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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. cldipad's Avatar
      cldipad -
      KBCOX0327 -

      That's funny! The ATT rep pretty much told you where to go to jailbreak. I'm sure most of them do. I found out from an AT&T store rep how to do it. I have no doubt AT&T can tell when you're tethering. The problem is that it's not 100% accurate. Why are they removing the flag from people's accounts. I got mine removed. I know they're probably using a combination of looking at the TTL and APN to determine tethering. If they were 100% sure, they wouldn't be "removing flags." They've been doing this for people that have received more than one notice. I see there are a few people that are having their plans changed, but it seems to be very few. I wonder if they were doing something else.
    1. Talon-meganova's Avatar
      Talon-meganova -
      I've done a little more Bluetooth tethering with mywi on demand. No immediate repercussions. Hrm.
    1. MimoG3's Avatar
      MimoG3 -
      So i was one of the lucky ones myself and received the email and text, I used MyWi and so far I've been doing some research and have come to the conclusion that everyone is over complicating things. I don't even think they are looking at anything technical like TTL or User Agent.

      I was doing some searching and snooping through the iPhone to see if there is any possible way. It looks like all these tethering Apps are in fact using the Tethering APN. I went as far as opening up the carrier.plist file and found a specific entry called (broadband) and i believe that is the default entry that all of these programs are using. if you look at the entry there is a property called type-mask, i believe the integer is what signifies that entry as strictly tethering. now apparently there is a hack called the commcenter hack that allows you to route your iPhone Data, Tethering, and MMS through the wap.cingular APN which wouldnt set off the tethering alarm at AT&T.

      Also Since i work at a wireless sales store that happens to sell AT&T phones i did happen to look at a Motorola Atrix and Looked at all the APN's entered in the phone and the Broadband entry was defined as the Tethering APN.
    1. Larzen23's Avatar
      Larzen23 -
      App:MyWi 2009-April 2011
      PdaNet Level 2 May 2011-Present
      No ATT Notice yet.
      Usage:2GB to 9GB per month
      Devicesc laptop,iPad 2.
      Tethering usage:surfing,netflix.
    1. sirlance0505's Avatar
      sirlance0505 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MimoG3 View Post
      So i was one of the lucky ones myself and received the email and text, I used MyWi and so far I've been doing some research and have come to the conclusion that everyone is over complicating things. I don't even think they are looking at anything technical like TTL or User Agent.

      I was doing some searching and snooping through the iPhone to see if there is any possible way. It looks like all these tethering Apps are in fact using the Tethering APN. I went as far as opening up the carrier.plist file and found a specific entry called (broadband) and i believe that is the default entry that all of these programs are using. if you look at the entry there is a property called type-mask, i believe the integer is what signifies that entry as strictly tethering. now apparently there is a hack called the commcenter hack that allows you to route your iPhone Data, Tethering, and MMS through the wap.cingular APN which wouldnt set off the tethering alarm at AT&T.

      Also Since i work at a wireless sales store that happens to sell AT&T phones i did happen to look at a Motorola Atrix and Looked at all the APN's entered in the phone and the Broadband entry was defined as the Tethering APN.
      And any way of changing your tethering app to default to wap.cingular. Its funny cuz in some of my searches I have come across Att memos that address this exact thing.
    1. JayHD's Avatar
      JayHD -
      Quote Originally Posted by MimoG3 View Post
      I went as far as opening up the carrier.plist file and found a specific entry called (broadband...Also...i did happen to look at a Motorola Atrix and Looked at all the APN's entered in the phone and the Broadband entry was defined as the Tethering APN.
      Great job MimoG3 - nice to see confirmation here.

      I'm not sure I agree with your assumption that TTL isn't a factor. User agent, yes - to many "legal" ways to display alternate user agents, plus AT&T has no right to know whether you are browsing with Safari or Atomic or another browser.

      But TTL seems to be equally important as the APN. Consider:

      - Tetherme (supposedly) uses the native iPhone APN.
      - Some Tetherme users have gotten the text of death.
      - At least one Tetherme user has claimed to have changed his laptop TTL and not received a second notice.

      So, assuming these statements are true (and can anyone prove the Tetherme APN statement as effectively as MimoG3 proved his point?), there MUST be a 2nd "trigger" beyond APN. And it's not user agent. I feel that leaves 2 possibilities:

      - TTL
      - Some type of data transmissions that cannot be generated from an iPhone

      TTL seems like the easy answer. However, I'm still curious if the data itself could be the 2nd trigger.

      Does anyone smarter than me know if AT&T would be able to identify these types of data without violating privacy rights? For instance, I would question whether they would be legally allowed to identify Windows updates or torrent activity. And honestly, those could be DLd on a JB iPhone anyway, right?

