A new app called iTether made its way into the App Store this morning, and allows you to use your existing mobile data plan to connect to the web.
The mobile hotspot feature is already available on the iPhone, and allows you to connect several devices to your phone, using it as a hotspot. Carriers charge an additional fee for the service, and if you’re rocking an unlimited data plan on your phone, the data you can use while tethered in billed separately.
iTether on the other hand allows you to use your existing data plan without paying an additional fee (except for the $14.99 for the app itself). The app also requires you to have your phone connected to your computer via USB, so you can only use the connection for one device, and not for other phones or things like tablets that you can connect your handset directly to.
Similar services have popped up in the App Store before, and have been removed by Apple. Carriers also frown upon tethering in this way, and in the past have threatened to take away unlimited data plans for customers using the services, or have added a tethering charge.
If you’re a super-light user, you might be able to get away with using iTether without catching flack from your carrier. You also might want to grab the app quick before it potentially gets removed from the store.
Anyone planning on/already giving iTether a try? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
Update: That was fun while it lasted, it’s been pulled from the App Store.
Update 2: iTether has released an official statement:
Around 12PM EST, Apple called our head office to let us know they were going to go ahead and pull our app iTether from the App Store. They stated it was because the app itself burdens the carrier network, however they offered us no way to remedy the solution… We were very clear when listing the app what the primary function was and they even followed up with several questions and requested a video demo then they approved the application.
We strongly disagree that it burdens a carrier’s network, as from our own data history on more than 500,000 users we know the average user consumes less than 200 MBs of data per month on Tether. In comparison, one TV show streamed from Netflix, an approved Apple App, could easily be in the 300-400 MBs range. Sure, there are some users that will consume way more than the average however that’s the case with any of these types of products.
Our team is very disappointed in Apple’s decision; as we strongly believe we help carriers better monetize their data stream by pushing customers into new data tiers further increasing their bottom-line. It is very anti-competitive to not allow any Tethering application to enter into this space to innovate. Our team has created a lot of innovative solutions for the BlackBerry product, which we were hoping to port over to the iPhone like end-to-end encryption, compression, website filtering and port filtering.
According to Apple, users who purchase iTether before it was pulled will continue to be able to use the product.
Our team is evaluating all of our options… Stay tuned.