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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. mischaf's Avatar
      mischaf -
      I don't see how they can legally can do that. It's your device and your data plan, which is UNLIMITED i.e. no limit. I'm on verizon, but if I got a call from them I'd say "You can only charge me for the service that you offer through the phone, I'm using a completely different and LEGAL method of tethering" they should only be able to charge you for using the tethering thing under settings>general>network
    1. zeroskater61's Avatar
      zeroskater61 -
      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.
      There is a JB for iOS 4.3 snowbreeze had been updated to JB 4.3 but it's a tethered JB at the moment... But if this is the results of updating to ios4.3 and JB and using myWi then I guess there's no need for me to even update to this...
    1. cyanidmako's Avatar
      cyanidmako -
      So if I was caught tethering and they sent me this I would be allowed to get out of contract with no ETF? I don't tether but if so I might just to get out of contract.
    1. Doran's Avatar
      Doran -
      Quote Originally Posted by mischaf View Post
      I don't see how they can legally can do that. It's your device and your data plan, which is UNLIMITED i.e. no limit. I'm on verizon, but if I got a call from them I'd say "You can only charge me for the service that you offer through the phone, I'm using a completely different and LEGAL method of tethering" they should only be able to charge you for using the tethering thing under settings>general>network
      Go and read your agreement with them again.... They can terminate or modify that plan at their discretion....
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      Quote Originally Posted by consultant View Post
      FAIL.

      Apple did not sue any jailbreakers. Neither did AT&T.

      Very different than Sony vs. geohot.
      Check the fiasco revolving around Docket No. RM2008-8 in the Federal District Court of Northern California.

      Quote Originally Posted by 0_Maximus_0 View Post
      Im a happy verizon user , but if they change your bill, legally you have the right to immediately cancel your plan (contract or not) for free. If they were to ever change my plan, to be honest they would see me in court. Thats complete bs.
      They have the right to change or terminate your service at any time, for any reason, including no reason. Read the fine print...
      though you are correct in not having to pay an ETF if AT&T cancels or modifies the contract, AT&T could sue in court over services rendered but not paid for pursuant to your contract (e.g., tethering). They'd also likely win their direct costs plus damages and court costs.

      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.
      Plus

      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.
      Equals bingo. That and abnormal APN usage... if any traffic comes in with a 172.16.0.0/12 NAT header, you're sunk, because AT&T uses 10.0.0.0/8 for their local subnet, while iOS tethering uses 172.16.0.0/12.

      One more way--mobile sites (and/or apps) often have separate CNAME/A records than their main site's counterparts. Dead giveaway 9 times out of 10 when a mobile site isn't served first to a device.
    1. cbr900rr95's Avatar
      cbr900rr95 -
      Just a thought, leave iphone slingbox running 24/7, have them send you the text message and email, ignore it, when they drop your unlimited data and add tethering to your plan, call them and termanate contract. JK
    1. mvhurlburt's Avatar
      mvhurlburt -
      Quote Originally Posted by goodred2 View Post
      4.3 firmware is out but a jailbreak for it is not. Therefore MyWi ON 4.3 cannot be what AT&T is tracking this by.
      Uh really cause I'm running 4.3 jailbroken and all... PwnageTool + 4.3Pwnage Bundle(limera1n payload) + Tether Boot

      Also
      sn0wbreeze is also in beta for 4.3 for windoze users
    1. slap690's Avatar
      slap690 -
      Quote Originally Posted by davshirley View Post
      Probably a government worker. When she retires, we get to pay her pension too.
      I went back and read his quote a couple more times(in total disbelief lol) and I'm thinking(hoping) he meant his wife is watching Netflix all day while he's working!
    1. hnic247's Avatar
      hnic247 -
      I use alot of gbs per month through mywi. I'm grandfathered...no message..

      AT&T is going to have to show me they have proof that I'm tethering in order for me to pay anything extra not just say you use alot of data so you have to switch your plan to limited data
    1. mischaf's Avatar
      mischaf -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doran View Post
      Go and read your agreement with them again.... They can terminate or modify that plan at their discretion....
      I get that but adding a tethering plan would be for using their tethering service, mywi doesn't use the tethering service implemented into ios by att
    1. bbillh77's Avatar
      bbillh77 -
      More info please were they connected bluetooth wifi or wired ? can they detect all or just 1 form
    1. CX3NT3_713's Avatar
      CX3NT3_713 -
      I haven't gotten this msg!!! I hope I don't get it either!! Isn't there a way to take AT&T to court? For FORCING us to change data plan?? Bullshyt!!! :@ I refuse to upgrade!!!! <
    1. iliveudie's Avatar
      iliveudie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doran View Post
      I read somewhere on here that Verizon has some fine print involving their "Unlimited" plan. I believe it said that if you continually use more than 5gigs a month they can terminate your service.... Might want to check into that and clear up any mistakes that I might have read...
      You are correct. My friend got a message for using 12gb on verizon saying that if he continues he will be put on a different plan. They claimed some bs about the fine print.
    1. ojx's Avatar
      ojx -
      A reddit user pointed this out

