AT&T iPhone Tethering: An Extra $20/Month—If You Abandon Unlimited Data

We knew that we'd get iPhone tethering on AT&T soon and now we finally know that it'll cost us an extra $20 per month. But there's a catch: We'll have to abandon our unlimited data plans for it.

Apparently the $20/month iPhone tethering option is only available with AT&T's DataPro plan, which is limited to 2GB of data per month. It's one of the new data plans AT&T will be offering starting June 7:

  • DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 Web pages, plus post 50 photos on social media sites, plus watch 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month.** This plan, which can save customers up to 50 percent off their wireless data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
  • DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, plus view 4,000 Web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites, plus watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month.** Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.
  • Tethering. Smartphone customers – including iPhone customers – who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering lets customers use their tethering-enabled smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.

Now, AT&T is trying to make those who'll cut it close to the 2GB/month limit sweat a bit less by sending text message notifications when certain usage levels are hit. Nice enough, but unlimited data and tethering would be nicer. Then again, according to AT&T, nearly all their customers—or at least 98% of them—should be fine with only 2GB.

So, who's willing to give up "unlimited" data for tethering and hot spot access? Since new plans kick in starting June 7, there's plenty of time to decide if you want to just plain grandfather your current data plan. [PR Newswire]

See how to check your monthly AT&T data usage here.