Using the iPhone as a wireless modem to share Internet access with a laptop has been off limits to owners of the device so far. But Thursday, AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega said that tethering is coming to the iPhone 3G “soon.” De La Vega spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, where he was interviewed by TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.
While AT&T does offer tethering plans for other devices that it sells, such as various BlackBerry models, the iPhone has been persona non grata in that department. AT&T charges a $60 monthly fee for the tethering plans, which are usually used in lieu of or in addition to device data plan. It’s not yet known whether the iPhone tethering will be offered under the same terms. De La Vega said that AT&T and Apple were working together to bring the functionality to the iPhone.
Meanwhile, jailbreak developers have created several different solutions for tethering the iPhone to a computer. Such applications were presumed to be prohibited from the App Store, but last August, Nullriver’s tethering app NetShare appeared briefly in the store, having somehow made it through the approval process; it was removed shortly thereafter.
Also last August, word surfaced in an e-mail purportedly from Jobs to an iPhone customer said that Apple and AT&T were “discussing” a tethering solution.