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AT&T to get iPhone Personal Hotspot with iOS 4.3 on March 11

updated 07:55 pm EST, Wed March 2, 2011

ATT says its iPhone Personal Hotspot due March 11

AT&T on Wednesday night confirmed with Electronista that it would start supporting the Personal Hotspot feature in sync with the launch of iOS 4.3. Subscribers will have the same support as Verizon customers when the update pushes out to the GSM iPhone 4 on March 11. Pricing should stay the same as for basic tethering and will need its new DataPro hotspot/tethering plan, which combines 4GB of total data with connection sharing for $45.

The pricing puts it on par with Verizon's own combined strategy except for flexibility. Verizon's plan has unlimited data on-device, but users can't draw more than 2GB while in hotspot or tethered mode without an overage. AT&T's plan is capped on all devices, but those who tether or use the hotspot often will have up to twice as much room. International carriers are still offering better deals, and Canadians will get free hotspot creation on plans that already included tethering at no extra charge.

Adopting the hotspot so quickly is a contrast with AT&T's initial approach to direct tethering. The carrier promised tethering would come to its version of the iPhone soon after iOS 3.0 brought it about but didn't make it available until a year later, after many carriers in other countries had already enabled it. Lingering concerns about the 3G network's ability to handle the load were considered the driving factor, but its then-unlimited plans may have played their own role.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. LenE

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2004

    +6

    Pricing as a governor

    I used to think that AT&T was gouging with their expensive tethering option. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I feel cheated by having the capability in the iPhone artificially limited first by their lack of participation, and later by their pricing and plans.

    When I first got my 3GS, it was great! The network in my rural area was fast and just about as reliable as the Verizon network I had left. Over time, I noticed more and more iPhones popping up at work and at the high school where my wife teaches. With each new iPhone, the network stability, speed, and general availability took a hit. Now, AT&T's network in my town has become absolutely awful. For this reason alone, I now will not consider even bothering with enabling tethering or enabling the hotspot on my wife's iPhone 4.

    Lately, I've come to the realization that AT&T just doesn't want people to use these features. It would cost them too much to fix the network for the increased load, so the extra cost they are presenting to customers is being used by them to govern demand. I'm hoping that the exodus of customers back to Verizon will bring the quality of AT&T's network back to where it used to be.

    -- Len

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