AT&T, iPhone 3G S, and accusations of tethering

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Montezuma, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Montezuma macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    #1
    Since about April, I have received three text messages claiming that I have been tethering devices to my iPhone 3G S to use its data plan. The last message arrived today, stating that AT&T was switching my data plan to a $45 a month tethering plan, which included 4GB of data. Seeing how I have never tethered, this has gotten me rather angry.

    When I received the first message, I called AT&T and was met with an idiot that kept repeating, "Don't do it again". I hung up and let it go. When I received the second message, I demanded that the manager that took my escalation research/investigate the matter and stop the messages. When I received the last message, I became livid and shared my anger(though, in as polite a manner as possible) with the person to initially took my call, her manager, and that manager's manager.

    The area manager I talked to stated that the manager that was supposed to call me back never did, so she would set an "expectation" that I would not tether again. I was in such a hurry to get off the phone(had an appointment), that I just ended the call. Still, I do not understand why I keep getting these text messages.

    I do have my iPhone 3G S "jailbroken", but I do not have any tethering apps installed. I do have My3G installed(I would rather watch viewable YouTube videos, not garbage), but no tethering apps. To me, AT&T is just attempting to scare off the heavier data users, or push them to more expensive plan. Though, I have only used 33GB of data over the past 15 month, so I am far from a "heavy" user.

    My girlfriend works for AT&T, in a top tier data support group, so I would not want to carry the possibility of negatively reflecting on her. As such, I would not even considering attempting to tether any of my other devices to my iPhone. That and we only have EDGE coverage at our house, and we have to pay Verizon $50 for a data connection so my girlfriend can do AT&T business.

    This week, I did download a few Bill Cosby comedy albums and an album from another comedian. I also downloaded a few songs, but none of the individual downloads exceeded 20MB, so the My3G would not have to alter anything to download the albums. Outside of that vacation, I have not been away from home, or anywhere near AT&T's paltry UMTS coverage.

    Why am I getting these messages? Is the My3G app causing this? Is AT&T full of *****, and just looking to bump yet another customer off of the $30 "unlimited" data plan?

    I have not, nor will ever be interested in tether my laptop, or other devices, to my iPhone for data access. If I was interested, then I would have built my house in an area that has UMTS coverage, and would not be bleeding money to Verizon for crappy and limited data coverage. On second thought, I would have built my house in an area coverage by AT&T's more crappy DSL footprint.

    Who else has been accused of tether, when they have not been, and have any of you figured out what other apps might be causing these "flags", or is AT&T just attempting to strip the remaining customers of their "unlimited" data plans?
     
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #2
    Many others had similar problems from what I heard.
    Some say Sling, pandora, netflix and others apps might trigger a false positive.
    But really if you never did tether then there's gotta be a flaw in the way they detect unofficial tethering.
    I'd try to talk to them again and see how far it gets you.
     
  3. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #3
    Get your girlfriend to set them straight. /Thread :D
     
  4. outphase macrumors 65816

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    #4
    My uneducated guess is that the tethering warnings are going to people with abnormally high data usage. This is why some who use streaming media apps get hit with them even if not jailbroken.
     
  5. jplusc macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I think you would qualify as a heavy user since you average over 2 gigs a month. Not saying its not within your right...
     
  6. highertechnology macrumors 6502

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    Jul 31, 2009
    #6
    No kidding, who's side is she on anyways. I just think everyone is out to get you. Sounds like some sort of conspiracy. It's interesting that someone made an appointment with you at about the same time you were calling ATT, thus causing you to cut it short without resolution. I would suspect that party as well.
     
  7. wordoflife, Jun 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011

    wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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  8. utwarreng macrumors 6502

    utwarreng

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    #8
    I wish this was the case, but I also had an accusation of tethering on my jailbroken iPhone, and use less than 5 GB/month, which to me doesn't seem like an abnormally high amount. I stream internet radio at work all day, occasionally watch some Youtube, and that's it.
     
  9. outphase macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I wouldn't be surprised if AT&T considered more than 2 GB a high enough amount to accuse people of tethering.
     
  10. Jagardn macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2011
    #10
    I'm actually surprised I haven't heard more problems from people jailbreaking and using tethering. Let's say an iPhone or Android user has a Windows PC and decides to jailbreak/root an steal the tethering feature. When your PC sees an internet connection and goes to update.microsoft.com, neither phones would ever go there without someone using tethering. It would be really easy for them to crack down on it, but I'm surprised they haven't.
     
  11. Montezuma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #11
    I had an appointment with my doctor. I am so sorry I am unable to plan those pesky things around AT&T's delicate schedule. I guess cancer really doesn't wait for anyone.

