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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. carbona's Avatar
      carbona -
      Seems like most people posting their ATT conversations got the moron CSRs. When I called she was pretty well informed and knew what tethering actually was. No fumbling, no confusion, all confidence. I played dumb as well and no go. I should have urged her to provide tethering evidence but didn't. So if you have not called yet then don't automatically assume you are going to speak with a retard that will accept your heavy streaming usage and remove the flag. Still try it but dont expect it to work as it has with others.

      Quote Originally Posted by Bigbadjeff View Post
      Running a test. I don't tether. I almost always use WiFi. Rarely use 100mb/mo. Gonna stream pandora 24/7 and see if I get an email. I'll keep y'all posted.

      Sent 18.6mb, received 591mb since I downloaded Pandora yesterday. I've never used this much data in my 7 years with ATT. If their flagging works off data spikes I'll throw one up. If I get a text I'll let you guys know.

      I've been assured that they do not base it off of usage. I asked a few times in different ways to make sure. A few other people have also been told that. They say they can detect it but its up to you if you want to argue with them to show you the evidence. From what I've seen, no ATT rep has been able to show proof.
    1. Bigbadjeff's Avatar
      Bigbadjeff -
      Quote Originally Posted by carbona View Post
      I've been assured that they do not base it off of usage. I asked a few times in different ways to make sure. A few other people have also been told that. They say they can detect it but its up to you if you want to argue with them to show you the evidence. From what I've seen, no ATT rep has been able to show proof.
      Well I've never tethered, rarely use Cell data as I'm always in wifi. I have Unlimited. I'm just gonna do my best to use as much as I can for a couple months to test the theory of them flagging usage spikes.
    1. jezirabid's Avatar
      jezirabid -
      I was tethering my laptopfor work. I think you're correct about flagging. That is how it appears to me.
    1. fromojoh's Avatar
      fromojoh -
      Quote Originally Posted by Koji00 View Post
      Fromojoh: Are you saying that your wife tethered nothing but an iPad 2 to her iPhone? If that's the case then damn, I have to worry, too.

      And since I have no iPad 2, there's no jailbreak for it, yet. What if I altered the TTL on just the iPhone? Is there any way to change the TTL on a non-jailbroken device?
      No she also used it to tether the PC using tether me but only used My-Wi after she got the ipad2. She has a 3gs and cant use teathe me for native tethering. I have an iphone 4 so i just use tether me for everything. I did use my-wi for about 1 month before i jumped to 4.3.2. So far I have received no messages from AT&T.
    1. jackandjill31415's Avatar
      jackandjill31415 -
      My two cents.

      * I received TXT, email, and phone call in April.
      * I was tethering with a hacked config file on iPhone 3GS with iOS 3.X for almost TWO YEARS.
      * My phone was not jailbroken
      * I was not using PDAnet or MiWi.
      * I was tethering to multiple computers via USB cable or bluetooth (slower than hell).
      * Data usage for last two years was ~6 GB per month but never over 10.

      I hope that adds to the conversation.

      It is definately NOT exclusively
      - MiWi
      - jailbreak
      - PDAnet
      - iOS 4x
    1. breadman76's Avatar
      breadman76 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jezirabid View Post
      I used Mywi for over a year. Got 2nd ATT warning, switched to PDAnet with level 1 hide, called ATT, told them Imnot tethering. Got email yesterday they have automatically switched my plan from unlim to tethering.
      This is the first note of someone who actually has been switched. I guess it's not a bluff.
    1. Dizzykitty0922's Avatar
      Dizzykitty0922 -
      I was doing the same and just got told that they are going to upgrade my plan and I can't go back to my unlimited plan because it doesn't offer it. If I would have known that I wouldn't have payed for mywi
    1. jackandjill31415's Avatar
      jackandjill31415 -
      Here's a question that has not been addressed yet, but is relevant to our fight.

      Tethering off the table - for now

      When it is time for us to roll our plans (mine is up in June of this year) will we be able to keep our Unlimited data status? If not, I'm jumping to verizon now. No need to wait this out.

      Your thoughts?
    1. TetherMeNot's Avatar
      TetherMeNot -
      Got the email on 5/3 and the text on 5/4. But the text was not the usual, "Did you know.." but "We've noticed you're continuing to enjoy the tethering feature...". What's odd was that it came right after I got done streaming a tv show on the netflix app the other day. I do have tetherme but I wasn't tethering, not for about a month now. No sure if having the setting set to ON makes a difference in the way the data is being sent even though the phone is not connected to any other device. This would be a good question for the developer.

