You Can’t Have Both You want Tethering or Unlimited Data Use?

Apple iPhone subscribers who may have been waiting anxiously for the tethering option to be made available may have to think twice about using the service with AT&T. With the iPhone OS 4, subscribers will be given the added option of using their device to tethering or using their smartphone as a mobile hotspot. This allows several devices to connect to the Internet at one time.

The carrier will be retaining its unlimited plans for existing subscribers. However, although AT&T will be offering tethering services, they cannot use it on top of the unlimited data plan. Subscribers will need to drop their existing unlimited data plans and avail of the tiered plan if they wish to use the tethering services. The tethering service itself charges $20 a month on top of the Data Plus and Data Pro Plans. Data Plus costs $15 monthly for every 200 MB used while Data Plan Pro costs $25 month for the 1st 2GB and $10 for every GB used afterwards. This means subscribers will pay at least $35 a month for capped tethering. Even worse, the charges will be added regardless if no additional devices were used.

According to Free Press’ M. Chris Riley, these new plans by AT&T are nowhere being consumer friendly. “While AT&T asserts that its high-end 2GB cap will only impact the heaviest users, the fact is that today’s heavy user is tomorrow’s average user. It is price gouging for AT&T to charge the low-end users $15 per 200MB, and to charge $20 for tethering capability even if no additional capacity is used.”

Owners of iPhone devices are said to be the heaviest in terms of data usage. In defense of their new plans, the carrier company stated that the more expensive plans will only affect a minor portion of their subscribers, stating that most only consumed under 200 MB a month. Apple smartphone users who plan to use the tethering option will have to manage their usage even further, as devices such as laptops are even more data hungry their current iPhone devices.

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