AT&T announces Hotspot, new tethering plan similar to Verizon's

AT&T announced today that it will be launching a mobile hotspot feature, allowing mobile phones to share Internet through Wi-Fi with multiple devices, and changed its current tethering plans, making them more competitive with Verizon's.

The news comes the day before pre-orders for the Verizon iPhone begin; one of the several ways Verizon has been marketing their network as superior to AT&T's is by touting the hotspot feature, which currently works with up to five connected devices.

While AT&T didn't say exactly how many devices its service can support simultaneously, they did add on an extra 2GB of data for their current tethering plans. AT&T presently has two data plans for smartphones: DataPlus for $15 a month, which allows for 200MB of data usage; and DataPro for $25 a month, which allows for 2GB of data usage. It use to be that customers were charged another $20 just for the ability to tether their smartphone to their computer, but now the fee will allow for tethering and increase customers' data quota to 4GB.

"We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan. This delivers more value today for the price they're already paying – and that's what our customers want[,]" the company said in a statement today.

The new hotspot feature and tethering plan will launch on February 13th, alongside the launch of the HTC Inspire 4G. AT&T did not specify if they will bring the hotspot feature to the iPhone once iOS 4.3 is rolled out to compete with Verizon. Although, a spokesperson told Wired.com that "[AT&T is] working with Apple to bring it to iPhone."

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14 Comments

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Either the coffee hasn't kicked in and/or I am con-fuse-ed. Does this mean that the $15/month data plan will now include tethering and/or hotspot?

Before AT&T swallowed up Cingular, unlimited teather was included with the data plans from Cingular...

Whatever... AT&T its all about the $$$$

nidaros said,
Before AT&T swallowed up Cingular, unlimited teather was included with the data plans from Cingular...

Whatever... AT&T its all about the $$

AT&T was always Cingular. They had to create a split in the company due to an anti-trust battle.

I can't imagine having to rely on 3G data for my internet to require multiple GBs/month. Got high-speed at home, decent wifi at work, and anywhere in between is fine on my iPhone.

mystwalker80 said,
I can't imagine having to rely on 3G data for my internet to require multiple GBs/month. Got high-speed at home, decent wifi at work, and anywhere in between is fine on my iPhone.

+1

This is why Sprint rules. Sorry AT&T (and Verizon) you rake your customers over the coals charging outragous rates to tether and then OOOOOOO you will give them only 4 gigs, and then rake them over the coals again if they go over there limit. Really! Thank you Sprint for being the only one with no hard cap (Coming from someone who uses about 9 gigs of data per month on average)

(I acknowledge that Sprint could at any point impose a hard cap. However, Sprint shows some signs of life when it comes to pointing this exact issue out in advertising, so dont see that hard cap yet).

EVO Owner (2 phone lines on plan) with 1500 monthly minutes, true UNLIMITED data plan (tethering being done via Rooted phone so I dont pay the Sprint tether fee) and all I pay is $119 a month (and thats after the new $10 fee that Sprint just added)

TechGuyPA said,
This is why Sprint rules.

Exactly. Also an EVO owner here, I love free (rooted) tethering and how I only pay $69.99 for unlimited EVERYTHING (including any mobile any time) so hearing people have "limits" and "monthly minute allowances" is so archaic to me

mystwalker80 said,
I can't imagine having to rely on 3G data for my internet to require multiple GBs/month. Got high-speed at home, decent wifi at work, and anywhere in between is fine on my iPhone.

You'd be surprised how quickly it adds up when your constantly reflashing and reloading ROMs onto your phone and need to install all your apps.

I am on tmobile prepaid. I pay around $200/year for voice and SMS.
And for data access I use the $1.5/day unlimited service.

Most days I have Wifi around (I don't need the data plan on most days).
So overall I end up paying around $20/month for unlimited data.
Can use Skype too and what not.

Unlocked phone to boot and much cheaper service at around $35/month.

dagamer34 said,
Competition is good.

Really? I was thinking AT&T could have done better here... like offering FREE tethering with DataPlus plan.

"We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan. This delivers more value today for the price they're already paying - and that's what our customers want[,]" the company said in a statement today.


noo... we don't want to pay so much for internet that we are forced to have and extra for phone features which the network provider wants to charge us for.

capr said,
"We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan. This delivers more value today for the price they're already paying - and that's what our customers want[,]" the company said in a statement today.


noo... we don't want to pay so much for internet that we are forced to have and extra for phone features which the network provider wants to charge us for.

Guess it sucks to be in the US (at least for this) I don't pay for tethering at all.

capr said,
"We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan. This delivers more value today for the price they're already paying - and that's what our customers want[,]" the company said in a statement today.


noo... we don't want to pay so much for internet that we are forced to have and extra for phone features which the network provider wants to charge us for.

No one is _forcing_ you to have a phone.

Draje said,

No one is _forcing_ you to have a phone.

oldest argument in the book. and a rather naive one... I would say more, but this isn't the place for it.