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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Do we know when official tethering is coming (us/att)

Do we know when official tethering is coming (us/att)
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iamnotmad
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Jul 29, 2009, 10:02 AM
 
question in title. That's it.
     
cgc
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Jul 29, 2009, 10:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by iamnotmad View Post
question in title. That's it.
I'll be surprised when it does...AT&T's network prolly needs to be upgraded to support the increase in throughput (e.g. massive downloads on computers versus texting, browsing, etc. on phones).
     
ort888
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Jul 29, 2009, 03:19 PM
 
It's probably going to cost $15 a month as well.

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Simon
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Jul 29, 2009, 03:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
It's probably going to cost $15 a month as well.
That's really cheap compared to the rumored €20 T-mobile will charge for tethering in Germany. On top of their "unlimited" 3G data plan that is.
     
kylef
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Jul 29, 2009, 07:35 PM
 
iPhone 3.1 has a "tethering data" section under the usage tab in general settings. Could suggest progress.
     
turtle777
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Jul 29, 2009, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by kylef View Post
iPhone 3.1 has a "tethering data" section under the usage tab in general settings. Could suggest progress.
I almost hope it's gonna be a tiered system.

Can you imagine how many cheap basterds will replace their DSL / cable service with that, and how it would slow down the entire network ?

-t
     
lpkmckenna
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Jul 29, 2009, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Can you imagine how many cheap basterds will replace their DSL / cable service with that, and how it would slow down the entire network ?
That would be me.

Actually, I didn't have home internet, just the iPhone. I have little use for cable tv or cable internet, so paying a monthly fee for that is silly. But since iPhone tethering became available in Canada, I occasionally use it. (Right now, in fact.)
     
turtle777
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Jul 29, 2009, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
That would be me.

Actually, I didn't have home internet, just the iPhone. I have little use for cable tv or cable internet, so paying a monthly fee for that is silly. But since iPhone tethering became available in Canada, I occasionally use it. (Right now, in fact.)
Well, so you wouldn't be hurt if they imposed a 2GB limit or so.

-t
     
lpkmckenna
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Jul 29, 2009, 10:33 PM
 
Rogers has a 6G monthly limit in Canada. It's fine.
     
Simon
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Jul 30, 2009, 03:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I almost hope it's gonna be a tiered system.
IMHO that's thew huge screw-up carriers made that got us into this whole mess in the first place. Lots of carriers launched "unlimited data" packages for so little that if people actually used those plans as unlimited plans, the carriers were going to lose lots of money.

What followed were overloaded networks, slow capacity increases, and ludicrous limitations (VoIP, tethering, etc.) imposed by cellular carriers that were suddenly faced with the demands of broadband users.

It would have been much smarter to offer tiered plans. Something like 100 MB/month for $10 for the email reader. 500 MB/month for $20 for the iPhone surfer. 2 GB/month for $50 for the enthusiast, and something like $100 for true unlimited HSDPA use and no strings attached. That way people would actually buy what they need, pay for what they actually use, and pay more if they use more. Overall carriers would be much better able to handle the load on their networks and have funds to extend capacity where required.

Of course the root cause of all these shenanigans is that for entirely historical reasons, cellular carriers cannot cope with the idea that they are nothing more but bandwidth providers. If you give people high-speed TCP/IP they will run *everything* through that. It's easy, it's cheap, and it's extremely flexible. But carriers still dream of offering specific services, of serving specific content, yadda yadda. Those days are over. It's just taking the carriers a while to understand that. But I'm confident. Even the music industry eventually noticed the times had changed and started adapting.
( Last edited by Simon; Jul 30, 2009 at 03:31 AM. )
     
Eriamjh
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Aug 2, 2009, 10:30 AM
 
The official word from AT&T for thethering is... someday. Or is it never? Or maybe when they are ready?

It is not known. Anyone can guess. My guess is by the end of the year.

AT&T loves the iPhone and hates it at the same time. The love the money it generates. They hate that their network is not truly capable of letting all users use all the features of the iPhone. They hate that they have to spend money to upgrade the network now to support today's phones when they might (and I highly doubt it) really want to simply wait to upgrade it to the newest system (4G?).

Greed is keeping AT&T from allowing tethering. Greed limits all of our internet capabilities in the USA.
( Last edited by Eriamjh; Aug 2, 2009 at 10:37 AM. )

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turtle777
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Aug 2, 2009, 12:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post
Greed is keeping AT&T from allowing tethering. Greed limits all of our internet capabilities in the USA.
Greed on whose part ?

AT&T ? Or the leeching users, who expect unlimited bandwidth for everything, and are not willing to pay extra for it ?