    As far as my girlfriend is concerned, I made her aware of the situation. She has told me on many occasions to drop AT&T and go to Verizon. She cannot personally assist me with this, as it is a violation of AT&T policy. She cannot even gain access to my account, in any fashion, or she would risk termination. I mean, hell, if we have to pay Verizon just so she can do work for AT&T, that should be a rather easy indicator for the quality of business that AT&T is.

    I never said anything of a conspiracy, but I guess there are more than a few idiots that will read just about anything into any situation. I simply stated that I have not, nor never have, tethered my iPhone to any other device to utilize the data connection on my iPhone. I am interested to know if anyone else has been experiencing the same issue and also has never tethered any device, either through a wireless or wired connection, to their iPhone, or any other phone.

    So, has any else experienced such an issue? What have you found out? What apps are you, or have you been using that is data intensive? Have you used My3G, or any other apps with similar functions? Are some of you just heavier than "normal" data users(whatever abstraction number AT&T, and others, are using to dictate what a "heavy user" is)?
     
  12. Montezuma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #12
    No one ever said AT&T or Apple had to support a "jailbroken" phone, but AT&T cannot arbitrarily violate contracts just because they dislike the fact that I still have an "unlimited" data plan. A jailbroken phone does not equate to the phone causing the AT&T network damage, nor does it equate to "stealing" service.
     
  13. nizmoz macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #13
    I teather my iphone, and use my3g and have never gotten a text yet. BUT, the kicker is I don't use a ton of bandwidth as I use WIFI when I have it available most of the time, and when I don't, I use 3G, and don't use it much. It's your high bandwidth usage that is throwing the flags off. Not just using those apps.
     
  14. KentuckyHouse macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

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    #14
    No offense, but you have absolutely, positively, NO CLUE what you're talking about. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    May 1, 2011
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    SF Bay Area
    #15
    Without tethering, 2GB is the largest plan that AT&T currently offers.
    With tethering it maxes out at 4GB.
    If you're averaging 2-5GB per month then you are definitely a heavy user and it's that, and not any particular app that's causing the red flags.
    You should have them check your account history going back to the time when they still offered the unlimited plan and if they can see that your usage hasn't increased then they should definitely leave you alone.
    Of course, if your usage has increased dramatically, that will only make you look more guilty.
     
  16. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #16
    Yeah ok, you're clueless.
     
  17. taylortm macrumors member

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    Mar 11, 2011
    Location:
    California, USA
    #17
    I'm curious -- didn't see it in your original story -- have you ever asked the <sarcasm>fine people</sarcasm> at AT&T why it is they think you're tethering?

    It might end up getting kicked around to a few more people on the "pass the phone around" game. But you might end up talking to somebody semi-technically adequate that could tell you why you're being flagged.

    IMHO, your usage doesn't seem that high. I'm also a grandfathered unlimited data person. I burn about the same as you. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But I do wonder (a tiny bit) if it's your geographical location that has their attention. As in, my 2-3 GB/month is a drop in the LA area bucket. Your 2-3 GB/month may, however, be 90% of the data consumed by that particular cell site. Who knows?

    Finally, if you're worried about them changing your plan, I'd suggest a few things:

    1) make sure you have copies of your monthly statements establishing that you are on the unlimited plan

    2) next time you talk to them, make it clear that you are not switching to another plan -- period.

    3) warn them (or, better yet, actually do this!) that you have/will contact both the FCC and your state Attorney General (or equivalent) regarding this matter. Other suitable agencies to consider are the State Dept. of Consumer Affairs (or equiv. for your state) and the Better Business Bureau.

    Good luck. I hate dealing with AT&T, too. They're almost as bad as United Healthcare.
     
  18. wordoflife, Jun 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011

    wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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    #18
    Okay I wasn't clear with what I thought. I'm just saying that if AT&T is picking up something and you aren't tethering, maybe it has to do with your phone being jailbroken. I don't think AT&T would target you personally and try to take you off a certain plan if you aren't breaking their rules. You aren't abusing the unlimited data plan so I don't think they would be that concerned about trying to get you off of it.
     
  19. taylortm macrumors member

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    Mar 11, 2011
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    California, USA
    #19
    Glad that got cleared up. :eek:

    Still doesn't address the OP's question. And I don't think the OP cares a lot about our opinions of jailbreaking and such. A jailbroken phone, in and of itself, isn't violating any agreement the OP (or anybody, for that matter) has with AT&T.

