On November 6th of last year at the Web 2.0 conference, AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega told the audience that the company would soon let AT&T customers tether their iPhones to laptops as a wireless modem. I blogged about it and called it cheery news. And waited. In June of this year, Apple announced that the iPhone OS 3.0 software would enable tethering, and that a bunch of carriers would offer it immediately–but AT&T wasn’t among them. It just said it would offer tethering at some unspecified date.
Yesterday, the company said that MMS for the iPhone was finally coming on September 25th. But its intentions about tethering are vaguer than ever–it isn’t promising a darn thing:
As for tethering, by its nature, this function could exponentially increase traffic on the network, and we need to ensure that some of our current upgrades are in place before we can deliver the expanded functionality with the excellent performance that customers expect. We expect to offer tethering in the future.
Fair enough, I suppose–except for the part about the company president telling customers and prospective customers that tethering was almost in place ten months ago. I wonder how many people plunked down money for an iPhone based in part on the not-unreasonable belief that “soon” meant…soon?