I think many people in the US are confused and think it's a God-given right to get all-you-can-eat/download/drink for a flat fee.

-t
     
Eriamjh
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Aug 4, 2009, 06:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Greed on whose part ?

AT&T ? Or the leeching users, who expect unlimited bandwidth for everything, and are not willing to pay extra for it ?

I think many people in the US are confused and think it's a God-given right to get all-you-can-eat/download/drink for a flat fee.

-t
My internet data plan is called "unlimited". But AT&T insists that I download my data through a straw and not use it the way it can be used.

We don't have MMS here either. Wonder why?

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ghporter
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Aug 4, 2009, 09:41 PM
 
The data plan is "unlimited" in how much data you can download, not in how much bandwidth you can take up. That's a key point-if you took up as much as you wanted, other people in the same coverage area may not be able to take up as much as they want to. It's not so much a matter of "rationing" as in "sharing a very finite amount of available bandwidth." Which, by the way, is limited by the 3G signaling scheme as much as anything else. WiFi is still WAY faster than 3G, and it will always be that way. Maybe 4G will be better, but I wouldn't bet on it.

MMS takes up a lot of bandwidth, and I think AT&T wants to avoid as many harsh and threatening customer support calls as possible, so they are upgrading and improving coverage in a lot of areas. This is a slow process because it's both labor intensive and expensive.

Instead of wanting everything, all at once, NOW, consider the enormous infrastructure investment that's been made so far, and how everyone's lives have been changed by cell phones. Seriously-billions of dollars have been spent on developing and installing cell service, and we've gone through something like five different basic technologies already in the roughly 25 years that cell phones have been in existence. This stuff ain't cheap, and it isn't exactly easy to upgrade-it's not like flashing the PROM on a box at a cell site, but rather gutting the site and replacing all the boxes in it, which is a major and expensive undertaking.

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Simon
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Aug 5, 2009, 04:18 AM
 
It's also not unlimited in terms of how you use the provided bandwidth. Contrary to many other carriers, AT&T has made sure you can't use apps like Skype (voice calls) or use 3G for tethering. It's unlimited at best with a subset of apps/services AT&T allows you to use.
     
ghporter
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Aug 5, 2009, 07:52 AM
 
I can see a specific strategy in these limitation-keeping a small number of users from sucking up so much bandwidth that there isn't much for others, or from complaining loudly that their huge bandwidth-requiring apps don't work...

And blocking Skype sort of makes sense, since AT&T is putatively in the telecommunications business and they'd prefer users to use THEIR telephone service, right?

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Simon
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Aug 5, 2009, 08:08 AM
 
Those limitations are fine if they are communicated clearly from the start, the product isn't labeled "unlimited", and if I can buy extras (like tethering or VoIP) if I want.

But selling a data service (note: data, not voice) as "unlimited" and then limiting it 'as you go' is not ok. To make matters worse there is no option to pay for these extras. You're simply locked out whenever an app or service comes along that AT&T doesn't approve of. You don't know until they block it and then you can't buy more. If the reason for doing this is business, they're idiots - you always try to sell more (obviously you have to scale up your network accordingly). If it's technical, well then clearly AT&T's network just isn't as good as an iPhone network ought to be. See my post above on where exactly they screwed up.

Rest assured, it's not about technical feasibility. I actually am on a network that handles all these things (tethering, VoIP, video streaming) just fine. Sure, I pay for these extras (and that's the way it should be). But the fact is as an iPhone user on this network I get the options. AT&T customers don't.
( Last edited by Simon; Aug 5, 2009 at 08:18 AM. )
     
ghporter
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Aug 5, 2009, 09:24 AM
 
They made a business decision on how much bandwidth to provide to each customer, that's all. It isn't necessarily what you or I might want, but it's what they've put their money into. As for the limitations being "artificial," sure they are-they probably have plenty of reserve capacity in some areas, but not necessarily everywhere. And the fine print (not so fine, even) in their service plan agreement says that the unlimited part is how much data you can download, not how fast it can be, nor what protocols or apps you can use with it-they seem to be pretty clear about it being just the amount of data.

Maybe someday it will be a common thing for people to do everything online through their "cell phones," but that's not today. The network needs to be set up to support EVERY user's needs, and by limiting specific uses AT&T seems to be trying to find a "not too noxious for most people" middle-ground. If i could tether my MBP to my iPhone right now, I still wouldn't do it much, because I tend to do my computing in a relatively fixed place where there's WiFi available (home, certain retail establishments, work, etc.), but it would still be a good thing. It's just not something that I "need," nor something that the corporate behemoth that is AT&T is ready to embrace yet.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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