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Will AT&T Charge Extra For MMS & Tethering? 326

Posted by kdawson
from the is-a-bear-catholic dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Bill Snyder questions whether AT&T's jockeying on tethering and MMS may signal coming iPhone pricing surcharges. After all, as Apple's exclusive US partner, Ma Bell should have plenty of insight into upcoming iPhone features and revenue opportunities. Yet AT&T was very conspicuous in its absence from the list of providers who will support tethering and MMS at Tuesday's launch of the new iPhone at WWDC, and by Wednesday, it was backpedaling furiously, saying it will offer both services — later in the year. Certainly, the exclusive arrangement between the companies is proving to be an ugly roadblock to Apple's iPhone vision. But Snyder thinks it may go deeper than that: 'My best guess is that we'll see horrendous pricing surcharges for tethering and MMS, on top of the already expensive data and voice charges iPhone users pay. I don't think AT&T execs wanted to stand up at WWDC and announce that.'"
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Will AT&T Charge Extra For MMS & Tethering?

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  • The iPhone, with itâ(TM)s global reach and marketing may be the first phone that makes it obvious just how far the US is behind other parts of the world in wireless technology. I hope this opens the eyes of many people. Most people have no idea how we compare to the rest of the world, due to the AT&T and Verizon stranglehold. Those two companies buying up all the regional carriers, as well as having incompatible technologies, has lowered functionality and disrupted normal market forces.
    • My experience with both, and T-Mobile is that they do not offer reduced rates if you intend to use a phone you acquired from another source. Their rate plans are all designed with the intent that they should subsidize the purchase of a new phone for much less money based on the entering of a long duration contract. In effect, the telecoms are financing your cell phone-except that if you already have one, you dont get a reduced rate.

      The entire business model for the mobile telecoms revolves around contract pricing to subsidize reduced price phones, giving them extraordinary power over mobile handset manufacturers. In my mind, this tying arrangement is horrible for consumers because in effect, the handset manufacturers serve the telecoms, not the end users. The telecoms deem which features are allowed on their network and disallow any features that would conflict with their own profitable value-add services(such as uploading ringtones to a phone).

      The FTC should have stepped in 10 years ago and realized there is no real competition among handset producers-the telecoms decide who the winners and losers are. If you want REAL competition among handset producers leading to technological advancement, you have to end the tying of phone purchases to cell contracts.

      • If you want REAL competition among handset producers leading to technological advancement, you have to end the tying of phone purchases to cell contracts.

        True, but even then you won't have REAL competition until you force them to be more open about various things. Like when you advertise "unlimited" data plans, what are the restrictions? Those plans aren't unlimited. Or why do SMS messages cost so much? What is the real status of each network's 3G rollout? Their 4G rollout? What are their real costs/profits?

        I get much more upset about our wired data infrastructure, since there's pretty much zero competition in that space, but my objection is pretty much the same: If we're going to allow a private company to build out our national communications infrastructure, then that company should be forced to adhere to a higher standard of fairness and transparency. If there isn't sufficient competition (or even if the barrier to entry is too high) then they should also be heavily regulated.

        • profits? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NotQuiteReal (608241)
          That's public information... for the whole company, not specific items like SMS, etc....

          For example, here are some "profit margin" numbers:
          Verizon 6.4%
          AT&T 10.12%
          for comparison
          Apple 14.9%
          Microsoft 25%
          and something boring, like food, ADM is at 2.7%
      • by darthservo (942083) on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:10PM (#28311333)

        My experience with both, and T-Mobile is that they do not offer reduced rates if you intend to use a phone you acquired from another source. Their rate plans are all designed with the intent that they should subsidize the purchase of a new phone for much less money based on the entering of a long duration contract. In effect, the telecoms are financing your cell phone-except that if you already have one, you dont get a reduced rate.