      Quote Originally Posted by byu146 View Post
      For all you wondering how they can tell:
      All IP packets have something called a TTL associated with them. It stands for Time To Live. Every "hop" along the network from one router to the next reduces the TTL by one. When it reaches 0, the packet is dropped. This was introduced to keep routing problems from overloading the network. If for example, by some error a packet was going around in a circular path, the TTL would eventually reach 0 and prevent a packet storm.
      The thing is, ALL routing devices do this. OSes use standard TTLs. For example, let's say both your iPhone and laptop use 127 for the TTL. AT&T will receive packets from your iPhone with a TTL of 127, but since the packets from your laptop pass through your iPhone first, they arrive at AT&T with a TTL of 126. They can detect a tethered device this way.
      EDIT: Some people below have suggested changing the default TTL of their tethered device (which is possible). I would just like to point out that the max TTL allowed is 255, and if the iPhone uses 255 as its default TTL, well there's no way you can set it to 256.
    1. ronel1976's Avatar
      ronel1976 -
      just to let you know guys, that I have a friend using ST phone unlimited for $45 on his iphone 3gs unlock & 4.1 firmware. he got a call from ATT as well, telling him that he needs to update his phone cause he is using ATT signal. so, I guess people from ATT knows tethering. anyway, just a heads up too. good luck to us...
    1. L3g4cY's Avatar
      L3g4cY -
      Quote Originally Posted by i.Annie View Post
      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.
      Idk if you heard but calling Att and saying your leaving for verizon scored alot of people unlimited plans my buddy got it done in like 5 minutes.

      On another note since I bought mywi and started running my buddies shop my data is through the roof 6.8gb last month 13gb the month before and this month I'm already at 8gb and only on day 17 while I do some tethering honestly most of my data is netflix and iheartradio
    1. sketchstudios's Avatar
      sketchstudios -
      Quote Originally Posted by hnic247 View Post
      I use alot of gbs per month through mywi. I'm grandfathered...no message..

      AT&T is going to have to show me they have proof that I'm tethering in order for me to pay anything extra not just say you use alot of data so you have to switch your plan to limited data
      Uhh.. I think by you admitting here publicly that you "use a lot of GBs per month through MyWi" is something they can show you as proof. lol
    1. iliveudie's Avatar
      iliveudie -
      Quote Originally Posted by sketchstudios View Post
      Uhh.. I think by you admitting here publicly that you "use a lot of GBs per month through MyWi" is something they can show you as proof. lol
      Ahahahaha! Good luck in court buddy!
    1. i.Annie's Avatar
      i.Annie -
      Quote Originally Posted by L3g4cY View Post
      Idk if you heard but calling Att and saying your leaving for verizon scored alot of people unlimited plans my buddy got it done in like 5 minutes.

      On another note since I bought mywi and started running my buddies shop my data is through the roof 6.8gb last month 13gb the month before and this month I'm already at 8gb and only on day 17 while I do some tethering honestly most of my data is netflix and iheartradio
      Wouldn't change my spotty coverage in my area. I switched for 2 reasons, unlimited and coverage. Verizon has always been good with my area, I had just given up waiting for the iPhone to get to VZW. now that it has, it's all good.
    1. Chanbingo's Avatar
      Chanbingo -
      Quote Originally Posted by JedixJarf View Post
      Well that was fun while it lasted, it was a good 3 years, goodbye iphone tethering.
      Come to Sri Lanka (Asia) where We have free tethering..

      Funny it may seem now we here in the distant part of the world enjoy more freedom on data plans than the west.

      These are our plans:
      Post Paid Internet - Zoom - Mobitel, Sri Lanka

      Other operators also closely match these. It's roughly 11.60 USD for 8GB without any restrictions. Additional at mere 1USD per 100MB. Additionally they bundle the data plan to our voice SIM if we ask them to for free of charge. Ideally this allows us to have dedicated devices like iPhones for data and voice, and have it separate if we want something like samsung or iPad.

      Actual data speeds shows 0.87 Mbps at Speedtest.net per SIM

      Even though reality with iPhones almost all feature phones here support tethering so no one has any issue. Isn't it cool?