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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. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      Quote Originally Posted by ynotrhyme View Post
      As of today, nobody with anything besides an "unlimited" data is getting these threats from AT$T? Its only the "unlimited folks"? I also have a question, has it been confirmed there isnt a softcap of 5gb on our unlimited data plan or has that been put to bed already? I read somewhere that some dude got totally owned by a dude who explained how there wasnt a softcap on our data plans because its not in our contract, only on the laptop data plans. Anyone know?

      Thanks guys,
      Cheers!
      No some 2gb people said they did too, this thread and on other sites are so big with so many fights between the highly righteous condemning tether's and the the tether's fighting back that the real info gets lost.
    1. sirlance0505's Avatar
      sirlance0505 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MYPHONEI View Post
      No some 2gb people said they did too, this thread and on other sites are so big with so many fights between the highly righteous condemning tether's and the the tether's fighting back that the real info gets lost.
      Amen to that.

      I've stopped tethering for the time being but I'm streaming data like a mofo now. Now that I know how much Att wants our unlimited data plans gone,(that I was forced to pay for in order to have an iPhone) I'm gonna use my unlimited plan to it's FULL potential. Right back at ya Att.
    1. Trooper Sam's Avatar
      Trooper Sam -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe_G View Post
      This seems to make sense.




      How AT&T Tracks Unauthorized Tethering On Your Jailbroken iPhone, And How To Hide It From Them
      By Oliver Haslam | May 9th, 2011

      SNIPSNIPSNIP
      It makes as much sense as some ideas we've heard, more than some others, and may have some merit. It's the moment you hit the word "presumable" that the article falls on its rhetorical butt, since the writer openly guesses about what PDANet does.

      In any case, haven't some tetherme users been nabbed here?
    1. colin1497's Avatar
      colin1497 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cldipad View Post
      I wonder if that's why we don't see many posts from people getting caught who used TetherMe. Thanks for the post.
      Tetherme user here. Got letterand text messag. Never had more than 5gb of usage and most months under 2. Tethered past 5 months.

      Edit: damn you AT&T!!!!! Had to type this on my iPhone since I can't tether and look at all the typos!!!!
    1. ynotrhyme's Avatar
      ynotrhyme -
      Thats why i ask about the softcap because once i get the TOD im going to abuse the living sh*t out of my data. Just in spite of AT$T. I know alot of you folks dont condone this action but thats what ima do. I did about 40gb this cycle just to experiment what will happen, so ill probably be getting the TOD very soon hahahahah. But thats why i did it, just to test the waters and see what pops up. Ill post my updates here to keep the community on page with my situation.
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      No PDANet users have reported the Letter ( all 10 of them? LOL seriously how many use the app?)
    1. JayHD's Avatar
      JayHD -
      Hopefully, colin1497 and others could chip in here.

      It seems clear that the APN is part of the tracking process being used by AT&T. Macrumors forums also seem to be thinking that TTL detection is part of the problem as well, but that is less clear.

      It seems like some Tetherme and new-version PDAnet users are getting notices, but for the most part, not nearly in the same quantities as MyWi users. I'm wondering if perhaps there is something else these users are doing to alert AT&T even while using an app that addresses the APN issue.

      I'm wondering if any Tetherme/newPDAnet users could shed some light on this. Those of you still getting notices - are you doing anything that clearly is NOT being done on an iphone, such as updating your PC, torrenting, or using iTunes while tethered? Those of you NOT getting notices - are you sticking to webpages and apps that don't use iPad exclusive features?

      Perhaps responders could use this format?

      App - Tetherme/PDAnetHideLvl1/PDAnetHideLvl2
      AT&T notice - yes/no
      Tethering usage - mention anything beyond web(iTunes, torrents, P2P, VPN)
      Tethering device - PC, Mac, iPad

      Are there any other data points that could be included? Am I missing something here? Should we just assume that the APN and TTL theories are both correct? One final question - Has anyone that has changed the laptop/iPad TTL to 65 AND been using Tetherme AND avoided torrents/windows updates/etc been caught at this point? I would guess not - I can't see any fourth possible way they could ID the tethering.
    1. MacDevil7334's Avatar
      MacDevil7334 -
      I'll be happy to throw in my info if it will help!

