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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.


    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. Moosestache's Avatar
      Moosestache -
      I really think the letters are going out randomly. There are so many people to check, and probably very few checkers. I imagine that eventually, if you are tethering, they will catch you, at least that is what it looks like now. Tether at your own risk, if you don't care about the unlimited plan go for it, if you do, be carefull.

      Has anyone, that hasn't actually been tethering, been changed yet? It looks like everyone changed was actually tethering, it would be interesting to see if any non tetherers had been changed.
    1. greeneyes5066's Avatar
      greeneyes5066 -
      I just got the text yesterday and called them. My husband has a phone also JB but no tethering on his. They specifically said my line was the one they were concerned about. So it's obvious that they aren't naive to what's going on. I think that if they are packet sniffing though that my privacy is being violated? Not sure if snooping on me is in my contract or not. I informed them that if they choose to change my plan that we will dump them like hotcakes. So we'll see. Agent informed me that as long as I don't use any tethering service they won't change anything. Personally I don't need to. I have wifi at home, at the coffee shop, and at school. It was a rare occasion when our home internet went down that I was even interested. I think this cured me, we'll see
    1. colin1497's Avatar
      colin1497 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jeffs64 View Post
      Ok. Maybe when you sync your device with iTunes the information in your device is sent to AT&T via apple. Not really sure how they know but they must be able to get the info somewhere somehow. So with that being said I really think they are just trying to increase revenue to build up enough cash to to acquire T-Mobile. In the long run T-Mobile already as 4G. That's easiest and fastest way for AT&T to keep up with the demand for 4g and with the 4G already in place it makes sence. Here's the real kicker AT&T will charge more for 4G and we will pay for it for them. So they can acquire T-Mobile. Now that's how to make Mo MONEY. Great job AT&T
      No, it's not iTunes. My phone hadn't been synched in ages. They're getting the information from their network. Lots of ways to tell from the packet headers, as previously mentioned.
    1. WakaFlocka's Avatar
      WakaFlocka -
      Quote Originally Posted by Guardmy6 View Post
      Are u tethered with the USB or wireless tethering?
      9/10 I tether via USB.
    1. Guardmy6's Avatar
      Guardmy6 -
      Ok so maybe tethering USB will help. What about ip address. It changes when using MyWi. Any thoughts?
    1. Talon-meganova's Avatar
      Talon-meganova -
      Joined to share some info in the hopes it helps.

      I am running a 16 gb 3GS with iOS 4.3.2, jailbroken with limarain (at work can't verify. Might have been something else). I have mywi on demand and have Bluetooth tethered my iPad 1 (also jailbroken unsure of iOS but think it's "current" as of early last month.
      I reset my data usage track on 4/21/11 and have used 2.9 gb down and 187 mb up. I have tethered a little, but not very much. My iPad is on wifi most the time. I pulled up a few maps 3 at most and checked 5 emails, minimum tethering over Bluetooth. I have not received any notice from AT&T whatsoever. I have had mywi for over a year, and used to use it regularly to connect a laptop.

      Hope any of this helps.
    1. TEvil's Avatar
      TEvil -
      Im going to throw a loooooong shot out in some what the sense of imenent domain ( dont think its spelled right )
      Mywi has been out for how long??
      att has never bothered to go after the creator or users in this time
      In a sense just like the unlimited data those of us who downloaded and had the app from the start should leally be able to use it freely since att knew about it and has done nothing all this time
      Thos will be the beginning of the many posts on the page we make
      I would really like to see bounds of people who will sign and say we will leave out of principal
    1. swrightok's Avatar
      swrightok -
      So far I have not received the tethering message and have used MiWi for quite some time. I work with two other people that use it as I do. Only 1 of the three of us has gotten the message. He went back and looked at his data usage. In the month of March, he used two gb more than previous months and that was done during one week while they were skiing. All three of us normally are under the 2 gb mark for each month. I think AT&T looks for abnormalities like that in your data usage then flags the account. He was able to "get off their list" by stating they were out of town and his son used the phone a lot for NetFlix, YouTube, etc while they were driving to and from. I am tempted to bump my usage for a little while to see if I get the message.
    1. N0sferatu's Avatar
      N0sferatu -
      so I just had to register to give my $0.02 on the issue.

      I'm one of the late to the party guys on getting this message so I called AT&T and spoke with them.

      As everyone else said I got the typical speech and where they couldn't give me proof of when I was tethering.

      Anyways they went and asked well what do you use so I mentioned the SlingPlayer application....

      SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

      Apparently they're considering this tethering...lol.

      I uselessly tried explaining to her that if I...

      A) used AT&T's network to give the Slingbox itself access to the internet that is tethering and that...

      B) streaming my slingbox to my phone over 3G is NOT TETHERING

      They apparently deem option B there is tethering. I said how is that any different than using a netflix or pandora or hell watching a youtube video over the web. I explained to them the slingbox...physical box is on it's own dedicated internet from my house connection and has nothing to do with your (crappy) 3G network.

