Vodafone axes tethering fees

Vodafone UK has announced that it is no longer differentiating between on-device and tethered data use, hopefully marking the start of a trend that will cross the Atlantic and be copied by North American carriers. Customers must be on one of a new set of price plans, launching today, though existing subscribers can shift to a new plan with no contract extension, assuming it costs at least the same as they're already paying.

The carrier does warn that tethering tends to burn through data more quickly than on-device use, and out-of-bundle pricing is £5 per 250MB. Still, paying that – or stumping up for a bigger data allowance each month – is far preferable to having to pay a tethering fee.

Vodafone's move is all the more important when you consider we're likely to see more devices like the ASUS Padfone, which aim to use a single data connection shared among multiple units: in the case of the ASUS, a phone that can be docked into a tablet shell for longer battery life and a more usable screen. However, WiFi tethering is increasingly common, and Vodafone's decision not to differentiate between it and regular use puts pressure on rivals to do the same.