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  • AT&T Teeter Totters on Tethering

    image via intomobile


    If you're an iPhone customer who's been waiting on the edge of your seat for an update on when data tethering through the iPhone will become available, get ready to wait longer. Yesterday, AT&T told an anxious mobile community growing increasingly restless that tethering is not yet ready for roll out.

    This comes as a shock considering how prompt AT&T has always been to provide services like MMS (insert sarcasm here).

    If "at some point" is the present response from AT&T to an inquiry as to when we can expect tethering, it could very well prove longer than almost any of us can conceivably wait. But waiting is what we must do. According to coverage of AT&T's non-announcement-announcement by Macworld:
    An AT&T spokesman quoted by the Wall Street Journal said, "For tethering, we need to do some additional fine tuning to our systems and networks." That's pretty much holding the party line for AT&T, which earlier this year said only that tethering support would be coming at some point.
    "Whenever we offer new features, we want to offer the best possible customer experience," an AT&T spokesperson told the WSJ. "Fine tuning," the rep says is in order to "deliver a great experience."

    It's going to be hard not thinking about the reference to "fine tuning" this weekend.

    Whether "fine tuning" means pushing some buttons at an AT&T facility, or spending months—and millions—to upgrade their cellular network remains to be seen.
    Buying time with vague comments is about all the carrier can do these days it seems, as AT&T struggles to maintain their network to meet demands that outpace their upgrades. AT&T, however, is investing heavily in network upgrades that ultimately should make data tethering for the iPhone a positive experience for user and provider alike. The only variable is time. How much longer will we have to wait?

    MMS, which was also announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in June, was targeted for a “late summer” launch and finally became available late last month. But AT&T's remarks seem to imply that there's still no hard date to bring tethering to the iPhone masses.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Teeter Totters on Tethering started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 68 Comments
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Look folks, there are a lot of cheap asses out there that are perfectly willing to drop their ATT home service to tether off their phone and it's gonna cost ATT and they KNOW IT. They aren't exactly jumping for joy over handing their customers a free internet line for the house..
    1. Darkhunter130's Avatar
      Darkhunter130 -
      Cool I cant wait until it finally comes out and they can change me exra for it!!!
    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      i dont use mine too much but ive had to and it does come in handy, im still on 3.0.1 b/c of no jailbreak for PC but if they disabled it in 3.1/3.1.2 you could always get mywifi from rock app that worked good when i was on there free trial!
    1. cdement05's Avatar
      cdement05 -
      Quote Originally Posted by one1 View Post
      They aren't exactly jumping for joy over handing their customers a free internet line for the house..
      I seriously doubt that AT&T is going to let tethering out without a fee of some sort.
    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      i dont use mine too much but ive had to and it does come in handy, im still on 3.0.1 b/c of no jailbreak for PC but if they disabled it in 3.1/3.1.2 you could always get mywifi from rock app that worked good when i was on there free trial!
    1. e10100's Avatar
      e10100 -
      God.. AT&T needs to put it together
    1. LuckyLuke71's Avatar
      LuckyLuke71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Luppin View Post
      I think AT&T is handling the situation as good as, if not better than, every other carrier could in this scenario. Would you rather them roll out all the features possible with the iPhone without having the network in a state where it would be able to deliver everything you want from it and more? I mean come on, you all would be PISSED if AT&T was just like ALRIGHT MMS, TETHERING, NOW! and your 3G speeds came to an absolute crawl and even the thought of using the iPhone for anything data-related sent a shiver down your spine. I for one am glad that AT&T is investing millions upon millions of dollars to upgrade their network instead of just half-assing the situation which many of you seem to suggest you want them to do. QQ more, there have been ways to enable these "locked" features since the iPhone was first jailbroken, so there's nothing to complain about.
      your missing the big picture here. Its amazing how 3rd world countries all have it available, but we have to wait here in the states. What a joke. So what have they been doing the last 5 years with the crap loads of money that they have all made from us. It is unacceptable. We are the first country to get it, yet the last to get the features.. Im so Happy Im using T-mobile.
    1. dmerrill's Avatar
      dmerrill -
      I love reading the comments from people who have obviously NEVER been in a networking field. As someone with that background, I can tell you that it just isn't as simple as saying "hey, let's put up more towers". There are all kinds of complexities involved in upgrading a network, especially one like AT&T's. I don't have 3G where I live, so when I got an email from AT&T recently telling about all the new 3G sites in my state I was excited until I read the list and my area wasn't on it. BUT, I also know what's involved in getting that service to my rural area.

