Apple surprised iPhone owners Monday evening when it allowed an app that adds tethering support without requiring a cell service provider’s add-on package onto the App Store. Unlike the tethering services offered through carriers such as AT&T and Verizon, iTether lets users take advantage of their regular wireless data plan instead of limiting them with tethering data caps.
Tethering shares the 3G wireless data connection from a cell phone with your computer for Internet access when Wi-Fi and Ethernet networks aren’t available. The feature is supported on the iPhone, although carriers expect their customers to pay extra for the service — something that iTether works around.
iTether offers iPhone tethering without jailbreaking
Since cell carriers aren’t excited about subscribers working around their fees, don’t expect companies like AT&T and Verizon to look the other way when customers start using iTether.
AT&T has been actively warning customers using tethering that it will automatically add a tethering plan to their monthly contracts if they aren’t paying for one. Customers that continue to rely on tethering after receiving a warning could see a US$45 increase in their monthly bill when AT&T adds on a DataPro 4GB plan.
Apple has a history of removing titles from the App Store that enable tethering, so there’s a chance that iTether won’t be around for long. iPhone owners that want to try iTether out and are willing to risk surprise bill increases can download it from Apple’s iTunes-based App Store for $14.99.
Assuming Apple does pull iTether, iPhone owners wanting to tether outside of a carrier plan will have to go back to jailbreaking and unapproved apps.