        Really? Here's my recent experience:

        I was recently looking to upgrade my phone. My last phone was from ATT with a two year contract, and I wanted something more updated and faster. When I signed the contract, I was able to get unlimited data added for $15/mo. (they no longer offer this plan) So I looked around for a while and debated between the subsidized Nokia E71x, or an unlocked Nokia model. Now the ATT subsidized Nokia was only $99 after rebate, with of course another two year contract. An unlocked Nokia E75 was $399 after $50 rebate.

        However, the subsidized E71x required their PDA/Smartphone data package which is $30/mo - that seemed pretty ridiculous because I was currently getting unlimited data at $15/mo. After talking with an ATT rep, I found that if I bought an unlocked phone I could either grandfather in my old plan and leave it be with the data at $15/mo, or I could upgrade my plan to a current package and tack on unlimited data for only $10/mo! The reason is that ATT cannot force an unsubsidized phone to use their "special" data plans tailored for their subsidized models (please - $30/mo just because the phone has a QWERTY?)

        You can do the math. Needless to say, although I've spent more money upfront on a phone, I can recover the cost before two years. If the phone lasts/stays with me longer than two years, I'll be saving even more from it.

        Btw, not only are unlocked phones nicer to have in case of travelling/switching providers, you also aren't stuck with the customized provider firmware that they slap onto the phone. From past experiences I've found that the branded firmware often limits advanced functionality.

      • Large corporation with near monopoly power is bad for the consumer. Film at 11.
    • by Old97 (1341297)

      I agree, but even with more cell phone carriers it wasn't any better. Our (U.S.) carriers lock us into their plans and the phones they want to sell and the features they are willing to let us have. Only recently have we been able to even keep our phone numbers when we change carriers. It's an awful tyranny and it does hurt the sales of all smartphones.

      I'm only now willing to throw in the towel and buy an iPhone 3Gs. I've resisted until now because I hate AT&T, but this new model is too compelling f

      • I'm only now willing to throw in the towel and buy an iPhone 3Gs. I've resisted until now because I hate AT&T, but this new model is too compelling for me to resist. I know a couple of guys who are lusting after the Pre but they won't buy it because they hate Sprint.

        I have the Pre and love it.

        Sprint isn't the same Sprint of 7 years ago. I just switched from Verizon to Sprint for the Pre, and my coverage is the exact same.

        Sprint gives you 30 days to try out a new phone without penalty. I would definitely recommend the Pre if you can get your hands on one.

        Also, for what it's worth, the Sprint plans are way cheaper [billshrink.com] than the AT&T plans.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    VZW is notorious for charging for everything .. people put up with it due to verizon has outstanding voice quality and good speed for data. As much as you all want LTE it's at least 2 years away to have adequate coverage so Apple needs to either suck it up and make a short term CDMA based iPhone or wait and make a LTE based with CDMA backband so you have coverage anywhere outside of major metro areas. Not to mention you think carriers are going to roll out faster networks and reduce data prices? Bandwidth a

    • Verizon Wireless is going to start rolling out LTE tomorrow for testing( or at least so I've heard). ATT and Verizon both have rights to the spectrum that broadcast tv is leaving tonight, and VZW wants to get moving on it asap. They should have LTE G4 by earlier next year. ATT probably a little afterwards. Intrestingly enouhg, Apple's contract ends next year. You think they will have a LTE G4 phone ready for both ATT and VZW?
    • Apple should just cut ties with everyone - sell the iPhone for cost

      This would be a net loss to Apple since they believe that anyone who wants the iPhone bad enough will switch to AT&T to get it, and Apple makes far more than the sales cost of the phone due to the "exclusivity cut" of the monthly fees that they receive from AT&T at the moment. In an open market no carrier would be cutting Apple in on their profits and Apple would not only have the App Store as their only other source of ongoing rev

  • Favorite Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peterdaly (123554) * <{petedaly} {at} {ix.netcom.com}> on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:22PM (#28310575)
    "Just as the old AT&T stifled landline innovation in the 20th century, the new AT&T is stifling wireless innovation in the 21st."
    • "Just as the old AT&T stifled landline innovation in the 20th century, the new AT&T is stifling wireless innovation in the 21st."