      App: TetherMe
      AT&T Notice: No (knock on wood).
      Usage: Just some emails and basic web surfing. I only tether when I have no other means of accessing the internet. As a result, I only tether once every 2-3 months (on average).
      Tethering Device: Mac (though I just got a wifi iPad 2, so I'll probably tether to that if needed).
      Average data usage: I know this wasn't asked for, but I'm still thinking that high usage triggers something that causes AT&T to take a closer look at your account. I use 200-300 MB/month on average.
    1. Dragonsoul80's Avatar
      Dragonsoul80 -
      Here is my info

      App - /PDAnetHideLvl1
      AT&T notice - NO
      Tethering usage - NETFLIX , PANDORA, WEB SURFING
      Tethering device - IPAD 1st Gen

      Also my average use is around. 7 to 8 GB A MONTH also I've change the TTL of my iPad to Mach the phone
    1. cldipad's Avatar
      cldipad -
      Received first notice with I MyWi. For the past few weeks I've used the following...

      App: PDANet (Switched to TetherMe today since I wasn't confident about PDANet using the phone APN and TetherMe does)

      ATT Notice: No second notice

      Usage: Netflix, Pandora, ABC Streaming App, web browsing and email

      Device: iPad 1 (changed the TTL to 65 on the iPad so the packets drop to 64 when they leave the iPhone)

      Use about 5-7 GB per month.
    1. Dragonsoul80's Avatar
      Dragonsoul80 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cldipad View Post
      Received first notice with I MyWi. For the past few weeks I've used the following...

      App: PDANet (Switched to TetherMe today since I wasn't confident about PDANet using the phone APN and TetherMe does)

      ATT Notice: No second notice

      Usage: Netflix, Pandora, ABC Streaming App, web browsing and email

      Device: iPad 1 (changed the TTL to 65 on the iPad so the packets drop to 64 when they leave the iPhone)

      Use about 5-7 GB per month.

      Hey buddy , how's tetherme working out for u? Im still using PDAnet , I'll let u know if I get any notices
    1. Pepsolman's Avatar
      Pepsolman -
      App - MyWi
      AT&T notice - txt, email, letter. 1 flag. Called and had flag removed.
      Tether usage - email, web, YouTube, mp3's. Have connected to iTunes while tethered.
      Tethering device - win vista pc, xbox 360 for browsing and updates.
      Data plan - unlimited
    1. JayHD's Avatar
      JayHD -
      No public jailbreak means no way to change the iPad 2 TTL, right? Like many on this thread, I'm very reluctant to tether again without covering every angle first.
    1. sirlance0505's Avatar
      sirlance0505 -
      App-Mywi
      AT&T Notice-No
      Device-PC
      Tethering Usage 500mb-1GB since first of year.Only when needed.
      Basic surfing and web pages
      Unlimited Plan-Never gone over 2.6GB any given month.
    1. cldipad's Avatar
      cldipad -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsoul80 View Post
      Hey buddy , how's tetherme working out for u? Im still using PDAnet , I'll let u know if I get any notices
      I had switched to TetherMe and really liked it. It's pretty simple and uses the built-in personal hotspot. When the new version of PDANet came out I thought I'd try it. I did some testing and could only find that it hides/changes your user agent. I couldn't confirm that it used the phone APN. I don't think ATT would use that to determine tethering since many applications (Netflix, Pandora) wouldn't transmit that info anyway. What does make sense is the APN and TTL to some extent. The APN for tethering is different so ATT is likely catching people that way. There are a few people getting notices with TetherMe, but it's few. My guess is those people getting caught are tethering xbox and doing Windows updates. Then again it could just be coincidence because there are the same amount getting notices that don't tether. My wife got a notice and she doesn't jailbreak or tether. TetherMe uses the phones APN and you can see it in the settings. It clearly shows tethering through the "phone" APN. I felt more confident with this method. I have the 3GS so I can only tether by Bluetooth or USB. That's fine and works great with iPad. It's reliable, doesn't drain your battery as quickly and the phone doesn't get hot. It's a solid app and it's only a couple bucks. I'd say try it out and change the TTL on your iPad to 65.

