It hasn’t taken hackers long to enable unofficial tethering on iPhone handsets running OS 3.0, and its taken carriers even less time to put out the predictable dire warnings regarding anyone found using such hacks. UK carrier and official Apple iPhone partner O2 have issued a statement suggesting that anybody found using tethering without their official “Bolt On” package will be charged or disconnected.
“Internet rumours suggest that some customers have modified their iPhone to enable Internet Tethering without the purchase of the Internet Tethering Bolt On. Any use of this particular feature without the purchase of the Bolt on is specifically prohibited under our terms of service.
Under those terms we reserve the right to charge customers making modem use of their iPhone or disconnect them. If customers wish to use the Internet Tethering feature on their iPhone 3G or iPhone 3G S, we recommend taking the Bolt On which is available from Friday 19 June” O2 statement
The carrier has been less forthcoming about how they will check for unofficial tethering use, though it seems likely that anybody with high traffic rates will stand out and be investigated. Like other carriers, O2′s so-called “unlimited” iPhone data package actually has a 3GB limit, and they closely monitor traffic for signs of P2P or VoIP use.
Arguably, O2′s stance is more understandable than, say, AT&T. At least the former offers a tethering package in the first place – albeit an expensive one, charging £14.68 ($24) for 3GB per month or £29.36 ($48) for 10GB – whereas AT&T won’t offer official tethering at all until later in the year.