Why do phone companies charge for tethering?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Bodhi395, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I'm very confused to why ATT(and other phone companies) are able to charge extra for the ability of a phone to tether. Tethering is a hardware feature, and has nothing at all to do with the phone service. Its the same as the phone's ability to use bluetooth or sync with a computer.I don't see why it has anything to do with the phone service and wonder how they got into that space to begin with?

    The only justification I can see is that when one tethers, they might end up using more bandwidth. However, that does not justify the extra price for tethering, since whether you tether or not, you still are restricted to the same bandwidth cap as non-tethering customers. So looking at the new ATT plans, if you don't tether, you are allowed to use 2 GB a month for $25. If you do tether, you are allowed to use 2 GB a month for $45! ATT's network is not affected at all by tethering, so the only justification for charging $20 extra is gouging the customers.
     
  2. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #2
    It's a feature they can charge for. Money grabbing, plain and simple.
     
  3. Tu13es macrumors regular

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  4. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

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  5. profets macrumors 68040

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    #5
    Money grab, that simple. Before the iPhone tethering wasn't a big deal with carriers. The iPhone made it very easy.

    I'm happy at least that we still have our $30/6GB including tethering in Canada.. been using since 3.0
     
  6. themat macrumors member

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  7. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    They only can because Apple let them, which brings up another question, why did Apple let ATT control the tethering option in the first place?
     
  8. profets macrumors 68040

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    #8
    Thats true. Apple designed it in a way so that it can be controlled and monitored by the carrier. I still don't understand why they do things like that, and sell carrier locked iPhones. Seriously, do you think a carrier would turn down the iphone because it is unlocked? If a customer signs a contract to get the subsidy then what does it matter anyway?
     
  9. arn macrumors god

    arn

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    #9
    This is exactly the reason. Think of it this way. They are throwing in "free" bandwidth for the $25/mo people because most people won't use 2GB/month on their iPhones alone.

    Or in other words, would you rather the prices be like this?

    $25 for 1GB of data
    $25 + $20 for 2GB of data + tethering

    Cause I believe that's what they are actually charging for, and don't expect the $25/mo people to actually use more than 1GB on average.

    arn
     
  10. kas23 macrumors 603

    kas23

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    #10
    I don't see the connection. Sure, ATM fees are dumb. However, there are bank-to-bank communications that have to happen. Someone may need to be paid to guide these communications. I don't know the specifics.

    As for tethering, no such communications need to occur. The network itself cannot differentiate between an iPhone using data or a computer using data. 50 MB consumed by your iphone is identical to 50 MB used on your laptop. 50 MB is 50 MB.

    No doubt this is true. To combat this, like you said, just apply a cap. Use the data however you want up to the cap.
     
  11. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #11
    Verizon turned it down when it would have been locked to them. (Which is an even better deal for them than unlocked would be.)

    So, yeah...it could hapen. It did happen.

    The specifics are that it costs the bank $0.02 and they charge you $3.

    So the "connection" is that the banks are charging you $2.98 "because they can" just like AT&T charges for tethering "because they can."
     
  12. profets macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Yeah, but that was back when? in 2006? Before anyone knew how the iPhone would turn out?
     
  13. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    I think everyone is missing a point in this discussion.

    Yeah they can and will, but bandwidth is not free. It costs money to keep the infrastructure up and running. With tethering, that will increase the over all load on the infrastructure.

    Life is pay as you go, no free lunches. People all too often view unlimited bandwidth as a God given right, that's part of the Bill of Rights. No such thing, and if people want/need that feature, they should be prepared to pay.

    I know I'm sounding like an AT&T fandboy and I'm not, and AT&T has failed many of us with dropped calls and lack of coverage. Since that is the case, I'm also thinking that tethering fees will be used to help limit the usage so that it won't overwhelm their already suspect network
     
  15. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #15
    That and same reasons Airlines now charge for baggage on domestic flights. Because they can.
     
  16. IndianBird macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    best post in the whole thread
     
  17. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    But how will it increase the over all load on the infrastructure when the people who have tethering are still under the same 2 GB restriction as the non-tethering people?
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    I misunderstood the fee structure, I thought the tethering fee provided more bandwidth to use not within the same 2gb cap.
     
  19. SAD*FACED*CLOWN macrumors 65816

    SAD*FACED*CLOWN

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    #19
    we should protest the tethering fee...honestly...sure it might not be effective but I don't think it's fair...if data is in fact capped why should they care how we use our data? as someone mentioned in a previous post "rollover data" would make this tolerable...the only way to get notice to this issue is to NOT buy tethering when it's availiable
     
  20. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #20
    Umm, posters are mixing bandwidth (rate) with monthly totals (amount).

    A laptop has traditionally used more bandwidth during use because it has a faster processor. Supporting a high rate of transfer costs the carrier far more than trickles of data that add up over a long time.

    E.g. A single laptop user is downloading files at 3 Mb/sec. He's using a huge portion (1/3) of the available 9 Mb/sec bandwidth (rate) assigned to an older tower. If he stops after about an hour = ~ 1GB total transfer.

    OTOH, let's say there are 200 instant messaging users on the same tower, each sending and receiving 50 char messages twice a minute 24 hours a day. Together all 200 people are using almost no tower bandwidth because of their slow rates, but still end up with 2GB total a month.

    So how do you bill these users fairly? Who requires the most network resources? Clearly the higher bandwidth users cost many times more in infrastructure requirements than lower bandwidth users do, even if the latter end up with higher total amounts over a month.

    However, carriers don't monitor each user's bandwidth usage, they add up transfer totals. So they have to assume that tethered laptops will be using more expensive bandwidth.

    An added glitch these days is that smartphones are getting more and more powerful and also use more bandwidth for video etc.

    Personally, I'd hate to be in charge of figuring out contract plans :)
     
  21. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #21
    Everyone would hate you.... although in my defense, carriers should be quick on their backhaul updates (one of the few things I hate about AT&T)
     
  22. Fabienne macrumors 65816

    Fabienne

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    #22
    I was just at the AT&T store about 3 days ago and having a discussion of tethering with one of the employees. He pointed out that tethering had not been charged for for ever and that might well change. Presto, it did.

    But cheer up, Cincinnati Bell and a load of others have charged for tethering forever. It cost you $30/month to tether with CinBell, so all you free tetherers, you have been enjoying the free beer for a while.
     
  23. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #23
    I will still enjoy my free tethering... it won't go away anytime soon. ;)
     
  24. Givmeabrek macrumors 68040

    Givmeabrek

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    NY
    #24
    Protest the tethering fee.... :confused:

    Tethering uses more bandwidth than a normal Smartphone user. 98% of normal users will only use a couple hundred MB's. Tethering uses much more. So they charge more for it even if you stay under your 2GB's. Plenty of people will pay extra for tethering anyway.....

    I like it. It helps to keep the bandwidth available for the rest of us. :D
     
  25. CooKieMoNs7eR macrumors 68000

    CooKieMoNs7eR

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    #25
    I think there will be a way to get around this and not pay, I'm sure the Jailbreaking community will find something to get tethering for free.
     

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