One of the great new features of the iPhone OS 3.0 which is available now for all iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS owners is tethering, which allows you to use the iPhone as a modem for other internet accessible gadgets, such as your laptop/computer etc. Unfortunately both O2 in the UK and AT&T in the US have decided to charge extra for this functionality, respectively £15 in the UK and $55 in the US.
The Guardian in the UK was quick to pick up that there were ways to get around the costly iPhone tethering, although O2 claims they will not accept that iPhone users try and get around the tethering charge.
The tethering issue has been much discussed since it was first revealed that both O2 and AT&T decided to charge quite a lot to allow iPhone users to use their iPhone as a dongle for connecting other devices to the internet. Most iPhone users are paying quite hefty monthly amounts to have “unlimited” data traffic from their iPhones, so being told they will be charged extra for tethering came as a blow to many.
The news that there is a workaround for activating the tethering for free is great news for all iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S owners. You can find more information on how to get around the tethering issue on these two websites; benm.at (in german) or 9to5mac.
To all that might be wondering if this requires hacking your iPhone, no it does not. It uses information and functionality that is already there available to you, but that most people would not be able to find and work around.
O2 in the UK has said to the Guardian that they will not accept that their iPhone 3G and 3G S customers try and use the tethering without the bolt on, and that they will treat any breach of this on a case by case basis. However, the people behind benm.at has said that they are not sure how the network would be able to tell the traffic apart, as most data looks the same, with the exception of peer-to-peer and voice over IP applications such as Skype.
We are interesting in hearing back from anyone that has tried this work-around for tethering on the iPhone.