It would seem that AT&T is finding new ways to discourage people from jailbreaking their device in order to avoid paying for a tethering plan that come in $15, $25 and $45 a month varieties. Mac blogs are abuzz with a purported text and email messages that the carrier has allegedly sent out to some customers.
It would appear the communication targets owners of jailbroken devices running unsanctioned MyWi app that enables Internet tethering over WiFi, USB and Bluetooth, but it’s possible the carrier as well reached out to those using the Personal Hotspot feature via one of the official tethering plans.
AT&T’s text message looks legit to us and even more so their email message included below. The email opens with the sinister-sounding “we’ve notice your service plan may need updating” line. We can certainly imagine AT&T taking this step in order to protect their business.
After all, the technology certainly makes it easy to pinpoint those cheap jailbreakers unwilling to pay for those exorbitant tethering fees through their nose. Here’s that email message.
Dear [Name of Account Holder], We’ve noticed your service plan may need updating. Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones– a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&T’s mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan. Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan. If you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at http://www.wireless.att.com, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering. Here are details on the plan: DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering • $45 per month (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20) • $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed • Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan. If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required. It’s easy to track your usage throughout the month so there are no bill surprises. For example, we send you free text messages when you reach 65, 90, and 100 percent of your plan’s threshold. If you would like to monitor your account more closely, go to http://www.att.com/dataplans to learn about other ways to track your data usage. As a reminder, our smartphone data plans also include unlimited usage of Wi-Fi at no additional charge. AT&T smartphone customers can use Wi-Fi at home or on-the-go at any one of our more than 23,000 U.S. hotspots already included in your data plan. Thank you for bringing your account up to date. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve your mobile broadband needs. Sincerely, AT&T Please update your data plan by March 27, 2011 if you intend to continue tethering To learn more and update your plan, visit att.com/dataplans Reach us for assistance during business hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CST Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST at 1-888-860-6789