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AT&T expands tethering with Wi-Fi hotspot app, offers more data plans

The last-ditch efforts from AT&T to keep as much of the smartphone market as possible are piling up. First, there were the whispers about the return of an unlimited data plan, then AT&T decide to remind everyone about multitasking, and now the customer-scorned carrier will be improving its tethering and data plans.

AT&T announced today that “select smartphone customers” will be able to tether other devices using their phone’s Wi-Fi with its new Mobile Hotspot application – starting February 13. Such timing, right? According to AT&T, the Mobile Hotspot app will first roll out with the HTC Inspire 4G, which will come bundled with 4GB of data and cost $45 a month. The app will include:

  • The ability to connect other devices to the network.
  • 2GB for $20 a month, bundled with the Data Pro plan (which is $25 for 2GB)
  • 4GB collectively between all connected devices

But other customers will be able to use these new features as well. Smartphone users already paying for tethering capabilities will be gifted with an extra 2G of data, but continue paying $20 a month. Bear in mind that going over your data limit still includes an overage fee of $10 per gigabyte. Verizon will also be introducing a new tethering plan, which seems fairly similar, except it does have more expensive overage fees.

So what about the “select smartphone” thing? Well, unfortunately for AT&T and its iPhone users, the Apple device may not be privy to the new app. Electronista directly asked this question and was only told the carrier is “evaluating iPhone hotspot support” but wouldn’t offer a confirmation. But this could be part of AT&T’s supposed plan to start focusing on its Android smartphones in the wake of its lost exclusivity with iPhone.

AT&T will also introduce a new trade-in offer on the Feb. 13. Users, regardless of carrier, can bring in any phone and receive its value in the form of an AT&T gift card, which seems like AT&T’s answer for the trade-in program Verizon introduced.

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