AT&T tethering to cost $55?

Gruber found some information that the AT&T tethering plan would cost $55 a month and suggests – but cannot confirm – that this will be in addition to the unlimited data plan already in place, potentially hitting the $85 per month for data. I, like him, find this outrageous and can only pray that this number will be more like $55 total.

On the aggregate, traffic on wireless networks is fairly low. Major carriers built out quite a bit of bandwidth – they just needed the right customers, applications, and phones to use it correctly. When I was a telecom consultant back in 1999 we were already talking about 3G but no one wanted to start up the pipe for fear of – what? I don’t know. Maybe they were afraid people would use it, downloading WAP pages willy-nilly.

I can’t speak for AT&T but in my experience as a billing and “service modification” analyst, the biggest hurdle here is probably a list of millions of names they have to provision with certain services – MMS, for example – and the refusal of marketing to cannibalize on current WWAN dongle sales.

A little insult to injury?

And our Scandinavian friends are all sharing a good laugh at our expense. Unlimited data plans with tethering run about US$20/month in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

Mmmm, tasty pain!