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T-Mobile to add $15/month data tethering plan?

Mobile operating T-Mobile is looking to keep up with the likes of Verizon Wireless and AT&T by offering a separate data tethering option to its 3G data service plans, enabling users to use their Wi-Fi capable phones as Internet hotspots for other Wi-Fi devices. The service will apparently be available to 3G and HSPA+ devices that have an unlimited data plan, and tech-savvy customers that have configured their existing devices to work as mobile hotspots may find themselves in the position of needing to purchase the tethering plan in order to keep doing what they’re already doing.

Although the company hasn’t yet announced any details, Boy Genius Reports (which broke the story) says the plan will launch in early November for $14.99 a month on top of other data service charges. We’ve confirmed with T-Mobile that the are planning to launch a data tethering plan, but a company representative declined to offer details about its pricing or launch timeline, although the service will apparently be available to subscribers and customers using T-Mobile’s FlexPay service. Cnet reports the tethering service will be capped at 5 GB of transfer per month (after which T-Mobile will begin to throttle the data).

If the description of the service is accurate, T-Mobile’s tethered data service could be a somewhat better value than similar offerings from AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Verizon’s Mobile Broadband Connect service gets users 2 GB of data via tethered service for an additional $20/month. AT&T offers a similar 2GB-for-$20/month add-on to its $25/month data plan. By offering more data transfer for a lower fee, T-Mobile would continue to position itself as a carrier for data-concerned customers…a tactic that may help the number-four mobile operator in the U.S. compete against its much larger rivals.