The Important Part: Unlike with other 3G and EVDO (broadband cellular) phones, according to CNet, users of the new iPhone 3G will not be able to “tether” (connect via Bluetooth or cable) their phones with their laptops in a way that allows them to gain access to the Internet with their laptops. Rather, they must have a separate 3G device and a separate account for their laptops.
Personal observations: The other day on Twitter, I wondered aloud if this feature would be allowed with the iPhone:
When I had a Treo w/ EVDO, I could connect my laptop to it via bluetooth and access the ‘net. Will I be able to do that w/ iPhone 3G?
I got my answer today with this post on the CNet site, iPhone Atlas: AT&T says, No! (Also, thanks to the article, I now know the term “tether” is used to describe what I was trying to explain with my less-than-fluent wireless vocabulary.)
I already have an AT&T 3G account that allows me to access the Internet using a Sierra Wireless USB modem. While I think it is ridiculous that tethering is not allowed with the new iPhone 3G, I can balance my disappointment with the knowledge that a Sierra Wireless USB modem can be shared by anyone in my office — all of the username/access codes are stored in the device. In a small business environment, especially one that has multiple employees traveling often, the ability to share the USB 3G modem saves lots of access fees charged by hotels and airports. In other words, our current 3G account is shared by many people, while an iPhone account — even if it allowed tethering — would not benefit us the way our current USB modem does.