MMS and Tethering — two features that have been readily available on many smartphones for years — are finally making their way to the iPhone. But if you’re in the United States, you won’t be able to use them for at least a few months. Because AT&T, the network with an exclusive lock on the iPhone in the US, couldn’t get it together in time to support them for the iPhone 3.0 software launch.
At launch on June 17th, MMS is going to be supported by 29 carriers, and tethering will be supported by 22 of them. So when can we finally expect these stateside? MMS is apparently coming “later this summer”. And tethering? A much more nebulous (and ominous) “later”.
This is ridiculous, plain and simple. AT&T has almost certainly known about Apple’s plans for many months if not years, and was probably involved in determining when these features would be launching in the first place.
AT&T has made it clear many times that it simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to support the millions of new iPhone users that are using their “unlimited” data plans far more than they would on other phones. It’s arbitrarily preventing data hungry applications from being deployed to the app store. It’s quickly becoming clear that AT&T is holding the iPhone back.
Unfortunately, AT&T still has the lock on the iPhone and you can be sure the network is doing everything it can to keep a firm grasp on its cash cow, like giving Apple a nice chunk of money for every iPhone sold.