      My Palm Pre [palm.com] and I haven't noticed AT&T stifling much of anything... ;) What's an iPhone, again?

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Oh? How exactly is this? Can no other wireless carriers compete on the same turf? Oh! They can now!

      AT&T had a stranglehold on landlines at the time, and that's how they managed to hold back 'innovation'. They do not have the market on wireless phones cornered, nor are they close.

      If you don't like them, don't sign up for their service!

    • Re:Favorite Quote (Score:5, Informative)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:42PM (#28310883)
      A small point, but the company that sells you cellular service under the name "AT&T Mobility" is actually a company that was known up until two years ago as "Cingular Wireless," which is basically the old SBC. I had actual AT&T wireless from the real AT&T in the 90s and here in LA, on CDMA, it was great and the customer service was perfectly fine. It all went downhill when SBC/Cingular bought them.
    • Not just AT&T, folks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:44PM (#28310903) Journal

      I'm a Verizon customer. They have HORRID billing practices (throw in lots of ambiguous "fees" and then wait for you to call and bitch about this $20 and that $16 charge before removing them) and downright deceptive marketing.

      I have a WinMo smartphone (The HTC Mogul, and it's a pretty cool phone, feels to be about Win'95 as far as its O/S) and (of course) need a data plan. Vzw has two dataplans, the $30 "consumer" plan, and the $45 "corporate" plan. I asked what the difference is, since they both have unlimited data usage, since I didn't want to pay $15/mo more for a feature that I didn't need.

      I was explained that the corporate account is designed for people who access company email and intranet applications, while the cheaper plan is for home users. I asked if they actually block connections with the $30 plan, and was assured that they did not. I went with the cheaper plan, and have had no trouble at all connecting to my corporate mail server.

      In other words, Verizon wireless charges a $15/mo 'stupid tax' for anybody who wants to use a smart phone for business since their consumer plan offers the same actual functionality. I wonder just how many people are paying this $180/year 'stupid tax'?

      • I just switched from Verizon to Sprint, and frankly, I can't see why anyone still uses Verizon. Sprint is so much cheaper, but you can roam on Verizon's towers.

        Talk about a no-brainer. My coverage is the exact same as when I was with Verizon.

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:19PM (#28311479) Homepage

        I'm a Verizon customer. They have HORRID billing practices (throw in lots of ambiguous "fees"

        That's another little problem that I'm sure we're all familiar with: all the "taxes" and "fees" on your cell phone bill. Why are they allowed to do that?

        If I were running a store and I advertised an item for $50, but when you came in to buy it I said, "Well, it's $50, plus sales tax, plus another $10 to cover various taxes associated with running my store, plus another $5 in fees," what would happen? I would guess I'd get in trouble for false advertising. Yet my $40 cell phone bill always comes out $60. Every single month.

        Personally, I've always thought it was kind of silly that advertised prices don't already include sales tax, but cell phone plans definitely take it too far.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The difference is "unlimited" vs unlimited.

        If you read through the "unlimited" for home use is "*unlimited based on our internal estimation of how much a home user should use per month".

        The corporate unlimited is truly unlimited.

        Not a stupid tax, but just as deceptive.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I am honestly not sure how ATT stifled innovation in land lines. For most of the history, they did a good job innovating. The technological advances needed to get a phone into every home is not trivial. They did a good job with basic communication, and business communication.

      What is true is that ATT was very expensive. What is true is that ATT had little motivation to add features beyond basic communications. What is true is that ATT had no motivation in innovate the handset. What is true that if AT

    • by GaratNW (978516)

      Excellent quote to call out, and very apt. What I found funny was the actual headline. It could much more cleanly read:
      "Will a corporation charge their customers more if they think they can get away with it, even if there is no technical merit or cost basis behind the decision?"

      There would be no need for further conversation. The thread could then be summed up with: "Uhm... duh?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:24PM (#28310589)

    ...paying extra for stuff was considered a feature by Apple users.

