It appears that AT&T has now confirmed that it will soon begin revoking unlimited data plans from users of jailbroken iPhones who use “unauthorized” tethering and mobile hotspot solutions.
AT&T has already made a habit of sending out threatening text messages to such users, and will now be taking it to the next level. AT&T claims to expressly prohibit such actions in their terms and conditions. An AT&T spokesperson was quote as saying the following:
Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan. Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers…The letter outlines three choices for customers who had been making use of unauthorized tethering solutions, one of which is “Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the date noted in their customer notification.
Fairness for all customers, eh AT&T? I don’t think so. Charging your users an extra $20 each month for tethering data they already paid for? Relying on technicalities within carefully-worded documents (that users have no choice but to sign if they want service) to prevent plans that AT&T advertised as “unlimited” from actually being unlimited? Forcing your customers onto ridiculously-priced tiered data plans if they don’t comply with your absurd demands? That doesn’t meet my definition of fairness, AT&T.
Charging an addition monthly fee for tethering is obscene. It is a greedy, misguided, unfair, and unfortunately all-too-common practice that, in the end, only hurts their customers. Further, AT&T’s terms of service are very coercive, and, unlike a typical legal contract, are decided, enforced by, and very much in the favor of AT&T, not their customers.
AT&T may argue that consumers can choose to go to another service, but that’s really not a choice for everybody. Some people must use a certain carrier because their job requires it. Some people can only get decent reception with a certain carrier. Instead of spending so much time and effort crafting such ridiculous and obscene policies, why not simply use a small portion of your vast resources to actually improve your network so this kind of nonsense isn’t necessary?
For people that subscribed to AT&T’s unlimited plans back when the word unlimited actually meant as much, this policy is selfish, unfair, and essentially rather dishonest of AT&T.
How much abuse will AT&T have to dish out before consumers are willing to stand up for themselves, have lawyers look over their service contracts and pester AT&T, and for consumers that do have the choice to go elsewhere for service until AT&T changes their ways?