AT&T To Begin Moving Jailbroken Hotspot-ers to Tiered Data Soon

By , Aug 4, 2011

AT&T got rid of their unlimited data plans quite some time ago. However, folks who had unlimited data before the plan was removed are likely still enjoying the all-you-can-eat option.

Thanks to the grandfather clause, customers should get to keep those unlimited plans until they sign another contract — unless their iPhone happens to be jailbroken and they’re using an application like MyWi

9to5Mac reported this morning that AT&T is going to start forcibly switching jailbroken hotspot-ers off of their unlimited data plans beginning August 11th. While this won’t affect customers who utilize native tethering, folks who use apps like MyWi might want to pay attention.

An AT&T spokesperson confirms:

“Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for teetering but aren’t on our required tethering plan. Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers (this impacts only a small percentage of our smartphone customer base).”

Yeah, we remember when AT&T started sending out the text messages of death to MyWi users back in March. And even back then they were threatening to force folks using the illegal tethering app into a tiered data plan.

While the August 11th date hasn’t been made official yet, BGR was able to confirm with the carrier that the move would be happening soon. It sounds like the enforcement date is different for each customer, based on when they received the original notifications.

At any rate, If I were a heavy MyWi user on an unlimited plan, I’d probably start looking for an alternative method — and soon. In a world where unlimited data plans are becoming a rarity, I wouldn’t want to risk losing mine so frivolously. Whether it’s fair or not is a whole different story.

Thoughts? Are you still using MyWi on an unlimited plan?

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Ryan

    Now, I don’t tether very often, and when I do these days, its usually under 20 MB. I have yet to get a text of death. I suspect it is due to the fact that I am off contract right now, as I am waiting for the iPhone 5 to upgrade, but once they lock me into a contract, they will start to crackdown on my tethering ways. It is quite unfortunate.

  • The Wizard’s Baker

    I use it quite a bit. I got all the warnings. I ignoredthem all and when I received the third they told me my plan was being changed and that I would see the bill changed to it. I called them up and asked them not to and told me they weren’t planning on doing it. That they don’t even know why they sent me those messages or who. Real professional.

  • Whammy!

    I firmly believe AT&T has no way of detecting tethering. They say this, but they’re actually just sending those messages to people that push a lot of traffic. There have been reports of users that aren’t even jailbroken (let alone tethering) that have gotten these messages – and on the flipside, many people that tether (like Ryan above) have never received such a message.

    What AT&T is actually doing is pretending to act legitimate in downgrading “unlimited” users who understand the definition of the word unlimited.

  • My name

    I have unlimited data plan on Verizon iPhone 4! Verizon hasn’t started cracking down yet. I’m good to go. I’ve used 20 gb in 3 months on my phone.

  • Brett

    I have received both a text and hard letter and used myWi only one month, with less than 5MB of total usage. I was told if they noticed the tethering on my account again, I would be moved forcibly to a tethering account with AT&T.

  • Felix

    Att iPhone 3gs 4.1 sn0wbreeze. Unlimited agent national retail plan. Been using pdanet for only a month and havent heard anything.

  • Tarek

    I thought that we had this discussion before and determined that PDAnet was not detectable.

    Is that correct or not?

    • QuarterSwede

      According to several MacRumors members it is detectable.

  • Nick

    What abou t my3g that’s what I use. Will that be affected even though I haven’t gotten any text messages?

  • Tim

    From what I’ve read, iOS 4.3+ users of tethering seem to be the only people that are getting the texts of death and stuff like that. I’ve been doing some tethering on iOS 4.2.1 using MyWi, and I haven’t got any notifications from AT&T.

    • Will

      Wrong. I’m on 4.0 got it one day after I tethered to a laptop to download a program

  • Harry

    I use tethering quite often, but haven received any warning as such til toady. I have an unlimited data plan and dont wanna lose it.

    • Mike

      Get used to it, unlimited data is a thing of the past but personally I wouldn’t want it, I would never replace my home net with 1 provided by my mobile contract and I use my phone for what it’s intended, as a phone, so unlimited data is in no way an issue. Here in the UK it was stopped a while ago, I think it’s only offered by 3 network now and the tariff is a stupid price on a 24 month contract which is crazy. I much prefer paying £25 per onth and having a 12 month contract.

