We knew it was going to happen; AT&T even indicated as much last spring. But now it looks like the dreaded crackdown on the jailbroken MyWi app and other illicit iPhone tethering/hotspot resources is looming, with a one-week cut-off date for users.
Word has it that the carrier is living up to its promise (threat?) of identifying users with grandfathered unlimited plans who employ these resources and automatically throwing them into its Data Pro tethering plan for $45 per month. 9to5Mac readers informed the site of the August 11th deadline, though no official AT&T announcement with the date has surfaced yet. What an official spokesperson did say, however, is that these users have three choices:
1) Stop tethering and keep their current plan (including grandfathered unlimited plan)
2) Proactively call AT&T or visit our stores and move to the required tethering plan
3) Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the dated noted in their customer notification
There are two ways to look at this: AT&T has a right to stop illicit activity off of the service they’re providing, especially if it impacts the integrity of the network as a whole for all of its users. The other side is that unlimited users have a right to actually use their data as they please, especially if the alternative is a price-gouged option that cannot be enlisted without irrevocably forfeiting their previous plan. (“Irrevocably” is the operative word here — once you drop unlimited, you can’t go back.) This is what is fueling the idea that this is AT&T’s way of targeting grandfathered unlimited users and thinning out its ranks, forcing them into a higher-priced tiered plan.
This is bound to be a heated topic, especially in jailbreaking circles. But there might be an even bigger picture here: Can they, or any other carrier, change its policy or contract terms without customers’ consent without nullifying it?
Either way, it looks like MyWi users have about a week of freedom before the data cops in blue come knocking down their doors.