T-Mobile USA will introduce a new tethering option for smartphone users next month, according to the blog Boy Genius Report, which would bring the nation's No. 4 carrier on par with its larger competitors.
The blog said, according to an internal T-Mobile memo, that the carrier will allow smartphone users to turn their devices into wireless modems beginning Nov. 3 via a plan called "Tethering and Wi-Fi Sharing Add-On." However, customers first will have to own an HSPA or HSPA+ smartphone and subscribe to an Unlimited Web plan of $19.95 or higher. The option will be available for both postpaid and FlexPay customers, the blog said, and will cost $14.99 extra per month.
A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment.
The T-Mobile memo pointed out that data used while tethering will count toward the subscriber's 5 GB threshold--after that T-Mobile said it will throttle users' speeds. Additionally, customers who have configured their devices for tethering in the past will have to purchase the new plan to continue to do so. Many T-Mobile customers have long claimed the ability to tether their devices without official approval from the carrier.
Other wireless carriers support tethering in various forms. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has a plan called "Mobile Broadband Connect," which costs $20 per month for 2 GB of data for smartphones; $30 per month for 5GB for feature phones with a $30 data plans; and $49.99 per month for 5 GB of data when added to a voice plan and used with a feature phone.
AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) allows smartphone customers to add tethering for an additional $20 per month to its DataPro plan, which charges $25 for 2 GB of data. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) offers tethering (dubbed Phone as Modem) for an extra $15 on a variety of devices--as long as users are corporate liable customers who sign up for Business Advantage, Everything Data or Simply Everything plans.
- see this BGR post
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Correction, Oct. 26, 2010: This article originally misstated which plans allowed Sprint's tethering option. The add-on is available for Simply Everything customers, as long as they are corporate liable subscribers.