AT&T set to crack down on illegal tethering

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.

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