Yesterday, AT&T revealed a new post-paid data plan option for tablet users, which allows people to pay for their data usage at the end of the month rather than at the beginning. So if you’ve got a 3G-equipped iPad or Galaxy Tab and you suddenly find yourself in desperate need of an Internet connection with no accessible Wi-Fi network in sight, there’s no longer any need to worry.
Alternatively, iPhone owners could instead opt to make use of AT&T’s re-confirmed support for the iOS 4.3 update’s Personal Hotspot feature, which will be released alongside the iPad 2 on March 11. The wireless carrier has previously said that it would make use of the new feature — really, the company has to, what with Verizon’s iPhone confirmed from the start to support it — and now the details of how it will all work have been revealed.
“AT&T plans to support the iOS 4.3 mobile hotspot feature when it’s released March 11,” the company told AppleInsider. “To utilize this feature, customers will need to subscribe to the DataPro 4GB/$45 tethering data plan.”
Which is really just confirmation of what we already learned after AT&T dropped its unlimited data plans last summer in favor of a tiered pricing structure. At the time, the carrier also announced that tethering would be available to customers pending an iOS update for an addition $20 per month. So to use the Personal Hotspot feature in iOs 4.3, customers will need the 4GB Data Pro plan ($25/month) plus tethering ($20/month). $45.
Frankly, this is outlandishly expensive. And a completely unattractive option if you are one of the many users who opted to hang onto your unlimited data plan following last year’s service change. That will have to go if you want tethering. Unless you’re okay with a jailbreak.
In truth, a Wi-Fi hotspot feature has been available on iPhones for quite awhile now. Jailbreak app MyWi delivers the feature for a one-time cost of $19.99. If you happen to also still have your unlimited data plan, then there’s not even any danger of a data overage.