Recently AT&T announced that they were going to start throttling unlimited data plans, and it seems that another part of their movement is to also crack down on those illegal tethering users. This is again targeted towards iPhone users who have jailbroken their devices to allow tethering or to Hotspot off of AT&T’s unlimited data plans without paying for the 2Gb tethering service.
An AT&T spokesperson has confirmed this, stating;
Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan. Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers. (This impacts a only small percentage of our smartphone customer base.)
The letters outline three choices:
1) Stop tethering and keep their current plan (including grandfathered unlimited plan)
2) Proactively call AT&T or visit our stores and move to the required tethering plan
3) Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the dated noted in their customer notification
The real question is, does this seem like a fair move on AT&T’s part to just automatically put a customer into a tethering plan simply because they did not stop their actions? Since illegal tethering is causing problems within AT&T’s service for others and the iPhone has already been deemed as a bandwidth sucker, it should come as no surprise that AT&T would take such actions to correct the problem. While some users complain they had unlimited plans back when unlimited really meant unlimited, AT&T is not up for debate on this issue.
The hard cutoff date is on August 11th before AT&T will switch users over to a tethering service if they do not comply, so my advice is for those still using illegal tethering; best to cut your losses and not push the limits, or AT&T might decide to place you into their tethering tier early.