Apple Lets iPhone Tethering App into App Store

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 jailbreakingiTether 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.