    The OP (correct me if I'm wrong, OP) is coming to this forum to try to help figure out what to do:

    1) if other people had this issue with AT&T, what did they do?
    2) if others had this, what apps were they running that thought might be "confusing" AT&T's tether-detector
    3) ideas about how to deal with this situation and/or AT&T

    * I threw that last one in 'cuz I realized that I'm getting all preachy and/but my previous post didn't comply with my preachings if I just stopped at #2. :)
     
  20. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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    #20
    I'm not against Jailbreaking. All my iOS devices are jailbroken (well my iPhone was before I installed 5.0). I'm just saying it was a possibility to receiving those messages. I know a lot of people who use a lot more data than the OP does, but doesn't receive any such messages. There's so many things that Jailbreaking can do, maybe one of the packages the OP installed is causing a problem. Again, that's just a possibility.

    My suggestion would be to restore to stock iOS, and see if something happens. If you keep getting messages, then it's an AT&T problem. If you don't, maybe you installed something on your phone.
     
  21. Montezuma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #21
    You are correct. I am not interested in discussing the merits of gaining full access to the device(s) I own; I am simply looking for people that are experiencing the same, or a similar situation to mine and what they did or did not do to fix the problem.

    On average, I use 2.2 GB of data per month(33GB divided by 15 months, or so), which is far from a "heavy user". I download apps from the App Store, I download music from iTunes(Apple charges too much for movies), I stream videos from Netflix(when my girlfriend is shopping in an area covered by UMTS), I pull emails, I email photos(on rare occasions), and I use various news apps. The only app I have from Cydia is My3G, but now I(was, at least) only use it for YouTube and Netflix(though I quit after the fiasco today).

    I just refuse to allow AT&T run around a contract they agreed to so that they can move me from my "unlimited" plan to a lesser plan that costs me more money. I barely get to use the plan I am already paying for, and I am not going to pay more money for something I already barely use and money, on top of the other money, for something I have never used.

    Verizon provides me with a data connection for my laptop, something that neither AT&T Wireless, or Wireline, is capable of providing for me.
     
  22. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    SF Bay Area
    #22
    Do you have a consumer advocate on any of your local TV or Radio stations?
    That was how I finally had to deal with AT&T U-Verse when they were doing a royal job of screwing up my initial installation.
    I didn't really expect anything to come of it but I was so frustrated that I was willing to try anything.
    I wrote to the e-mail on the TV stations website and I never did hear back from them but in under a week I had an AT&T vice-president calling me himself to make things right.
     
  23. fattire357 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    #23
    Their strategy is obviously to accuse more people of tethering and not worry about accuracy. They assume that if they are wrong in their accusation that you are tethering that you will call them and argue with them, and if they were right that you would just fess up and pay the extra fee per month.

    The funny part is that they decided this because hiring salespeople to talk to you when they falsely accuse you of tethering costs less than the revenue they will earn from signing more people up for tethering plans.

    It's terribly inconvenient to you, but hey, they made a few bucks, right? I hate ATT.
     
  24. Montezuma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #24
    One of the things that makes me the most angry is that the representatives that I have talked to have told me that this is my "...last warning...". The last manager I talked to set an "expectation" that I would not tether "again".

    Again? HELLO?! I never tethered the first time. When you ask them what information they have to backup that claim, the representatives claim ignorance. So, it seems that someone at AT&T believes they can disconnect the people that make decisions and stick the low-level employees out front to halt any backlash from customers.

    While I might be able to get my issue resolved, or at least have a slightly better than no chance of getting it resolved(mostly because of the people I know, not my skills in argument), I have to wonder what might be happening to those that are in my same situation and are at more of a disadvantage than I am.

    The greater question is why, if AT&T has all this damning evidence, would they give me "yet another "chance""? I cannot believe that I could reason AT&T out of its stupid decisions.

    I will post more when I know it. I feel that everyone deserves to know what they can possibly do, if face with this situation.
     
  25. jive turkey macrumors 6502

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    Mar 15, 2008
    #25
    AT&T has a bunch of dill weeds working their phone banks (I'm sure your girlfriend isn't one of them!). They are the rudest bunch of cluster poops I have ever dealt with. Last year I needed to cancel one of the lines on my account and I had to actually start screaming to get it done because the morons on the phone (as I was transferred around) kept arguing with me, telling me everything from I should go "find a neighbor to use it" to I should "keep it in the closet for a rainy day." If Verizon had the iPhone back then I would have been long gone from AT&T.

    I promise the DAY I get one of those bogus tethering texts from these goobers, I will be at my nearest Verizon store switching my account over. Plus I'd get a new phone out of the deal.
     

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