If you think back a couple of months, you’ll remember that AT&T had begun clamping down on people using tethering on their iPhones without paying for the upgraded tethering plan. Emails and SMS messages were sent to customers stating that if they continued to tether they would be charged for it. At the time no one was sure how AT&T knew which people were actually tethering, but now we do and more importantly, we know how toa get around it.
A post over on AndroidPolice states how AT&T was able to tell when customers were tethering.
“Jailbroken iPhones typically use the same tethering technique as a standard iPhone, the one that’s already present in iOS. This method exposes tethering activity quite readily, because the iPhone, when in tethering mode, sends traffic through an alternate APN (AT&T access point/router) for the express purpose of identifying the traffic as tethered data. This makes it extremely easy for AT&T to identify whether or not an iOS device is utilizing tethering, and just how much of their data is consumed via tethering.
Some tethering applications for iOS make use of alternative methods and route tethered traffic through the phone’s normal data APN, but by and large, most jailbreakers stick with the stock application because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any complicated setup. In fact, many iPhone users jailbreak for the sole purpose of avoiding AT&T’s tethering fees (for why, see next section). These are the people AT&T’s is going after.”
So it appears, apps that use the special data APN get noticed by AT&T’s systems, hence the strong-arm tactics. Popular jailbreak app MyWi works just as described by AndroidPolice – using the tethering APN. What we need is an app that uses the same APN as your iPhone does for its own data. The that app is PdaNet.
The latest version of PdaNet comes complete with an option specifically for hiding tethering from AT&T – presumable this option changes the APN the app uses for routing data. TetherMe is another app that appears to be one AT&T can’t track, though PdaNet does seem to be the best bet if you want to avoid your carrier’s tethering charges.
So, if you’re not too keen on paying for your data twice, jailbreak your iPhone and give PdaNet a whirl – it’s available via Cydia right now.
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