by Al Sacco

AT&T iPhone Official Tethered Modem Solution Coming Soon

Nov 07, 20083 mins
Data Center

Of the many potential hang-ups enterprise smartphone users may have over using Apple’s uber popular iPhone as a business device, its inability to connect to computers and be used as an external tethered modem—without hacking, or “jailbreaking,” the device–is very likely near the top of the list for many. But according to AT&T Mobility Chief Executive Ralph De La Vega, iPhone owners will soon get an official AT&T iPhone tethering solution.

De La Vega spilled the beans during an interview with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, in front of a crowd of attendees at the Web 2.0 Summit, which is being held in San Francisco this week.

It’s worth nothing that the last time I reported on an iPhone-related prediction from De Le Vega, it eventually came true.

AT&T iPhone Tethered to PC
AT&T iPhone Tethered to PC

Though the AT&T Mobility CEO confirmed that such a feature is on the horizon, he did not mention any specific on when exactly it will arrive or how much iPhone users will be expected to pay per month for the tethering functionality. AT&T currently charges $60 a month for its BlackBerry Enterprise data plan with tethering–$15 more than the $45-BlackBerry Enterprise data plan without the external modem support—so it seems likely that business iPhone users will have to pay a similar premium.

Consumer, or personal, BlackBerry users pay AT&T even more for the ability to use their smartphones as tethered modems; at $60 per month, the current BlackBerry Personal data plan plus tethering is $30 more than the BlackBerry personal plan without it.

iPhone tethering options have been available for some time to those willing to jailbreak their iPhones, including the free PDAnet application. But many have been hesitant to go the jailbreak-route, as it voids the iPhone’s warranty, could damage devices and may even result in deactivation by Apple. Business users in particular could benefit from an official AT&T tethering solution, as corporate IT policies may prevent them from jailbreaking and using an unofficial tethering option.

A tethering application called Netshare briefly appeared in Apple’s iTunes App Store last summer, but it was pulled from the virtual shelves within hours of its release.

For more on smartphone tethering and how to user you BlackBerry as a tethered modem for your computer, read “How To Use Your RIM Smartphone As a Tethered Modem for Your PC.” And for step by step instruction on who to use your BlackBerry as an “un-tethered” modem via Bluetooth, check out “How To: Use Your BlackBerry as a Bluetooth Modem for Your PC.”