Paying for a data plan DOESN'T mean you can use it any way you want!

In my earlier post on AT&T cracking down on those with jailbroken iPhones using apps such as MyWi to tether other equipment to the 3G connection, some of you seem to think that you can do anything with that data plan you pay for. Not so ...
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

In my earlier post on AT&T cracking down on those with jailbroken iPhones using apps such as MyWi to tether other equipment to the 3G connection, some of you seem to think that you can do anything with that data plan you pay for. Not so ...

Here are some of the comments from people who believe (rather logically) that the data bundled with their plan is their data to use as they wish:

Economister: "If I pay for a certain amount of data usage per month, it is none of AT&T's business how I use it."

KBot: "This is bogus. Their data plan is UNLIMITED!!! This means that, i gould download 100TB of data a month on my phone and it still fits in the plan. If this is not the case the term unlimited does not apply and it's false advertising. Tethering is using a data plan on a phone to link other devices. THE SAME PLAN! The fact that phone companies can get away with double billing their customers is rediculous. three words-class action lawsuit. bury them in litigation. If I'm stuck paying $30/mo for a data plan that isn't even as fast as my home network, I better damn well get unlimited everything on it."

Sorry folks, but if you're with AT&T, the data that you're paying for as part of your data plan can only be used in any way that AT&T says it can be used.

Let's spin to AT&T's Wireless Customer Agreement. Specifically:

6.2 What Are The Intended Purposes Of The Wireless Data Service?

Except as may otherwise be specifically permitted or prohibited for select data plans, data sessions may be conducted only for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email, and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force, and field service automation). While most common uses for Internet browsing, email and intranet access are permitted by your data plan, there are certain uses that cause extreme network capacity issues and interference with the network and are therefore prohibited. Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing; (ii) as a substitute or backup for private lines, wireline s or full-time or dedicated data connections; (iii) "auto-responders," "cancel-bots," or similar automated or manual routines which generate excessive amounts of net traffic, or which disrupt net user groups or email use by others; (iv) "spam" or unsolicited commercial or bulk email (or activities that have the effect of facilitating unsolicited commercial email or unsolicited bulk email); (v) any activity that adversely affects the ability of other people or systems to use either AT&T's wireless services or other parties' Internet-based resources, including "denial of service" (DoS) attacks against another network host or individual user; (vi) accessing, or attempting to access without authority, the accounts of others, or to penetrate, or attempt to penetrate, security measures of AT&T's wireless network or another entity's network or systems; (vii) software or other devices that maintain continuous active Internet connections when a computer's connection would otherwise be idle or any "keep alive" functions, unless they adhere to AT&T's data retry requirements, which may be changed from time to time. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited. Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/smartphone to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose. Accordingly, AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network, including without limitation, after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage and (ii) otherwise protect its wireless network from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance, which may impact legitimate data flows. You may not send solicitations to AT&T's wireless subscribers without their consent. You may not use the Services other than as intended by AT&T and applicable law. Plans are for individual, non-commercial use only and are not for resale. AT&T may, but is not required to, monitor your compliance, or the compliance of other subscribers, with AT&T's terms, conditions, or policies.

Sorry folks, but that's what you signed up to. I agree, it's bogus and a way to make more money, but most carriers do it. Bottom line, AT&T can make you pay more, or kick up off the data network.

Note: Here in the UK my iPhone 4 is fitted with a dual SIM adaptor that allows me to use two SIM cards in the one handset, one for Orange and one for Three. Orange don't have a plan that even allows me to use Personal Hotspot on the handset, but with Three I don't need a separate plan and the data forms part of my standard bundle and can activate/deactivate the hotspot feature as I want.

Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger, and I don't agree with the policy of charging extra to be able to make better use of the data plan you're already paying for in the first place.

Note: For data plans from other mobile providers, please check your customer agreement/terms of service.

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