      Here is an example: AT&T sends out their survey team for a new cell site in a rural area. The team finds the PERFECT spot on top of a hill. BUT, the owner won't sell OR lease the land. Team has to go with the next best spot. Of course that spot has some issues, but the owner is willing. Tower is built, BUT, it isn't the OPTIMAL location, so the coverage isn't quite what it could have been at the first site. AT&T spends millions to erect the tower to get coverage as well as can be in that location. Do you really think that they should spend milions MORE a mile down the road so that I can have 3G while folks 10 miles down the road have nothing? THINK PEOPLE. There is alot more to building a cell tower than meets the eye...

      Quote Originally Posted by LuckyLuke71 View Post
      your missing the big picture here. Its amazing how 3rd world countries all have it available, but we have to wait here in the states. What a joke. So what have they been doing the last 5 years with the crap loads of money that they have all made from us. It is unacceptable. We are the first country to get it, yet the last to get the features.. Im so Happy Im using T-mobile.
      I just have to reply to the 3rd world country statement. In many of those countries, the cell tower goes up whether or not the owner (if there is a private owner) agrees. And don't even mention places like China, private ownership of land isn't an issue there. Do you want that here?

      The US is HUGE geographically, with terrain of all kinds. Germany is about the size of Missouri for instance. I may not always like AT&T, but I'm not going to rip on them for something that involves alot more than just "Hey, let's build a cell tower!"
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      You think they started upgrading their network in 2008 to support iPhones? Yeah... you're not gullible at all. If that was the case, they would have been DONE by now with all network issues. People would have been reporting more reception and less dropped calls way before now if that was happening. They sat around until a few months ago then decided to spend a few dollars on fixing their problems.
      You know AT&T bought Cingular about 6 months before the original iPhone was released? So regardless of what Cingular was doing with their network, AT&T only had 6 months before the iPhone was publicly available. And even if AT&T knew right then and there that the iPhone 3G was going to be released a year and a half later, they had no idea it was going to be as popular as it was. They have been upgrading their network, but they weren't going to spend extra money to upgrade their network when there was the chance the iPhone would fail and set them back A LOT. Once the iPhone was launched, it was too late. Now they're updating as fast as they can while millions and millions more people are purchasing iPhones.

      Not to mention the iPhone 3G was HEAVILY subsidized. AT&T's already spent billions so more more people can afford the iPhone, and that's less money going to their network.

      Which brings us back to why Verizon has better coverage than AT&T. Verizon focuses on its network. AT&T focuses on phones. That's why you always hear about how Verizon is the best carrier, but their phones suck. If you want to complain about how bad AT&T's coverage is, go to Verizon. When you can't find a good phone to use with their awesome network, you'll see nothing is perfect.

      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      I don't have to be smarter than AT&T to know they like making money more than satisfying their customers, it's always been like that at AT&T. If that was the case they'd have 3G similar in size to Verizon's EV-DO coverage which they don't. Telus, Bell both deployed HSPA over their CDMA in less than a year and now the network is ready to be used , granted the area they covered is smaller, it's not ******* impossible to get the ball rolling BEFORE they launch the devices.
      Satisfying customers and making money go hand in hand. If your customers aren't satisfied, they won't continue to do business with you. One way or another, AT&T is satisfying you if you continue to pay them. Whether it's the phone or their service, there is a reason you choose to stay with AT&T.

