Optus has announced it will charge its iPhone customers $9.99 a month to enable them to use their phones as 3G modems.
The extra charge comes as Apple just released the iPhone 3.0 software update, which enables Internet tethering — the ability to use the iPhone as a 3G modem to connect to the Internet using a PC or notebook computer. Apple is releasing the new iPhone 3G S, which runs the latest 3.0 software, in Australia on 26 June.
Available from 22 June for Optus post-paid customers, the Internet tethering feature allows users to use the iPhone as a 3G modem by connecting it to a computer using a USB cable, or a wireless connection. It has often been a feature available without any extra charge with other mobile phones.
The $9.99 monthly fee will "unlock" the Internet tethering feature and allow Optus customers to use their iPhone plans' included data allowance to access the Internet. Tethering is not available for Optus prepaid customers.
In Australia, Vodafone has confirmed it will offer tethering free of charge, while Telstra, 3 and Virgin Mobile are yet to announce their plans. In the U.S, exclusive iPhone carrier AT&T is not offering tethering.
In addition to the tethering charges, Optus also announced a range of new data plans, ranging from $4.99 a month for 25MB of data to $44.99 for 6GB of data.
For more information, visit Optus' iPhone Web site.