When the iPhone 3GS was announced, Apple had touted the ability for USB or Bluetooth tethering as coming soon. Soon can’t come soon enough as Apple is gearing up to possibly announce the next-generation iPhone come this June–if the company keeps up with its historic launch timeframe–and AT&T is still no where closer to announce that tethering is coming to its network nearly a year later. The carrier is still afraid of the possible onslaught of traffic that may be brought on because of the iPhone, and it wants to make sure the back end is up to par when tethering goes live. Engadget had reached out to AT&T, which offered the following comment on tethering:
“We understand that there is great interest in tethering but cannot provide any details at this time. We know that iPhone users love their devices and mobile broadband, and that they’re likely to embrace tethering just as they have other features and apps by using it a lot. iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we’re able to deliver excellent performance for the feature over and above the increases in data traffic we’re already seeing before we will offer the feature.”
It’s yet to be determined if the feature that was announced with the iPhone 3GS will be made available before the next generation iPhone release.
Rival Verizon Wireless had released the Mobile Hotspot app for tethering on the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus and had subsequently made tethering a free feature effective on April 1, 2010. Additionally, although no pricing information is quite available yet, the HTC EVO 4G, coming to Sprint this summer, will offer tethering using the carrier’s 3G or 4G network. For now, users on Apple’s smartphone on AT&T’s network can resort to jailbreaking for tethering capabilities.