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  • AT&T Cracking Down on MyWi Tethering?


    We've gotten a couple of tips today from users saying that they are receiving notices from AT&T regarding tethering. These users have been using MyWi for tethering, and are grandfathered into AT&T's old unlimited iPhone data plan.

    For one user, the notices began as a simple text message:
    "AT&T Free Msg: Did you know tethering your Smartphone to a computer requires a tethering plan? Pls call 888-860-6789 for details or visit att.com/dataplans."


    AT&T then followed up with this message via email:

    Dear [Customer],

    We've noticed your service plan may need updating.

    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. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.

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

    If you would like to continue tethering, please log into
    your account online at Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans - Wireless from AT&T, or call us
    at 1-888-860-6789 Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. CST
    or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011
    to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering.
    Here are details on the plan:

    DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
    • $45 per month
    (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
    • $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
    • Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones

    If we don't hear from you, we'll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB afterMarch 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.

    It's easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan's threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go towww.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage.

    As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.

    Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.

    Sincerely,

    AT&T
    This is the first we've heard about users receiving messages regarding MyWi tethering from AT&T. One speculation as to how AT&T may know about tethering is the iOS 4.3 update, which allows the iPhone to be used a personal hotspot. It's possible that AT&T can now track data usage specifically to the device that's being tethered, regardless of whether its done through the personal hotspot feature in 4.3 or via MyWi.

    We'll keep you posted if we hear anything more on this issue. Thank you very much to the readers who sent this in to our tips email!

    UPDATE: Based on user comments that some users are getting the message that don't tether at all, it looks like AT&T is targeting users who have high data usage. As it turns out, MyWi shows up as 0 tether bytes.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Cracking Down on MyWi Tethering? started by Matt Savoca View original post
    Comments 1466 Comments
    1. Truckerbear's Avatar
      Truckerbear -
      Quote Originally Posted by CptPalmer View Post
      I do not see how they can know you are using tethering as a jailbreak for 4.3 is not even out yet, so they must be able to figure this out at even 4.2.1 Sad day it is.
      The tethered 4.3 jailbreak has been out since 4.3 came out. Sn0wbreeze... google my friend.



      I can tell you that you can no longer take your sim card out of an iPhone and put it in a iPad on AT&T because AT&T knows when you do and will disable your data connection. I know I did it and after about 30 seconds my 3G was gone and I had to call and get it fixed.

      Its time to move to Verizon iPhone if you want to tether for free. I haven't used mywi in a while since I have had my iPad unlimited plan (btw the sims sell for 400 bucks on ebay) but I know now that I should probably not. Good luck.
    1. Grifftology's Avatar
      Grifftology -
      This sucks! I just got mywi...ha, RIGHT back to pdanet i go...i've been using that for about 1.5 years now...bright side to getting a txt from att (IF i do...)? I will be able to fully pitch a normal isp to my wife. lolz
    1. i.Annie's Avatar
      i.Annie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doran View Post
      Lol!! Then you should be ok if they make the change to your account.... Lol
      I switched to Verizon. I switched bc I needed unlimited. I wouldn't get the change to my account even if I were still with AT&T, I don't tether often.
    1. MrObatres's Avatar
      MrObatres -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheOrioles33 View Post
      You're kidding right? LOL!
      why is that funny I'm surpriced nobody really does it I don't see nothing on YouTube or anywere on how to do it.
    1. Turb02's Avatar
      Turb02 -
      ..
    1. slap690's Avatar
      slap690 -
      Quote Originally Posted by bignighttrain View Post
      Today AT&T sent me an email and text about me tethering I'm on an unlimited data plan they said they detect that I'm tethering my iPhone 4 to my computer how is this possible. Has anyone else had this problem with AT&T and if so is there a solution thanks.
      I also have Grandfathered unlimited data on my and my wife and iPad 3G but funny my iPhone 4 and iPad are fine the email is about my wifes iPhone 4 she's not like me I jailbroke my wife's iPhone 4 for mywi to tether to her iPad wifi so she can watch netflix while at work all day. Im using FireWall IP from cydia on both phone and pad and since you could tether on the iPhone i been tethering my macbook pro and ipod touch to it. So why no text or email for my phone number can anyone ancer me that. And who dosent know wifi is free as long as someone pays the bill.
      Here's the email..

      We've noticed your service plan may need updating.

      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. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.

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

      If you would like to continue tethering, please log into
      your account online at
      Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans - Wireless from AT&T
      , or call us
      at
      1-888-860-6789
      Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. CST
      or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011
      to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering.
      Here are details on the plan:

      DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
      • $45 per month
      (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
      • $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
      • Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones
      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.

      It's easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan's threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go to
      Wi-Fi Data & Tethering Data Plan - Wireless from AT&T
      to learn about other ways to track your data usage.

      As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan.

      Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs.

      Sincerely,

      AT&T

      Oh using mywi on iPhone 4 jail broken.
      Your wife has a job where she can watch Netflix all day? Rock on!
    1. Mamba4590's Avatar
      Mamba4590 -
      isn't there apps that let you surf the web in full? For example sky fire let's u choose if u want iPhone version or desktop.. If they can somehow tell which browser ur using and there argument is that you are using a desktop brwoser.. You just tell them ur using skyfire or any other app that lets you choose which browser! screw att!!!
      Quote Originally Posted by axlahn View Post
      From what I understand, if AT&T just sniffs some packets, they can tell what browser you're using to surf the web...so if you're using either your laptop browser or Safari on the iPad, they can tell...I guess if you don't use a web browser or if you fake your UA, it'll be okay...but who wants to browse mobile versions of websites on their ipad or laptop.

