You're at the big conference in Las Vegas. The hotel wants your first born to access the Internet and you want to use your laptop to make an update to your business website. Wouldn't it be nice if you could connect your laptop to the Internet using your iPhone?
Well, with the iPhone iOS4 release, Apple officially included tethering as part of the core features for the iPhone. Now you can connect your iPhone to your laptop and use it as a modem to connect to the Internet. There's only one catch though. You have to give up your iPhone unlimited data plan and for the AT&T DataPro Plan.
Watch this video for more details on the iOS4 DataPro plan requirement for iPhone tethering
The DataPro plan gives you 2GB of data transfer per month, which equates to a good amount of usage. It's definitely enough for online entrepreneurs to stay connected and get business done while away from WiFi. If you go over your 2GB limit during the month, AT&T will automatically charge you $10 for each additional GB of transfer that you use.
For a lot of unlimited plan owners, switching to a 2GB data plan might feel like you are giving up a lot, but the reality is that carriers are pulling back on the unlimited access as more and more smartphone users join the network. So even if you don't make the switch today, there is a good chance that your grandfathered data plan will go away when you renew your contract or make some other type of change that reboots the terms of your contract.
Since I office from my laptop and I use the Internet on my iPhone a lot, I wanted to know how much data do I use monthly. I found that I could run a historical data usage report inside my AT&T wireless account. What I discovered was that for the last eight months, I've only hit 480 mb once and the rest of the time data usage was between 100 to 300 mb.
So, you could say that I'm only using about a quarter of a 2GB plan to access email, download apps, research websites, communicate using social media, watch video, and access other bits of data. So, I wouldn't be giving up a whole lot by switching to the DataPro plan.
To give you an idea of what 2GB of data transfer will give you in a month, AT&T has provided a data plan calculator that shows how many emails, web pages, apps, videos, and audios you can access using the DataPro plan. If their preset values don't match your usage, you can adjust the sliders to match your monthly needs and see where you might come out on the scale.
Overall, if you use your laptop for business and you need an Internet connection on the road, then this is an option that will get you connected without having to find a WiFi hotspot.
What about you? Would you give up an unlimited data plan for a 2GB plan just so you could use the iPhone iOS4 for tethering? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think about the situation.