    • by argiedot (1035754)
      That would make Apple products, Veblen goods [wikipedia.org]. That's actually quite possible, considering a lot of their advertisements seem to emphasise the difference between Apple products and mainstream goods (Think Different, for example). I just felt the need to share because I read about this term for the first time today :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Paying extra to Apple for Apple stuff is considered a feature by Apple users.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:27PM (#28310625)

    Finally, proof there IS such a thing as a dumb question! Congratulations! Was this one of the Millennium Problems?

    • by Amouth (879122) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:44PM (#28310901)

      funny thing.. dealing with verison (after they bought MCI).. we dropped our t1 with MCI back in Nov 07.. after they came and removed equipment we continued to get bills.. I just findly resolved all of that about 2 months ago (yes nearly 2 years alter).. just last month i got a bill again.. but this time it wasn't for service..

      the bastards had the nerve to bill me for the postage and paper they send the previous bills on - as it was a "fee" that is normally included with service but as we didn't have "service" we had to pay the fee separate.. i enjoyed ripping their phone people a new one

    • by hurfy (735314)

      Sure seems like a lot of answers here for a rhetorical question.....

  • Until they upgrade their capacity. Maybe it's that simple. Maybe it's not a conspiracy to deprive you.
    • Ditto for MMS. What would be special about iPhone MMS, other than that all of a sudden millions of iPhone users are suddenly going to start using the service. Here's to hoping its simply a capacity problem and not a "how can we rape our customers even more" problem.
    • by vertinox (846076)

      Maybe it's not a conspiracy to deprive you.

      Yeah, its public knowledge on the minutes from the last shareholder meeting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spleck (312109)

      I agree its probably about capacity. iPhone users already use more data than the average data plan subscriber, so they probably estimate iPhone tetherers will also use a lot more data.
      AT&T has been consistent lately about pricing the iPhone plans just like any other phone plans--I don't see why they wouldn't offer a 5GB capped tether plan for an additional $30.

      Another possibility is that they're having trouble distinguishing tethering from normal use--possibly if they enable tethering then it might wor

  • by Anonymous Coward

    AT&T has Apple by the balls, and Apple has its fanbois by the balls. All of this complaining is just a smoke screen; they will gladly pay the extortionist prices because they are Apple fanbois and are used to it. In the short term AT&T will rake it in. In the long term, who knows? Businesses today aren't really concerned with the long term anyway. With any luck AT&T HQ will be attacked by Godzilla.

    • I hate AT&T and am pretty indifferent about Apple, but how do you figure AT&T has Apple by the balls? I figure Apple has AT&T by the balls. The only reason Apple doesn't twist them off, I figure, is 1) Apple thinks it will be easier to wring a bigger percentage of iPhone revenue from AT&T only, than from multiple carriers and 2) convenience of dealing with one vendor and one network to support.
  • What, AT&T doesn't support MMS? Wow, the US truly have fallen behind!

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      What, AT&T doesn't support MMS? Wow, the US truly have fallen behind!

      No, it's just the iPhone that has fallen behind.

      The Palm Pre [palm.com] supported MMS from day 1.

    • Re:No MMS? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:48PM (#28310991) Homepage

      I think AT&T simply doesn't have the capacity. The iPhone is the best selling smartphone in the US and is selling like hot cakes simply because we don't have anything like it in the market (except maybe the Android, but it's still far behind as far as functionality and only on T-Mobile which doesn't have decent coverage in many areas in the countries). This has already put a large strain on AT&T and MMS support and tethering is going to add to that. Being able to tether your phone used to cost you practically another plan and special phones (although my Nokia can technically do it, it doesn't have the software capabilities). But the iPhone is not controlled by AT&T so AT&T can't control who's tethering since it's going to look like you're just using your iPhone. If they block it, users will just download another providers' firmware or unlock it.