      Conclusion: AT&T invests in phones. Verizon invests in their network. Obviously a better phone is more important to you than a better network. Complain all you want, but at the end of the month, AT&T is still getting your money.
    1. sendertimes's Avatar
      sendertimes -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      I wasn't talking about the OS itself.. and Android wasn't invented in 2010. It's closest to the iPhone OS in the ability to use data.
      up to now MyWi on my iphone works great, ,and if needed ,I wont upgrade to 3.1. this message was posted from my laptop using the "MyWi" from my iphone.
      its been 2 months of normal bill from At&t ,so I guess everything is fine with the use of teathering.
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      Building/finding a location/buying or getting use of the spectrum (850mhz) for a cell tower shouldn't take a year, nor should it excuse there being reception and getting kicked off the tower. All of these new cheapo carriers, T-Mobile, Sprint manage to improve coverage so what's AT&T's excuse?


      - Motorola Tao or whatever they're calling it 100% meets my needs. To say AT&T focuses on the phones doesn't make them any better, just proving a point that their network sucks and that they have one great device that no one else has, and that's the iPhone.

      ... AT&T doesn't get a dime from me because they don't get any reception where I live, T-Mobile, yeah.., CRICKET! Yeah.. Verizon is a given and Sprint is now good in my area.
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cdement05 View Post
      I seriously doubt that AT&T is going to let tethering out without a fee of some sort.
      Yet you are convinced the fees for a 3g tether connection on an already "unlimited data" line will be as much as high speed home internet service through ATT? Me thinks not.
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      I don't think anyone in their right mind would use their iPhone as a main data connection, I know I can't and that's not because I don't have 3G, Vonage and other things rely on my DSL. Tethering on the go sure, that can use up enough data on it's own.
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      Quote Originally Posted by dmerrill View Post
      I love reading the comments from people who have obviously NEVER been in a networking field. As someone with that background, I can tell you that it just isn't as simple as saying "hey, let's put up more towers". There are all kinds of complexities involved in upgrading a network, especially one like AT&T's. I don't have 3G where I live, so when I got an email from AT&T recently telling about all the new 3G sites in my state I was excited until I read the list and my area wasn't on it. BUT, I also know what's involved in getting that service to my rural area.

      Here is an example: AT&T sends out their survey team for a new cell site in a rural area. The team finds the PERFECT spot on top of a hill. BUT, the owner won't sell OR lease the land. Team has to go with the next best spot. Of course that spot has some issues, but the owner is willing. Tower is built, BUT, it isn't the OPTIMAL location, so the coverage isn't quite what it could have been at the first site. AT&T spends millions to erect the tower to get coverage as well as can be in that location. Do you really think that they should spend milions MORE a mile down the road so that I can have 3G while folks 10 miles down the road have nothing? THINK PEOPLE. There is alot more to building a cell tower than meets the eye...


      I just have to reply to the 3rd world country statement. In many of those countries, the cell tower goes up whether or not the owner (if there is a private owner) agrees. And don't even mention places like China, private ownership of land isn't an issue there. Do you want that here?

      The US is HUGE geographically, with terrain of all kinds. Germany is about the size of Missouri for instance. I may not always like AT&T, but I'm not going to rip on them for something that involves alot more than just "Hey, let's build a cell tower!"
      I don't have that kind of job, but it's not that hard to figure out how it works. People just assume money = magic. AT&T's got billions of dollars. Why don't they just put up more towers?
    1. cdement05's Avatar
      cdement05 -
      You honestly think that AT&T is not going to charge some kind of fee for tethering even if you have unlimited data? I see some cost coming along with tethering.
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      Building a cell tower shouldn't take a year, nor should it excuse there being reception and getting kicked off the tower. All of these new carriers, T-Mobile, Sprint mange to improve coverage so what's AT&T's excuse?


      - Motorola Tao or whatever they're calling it 100% meets my needs. To say AT&T focuses on the phones doesn't make them any better, just proving a point that their network sucks and that they have one great device that no one else has, and that's the iPhone.

      ... AT&T doesn't get a dime from me because they don't get any reception where I live, T-Mobile, yeah.., CRICKET! Yeah.. Verizon is a given and Sprint is now good in my area.
      Building a tower sometimes CAN take a year. Sometimes it's quicker, but it does happen. And have you not been paying attention? The reason you get kicked off a tower is because AT&T has so many smartphone users that use up more data than the tower can handle. Instead of pushing the tower to its max and then dropping everyone, it drops some people off so some stay connected.

