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Friday, February 04, 2011, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

AT&T working with Apple to enable iPhone Personal Hotspot tethering

While the Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi tethering feature of Apple's upcoming iOS 4.3 update for the iPhone will only be available where carriers support it, AT&T has confirmed that it is working with Apple to support the feature.

An AT&T spokesman stopped short of confirming to AppleInsider when Personal Hotspot is coming to AT&T customers. But the comment does provide more confirmation that AT&T intends to support the Wi-Fi tethering feature, which will allow users to wirelessly share their 3G data connection with other devices.

"All I can say at this time is that we're working with Apple," AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom said.

On Wednesday, AT&T revealed in a press release that it will expand its data cap for tethering customers to 4GB per month starting on Feb. 13, for the same $45-per-month total price. But the company said the capability will come to "select smartphone customers," and made no mention of the iPhone 4 or its Personal Hotspot feature expected to be introduced with iOS 4.3.

In his review of the Verizon iPhone 4, David Pogue of The New York Times initially stated that AT&T's iPhone would gain the Personal Hotspot feature on Feb. 13. The review was quickly revised to state that the carrier would get the feature "soon," but the date was removed.

iOS 4.3 4


AT&T first began to support tethering on the iPhone last June, but limitations in Apple's iOS mobile operating system only allowed the sharing of a 3G data connection over Bluetooth or USB. In addition, the iPhone could not be tethered with an iPad.

Verizon iPhone 4 users will get the Personal Hotspot feature when that handset launches on Feb. 10. Apple has also released a unique version of iOS, 4.2.6, exclusively for that CDMA-based handset.