      I believe that AT&T thought in the beginning: whatever, another smartphone for that niche group of Mac fans, no big deal but it has really changed the market and AT&T wasn't prepared. Since the iPhone everybody wants to surf the internet, their e-mails, cheap music downloads, now movie, in-app game and e-book downloads as well and they never had the capacity to begin with and many other vendors have followed with their own take on iPhone-knockoffs. We're supposed to have 3G on AT&T but in many areas this means less than 100 kbit/s which is only slightly faster than dial up simply because they only wired in about 1 Mbps (carrying compressed voice and GSM control) on your average pole . Now we want 7 Mbps HDSPA - you expect them to wire in something akin to Ethernet?

  • I want more money! (Score:2, Informative)

    by fandingo (1541045)
    I have an iphone (original model), so the rate increase might affect me. The iPhone has been tremendously successful for AT&T. I can't remember the exact statistics, but something like over half of new subscribers have an iphone and they are getting 2-3x as many new subscribers as any other network. $3-5/month for MMS will not deter many people, so it will probably translate to increased profits. Iphone users are use significantly more bandwidth than other customers, so AT&T is probably going to of
    • But if the costs for the provider go up, they should be able to leverage their large market share into actually lowering the cost per subscriber. IE, go to your phone company,and buy a 1MB/s connection. Then go to them and buy a 100MB/s connection. You will notice that one is not 100 times more expensive than the other.
    • by nxtw (866177) on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:42PM (#28311827)

      $3-5/month for MMS will not deter many people, so it will probably translate to increased profits.

      I am an iPhone customer, and I already pay for MMS - the messaging plan on the account includes unlimited MMS and SMS. AT&T actually blocks iPhone lines from accessing the MMS server, though.

  • Then don't buy it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:33PM (#28310711)

    Sheesh, if you don't like AT&T's terms, then don't buy an iPhone. It's not like there aren't alternatives out there that provide nearly the same functionality.

    Want to play their games? Use their apps? Get the iPod touch.

    • You don't think they won't try the EXACT same thing if and when they are able to put iPhones on their network? Your point is taken, but we are not living in a properly competitive market in the US when it comes to cell phones. Like many US corporations, they aren't competiting on service and lowest prices, but competing on how much can they squeeze out of their consumers without actually improving service. There are too many barriers to switching services and they all know it.

      Verizon, T-mobile, and Sprin

    • by spinkham (56603)

      I did, and it's awesome.
      I have a 2nd G Touch for all my calendering/smartphone type stuff and a cheap pay as you go cell for actually talking.. the touch is so thin I don't mind carying two devices, and I pay about $8 a moth for phone service.
      Sure, the GPS, Camera, and data plan would be nice, but not $700 a year nice, as I work from home and am rarely away from wifi..

  • AT&T sucks balls (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paimin (656338) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:34PM (#28310719)
    As an IT person at an organization that uses iPhones for both phone service and Exchange support, I can state definitively that the instant it is possible to part with AT&T we would do so. They SUCK.

    Don't get me wrong, we are happy enough with the iPhones that we will stay with AT&T as long as the exclusive agreement lasts, but listen up AT&T, you are expendable and we would GLADLY drop your ass. We and everyone else is fed up with your BS.
    • iPhone exchange support is buggy is hell. Why don't you use blackberries?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by paimin (656338)
        Uh, we also have Blackberries, and from our experience they are 10x buggier than the iPhones. The people with iPhones? Almost zero support requests. The people with Blackberries? Constant problems.
        • Funky. Surprised to hear it. All I hear from the guys at work with iPhones is how wonky the exchange sync is.

          Oh well, glad it works for you. Maybe iPhone users are just more tolerant of a buggy experience. :)

          • Funky. Surprised to hear it. All I hear from the guys at work with iPhones is how wonky the exchange sync is.

            Oh well, glad it works for you. Maybe iPhone users are just more tolerant of a buggy experience. :)

            Or, alternatively, your IT people may not know how to set up Exchange correctly; or, to offer a third possibility, your "guys at work" aren't very bright?

            It seems silly for you to have stated unequivocally (a few posts prior) that "iPhone exchange support is buggy is hell" when you don't have any direct experience to draw from. What I've heard is exactly the opposite - but again, that's just hearsay, so it shouldn't be given any more weight than your comment.

