updated 02:55 pm EST, Tue January 11, 2011
ATT on the fence about Verizon iPhone hotspot
AT&T in a statement to Electronista said it was "evaluating" the iPhone mobile hotspot feature added with iOS 4.2.5 on the Verizon model. It didn't reject the feature out of hand but said that it had only just been unveiled. The company didn't give an estimate but hinted it might come in the future.
"This is a brand new software feature from Apple," spokesman Seth Bloom said. "We are evaluating the feature, but have no plans to announce today."
It's unknown so far whether AT&T was aware of the hotspot feature in advance, although by necessity it would have been aware of the end of its US exclusivity.
The company doesn't necessarily have to use the feature upon its inclusion and has previously been cautious relative to other carriers. Tethering was added to iOS 3 in mid-2009 but, due to the oversaturated AT&T network, was available everywhere but the US until a year later. Android devices from AT&T have also typically omitted hotspot support where it's present on Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Verizon has yet to reveal how much it will charge for hotspots and could ask $20 or more while capping the data to 2GB.