AT&T, with the launch of the HTC Inspire 4G, will be offering a Mobile Hotspot app for tethering "select" smartphones.
announced that on Feb. 13 it will begin offering an AT&T Mobile Hotspot
application, enabling "select smartphone customers" to use their phone as a
WiFi-based mobile hotspot for "several" other devices.
capability, called tethering, is a popular feature among a number of
Android-running smartphones-some of which can support five other devices, and
some up to eight. Several non-U.S. carriers have made the capability available
on the iPhone for some time, though AT&T has refrained from doing so. In
its Feb. 2 press statement, AT&T didn't specify exactly which of its
"select" customers will be able to download the application, though some
suspect that iPhone owners will be among them, as beginning Feb. 10, AT&T
competitor Verizon Wireless will begin offering a CDMA-based (Code Division
Multiple Access-based) iPhone 4, versus AT&T's GSM-based version. While the
devices are nearly identical, one major difference is that the Verizon iPhone
4-surprise-can act as a mobile hotspot.
spokesperson, however, told eWEEK, "We are working with Apple to bring
[tethering] to the iPhone. Nothing else to share at this time."
about the announcement is that in AT&T's official statement on the new application,
David Christopher, AT&T's chief marketing officer, said, "Our customers
want to connect as many devices as possible to the nation's fastest mobile-broadband
network, which is getting faster with 4G."
been outspoken about its plans for later this year to roll out a 4G network
based on LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology, like Verizon Wireless has.
However, Christopher is referring-AT&T pointed out in a footnote-to the
HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) technology, with "enhanced backhaul,"
that it has been rolling out across its 3G footprint in advance of the LTE
T-Mobile did in November
, it seems AT&T has decided, given how speedy
HSPA+ is, to begin thinking of the technology not as 3.5G but 4G.
Mobile Hotspot application will arrive with the launch of the HTC Inspire 4G,
and bundled with AT&T's Data Pro plan (at $25), will cost customers a total
of $45 per month for 4GB of data. Customers already paying $20 a month for 2GB
of data will incur the same $20 monthly tethering fee, said AT&T, but will
get two additional gigabytes of data per month.
exceed their monthly 4GB should expect to pay an overage fee of $10 per
"We want to
extend the benefits of an additional 2G to smartphone customers on our
tethering plan," said Christopher. "This delivers more value today for the
price they're already paying-and that's what our customers want."
already paying for tethering will receive a text message, as early as Feb. 13,
confirming that the additional 2GB have been added to their plan, said
HTC Inspire 4G
-look out, iPhone-features a 4.3-inch WVGA touch-screen and
an 8-megapixel camera. It runs Android 2.2 and HTC's Sense user interface, and
comes with HTC's Friend Stream application, which brings together a user's
social networks in one easy-to-view place.
It can shoot
HD video, has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, Dolby + SRS Surround with noise
cancellation and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) connectivity, so it can
wirelessly stream videos, music and photos to a flat-screen TV. And then, of
course, there's that 4G connectivity, as well as WiFi. AT&T has yet to
announce pricing for the device.