      Quote Originally Posted by JayHD View Post
      No public jailbreak means no way to change the iPad 2 TTL, right? Like many on this thread, I'm very reluctant to tether again without covering every angle first.
      You need to jailbreak and install the mobile terminal app. It literally takes 15 seconds to change the TTL. Hopefully they'll get an untethered jailbreak out soon.
    1. kakasaka's Avatar
      kakasaka -
      Quote Originally Posted by sirlance0505 View Post
      Amen to that.

      I've stopped tethering for the time being but I'm streaming data like a mofo now. Now that I know how much Att wants our unlimited data plans gone,(that I was forced to pay for in order to have an iPhone) I'm gonna use my unlimited plan to it's FULL potential. Right back at ya Att.
      Yep i do the same thing at work 8 hrs of constant Pandora radio streaming...i agree take full advantage of our unlimited plans
    1. JayHD's Avatar
      JayHD -
      I wonder if it's possible to write something for the iPhone that would spoof the TTL.

      Tethered device TTL = X, change X to 64 within iPhone, process data, change TTL back to X when returning data to the tethered device.

      (I'm either really good at logical reasoning, or completely and totally clueless. At least I finally have a rational reason to be so desperate for an iPad2 JB, beyond wanting SBSettings and NES emulation.)
    1. kbcox0327's Avatar
      kbcox0327 -
      After last weeks att falling out I got a call from management this morning. I didn't feel like fighting & decided to try & get some more info. This guy obviously didn't read the notes from last week or even the email he claimed to be responding to because I played stupid & he had no clue. They are watching the path that their data packets take through the network. I don't think this stuff is really next generation computer wizardry. If the packets do not originate or end on your official att idevice they can tell. I have been told this by 3 different att employees I've spoken with in the last week. Management also told me that my tethering was probably noticed last Nov.,Dec., or Jan. With that said, this guy (management)was an idiot. After he told me about the "data not originating or ending my iphone" I had a eureka moment & claimed to have figured out what must be causing my false tethering flag. It must be my apple tv. I watch video all the time where my data usage ends on a separate (non-att) device. He readily agreed that this was definitely my problem. I made a huge fuss about getting the apple tv for christmas & now I wouldn't be able to use it & that I would have to immediately call apple & complain. This jackoff let me go on & on. Apple tv, of course, requires wifi. I asked him if there was any sort of proof that the apple tv was causing my problem, & so I would not run into this problem again, but he told me that his team did not have that type of info. He asked me what firmware I was on. I told him I didn't have firmware on my phone. Ha. He told me that "THEY" have already figured out a new way to tether in the last week using redsnow(he would not have known how to spell)? I bet he's talking about the new PDAnet. He asked if I knew what jailbreaking was. How the **** could I tether if I didn't? I said, "umm, jaibreaking? no what's that?" This guy then told me that I could get on youtube & there are tons of how to videos on jailbreaking your iphone. This guy is REALLY bad at his job. I would leave his name but I believe all of our chances with PDAnet are much better with fools like this working at att.
    1. lele211's Avatar
      lele211 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Taylor.Durden View Post
      Can you please explain how the iPhone 2g hack works?

      Thank you very much.
      Come on dude!! You are at totally wrong place! Please don't waste my eyes' energy!!
    1. lele211's Avatar
      lele211 -
      Mine!!
      IOS: 4.3.1
      PdaNet w/ lvl1
      Tether w/laptop 4GB already
      (mostly streaming movies)

      Should I update the IOS to 4.3.3?! I heard the 4.3.3 is a fix for location track and battery. But its safe to use with PdaNet?