      • I haven't used Blackberries for a few years now, because at the time I switched, their Exchange support sucked. They didn't support ActiveSync, so you either needed to be running a BES or a desktop redirector, which is insanely stupid. On top of that, what each of those things did was redirect the user's email to RIM's servers, which wasn't something I was particularly fond of doing. Beyond that, their web browser was horrible and HTML support in email was non-existent. And they really stank as phones,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dogtanian (588974)

      I can state definitively that the instant it is possible to part with AT&T we would do so. Don't get me wrong, we are happy enough with the iPhones that we will stay with AT&T as long as the exclusive agreement lasts, but listen up AT&T, you are expendable and we would GLADLY drop your ass.

      So basically you like the iPhone so much that as long as the exclusivity agreement's in place, you'll put up with any amount of AT&T's crap and paying them anyway.

      So presumably if the iPhone moves exclusively to another network, you'll go with *them* too.

      Therefore, AT&T and/or other networks have no reason to care about or pay attention to your complaints or threats, only to ensure that they have (and continue to have) the iPhone exclusivity agreement.

    • Keeping my 3G for app testing. Switching to Boost Mobile to save $900 per year with tethering.

      • by b0bby (201198)

        I'm interested in how that works for you. I was just looking into Boost, and it seems like a great price, but their tethering speeds look slow (like 19 kbps slow). Are they going to be offering faster speeds? Of course, I'm not willing to pay the extra for AT&T data, which is why I have no iphone...

    • AT&T does not care if you "drop their ass".

      Do you not think they know what they are doing? They know this very well. But they also know they are not in a competitive industry so they can do whatever they want.

      And therein lies the rub. While they aren't a monopoly in technical or legal terms, they are a monopoly in practical terms. Until we reconcile that, the only thing certain is that AT&T will continue to try to fuck customers as much as they can. You would too if you had a busines
  • And they didn't trip? They must be on sure footing.
    I'm putting out a "buy" signal on AT&T shares.

  • Come on, tethering is charged for all over the U.S. cell space. Of course it will be extra.

    The only real question is MMS, the rumors are that may be free but I am dubious. Since I think MMS is an ancient technology that should die, I'll continue to send images (and soon video) via email just as I do today.

  • by ACMENEWSLLC (940904) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:39PM (#28310841) Homepage

    Once this is out, Tether your iPhone to your work PC via USB or Bluetooth. Create a connection through the iPhone to the Internet. (With T-Mobile phones you can alread do this, but it's so expensive.)

    Most companies do URL filtering at the gateway. With tethering you bypass such filtering restrictions.

    In the USA;
    If I browse adult stuff at work on works PC and Internet connection, work can be held libel.
    If I browse adult stuff on the iPhone at work using my own Internet connect, it is less likely that work can be held libel.

    But what if I provide my own wireless Internet connection and bypass the filters work has in place?

    I speak as one who does the filtering, not one who is trying to bypass them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ketto (1349749)

      In the USA; If I browse adult stuff at work on works PC and Internet connection, work can be held libel. If I browse adult stuff on the iPhone at work using my own Internet connect, it is less likely that work can be held libel.

      But what if I provide my own wireless Internet connection and bypass the filters work has in place?

      I speak as one who does the filtering, not one who is trying to bypass them.

      I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    • by wowbagger (69688)

      Tether your iPhone to your work PC via USB or Bluetooth. Create a connection through the iPhone to the Internet. (With T-Mobile phones you can alread do this, but it's so expensive.) With tethering you bypass such filtering restrictions.

      In the USA;
      If I browse adult stuff at work on works PC and Internet connection, work can be held libel.
      If I browse adult stuff on the iPhone at work using my own Internet connect, it is less likely that work can be held libel.

      Be careful. I know of a case where somebody did s

    • by pyite (140350)

      If I browse adult stuff at work on works PC and Internet connection, work can be held libel.
      If I browse adult stuff on the iPhone at work using my own Internet connect, it is less likely that work can be held libel.

