Hey, AT&T: Where's The iPhone Tethering?


AT&T is still working to make good on its promise to deliver all the features for Apple's iPhone that Apple says can be supported.

When Apple first unveiled the iPhone 3G S, among its listed capabilities were MMS functionality as well as the ability to tether the smartphone to a laptop. AT&T famously was able to support neither of the much-clamored-for functions at launch, but has since delivered MMS to the iPhone.

But tethering for the iPhone is still unavailable, even after the telecom relaxed its restrictions on VoIP applications. Apple and AT&T had previously agreed to only allow VoIP to function on Wi-Fi networks. The move yesterday loosened AT&T's restrictions on applications such as Skype, allowing them to work on 3G connections, and coincided with Apple's approval of a Vonage app for the App Store.

That loosening of restrictions and network infrastructure support required to support VoIP calls led some to think tethering might be in the pipeline.

Still, tethering is listed among the features of the iPhone that is not supported by the telecom. Tethering an iPhone to a notebook allows the wireless connection of the smartphone to be transferred to the PC, allowing a user to surf the Web. Essentially, the smartphone becomes the Web connection for the notebook.

AT&T in June said it would be delivering MMS and tethering to the iPhone in the future. When MMS did finally arrive for the smartphone, the telecom had missed its "later in the summer" promise by a few days. Tethering, on the other hand, has not been mentioned much lately, with AT&T claiming to be working on a plan to support the function.

An AT&T spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the carrier wants to ensure a positive experience for new features before rolling them out and declined to provide a specific time frame.