AT&T set to crack down on illegal tethering

Summary:Bad news for anyone tethering jailbroken iPhones to their computers: it's time to pay up.

AT&T is fed up with subscribers jailbreaking their iPhones only to then tether the smartphones to their computers and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices for unlimited data. Obviously, this is costing AT&T a lot of money, so now the wireless provider is turning around and sticking the bill to the culprits.

That bill will come in the form of an automatic transfer to a tiered plan without unlimited data for those who don't quit and are caught. (You might be wondering why unlimited data is even relevant as AT&T nixed that option awhile back. This concerns customers who were grandfathered in with the unlimited data still in tact last year.)

Here's AT&T's official response to 9to5Mac about illegal tethering:

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 rumor, as it stands, is that AT&T will start cracking down officially on August 11. Only time (or AT&T) will tell.

AT&T also recently confirmed that it would begin throttling data speeds for the heaviest users who still have the unlimited data plans, likely in anticipation of more traffic if/when the iPhone 5 drops this fall.

Related:

Topics: AT&T

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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