      I think you mean liable [wiktionary.org]. Libel [wiktionary.org] is something different entirely.

      In any event, it's easy for corporations to disable USB and Bluetooth use. Having a phone with tethering capability is a non-issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snowgirl (978879) *

      Once this is out, Tether your iPhone to your work PC via USB or Bluetooth. Create a connection through the iPhone to the Internet. (With T-Mobile phones you can alread do this, but it's so expensive.)

      Most companies do URL filtering at the gateway. With tethering you bypass such filtering restrictions.

      In the USA;
      If I browse adult stuff at work on works PC and Internet connection, work can be held libel.
      If I browse adult stuff on the iPhone at work using my own Internet connect, it is less likely that work can be held libel.

      But what if I provide my own wireless Internet connection and bypass the filters work has in place?

      I speak as one who does the filtering, not one who is trying to bypass them.

      The answer, as with all legal matters is: "Talk to a lawyer." If you're working for a company with corporate policies, then they likely have lawyers, whom you can talk to. However, you're likely not responsible for making or enforcing corporate policy.

      Now, that said, the first thing to know is that browsing or viewing adult content at work in the USA is a big no no, no matter how you're accessing it. Viewing adult content in any way that can create a situation where someone else can see it, is a sexual h

  • Leverage (Score:4, Interesting)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Friday June 12, 2009 @01:41PM (#28310857) Homepage

    This is AT&T trying to get back some leverage in their relationship with Apple.

    Right now:
            * If you are on AT&T already, either you have an iPhone or you want one.
            * If you aren't on AT&T, the only reason to switch to it is to get the iPhone.
            * The iPhone is still a great device without AT&T, but AT&T is not great without the iPhone.

    By withholding tethering and MMS and not having a 7.2Mbps network in place, AT&T will try to make Apple look bad. AT&T will miss the "late-summer" "deadline" and they are gambling that pressure will grow on Apple to do something about it. Apple can't do anything about it and AT&T will use this in 2010 contract negotiations as a bargaining chip.

    AT&T is wagering the backlash against Apple will be worse than the backlash against themselves and that they will get concessions from Apple that will make them the most attractive iPhone carrier even after they lose exclusivity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra (782887)

      [AT&T] are gambling that pressure will grow on Apple to do something about it.

      Like what exactly is Apple supposed to do? Public pressure won't make Apple suddenly give back it's cut of the handset subsidy, which I imagine is the biggest bone of contention.

      AT&T is wagering the backlash against Apple will be worse than the backlash against themselves

      If that's their strategy they're already far behind; they should have had someone up-front at WWDC putting their spin on it. Apple's had the opportunity now to demonstrate the new iPhone features, and show that they work everywhere but under AT&T. All media reports have done exactly what Apple wanted; they revealed the new fe

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:14PM (#28311395)

    I have an original Samsung Blackjack (i607).
    It's a Windows Mobile phone (5, and Samsung put out a new image with 6 for free).

    My unlimited 3G data plan is $25 / month.

    I can tether my phone to my PC/Laptop/whatever and use it as a modem.

    This is a feature of the phone, and not the wireless carrier. The wireless carrier has no idea what's going on. My phone gets data as it would regardless of whether or not I'm tethering. My phone then sends that over USB to my device (my phone doesn't have WiFi).

    I'll never be "upgrading" my contract with AT&T.

  • Or OTOH... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:22PM (#28311509)

    I don't think AT&T execs wanted to stand up at WWDC and announce that.

    Or they were told not to spoil the festive atmosphere of the party with a line that was sure to bring out the Boo Birds bigtime.

  • by PeterChenoweth (603694) on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:42PM (#28311831)
    My guess is that AT&T won't charge for MMS messages. With every other phone that has MMS messaging, an MMS message is treated like a text message. Each is deducted from your bucket of monthly messages. It's that way for both 'dumb' phones and other PDA-phones. They used to charge separately for text and MMS messages (i.e., 200 text + 20 MMS /month for $5), but they stopped doing that and lumped them together several years ago. Charging more for iPhone users to MMS would be pretty harsh. Not that they wouldn't or couldn't do it, but it would be a step back for them in terms of plans and billing.