      As a test I streamed a couple more episodes with tetherme set to off yesterday and did not get any further notifications and plan still remains unlimited. My previous usage:

      Nov - 46gb (First month in hotel with no internet and cable tv)
      Dec - 18gb (still there)
      Jan - 9.7gb (still there)
      Feb - 5.7gb (moved out but still no internet)
      Mar - 1.6gb
      Apr - 3.9

      3.5 months left on contract
    1. Moosestache's Avatar
      Moosestache -
      Quote Originally Posted by breadman76 View Post
      This is the first note of someone who actually has been switched. I guess it's not a bluff.
      No it isn't, check back a ways, a couple others came on, and people jumped on them calling them at&t plants.

      Quote Originally Posted by jackandjill31415 View Post
      Here's a question that has not been addressed yet, but is relevant to our fight.

      Tethering off the table - for now

      When it is time for us to roll our plans (mine is up in June of this year) will we be able to keep our Unlimited data status? If not, I'm jumping to verizon now. No need to wait this out.

      Your thoughts?
      I guess I don't understand what you are asking. At&t hasn't told anyone, yet, that they are getting rid of the unlimited plan. They aren't letting anyone new sign up for it, and if looks like if they boot you off for tethering, they won't let you back on. If you want to leave at&t before your contract is up you have to pay an early termination fee.

      I don't know much about verizon, I have heard questions about whether or not their unlimited plan is really unlimited as well as how long they plan on offering it. I am also not sure of their stance on tethering.
    1. TEvil's Avatar
      TEvil -
      id hate to say it but im jumping ship to prob sprint to get their unlimited everything cause i get a discount through work.
      Im done with ATT and i would advise we all get the site up, sign the petition and I send it off to the CEO to say we're not staying and possibly demand to be let out of our contracts without fee.

      technically there is fine print that states if they dont offer satisfactory service they have to let you leave by law with no fee.
      I could easily say i have no service at work (which i dont), no service at my girls (which i dont) and little service at home.

      they are not working to my satisfaction and i want to move on.
      we as consumer have to start standing up and saying well, if you dont give me what i want Ill go somewhere else.
      I may just buy a nice droid out right as well so i dont have to get on another stupid contract.

      still using mywi on edge with no other warnings.
    1. Doran's Avatar
      Doran -
      I got an email from them again this month but this time it was on my son's iPhone..... I can now believe that this is BS..... I set up his iPhone 3GS when he got it 2 years ago and he barely uses it to it's full potential....

      He was still on 3.1 with no tethering app or ability to tether. He used between 5-9 gigs a month using dtunes and mxtube. A week ago he upgraded to the iP4. It is not jailbroken but he is still using a lot of data.... (He's got NetFlix now)

      They stated that "sometime in the past" that line was used for tethering...... NOT A CHANCE!!! I took that phone from him the second he upgraded and there was no tethering app or tweak installed.... (I was with him at the Apple Store when he upgraded) There was 12gigs worth of videos and music in the dtunes and mxtube apps.....

      I now believe that some how they (AT&T) know your iPhone is jailbroken and they are assuming that you "might" be tethering and talk a person that doesn't know any better into changing their plan....

      I have been asking a friend of mine to let me know if she gets a notice from them because she's used about 30gigs a month for the past 6 months on a non-jailbroken iPhone 4 with unlimited data and she hasn't heard anything from them...... Total BS......

      I have a Voice Memo of the conversation with the AT&T rep but I don't know how I can post it.....
    1. Bigbadjeff's Avatar
      Bigbadjeff -


      My average data/month is like 0.5GB. I do not Tether. I have Unlimited Data.

      Today alone (no tethering) I've used 1.5GB, I'm going to continue doing this 24/7 for awhile to see if I raise any flags and get the anti-tethering Txt. Then we can start calling their bluffs.
    1. cldipad's Avatar
      cldipad -
      I have no doubt ATT is using some type of profiling method to "detect" tethering; however, it's flawed. There are too many people on too many forums getting notices that don't tether or jailbreak. My wife got the notice and she doesn't jailbreak or tether and uses about 500mb or less. She checks email and the occasional Internet. I've read some other forums where the person received the text or spoke with the rep and said their plan will change because they continued tethering; however, they reported their plan had still not changed. Has anyone's plan officially changed, in that they are getting billed the $45 and when they check their usage it shows xxxx of 4GB?
    1. jezirabid's Avatar
      jezirabid -
      I can assure you, though I have "low posts", I am NOT an AT&T plant, and as of now, I am an AT&T HATER. I am enraged about losing my unlimited data that I have enjoyed for almost two years now. This isn't the first time AT&T has screwed me, and I am dumping them for good. They will never, ever see one red cent from me after this crap.

