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Wednesday June 2, 2010 4:53 pm

ATT finally announces iPhone tethering plan. And it sucks.


AT&T iPhone tethering

So, earlier we told you all about the new AT&T data plans, and mentioned that if you were currently on an unlimited plan, you could keep it, and AT&T will just consider you grandfathered in. Now here is where it gets interesting—after three years, AT&T has finally announced a tethering plan for the iPhone, which will go live with is released. The thing is, if you wanna use it, you must leave your unlimited data plan behind, even though the tethering cost is an extra $20 per month. Instead, you have to move to the DataPro plan, which is $25 per month for 2GB of data, and $10 for each additional gigabyte of data used if you go over.

Now, read that again. AT&T is going to charge you $20 for the privilege of tethering. That $20 doesn’t get you any extra data usage—you are still relegated to the 2GB of data that you get from your $25 per month. In other words, AT&T is charging you a fee to use the data you already paid for. That is completely ridiculous. If you pay $25 for 2GB of data, and blow through all 2GB on your iPhone, that is cool with them. However, if you pay $25 for 2GB of data and blow through it while tethered to your computer, they expect you to pay an extra $20, even though on their end, you’ve used 2GB of data—no more, no less—in both scenarios.

This is obviously asinine to anyone on the outside of AT&T looking in. The fact that AT&T wants to charge you an extra fee just because you want to use the data that you;ve already paid for in a certain way just screams that they don’t understand true customer service. If you are grandfathered in with unlimited usage, they won’t allow you to pay the $20 tethering fee. If you switch so that you can tether, the fee is just there to make them more money—and you can never go back to your unlimited plan once you leave it.


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Comments:

Your info doesn’t make sense. In this case Apple is selling you 2GB of data for $25. If you want to use that SAME 2GB of data while tethered, they charge you another $20. It’s like ordering food at a buffet for $25, and getting no silverware. When you ask for a fork, they charge you a $20 fee.

Wow! AT&T dropped the ball on this one. They only treat their customers this way because they know they are the only carrier with the iPhone. Once Android 2.2 AKA - Froyo gets a stable build of phones to compete with the iPhone, then the Sprint everything plan looks more appealing to Verizon customers who have been mistreated with crappy plans. IMO Android + Sprint = Win.

Right, but the thing is that with AT&T’s new plan, if you use less than 200MB per month, you can drop your rate significantly by getting the $15 plan—and if you go over, you pay in increments of $15 per 200MB. No crazy hidden charges for overages, just clear stepping and scaling for usage. That’s a great, pro-consumer change, even if you don’t necessarily like the rates or the increments of data.

So why, then, does a data plan so focused on the consumption component charge an extra $20 for tethering (and without even adding any data to your pool)? For a plan so focused on usage, this makes absolutely no sense. There is zero technical or logical difference between a computer funneling data through a phone or the phone requesting that data itself, especially when you’re paying by the meg. Par for the course with AT&T, it’s a cynical and sour-tasting ploy to gouge customers for every last cent before consumers wise up and demand it be bundled. And the sad thing is, a lot of people are going to pay for it in the mean time.


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