    Tethering, on the other hand, they absolutely *will* charge for. You can opt for the "official" tethering ability on the Blackberry and other PDA data plans. It costs and additional $30 month (for 5GB of data) on top of the $30/month data plan. Considering that many of these phones have 3G, I see no reason why they'd charge differently for iPhone 3G tethering. Unless, of course, they want to.

    I'm not saying that I think it's ok to charge another $30 for "more-unlimited" data. It's asinine. Unlimited data should be unlimited data. And it clearly isn't. But anyway, those "in the know" understand that it's trivial to tether _right now_ with a stock iPhone. Just pick up a Samsung Sync for $25 off eBay. Use it + your iPhone SIM + bluetooth/USB cable to connect to your favorite PC/Mac/Linux machine. Poof. 3G tethering. Yes, it's against the TOS but AT&T historically hasn't cared so long as you don't abuse it. Of course, they could crack down on this if they wanted to.... YMMV + use at your own risk.
  • Since they don't charge extra for MMS on non-iPhones, my guess is they won't do so for iPhones.

    Since they do charge extra for tethering on non-iPhones, my guess is they will do so for iPhones.

  • by puhuri (701880) <puhuri@iki.fi> on Friday June 12, 2009 @03:17PM (#28312407) Homepage

    With unlimited dataplans the laptop use dominates traffic volume. I do not remember now exact figures, but in one European network more than 95% of traffic volume is from laptops. The network has unlimited dataplans starting from 9.95€

    It is funny to see US carriers to cripple phones to save their business model.

  • by klaun (236494) on Friday June 12, 2009 @03:22PM (#28312503)

    So just to take a dispassionate look at this.

    First, AT&T's network supports MMS and tethering just fine. I use connection share on my Windows Mobile smart phone via Bluetooth all the time. No problems. I send MMS on the AT&T network all the time as well. So I'm not sure why there are so many stories that suggest the AT&T network is incapable of doing this. I'm not sure about the HSDPA, but for GPRS... there really isn't any effective way for AT&T to prevent you from using connection sharing. And you can put any GSM phone on their network.

    Second, how many iPhones are on AT&T's network? Three and a half million, maybe? With over 75 million subscribers the idea that 4% are going to overload the MMS or GPRS infrastructure is crazy. That stuff is so over-built at AT&T that they hardly sweat. Now, RF capacity might be a different story... but I rarely see any articles even mention that. And its hardly an iPhone specific problem.

    AT&T definitely benefits from its deal with Apple. AT&T definitely wants to maintain an exclusive deal. So how could they be dictating to Apple? To me it looks like Apple is the ones who either want rules changed for their benefit or some other concession. You build a phone to the GSMA spec, AT&T can't stop you from allowing people to share the GPRS connection. You can definitely turn MMS service on and off per MSISDN... but it has nothing to do with the device. Why do it?

    None of it makes economic sense. Generally, mobile providers are selling phones at a loss or at cost if you don't sign up for a contract. I don't see how AT&T has an interest in crippling Apple phones. All they want is the subscribers. The more people who think an iPhone is good to by... the better.

  • by hao3 (1182447) on Friday June 12, 2009 @04:06PM (#28313259)
    O2 are charging £14.68 a month for tethering, with a 3GB cap or £29.36 for 10GB. It's not available on Pay & Go. http://shop.o2.co.uk/update/internet.html [o2.co.uk]
  • MMS is simple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonwil (467024) on Friday June 12, 2009 @08:31PM (#28316025)

    Its not about AT&T wanting to charge for MMS, its about the fact that their MMSC servers arent up to the task of all those iPhone users sending MMSs. And the fact that there is no easy way to disable the MMS redirect only for phones that have MMS support.

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