      That's why I started requesting people share their usage habits. I'm wondering if the only Tetherme users getting notices are iPad owners with stock TTLs who are accessing the iPad versions of iTunes/AppStore or other apps with iPad-specific display formats. There is no way that I know of to pull that data directly on an iPhone. It would be a dead giveaway, but again, even viewing that type of data could possibly get AT&T in trouble with privacy advocates. I don't believe AT&T would take that risk when they have so many other options.
    1. colin1497's Avatar
      colin1497 -
      I was using tetherme and got a notice. Specifically I was tethering several computers at a new business I'm working on, and I DID download some windows updates. I downloaded all the updates through WSUS to minimize bandwidth since multiple computers were updated, but these updates were probably 90% of my bandwidth usage in march when I peaked my usage at 4.1gb. Also, my notice was pretty late -- first of may, so I wasn't in the first round of people in march. This may be because they are going from higher data users to lower or it may be because they added additional detection methods....
    1. JayHD's Avatar
      JayHD -
      Yeah, It really seems like a 3-5 GB/mo sweep was done EOM April. I got my notice on May 2nd, I believe. Oddly, I got the 2nd notice ("continuing to tether") and never the first. The AT&T rep apologized, but still said I would lose my unlimited plan if they saw tethering after May 13th.

      I would love to try tethering a laptop with the TTL changed, via Tetherme, and call them to ask if there's been any further tethering on the account. I'm not sure if they would give me an answer. Has anyone tried asking? If not, I may do so, and I'll let you know what they say.
    1. colin1497's Avatar
      colin1497 -
      I had the same may 13 date and weird "continuing" text. 2 days later I got a letter in the mail with my first notice. Ive also thought about changing methods and calling back but haven't tried it.
    1. lele211's Avatar
      lele211 -
      Apple is in trouble with location track issue. I think if Att keeps sending ******** to us and let attack them with this issue too!! Just wanna **** Att up already!!!
    1. nephipower's Avatar
      nephipower -
      Quote Originally Posted by sirlance0505 View Post
      And any way of changing your tethering app to default to wap.cingular. Its funny cuz in some of my searches I have come across Att memos that address this exact thing.
      Do the commcenter hack. Here is a guide.

      Tethering on iOS4 through Commcenter Hacking (IE Free) (4.0-4.3.2 compatible) - MacRumors Forums

      Hope that helps
    1. TEvil's Avatar
      TEvil -
      Quote Originally Posted by nephipower View Post
      There was a poster a while back who said he was using a hacked TTL to use wap.cingular for tethering and they still snagged him.

      I would say wait for a mywi update when they know more of whats going on but if ATT is crying foul and could end up saying mywi is theft of service a mywi update might not show up.

      again still used mywi via edge and no emails or texts from att since.
      has anyone else tried using edge?
    1. Taylor.Durden's Avatar
      Taylor.Durden -
      Sorry I made you read two lines of text.
      He said he used it in conjunction with tethering.
      Whats your problem?
    1. debo19832003's Avatar
      debo19832003 -
      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.

      Can I use this for pc and get it free from cydia. Also you said it uses the iPhone apn address and to change the ttl to 65. How is that done. Do I go change that through my computer or through the phone. Does this mask atat fro
      Seeing me terthering



      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.[/QUOTE]
    1. terraphantm's Avatar
      terraphantm -
      I've tethered to my laptop and iPad a couple times over the last couple weeks, and so far no notice. I use tetherme to enable tethering, and I've only connected to the phone via bluetooth. While wifi tethering is enabled, I never actually used it.
    1. crak's Avatar
      crak -
      Is this crackdown only on Iphone users or are they going after Android users who tether also?
    1. kaufmanal's Avatar
      kaufmanal -
      Here's my AT&T experience: Received two texts, one email and a postal mail letter from AT&T with a respond by date of 13 May. I called on 13 May and spoke to Sheri. I told her that I did not tether (although I did with MyWi until two weeks ago) and wanted to know why I was flagged. She immediately slipped up and mentioned the app MyWi by name, then stuttered and changed the subject to: if I used Pandora through my car audio or home audio systems, that was considered tethering; if I used NetFlix through my TV to get a "bigger picture (her words)", that was considered tethering; if I used the iPhone as my TV remote, that was considered tethering and if I used the iPhone as a hot spot, either through wireless, cable or bluetooth, that was considered tethering. I "assured" her that I was not doing any of those things and she said she'd take me "off the list and that my unlimited data plan was safe unless tethering was detected again. As of 13 May, I had used 4.1 GB of data. My billing cycle ends 18 May. I have returned the phone to "factory" settings and haven't yet decided on what I'm going to do. Thanks.
    1. yankeebobo's Avatar
      yankeebobo -
      I just got off the phone with an ATT rep after receiving same notices via text, email and snail mail. Get a load of this crap.
      I was told that by simply hooking up my iPhone and playing music thru my car speakers (a la iPod) I'm tethering. And by hooking up my navigon and playing the directions through my speakers that too is tethering. Are they freakin for real? I told her that ATT is rewriting the definition of tethering to fit their wallets. She assured me that she will remove me from the upgrade list and I flat out assured her that I'll continue to play my damn music through my car stereo. I think they are reaching now. Trying to find gimmicks to get rid of unlimited.
    1. Epic800's Avatar
      Epic800 -
      Wow this sucks...
    1. Dragonsoul80's Avatar
      Dragonsoul80 -
      Let's just ride this guys . The iPhone 4S it's supposed to go to t-mobile ( AT&T ) and sprint this September , I hope once they see we have more option where to go they will leave us alone or come up with a more reasonable solution than just wage a witch hunt against us, also I've notice less ppl is posting new notices given from AT&T , personally I haven't got one yet ... Good luck to everyone out there.... Ohhh and I heard there is a jailbreak for the iPad 2 out , I'll get some more info and I'll post it As soon as I get it