Telefonica to charge extra for iPhone tethering; AT&T kills it

iPhone tethering: an expensive business

At the unveiling of the latest iPhone hardware and software at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco Monday, one of the most hotly anticipated new features was tethering. But many users are likely to be disappointed by the carriers’ reaction to functionality that allows the iPhone to be used as a 3G modem.

The iPhone OS 3.0 software upgrade will be made available to iPhone users for free on June 17, and boasts hundreds of new features ranging from the mundane but useful copy and paste or landscape keyboard, through to ‘find my iPhone’, remote wipe and tethering.

Apple also unveiled a new version of the handset, dubbed the iPhone 3G S, which trumps the onboard memory and processor power of the previous version as well as boasting enhancements to the camera, and a compass.

But the operators which carry the iPhone don’t appear quite so enthusiastic about its tethering capabilities, despite the fact that many iPhone tariffs offer ‘unlimited’ data downloads.

AT&T, the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US, won’t be allowing tethering at all. While Telefonica’s UK operation, O2, will charge a princely sum for the privilege.

O2 UK users will have to buy a Bolt On to use the service, paying an extra £14.68 per month on top of their iPhone tariff to get 3GB of tethering data, or £29.36 per month for 10GB. An extra GB costs a further £4.89.

Other carriers that will allow tethering, for various prices, include Bharti Airtel, Telefonica, TIM, Optus, Orange, TeliaSonera, Maxis, Rogers, Chunghwa Telecom, Telkomsel and Telenor.


  1. iPhone App Developer 09/06/2009 @ 1:24 pm

    Would that the operators meant unlimited when they said unlimited – charging extra to make it slightly less limited doesn’t cut it.
    I think we can expect to see the operators defending themselves in courts on this.

  2. Anup 09/06/2009 @ 8:27 pm

    Interesting to note that all Carriers are discounting on data plans for the iPhone and there are operators in India like Airtel for example, they charge normal tariffs for Voice & Data. It’s fine to pay that as long as they sell the phone at a discounted rate like in the other countries. Airtel sells the 8GB phone at INR 31000 which is USD620. Is Apple planning to do anything about it.

  3. Lars 27/06/2009 @ 7:46 pm

    Nokia N97 seems to have wifi tethering pre-installed with JoikuSpot app. I wonder what AT&T is going to do with that.

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