      I swear they're idiots.

      Then they said as long as your phone is plugged into the computer it's tethering...I said oh yea then how are you to sync your phone?

      Anyways I do use the slingplayer application quite often and plan on continuing to do so as that is not tethering. As long as a slingbox is involved they considered that tethering...LMFAO.

      I know I was testing the patience of the call person who answered (I felt bad for them) but when they moved me up to the manager let's just say she was a total *****.

      Yay...all the more reason for me to switch in the near future. Who else is a decent provider (I could care less if it's got an iPhone on it or not).
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by N0sferatu View Post
      Who else is a decent provider (I could care less if it's got an iPhone on it or not).
      By your definition? No one. Try T-Mobile for now.
    1. jeffs64's Avatar
      jeffs64 -
      Ok it's not iTunes. But it's still all about the Mo-Money
    1. MadAsHell's Avatar
      MadAsHell -
      I hope at&t will read all of these post and learn a little something from there mistakes but I dont think they will money is more important then anything else to people like that....
    1. kenpura's Avatar
      kenpura -
      Quote Originally Posted by Guardmy6 View Post
      I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything like that BUT, I did notice a week or two ago that my battery started draining much faster than normal. I started going through the programing on my phone thinking maybe a GPS Program was causing the drain. I could not find one thing wrong in my hidden files or programing. Since then the phone is acting normal again.
      Is it possible AT&T sent something wirelessly to spy on or run in the background of our phones? If they are losing tons of money then why wouldn't they try something extreme?
      Does anybody know a support staff member that can shed light on our problem?
      funny you mention that, for the last few weeks, my phone has been dying nearly everyday. it didn't used to do this. i could go for nearly 2-3 days without having to charge it. it is becoming very bothersome.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      The unlimited plan was not designed to be a crutch for your Xbox, PS3, Laptop, Desktop, Google TV, etc etc. When it was introduced there wasn't even a tethering plan. Now that they are calling people out for abusing their network, they are the bad guys? Yeah.
    1. Dragonsoul80's Avatar
      Dragonsoul80 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      The unlimited plan was not designed to be a crutch for your Xbox, PS3, Laptop, Desktop, Google TV, etc etc. When it was introduced there wasn't even a tethering plan. Now that they are calling people out for abusing their network, they are the bad guys? Yeah.

      How r they the good guys , u realize that these witch hunt doesn't have to do at all with hunting down data hogs , have u stop and think about the guys that uses his/her phones to watch Netflix or listen to pandora and like me connect it to my car stereo or tv using a simple a/v cable ???? I can use 4GB In one day by watching a movie and listening to music a few hours, now I don't Do it because I realize is abusing the unlimited plan .... But u really think that cracking down on ppl that uses tethering as a emergency tool or that uses it in a non abusive way makes them the good guys? I believe u have no grounds to call them "good guys" if anything they were dumb enough to offer an unlimited plan to us , and as far as I remember I wasn't even given the option of other plans , it was here this iPhone has to have this "unlimited data plan"
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      Just read that At&t cannot not you tether with PDA net
      MyWi yes they can
    1. breadman76's Avatar
      breadman76 -
      what about tetherme? c
    1. TEvil's Avatar
      TEvil -
      unlimited data is unlimited regardless of how you use it to me.
      I pay for cable internet at home and its unlimited. They dont say you have 5 gigs then you have to pay us more.
      By price comparison to speed offering i would say its fair. to me if att wants me to use 2 gigs a month it should be more around the 15$ the cheaper plan is and the cheaper plan should be about 5$.
      now if you are using it for psn or live you WILL notice a lag and that is what you get for using your phone to play online games, which is why most people dont do it. my buddy tried it once, got disconnected like 5 times and said **** it.
      people who say att never meant for unlimited data to be used for this or that must have been told something that we werent.
      We pay 30$ a month. thats twice as much as DSL and 3/4 what i pay for cable internet.
      yes its portable but if thats the case ATT better start offering more for less.
      not just att but all cell companies.
      just offer full VIOP cell phones that play and speech ads to us. Ill gladly have a walking billboard in my pocket for a deduction on my bill.
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      Quote Originally Posted by breadman76 View Post
      what about tetherme? c
      PdaNet Updated to Mask Tethering Usage, Great News for MyWi Users

      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      By your definition? No one. Try T-Mobile for now.
      LOL That will only last a year since TMobile will = At&t
    1. Deadleg's Avatar
      Deadleg -
      I'm on 4.2.1 and want to jailbreak now that I can do it unteathered. I use my iPhone 4 for work and can not afford to be with out it. Before I jailbreak can anyone give me the pros and cons on the jailbreak. I have AT&T service and have also considered going to verizon here lately. I'm grandfathered to unlimited data and if I switch to verizon they still offer unlimited data for a couple more months. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks for reading