Why AT&T Is Forcing A Tethering Plan On You Selfish, Jailbreaking Jerks

In 2010, AT&T killed off their unlimited data plans, capped usage, and charged specifically for tethering. This has made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad move. They made it slightly better by adding a 2GB bonus for tethering, which means you at least have some reason to add the plan, assuming you don’t have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and don’t mind paying through the nose for data. But there was always an option: jailbreak for free tethering. Well, not no more!

AT&T has unleashed their tethering Santa Claus brigade on freeloading customers. They see you when you’re tethering, they know when you’re ripping them off. And they’re sending emails to all freeloaders with a clear message: pay up or else. The “or else” referring to a horrifying $20 additional monthly charge on your device.

Of course, AT&T’s move makes perfect sense. Because, you see, when someone uses tethering on their device, they inevitably use more data, which is a bigger drain on their networks. The more data you use, the more you should pay, right? Right! Except that without a tethering plan, your data is capped at 2GB. And if you go over that, you are charged overage fees to the tune of $10 per GB. So, if you were to use 3.5 GB of data in a month, you’d be charged $20 more for a total of $45/month. Compare this to the much simpler, customer-friendly tethering plan which gives you a generous extra 2 GB of data for $20/month more. So, if you use tethering and, inevitably, use more than 2GB of data, you’re covered! And all it costs you is $45/month! And anything more than this would result in the same $10/GB overage fee. See? Isn’t paying $45/month with a tethering plan so much better than paying $45/month without a tethering plan?

Sarcasm aside, AT&T’s tethering plan is the most needless “feature” of anything they offer. Before the increased data cap, it was a charge for how you use your data. Now, with the increased data cap, the net effect is that it’s making the first two overage fee increments mandatory. The idea is that if you tether your laptop, you’ll probably end up using more data. In practice, if they made tethering free and merely counted on the overages to do their dirty work, they’d get the same amount of money. That is, unless a user didn’t happen to go over that 2GB limit even with tethering. In which case they’d be paying appropriately for the amount of data they used, rather than needlessly paying more. And we can’t have that.

Truthfully, this campaign to force users to get a tethering plan if they’re tethering through a less-than-official means really only gets extra money from one group of people: users who grandfathered in their unlimited data plans and use more than 2GB a month, who would otherwise not use that much data if they did not tether, which is a mighty specific group.

If you had an unlimited data plan on AT&T prior to summer of 2010, you were allowed to keep your data plan so long as you never change it. This gets you unlimited data for $30/month. And if you tether to your laptop and end up using even more data, you don’t get charged anything extra because, hey! You’ve got unlimited data! This is obviously a problem for AT&T who wants to nickel and dime everyone, not just new customers. Those loyal users who have been with AT&T for a while need to start paying up!

While other carriers have different plans that make a little more logical sense, if still kind of a ripoff (Sprint has unlimited data plans, but charges for tethering since it likely uses more data), AT&T’s system is set up such that tethering could easily be free and the only downside is their customers would only be paying for the data they use. In other words, it would only suck for AT&T because it’s fair.

Way to go AT&T. I really didn’t think it was possible to be such a dick in such a complete way.


Posted on March 18, 2011, in Carriers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. this is awesome

  2. Nice article! I have never been so blown away by a company’s covert greed. Only AT&T would put limitations on an “UNlimited” data plan. “Sure, you can use all the data you want! Except, we are going to tell you HOW you can use that unlimited data. Oh! Almost forgot. If you use too much of that unlimited data, we are going to slow down your speed. Other than that, knock yourself out!” The thing that makes their horrible treatment of their customers all the more painful is the fact that ALL of the mobile phone companies are HORRIBLE. They all try to gouge their customers for every penny in one way or another. One may charge a bit less for voice minutes, but charge a premium for data. One may have reasonable data, but hit you for text messages. They all find a way to bleed their customers dry. Technology being what it is these days, we should not still be charged as though each of us is among the first group of cell phone users on the planet, privy to near-god-like cutting edge equipment and services. Cell phone service, SMS, MMS, data phones, etc., have all been around long enough that we should be seeing a decrease in the cost of such services, not every increasing and new ways to charge more and more for the same service. Sure, the phones can do more with the signal provided to them, but that doesn’t mean John Q. Public has to pay $10 every time he turns the damn thing on! SHAME on all of the cell phone companies. Too bad I just can’t live without mine, which is exactly what they count on.

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