The folks over at Tether.com have been working hard to provide their smartphone tethering service over the web, ever since the iTether app was removed from the App Store. Now iPhone users can make their devices into a personal hotspot by simply logging into their tether account via a web browser, with no jailbreak or other iOS software required.
Tethering makes it possible to share your iPhone's data connection with other devices, such as notebook computers. Cellular carriers charge extra for the privilege, although they also increase the amount of monthly data available to the subscriber. Over the years, jailbreak apps have appeared to take advantage of tethering without paying extra monthly fees.
Tether.com is a new approach, which avoids the jailbreak process entirely and for a low annual fee makes tethering possible with just an HTML5 web app. According to the company, setup takes only five minutes and requires no technical knowledge. The solution is carrier-independent and works on iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices. A software package must be downloaded and installed to the computer you plan to use when sharing the iPhone data connection.
Of course, like any tethering solution that does not include official permission from your wireless carrier, using the service will violate the terms of your wireless agreement. Tether.com acknowledges this in its own terms of service and warns:YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU MAY INCUR ADDITIONAL CARRIER COSTS, AND THAT YOUR PLAN MAY BE TERMINATED BY YOUR CARRIER FOR VIOLATION OF YOUR CARRIER’S FAIR USE POLICY OR TERMS OF SERVICE.
Still, the option to have a backup data connection on-the-go can be worth the $30 annual subscription cost. Considering that AT&T charges $20 per month for tethering, this means customers pay $240 annually for sharing their data plans across devices. It remains to be seen if carriers or Apple will take any steps to prohibit device owners from using the tethering web app.