Updated: The appearance of the iTether app in the Apple App Store has drawn attention today, as tethering apps don't as a rule make it into the App Store. Whether it will be there long or not, those who buy and use the app better be prepared for their U. S. carrier to retaliate.
I have been warning folks for months that the tethering police, aka carriers, are watching for tethering in the background and taking action when they discover customers doing it without paying for that extra "mobile hotspot" plan. Those plans can be $20 - $30 per month, and I felt confident the carriers were not going to take it lightly when customers bypassed the extra service fee through apps.
The iTether app is just such an app, it allows iOS device owners use the connectivity to supply laptops with free networking. The app's name aptly describes what it does, and won't keep it off the carriers' radars for very long.
Recently, carriers have begun automatically turning on the monthly tethering service charge for customers it determines are doing it without paying. Verizon and AT&T have blocked tethering apps in the app stores on their devices, and most likely Apple will end up doing the same.
As customers, we feel the right to use the mobile broadband services as we see fit, but the reality is much different. We have a contract, and the tethering police can push us around if we violate it. They view us as service thieves if we use apps like iTether to avoid the extra fees, and they are getting testy about it.
Image credit: Flickr user OregonDOT
Updated: As expected, the iTether app has disappeared from the App Store with no word of explanation. I guess Apple has your back with the carriers.
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