MacRumors reported today the forthcoming iOS 4.3 from Apple, demoed on the CDMA Verizon iPhones announced today, will support the creation of mobile hotspots. The big question for customers, however, is whether local carriers will permit this function to be activated. The track record of AT&T in the U.S. with supported tethering makes this uncertain.
The addition of this feature to the iPhone is HUGE news. Previously (and still to date) iPhone users wanting to use their device as a mobile Hotspot (essentially like a MiFi) have had to jailbreak their iPhone and install the now-Cydia owned commercial application, MiWi. Steve Dembo has extolled the virtues of MiWi over on his blog, and proclaimed it the number one reason to consider jailbreaking an iPhone. The availability of wifi tethering on the iPhone WITHOUT the need to jailbreak would be welcome news indeed. With this feature, a single iPhone can provide 3G data connectivity for multiple wifi devices in a car, at the park, or in a classroom as long as a strong 3G cell signal is present.
The availability of the iPhone on other U.S. carriers is welcome news for everyone except AT&T. CNet’s article today stated other CDMA carriers, in addition to Verizon, are expected to start selling the iPhone in the U.S. in upcoming months. I’d like to hope this will mean a drop in iPhone data plan costs, but I’m not holding my breath on that any more than I will for AT&T to permit wifi hotspot creation without a hefty surcharge.
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