      BTW, this sucks since I just got MyWi to use on my wifi only ipad...=(...I'll use it til I get the message I guess.
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Is it only mywi related? What abt pdanet?
    1. Laforet's Avatar
      Laforet -
      They are able to detect tethering in two manners:

      1. Analyse packets sent from the device and read the L2 header, if you are tethering different packets will contain different MAC addresses: One from your phone, one from your computer.

      2. Monitor data usage and number of ports used from a certain IP. There is no way to fake these information (NAT relies on using a number of TCP ports), however it is always possible to complain to AT&T like a previous poster has suggested.
    1. ja808hi's Avatar
      ja808hi -
      If you r on a unlimited plan. Isn't that BREACH of contract? if they change it? If im on the web for hours or or left a program on And it exceeds more then 4gbs. (Its called unlimited for reason). I feel alot of LAW suits coming out on this one. when peoples plans get change with out them approving it.
    1. axlahn's Avatar
      axlahn -
      Responding to Mamba4590:

      Yes...true...but if you use Safari on the iPad or IE on a laptop or Safari on OSX or Chrome on a laptop ...etc....a quick packet sniff will show which browser you were using. It's not telling them that you weren't using the iPhone Safari browser; it's telling them exactly what browser you used. And if they are indeed sniffing packets on their own network (which I think they can do legally...but I'm not sure about this point), then they can essentially deduce that you are tethering. I don't know if ATT is doing this now...and I hope they're not and I hope they are basing these polite "threats" purely based on usage. I'm just pretty sure that if they REALLY wanted to, they can tell if you're tethering if they wanted to.
    1. Laforet's Avatar
      Laforet -
      Quote Originally Posted by ja808hi View Post
      If you r on a unlimited plan. Isn't that BREACH of contract? if they change it? If im on the web for hours or or left a program on And it exceeds more then 4gbs. (Its called unlimited for reason). I feel alot of LAW suits coming out on this one. when peoples plans get change with out them approving it.
      I am sure if you read the fine prints on your contract they will say something about "AT&T reserves right to modify or terminate service"
    1. mmaboi21's Avatar
      mmaboi21 -
      This is bullcrap....

      Tip for everyone, tell them that your a heavy streamer for pandora,sirious, and all the other crap user
    1. Doran's Avatar
      Doran -
      Quote Originally Posted by ja808hi View Post
      If you r on a unlimited plan. Isn't that BREACH of contract? if they change it? If im on the web for hours or or left a program on And it exceeds more then 4gbs. (Its called unlimited for reason). I feel alot of LAW suits coming out on this one. when peoples plans get change with out them approving it.
      Your plan is always subject to change at their discretion. That's why there is a clause that states you can cancel your account free of charge if you disagree.... Kinda sucks don't it?
    1. bignighttrain's Avatar
      bignighttrain -
      Just got off the phone with AT&T about my wife's iPhone 4 data problem & guess what they told me, they said by hooking up the component,composite or the new hdmi connector to my hd tv is called Tethering and went on about how watching Netflix on my 50" samsung 3D tv or pandora Ustream or watching YouTube is called Tethering but told me that doing the same thing from my new iPad 2 is ok to AT&T it's not frowned upon strange. Still didnt fix the problem like some of the people on here said, what he told me was that everyone who was flagged by their new system will continue to be monitored in the future. So I'm thinking my wife might as well keeping tethering her iPhone 4 to her iPad wifi so her usage stays the same what do you all think.
    1. Brad1279's Avatar
      Brad1279 -
      i doubt it is a bluff, i have used over 2gb a couple months ago and last month i had used 4.5 gb and now i have used 1.4gb of data in just half a cycle, and i did not get message, i don't really tether, i have it installed but never really tethers, it is possible for them to change ur plan as they want, not normal though.
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      If they are going to charge me for it they better be able to itemize it on a bill. They have to be able to prove I am tethering. Not just using ALOT of data on my iphone.
    1. PhoneLine's Avatar
      PhoneLine -
      Checking the packets and all that is going to cost more overhead then they would probably gain. If forced to pay 20+ dollars a month for tethering, many people would learn to live without it I think.

      This is probably a simple threshold they switched on. If data reaches "x amount" send message and email. As the days go on, if people just start to get them at certain times, then thats probably it. You using it, reach the limit they set as being questionable, and out go the messages.
    1. davshirley's Avatar
      davshirley -
      Quote Originally Posted by slap690 View Post
      Your wife has a job where she can watch Netflix all day? Rock on!
      Probably a government worker. When she retires, we get to pay her pension too.
    1. steveken's Avatar
      steveken -
      Well, someone else already asked this and I will ask again. Has anyone that uses PDANet gotten these messages? That would be really good to know since there are a lot of folks who use it.

      *rant* And, what is a "Labtop" and what is "ancer"? Some folks posting on here really need to learn how to spell some words or use proper English instead of this abbreviated Internet speak. It just looks like gibberish. Are you that lazy you can't type out a few more letters or too tired to use your browsers spell checker to correct errors? */end rant*