  • James

    Sucks to be American lol

  • Orange_budha

    I think at&t is just targeting people who have the unlimited data plan, becuase I have been tethering since I’ve got my iPhone a year ago, my laptop, and now my ipad2 and I have yet get this famous message or letter, and I only have the 2gb data plan, so if they know who is tethering, can someone explain me why I have not get a notification from this company? Also one more point my wife has de unlimited data plan and her phone is not jailbroken and yes yes yes, she did get the text of death and letter 2 times also…. Come on folks they are a big company and this is it a market strategy, we as a consumers must do something to stop them for forcing us to do whatever they want…

    Im so sorry for my Spelling, but I’m still learning English lol I could not resist to leave a comment on this post

  • goofygreek

    I have unlimited, but i barley go over 2gb a month. I didnt even hit a gig last month. I think this month i might have used a whole 200mb of tethering data. When i tether, i normally just tether to my ipad2. doesnt seem to show up to att. on iphone 4 4.2.1.

  • Spam Magnet

    tetherme FTW!

  • Kevin

    I have unlimited and tether frequently, but barely pass 2 GB of data. For this month, I’ve only used 1.8 GB with MyWi. I have never gotten the “text-of-death” or anything. I think I’m doing just fine then, haha. :)

  • Matt

    Boy I’m glad I live in Europe! Earlier MyWi was really useful, now I use the built-in internet sharing frequently. But our infrastructure can manage the data traffic unlike the American.
    Your companies are practically running monopolies. Europe has so many carriers that is someone fails in offer nice business rules you just change carrier – and you keep you cellphone number :)
    Keep suing eachother and we’ll enjoy our wonderful Spotify and flat rate data plans ;)

  • Hugo

    Ive been using mywi for 2 months now. I use about 15 gb of data and Im on an unlimited date plan. I still haven’t recieved anything

  • Igor Sela

    Can someone please explain me what’s the difference between MyWi and regular tethering option that can be found in iOS ?

  • Rob

    With the regular tethering option, you pay a monthly fee. If you tether via MiWi, you buy the app once (for about $20 US) and then don’t pay a monthly fee to AT&T or Verizon.

    • Igor Sela

      I’m from Israel and I got an unlimited data plan (it’s very common here). I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to pay for tethering because I was told by my cellular provider (Cellcom) that I can tether as much I want, thus don’t need my cellular modem. Only need to make sure to charge all the time. Cellcom provides all users unlimited plans and the fee varies depending on speed much like broadband high speed Internet.

  • http://www.twitter.com/da_pope9 dapope9

    I USE MYWI EVERYDAY/ALL DAY & STILL HAVENT GOT THIS LETTER…IF AT&T STOPS/FORCE MY OUT MY UNLIMITED DATA, THEY CAN KISS MY A**…THAT’S REALLY THE ONLY REASON I’M STILL WITH THEM..

    • Peter

      I second that. I’m currently with AT&T and out of contract. I’m waiting for the Samsung Galaxy 2 to come out. Unlike that c0ck sucking Apple, Samsung distributes their phones to other carriers as well. AT&T can keep their tethering plan and I’ll keep my money. So yeah FCUK AT&T!!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/da_pope9 dapope9

    *ME

  • TheKurrgan

    There are a number of ways ATT or any one else could spot tethering..
    The easiest is to flag any traffic with a reduced TTL.. This will occur anytime there is NAT taking place, since there is an added hop and the phone being the router will reduce the TTL when it passes it. All you have to do is monitor and reference logs to accounts that aren’t in the tethering list, and poof.. there is your illegitimate tethers..
    The other way is far less likely, but possible.. If they used packet sniffing or something of the like, it would be theoretically possible to spot traffic that doesn’t originate from the phone.. But the overhead of doing so would cost more than the desired effect, but given the fact we don’t know their actual motivation behind doing this in the first place, that may not be relevant.
    Frankly I’ve already planned for this some time ago, and found a small squid proxy that works on the android platform.
    The easiest way for them to spot you is if you mod the APN list on your phone to allow tethering as some inspire / atrix users figured out..
    So far, so good.. I’ve actually been TRYING to get a message just to see, and so far nothing when using squid instead of NAT. (Little troublesome, since ONLY the web browsers can be made to work (or anything supporting a proxy) but it gets the job done.. 72.9GB so far in a week.
    Unlimited data plan from years ago, Nexus S 9020a being use, wap.cingular APN.