technically could force all grandfathered contracted unlimited date clients to switch and we would not be able to do anything about it.

Until that day comes I have already decided to play within their rules so that my treasured date plan stays within my grasps (I have the MLB app, live basketball games app, NCAA app, HULU app and Netflix app on both iPad and iPhone) much so that I would be willing to forfeit a future upgrade or two to keep my plan.  Just saying, there is no reason to play with them when anyone with an unlimited plan is clearly ahead off the game.

Posted by Thomas on March 20, 2011 at 5:23 AM (CDT)


There is no way for At&t to know if you use a jailbreak app to tether your phone. What they do is they target a bunch of people that use high bandwidth and threaten them with the data plan change. The people that actually do it will stop because they feel like they’re “guilty”. The people that never tethered their phone will call in and complain. So that’s how at&t will know who does it and who doesn’t. You were using a lot of bandwidth the months before and all of a sudden there’s a huge drop after they send you a notice… Of course they’ll know that to were using illegal tethering.

Posted by Phil on April 5, 2011 at 10:46 AM (CDT)


I received 2 text messages from ATT about tethering. I thought nothing of it until today I had another message telling me they are arbitrarily changing my plan.  I called and spoke with an ATT rep.  She told me that just jail-breaking my phone counts as tethering.  ??????  I said thats not the same thing as tethering.  She said that if someone jailbreaks their iphone when they connect to itunes on their computer ATT sees this as tethering.  My blood was boiling.  I said I want a print out sent to me of my so called tethering activity. I run a program called User Agent Faker which allows you to see a normal website format on your iphone instead of the mobile lite versions. She said they don’t have records of my data activity, only the total amount of data.  I asked for a supervisor but hung up accidentally.  I’ll call back tomorrow.

I don’t buy the jailbreak explanation she gave. I think ATT is just trying to increase their revenue stream.

Posted by sky on June 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM (CDT)

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