The fine art of telco wrangling

Much to my dismay I found out that with the update to iPhone OS 3.1 Apple had disabled the workaround to be able to tether using the iPhone1. Tethering was a very nice way to get online while on the go and a feature I would even be willing to pay a (small) amount of money for.

I think it’s more likely that AT&T asked for them to remove it, than T-Mobile but it was definitely a telco because Apple has zero interest in making their hardware less capable.

Tethered in Traffic

User Experience

Apple probably needed to remove this ‘feature’ because of pre-existing agreements with telcos and to be seen as a reliable partner now and in the future and be able to operate in this space. So the fact that Apple is in an abusive relationship with the telcos, means users are getting shafted.

Apple’s control over the hardware platform which I’m mistakenly supposing I own is making me consider and reconsider switching to another company for my next cell phone but that is only presuming Android ever get their act together2.

Industry Play

We shouldn’t forget that Apple with their iPhone introduction and deals with telcos made it possible for a large audience to use a capable cell phone with an unlimited internet plan. Something never seen before. That they needed to give some concessions in this phase of the development of the industry3 was to be expected.

So my experience with tethering being a bad one, doesn’t mean I should be mad at Apple4. Without Apple, mobile internet on the cell phone would still suck. If Apple could offer free tethering, they probably would and they would move more units of their own product.

Business Case

Personally I wouldn’t mind paying €5-10 a month for this capability which is already in my cell phone and in the network (it worked fine for the past couple of months) and not have to carry around (and forget) a 3G dongle. I don’t use it that much, but on occasion when I need it, it is very useful to have.

T-Mobile could try to sell me one of their more general laptop dongle solutions, but I’m not interested in dragging around another gadget and already being a user of the T-Mobile network means I don’t want to pay through the nose for the privilege of using their piss poor 3G coverage network.

  1. Though there is hope there may be a new patch.
  2. Symbian and Windows are nonstarters and probably always will be.
  3. And this phase of turning mobile telcos into stupid pipes of data.
  4. Though I still am.

2 thoughts on “The fine art of telco wrangling”

  1. @Eelke, Het kan ook maar niet meer door iedereen op elke operator. Sommige telecomaanbieders hebben het wel ingebouwd en daar kun je er apart voor kiezen (en betalen). Bij T-Mobile kan dát niet eens.

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