Yesterday, if you were like me and rejoiced at the fact that the new hotspot feature is being added to iOS4.3, then you’d better brace yourself for the sad reality. It turns out that what many assumed was a FREE feature, will actually cost you at least an additional $20 a month! That’s right it looks like it’s not a free feature after all, just another way for the cell providers to take even more of your cash.
Here is Apple’s description of the feature:
Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4
Get online in more places.
On the road, in an airport, at the park — now you can bring Wi-Fi with you wherever you go. Download iOS 4.3 on your iPhone 4, and the next time you find yourself without access to Wi-Fi but in 3G territory, enable Personal Hotspot and share your cellular data connection with your Mac, PC, iPad, or other Wi-Fi-capable device. You can share your connection with up to five devices at once over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB — with up to three of those connections using Wi-Fi.4 Every connection is password protected and secure. And it’s power friendly, too. iPhone detects when your Personal Hotspot is no longer in use and turns it off to save battery life.
If you are an AT&T subscriber on the cheaper of the two data plans then you’ll need to upgrade to the $25 a month plan (an extra $10 a month) if you even want to have the privilege of paying AT&T an additional $20 a month for a feature that should be FREE! It appears that Verizon iPhone owners will be asked to fill Verizon’s coffers with an additional $20 a month as well. So much for iPhone 4 owners who need 3G access on their shiny new iPad 2s being able to save a little money and just utilizing the new hot spot feature on their iPhone 4s.
With AT&T no longer offering an unlimited data plan, it just doesn’t make any sense to me why this isn’t a free feature. After all, you are going to be paying for any excess data that you use, so why not show a little good will toward your customers?!