AT&T: No iPhone tethering in Sept. 25 update

MMS gets green light, but tethering's a no-go

Apple iPhone 3G and 3GS owners should expect a software update on Sept. 25, AT&T revealed today, and while the new software will let U.S. customers send MMS text messages, it won't switch on tethering, the company confirmed Thursday.

Earlier today, AT&T announced that it would make multimedia messaging service (MMS) available via an iPhone update later this month. Tethering, however, won't be part of the package.

"As for tethering, by its nature, this function could exponentially increase traffic on the network, and we need to ensure that some of our current upgrades are in place before we can deliver the expanded functionality with the excellent performance that customers expect," an AT&T spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "We expect to offer tethering in the future."

She declined to provide additional comment on tethering.

Previously, AT&T had said it would offer a tethering plan at some indefinite point in the future. "[Tethering is] a matter of when and not if," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Computerworld in June .

The iPhone update, slated for Friday, Sept. 25, will be delivered via the iTunes software. "The [MMS] service will be enabled with a software update on the launch date. Customers can obtain the update from iTunes, just like all other iPhone updates," the spokeswoman said.

Both MMS and tethering, which some mobile carriers supporting the iPhone have had in place since June, have been unavailable for U.S. users, something that raised the ire of developers at Apple's annual conference in early June, and has led to at least two lawsuits seeking class-action status .

Tethering lets mobile phone users access the Internet from a laptop by linking it, usually via Bluetooth, to an iPhone's wireless data connection, essentially turning the smartphone into a movable Wi-Fi hotspot.

Tethering has been a contentious issue for U.S. iPhone users. In August 2008, for example, Apple yanked a tethering application from its App Store only hours after it had been approved and added to the online market. Over the next several days, Apple restored the Netshare software to the App Store, only to again pull it.

Although AT&T doesn't offer tethering to its iPhone customers, it does sell the service for $15 extra per month to owners of a wide range of handsets sold by LG, Motorola, Nokia, Research In Motion, Samsung and others.

Apple and AT&T are under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over why some applications, most notably Google's Voice software, have been rejected for the App Store. That inquiry is part of a wider-ranging probe by the FCC into exclusive arrangements between handset makers and mobile carriers.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPhoneiphone 3gmmstetheringiPhone 3GS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?