Happened to read a story on Engadget today about AT&T planning on auto enrolling "unauthorized" tethering users in a tethering data plan...

The story goes like this: People that have jailbroken their iPhone can use certain apps to enable tethering/hotspot features for free. The very same features that AT&T would like to charge its users for.

Up until now, it didn't seem like they cared too much about it (publicly at least, internally they probably wanted to smack these people in some way). Well, that smack down appears to have come in the form of text messages and emails stating that these people are using these services without having an appropriate data plan.

It goes on to say that if AT&T does not hear back from you by 3/27, that they will automatically enroll you in one of those appropriate data plans (DataPro + Tethering) for what amounts to an additional $20/month.

From my perspective, there are 2 parts to this...

AT&T wants to be compensated for features that it provides that people are not paying for. This is understandable but there is also the argument that if I'm already paying for my 2GB of data (or whatever) that I should be able to use up that data anyway I want to. If that includes tethering or mobile hotspot or whatever, that should not be AT&T's concern. I think this is pretty sound logic and comes down to AT&T wanting to nickel and dime everyone to death to save their bottom line.

The other side is that people are purposely using these "unauthorized" methods of tethering and hotspots for the sole reason of avoiding paying those fees. Now if there is a correct service offering for what you're doing, and you're not paying the fee for that service, that's kind of stealing (in a VERY broad sense of the term). So regardless of the correctness of AT&T wanting to nickel and dime people, those people should be paying for the service they're using - if there is a legitimate offering for it.

I happen to not use this service in any way, authorized or unauthorized... but my first thought is that these people who are using the "free" services that are going to be super pissed at AT&T should actually do something about it. Don't like their policy? Don't want to pay the fee they're about to force you to pay? Drop your service. Leave the carrier. Go get a Verizon iPhone. Do something.

Whining about how much you hate AT&T for doing this will do NOTHING to fix it. Show them that you really don't like what they're doing by not giving them anymore of your money. If you continue to go along with something that you don't like, the ONLY message you're sending is that it doesn't bother you enough to actually do something about it - instead just enough for you to be a whiny bitch on the internet about it.

Some possibly related posts...