I sure could have used "tethering" on my iPhone last Wednesday eveninng. I rushed home from the office so I could watch LSU play Texas in the College World Series final game.
As soon as I parked, my neigbor popped out of her house to warn me that the power was off. We’ve had no rain for about 2 months, but a storm with lightning rolled through late in the afternoon, and it knocked out the electricity service to my neighborhood.
If AT&T offered tethering for the new iPhone GS, I would have been one of the million customers who bought an iPhone GS during its first weekend. Then, I could have watched the game — or at least kept up with it — from my notebook computer.
Sure I had power to my notebook by using its battery, but my in-house network was dead because I didn’t have a uninterruptible power supply (UPS) covering every network switch. Also, those UPS’s lose capacity across 3-5 years and need their expensive batteries replaced — if you can find replacements to buy. Test your UPS occasionally, if you use one, and make sure you can rely on it.
What is tethering? It’s the ability to use a cable to hook a phone to a computer, in order to use it as a digital modem across the phone’s data network
All this is a way of saying that the new tethering feature of the iPhone, which Apple built in but AT&T is not supporting yet, is really the killer app for this killer phone.
The official excuse, as AT&T delays support in the U.S. for the featue that’s availale in 22 other countries, is that they have to make changes to their billing systems and customer preferences systems.
Yeah, right. They just haven’t figured out how large the demand is — and how much they can charge for the iPhone service including tethering, too.
With tethering, instead of using the web browser and email on the iPhone, if you had your notebook computer with you, you could hook up (tether) the iPhone to the notebook — and use your usual web browser and email program on your notebook.
The real problem is that AT&T wants to sell their data card and its subscription data service, too. If they enable tethering, the iPhone will eat into that service.
As I see it, once AT&T figures out how much they can charge that their customers will accept and pay, we’ll be able to select an iPhone monthly plan including phone, iPhone data and tethering data.
[originally posted in 2009 – AT&T started to support tethering finally in June, 2010.]