Telcos propose steep iPhone tethering charges despite hacks

Undeterred by the quick release of hacks to unlock iPhone tethering, various telcos around the globe still propose to charge customers for the privileged of using Apple’s "wunderphone" as a wireless broadband modem.

AT&T in the US, along with O2 in the the UK, have threatened customers with disconnection if they are caught unofficially tethering iPhones to notebook computers for accessing the internet whilst on the road. AT&T’s wireless service agreement expressly forbids tethering and reserves the right to "deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited".

O2 intends to charge for tethering to the tune of £14.68 ($24) for 3GB per month or £29.36 ($48) for 10GB. Meanwhile AT&T is rumoured to be contemplating a fee of $55 per month, with no word on exactly what sort of allowance this would include. Other telcos, such as Australia’s Optus, intend to charge a $9.99 ($8) monthly tethering fee on top of data usage charges. 

While a complicated tethering hack has been available for the second-generation iPhone 3G for some time, Apple added official tethering support in the iPhone 3.0 software update – released this week before the third-generation iPhone 3G S goes on sale. It allows iPhone users to connect their notebook to their phone for tethering via USB or Bluetooth, although some telcos have chosen to disable the feature. Within hours of iPhone 3.0’s release, tethering hacks were released which allowed users to easily unlock the feature.