      Quote Originally Posted by breadman76 View Post
      This is the first note of someone who actually has been switched. I guess it's not a bluff.
      Yeah, I thought I was actually the very first one, as I hadn't seen anyone else get this far. Guess I'm in the lucky first wave of pooh on their feet. :-((((
    1. Brr's Avatar
      Brr -
      Clues for you guys the may be able to figure something out:

      1) I was told by an AT&T rep that their system can detect when our phone is used as a modem.
      2) She kinda slipped and said something about apps that do "sandbox" can trigger their detection. ???
      3) the new software 4.3.3 will help NOT triggering detection that is inadvertent.

      Also was told that plans will start changing over so I asked what if my plan mistakenly gets changed when I'm not tethering? Answered me. Just call in and they'd correct it.

      As for me; I'm not doing tethering nor will I do it in the future since I'd like to keep the plan I have.

      Good luck guys and gals!
    1. colin1497's Avatar
      colin1497 -
      Using a 3G, IOS 4.1, been using Tetherme the last few months. Prior to that almost always was on wifi and never used more than a couple hundred megs of data. Got the "we've noticed you're continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone service" text message Wednesday. Called and played dumb. Asked how I would know if I was tethering, and agent read me a list of things that was accurate. Asked what I should do, she said update to 4.3.3. Told her I didn't think that was possible for the 3g and that the last time I updated IOS iTunes turned my phone into an unresponsive POS. She told me I probably had a hardware problem and should call Apple, but 4.3.3 was definitely the solution.

      Just updated to 4.2. I'm going to call and play dumb some more and ask what I'm supposed to do since the other person said I needed 4.3.3, but as the more knowledgeable people are posting, there's plenty of data in the packet headers that will give this away if they're looking, but probably most of it can be spoofed with some creative programming...

      Edit: Oh, never used more than 4.1GB in any month, and less than 2GB last month. My guess is that even 2GB is a pretty low percentile, didn't they say less than 2% of their unlimited iPhone users used this much when they introduced the plans?

      Quote Originally Posted by Brr View Post
      Clues for you guys the may be able to figure something out:

      1) I was told by an AT&T rep that their system can detect when our phone is used as a modem.
      2) She kinda slipped and said something about apps that do "sandbox" can trigger their detection. ???
      3) the new software 4.3.3 will help NOT triggering detection that is inadvertent.
      OK, so if we know some apps that trigger detection, and we CAN'T run 4.3.3, we should be able to tell them that we're running these apps...
    1. Moosestache's Avatar
      Moosestache -
      Quote Originally Posted by TEvil View Post
      id hate to say it but im jumping ship to prob sprint to get their unlimited everything cause i get a discount through work.
      Im done with ATT and i would advise we all get the site up, sign the petition and I send it off to the CEO to say we're not staying and possibly demand to be let out of our contracts without fee.

      technically there is fine print that states if they dont offer satisfactory service they have to let you leave by law with no fee.
      I could easily say i have no service at work (which i dont), no service at my girls (which i dont) and little service at home.

      they are not working to my satisfaction and i want to move on.
      we as consumer have to start standing up and saying well, if you dont give me what i want Ill go somewhere else.
      I may just buy a nice droid out right as well so i dont have to get on another stupid contract.

      still using mywi on edge with no other warnings.
      LOL good luck with that one.
    1. TEvil's Avatar
      TEvil -
      Good luck with what?
      I am best friebds with an ex att sales rep and hes the one who told me about the contract line

      And whats so hard to beleive about a group of consumers actually standing up for themselves it happens all the time
    1. jezirabid's Avatar
      jezirabid -
      Quote Originally Posted by jezirabid View Post
      I used Mywi for over a year. Got 2nd ATT warning, switched to PDAnet with level 1 hide, called ATT, told them Imnot tethering. Got email yesterday they have automatically switched my plan from unlim to tethering.
      I forgot to mention, & I don't know if it is relevant - the past couple of months, since right before my 1st ATT notice, my phone has been rebooting on its own. The last time it rebooted, I received the last ATT email indicating they had auto switched my plan, 30 minutes after the reboot. I thought it odd, as my phone hadn't done a reboot on its own in a year at least, & I haven't had any updates or new apps or anything.