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Thursday, November 06, 2008, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

AT&T says official iPhone 3G tethering plan coming "soon"

AT&T Mobility chief executive Ralph De La Vega has disclosed that a carrier-sanctioned method of using the iPhone as a 3G modem for notebooks will be announced "soon."

De La Vega made the comments during an interview with TechCrunch operator Michael Arrington during this week's Web 2.0 Summit, though he reportedly stopped short of providing any form of pricing information.

The executive's remarks confirm rumors of an official AT&T tethering solution dating back to August. At the time, an iPhone 3G owner fired off an email to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs arguing that it was "ludicrous" that a tethering option is not offered alongside "such an advanced device."

He pointed out that AT&T offers a tethering solution to users of Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones for an additional $30 per month, and said he'd be willing to shell out the extra change each month for the same luxury.

In a response, Jobs reportedly wrote back saying, "We agree, and are discussing it with AT&T."

A $10 application called NetShare by NullRiver briefly enabled tethering for the iPhone earlier this year.

The application was quickly plucked from the App Store, however, and later banned permanently by Apple after AT&T expressed concern that iPhone users would exploit its capabilities to tax the carrier's 3G network without forking over additional data fees.