If you’re a heavy user of MyWi, the most popular jailbreak app that allows tethering, then watch out because AT&T is coming after you. According to various reports from MyWi users, AT&T has been sending SMS and emails warning them that they have to activate the official tethering option if they want to tether their iPhone.

Additionally, the email AT&T sent to some MyWi users warns them that if they don’t hear from them before March 27, those users will automatically be enrolled in the 4 GB DataPro plan, which is required for activating the official tethering option…

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

It seems that this warning has been sent out to users that are currently on the unlimited data plan. Obviously, those users are the one that are most likely to tether their iPhones.

We don’t know how AT&T is figuring out who’s tethering using MyWi. My guess is they are flagging users that go over a certain amount of data per month, say maybe 15 GB.

A few MyWi users that got the above warning from AT&T found a nice little trick worth sharing. Apparently, candidly calling AT&T and telling them you don’t know what tethering is and saying you’re using your iPhone a lot with Netflix, Pandora (or any other streaming app) is probably why your data consumption is above average.

Are you a heavy MyWi user? Did you get a similar email/SMS from AT&T? If so, what did you do about it? Make sure to share your experience or your thoughts about this situation below.

[MMI]

  • I have Verizon now and despise AT&T (aka A Fee & Fee) due to a horrible customer service experience that is now on my credit report.

    Anyone that has an iPhone (regardless of whether you are tethering or not) and Netflix should set-up the phone to stream random movies for hours on end when they are not using it. Each hour of Netflix streaming uses about 500MB to 1GB of data. Let them try to prove everyone that is using tethering just because they are using large amounts of data.

    Cleopatra (1963) is 4:03:17 long. Just restart it endlessly. That will use about 2GB-5GB a day or around 100GB a month if you do it for at least 20 days a month.

    You’re paying for Unlimited Data so USE IT.

  • Dranon

    Hey its Raymond THAT is exactly the idiotic type of reason these companies NEED to throttle and limit data! Its people like YOU who feel entitled to abuse the system that are the REAL problem. Just wait till you have a problem with Verizon (you will!!!!) THEN you will see how awful THEIR customer service is. The fact you let a customer service experience affect your credit rating says it all about you…

    • Khyron

      Let me ask you something, do you count how many GBs you use at home?.. Of course you don’t, because is UNLIMITED!! the only reason that AT&T screw us in the ass is because of you

      • Dranon

        Khyron Nice..
        and yes I do keep track of the amount of GB I use at home! AND I do NOT INTENTIONALLY download stuff JUST TO TRY TO SCREW SOME COMPANY OVER!

  • Actually, the problem was removed from my credit report after I spoke with the Investor Relation department. I am an investor of AT&T and still won’t be a customer. Why? Because they treat their customers like second class citizens, This was proven when they claimed they could not do anything about the issue but when they found out I wasn’t just a customer but also an investor it was magically solved. That said, as an investor I am concerned that they are alienating a large potion of the customer base for various reasons (not just tethering) and therefore may affect the value of the company eventually.

    And I already had an issue with Verizon. It happened within 48-hours of me becoming a customer and involved misinformation given to me regarding my business account. It was resolved within an hour after speaking with the manager of the local store. Not only did they fix it in a timely manner, they also issued me a $500 credit for the inconvenience.

    • jamie

      if you pay your att phone bill, you’re an investor

  • sam henderson

    when you activate mywi, go to the settings tab where they tell you to click to start the tethering. if mywi is on it doesnt ask you to call att. if it is off it will ask you to call att or go to the website. i think mywi is using a part of tethering that is being noticed because it is changed on the phone. i used iphonemodem and the tethering thing stayed the same (please call att to activate tethering)

  • HeadCarp1

    The minute you activate tethering, on an ATT phone with an ATT account, you loose your unlimited plan. Lost, Done, Gone for ever!!!! Happened to me. Canceled account. Opened new one with old iPhone 2G and got unlimited back. Only way to get unlimited as far as I know. As too consumer etiquette . . . .IF YOU PAY FOR IT , IT IS YOURS TO DO WITH AS YOU SEE FIT ! ! !

    • jamie

      not true. ive been tethering for over 3 years. they did warn me. i played stupid. they throttled my unlimited data plan (i couldnt notice any difference) thats it.

  • John

    I did call ATT and played stupid with them about tethering. They guy asked questions about Pandora and Netflix usage. I use Pandora but not Netflix. My data usage trend has remained the same at around 2.5Gig a month which is the same before I jailbroke it as after I did it. From the ATT representatives answers to my faked ignorance I find it hard to believe that they actually can track your tethering usage. He could give me no concrete answers or dates of when I appeared to be tethering so I am still not convinced.

  • MQ

    FYI, my parents got a notice about tethering even though we DO NOT tether AT ALL, and we do not use MiFi or a jailbroken iPhone.

    We do listen to streaming radio (sirius and ohers) on the iPhone. I called ATT, and they said that they absolutely have proof that my father’s phone was used for tethering, which is not true, since the tethering was disabled on the phone.

    I inquired about how to disable tethering permanently so it does not happen and we could solve the problem right there, and was told it is up to the customer not to tether.

    They tried telling me that hooking up the iPhone to the laptop for iTunes was causing it to tether, which, again, is not possible, since tethering was not enabled on the phone. Laptop also has its own fios Internet connection.

    Bottom line, was told if tethering was seen again the unlimited plan would get cancelled and switched to a monthly data plan, without possibility of returning to unlimited.

    I told them this was a catch-22 : they say we use tethering, and we can’t prove otherwise.

    This rep I talked to was very well trained in the answers to give. My guess is they do not know who is tethering, and are simply using an arbitrary data usage limit to gauge who might be doing so.

    It would seem that ATT is going after LEGITIMATE customers who ARE NOT using JailBroken phones OR tethering in order to crack down on people who still have the unlimited data plan and FORCE THEM off of it.

  • henry

    when i turn on mywi and try to set up a personal hotspot it still tells me to call att to set it up i’ve been using mywi for the longest also i use it a lot and never had this sms or call so to me is like they do it random just to try to catch some one or spook people but until i get cought or they disable it i still be using it and when that happens im more than sure it will be other ways