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AT&T to bring MMS to iPhone Sept. 25th [U]

updated 02:30 pm EDT, Thu September 3, 2009

Just past official summer target

(Updated with statement on tethering) AT&T this afternoon finally established a firm date for when it would add MMS support to iPhones on its network. The carrier will switch on the feature as of September 25th through a software upgrade for iPhone 3G and 3GS owners. Adding the feature will let those running iPhone 3.0 or later firmware send photos, videos and general data like contact cards to any MMS-aware phone.

Original iPhones aren't eligible for the upgrade, though it's never been fully explained as to why this is the case. MMS is a common feature available on many low-end phones and usually isn't regulated by hardware as long as a phone can display images.

The company acknowledged that the release will be just past the official "end of summer" target announced after the iPhone 3GS unveiling at WWDC and elaborated on its reasons behind the months long delay, which saw most every other carrier enable MMS from the moment iPhone 3.0 was available. Officials claim the company had to prepare its network to handle the likely "record" load of data traffic.

News of the addition follows two lawsuits challenging AT&T and Apple for allegedly misleading promotion of the feature and as AT&T has finished some 850MHz upgrades in major cities like New York City, where the 1,900MHz frequency has often been overloaded with iPhone customers.

Update: When contacted by Electronista, AT&T declined to commit to a specific release window for data tethering, which shares a phone's 3G connection over Bluetooth or USB. The company said the addition could "exponentially increase" the network load and that it only plans to offer tethering sometime "in the future." As with MMS, the company wants to make sure its upgrades are complete before it sends a carrier update that enables tethering.

AT&T normally charges extra for tethering but hasn't said what its pricing, if any, will be. Some carriers already factor tethering into their iPhone data plans, however.

By Electronista Staff


  1. c4rlob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009


    Speaking of updates...

    Electronista/MacNN has done a great job with their own update to their site. I especially appreciate the collapsable page sections and automatic photo thumbnail layout for RSS feeds.

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    And the lawsuits begin.

    They promised late summer. They missed their deadline. There will be class action lawsuits lining up. weasel lawyers.

  1. jaredgibbs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2008


    As far as I'm concerned

    AT&T can leave the official tethering disabled because I do it for free now with the non-jailbreak hack and love, love love it. Hopefully, the MMS functionality and iPhone OS 3.1 won't break this trick.

  1. ibugv4

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003


    Planned obsolescence

    So now you HAVE to have a 3G phone to do MMS. I'm going to have fun with my attorney general about that.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004


    So true

    There is nothing about the hardware in the original iPhone that doesn't permit the sending and receiving of MMS data. This is a straight money grab and I hope it bites Apple/AT&T in the butt.

    While MS may have gotten much discredit from their Zunes....they always allowed fully backwards support for any OS upgrade. Apple should do the same.

  1. x user

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Dec 2000



    I just started using tethering on the iPhone, and have been pretty pleased. I used it before on Verizon (hacked Moto phones) and its much faster with 3g. I don't give two darns about MMS, so if it breaks tethering, I won't update.

  1. apple89

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009



    >MMS is a common feature available on many low-end phones and usually isn't regulated by hardware as long as a phone can display images.

    The PalmOS-based Treos and Centros still cannot do MMS. It is not a useful/priority feature unless you choose not to use the awesome built-in e-mail (or camera app which is integrated with e-mail).

    > The company said [tethering] could "exponentially increase" the network load

    If AT&T offered tethering for free and Apple allowed an App that turned the iPhone into a portable "hotspot", the AT&T network would melt and Palm WebOS and Google Android would win as Apple becomes the next Microsoft. Can this feature be resolved before AT&T's exclusive marketing arrangement expires (without charging an amount that would not be competitive)?

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