      Stop being so difficult. AT&T IS IS IS IS IS IS IS improving their network and coverage. Just because you don't have it on your farm doesn't mean they're not expanding. There's a higher need in other places. AT&T is STILL better than T-Mobile and Sprint.

      AT&T has several great phones, including the best BlackBerry (Bold). Just because you're blinded by the iPhone doesn't mean the rest of their phones aren't good.
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      AT&T isn't the only carrier with a Blackberry, what a laugh. Regardless of what they have the iPhone is the only exclusive phone worth a damn, anything else they have isn't worth switching from any other carrier. Everyone isn't at AT&T for the freaking Quickfire.

      Sprint has 3 new towers throughout my city, more elsewhere, once again what's taking AT&T so long? Busy cashing checks from iPhone users? They do pay more.. and it doesn't take a year for these other carriers. AT&T should ask other carriers their formula of being so quick with upgrades and rollouts
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      I don't think anyone in their right mind would use their iPhone as a main data connection, I know I can't and that's not because I don't have 3G, Vonage and other things rely on my DSL. Tethering on the go sure, that can use up enough data on it's own.
      There are people out there who drive to the library to use a computer because it's better than theirs on an AOL connection. Off the high horse and onto the reality of living without privs, there are people who'd take you off at the knees for an iphone 2g, much less a 3g or 3gs. Don't think just because you are doing well enough to have choices others aren't. There is a lot of unfortunate persons out there. FYI my 3gs on 3g speeds is "quite impressive for what it is" - coming from someone who has the newest of everything on Comcast's highest home user speed package. With the 3G unrestrictor app, if you need an ISP, ATT tethering has you covered.

      Quote Originally Posted by cdement05 View Post
      You honestly think that AT&T is not going to charge some kind of fee for tethering even if you have unlimited data? I see some cost coming along with tethering.
      We are not going to keep coming back to here just because you aren't reading what I am writing. I haven't got that kind of time my man.... let's go through it once more, this time.

      Yet you are convinced the fees for a 3g tether connection on an already "unlimited data" line will be as much as high speed home internet service through ATT? Me thinks not.
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      You said people will cancel their Existing High speed service through AT&T to tether through an iPhone.. you said nothing about people with dial up and if you can find a way to hook my TiVo and Vonage service through to my iPhone when I'm not home and use it on my macbook and PC I'd glady use it through AT&T for $30-extra dollars a month on top of iPhone data, but they would probably throttle my connection after the first week..
      " Look folks, there are a lot of cheap asses out there that are perfectly willing to drop their ATT home service to tether off their phone and it's gonna cost ATT and they KNOW IT. They aren't exactly jumping for joy over handing their customers a free internet line for the house.."
      ..to make sure we're clear.

      I get Naked DSL 3mbps for 39.99 which isn't much more expensive than tethering from the iPhone officially. I just upgraded to 10mbps tho.
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      You said people will cancel their Existing High speed service through AT&T to tether through an iPhone.. you said nothing about people with dial up .
      Being literal isn't going to change "being broke". It doesn't matter if you're surfing on a 24 karat gold iphone on T3 speeds, if you can't pay the bill, you're going to find a way to stay online and this is exactly how to do it. It doesn't matter if it's the way you'd do it or not. The persons paying for 3 kids to go to school buying white label mac and cheese to feed everyone in the house and trying to keep online for jobs and homework are the people who don't give a dang if you can get your tivo through the iPhone tether or not. Bearing in mind, nobody ever said YOU would switch off your internet service for ATT tethering.

      I know people on hard times, I know how thrifty they are, I know they don't give a damn about your Tivo, they wanna eat and keep the kids online learning their homework. I'm fortunate enough to not have the problem, but to have the insight. These people WILL cut their cable off for tethering.

      He said, as he sat here smelling a yankee candle on his high speed connection.........