AT&T is Getting Their Network Ready for iPhone 4 Personal Hotspot Feature
AppleInsider is reporting that AT&T is about ready to launch the personal hotspot feature for the iPhone 4. AT&T is apparently getting their network ready for an anticipated increase in network demand. Verizon iPhones already have this capability with iOS 4.2.6, a version that is only available for their devices. AT&T customers will have to wait until Apple releases iOS 4.3, which is expected sometime later this month. This feature is also said to only be compatible with iPhone 4 and will not be available for previous iPhone models. Beta copies of iOS 4.3 already include the hotspot feature, but itís up to the individual carriers to implement it on their networks.
With growing demand for personal hotspots and tethering options, both carriers hope to entice their customers into paying extra for the privilege. iPhone users who jailbreak their devices can have this feature without a monthly fee by installing the MyWi app on their iPhones, for a one time cost of only $20. Of course, Apple frowns on users jailbreaking their devices. AT&T has not yet released the cost of adding a hotspot feature to an iPhone account, but they are widely expected to charge the same $20 a month that Verizon does.
This isnít the first time that AT&T has been slow to add features generally available on other phones. The original iPhone could only send SMS text messages, when most phones at the time could send MMS text messages. They were also slow to add a tethering option, waiting until iOS 3.0 before making it available. This was all before AT&T had any competition, of course. Now they have to keep up with features that Verizon offers to its customers as well. In this way, competition has proven to be a boon for customers using both carriers. One day you may actually be able to use your iPhone to make calls on AT&Tís network. When that happens AT&T might actually give Verizon a run for its money.