Tethering on AT&T (without a tethering plan)

Updated: March 5, 2011



If you don't have a tethering plan and try to tether, you are greeted with the message to the right. This tutorial will solve this problem. Yes you can tether, even without a tethering plan from AT&T. Keep in mind when you exceed your established data plan's bandwidth threshhold that AT&T may decide to bill you for any data used. Any extra surcharges are yours and yours alone to bear.


There are several programs you can use to tether. MyWi has a 3 day trial and is $19.99 (I've used the trial version and it works fine), PdaNet has a 14 day trial and costs $15.95 (I've used the trial version and it works fine), Tether has a 7 day trial and costs $4.99, TetherMe is $1.99 and has no trial (I've purchased this program and it works fine). If you would like to see usage instructions for MyWi and TetherMe, check out my iPhone 4 Verizon tutorial here.

Then there is a method you can use which is free. It will take more effort on your part to set this up initially, but works just as well.

I came across an excellent set of instructions for how to do this over at the Mac Rumors forums. A user by the name of Diode posted them. Hats off to Diode for figuring this out. You can read that original set of instructions (along with an excellent discussion) here.

I used an iPhone 4, on 4.0.1 firmware and 4.1 firmware and it works just fine. While my iPhone is active on the AT&T network, I do not have a tethering plan. I also never tether. I just did this to create a tutorial. I will not be a guinea pig to test AT&T's resolve. I leave that up to you. Needless to say your iPhone must already be jailbroken. You can read this tutorial if you don't know how to do this. You must also have OpenSSH installed with an SSH client configured on your Mac. You can read this tutorial to figure out how to do this. Yes, MMS and FaceTime continued to function after performing this modification.
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Step 1.

Download a patched version of the CommCenter program for the iPhone here. It is linked to from post 1 by its creator "wortel". This file contains no copyrighted material. Click where it says "Patch for Commcenter 4.0.1 3G/3GS/4G (1.1-3)by wortel". Should this file disappear, contact me and I'll host it myself. You should now have this icon on your desktop.

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If you are using 4.1 firmware then you'll want to download the file from this thread. This file was also made by "wortel".

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Step 2.

On your iPhone, launch the Settings application. Then press General, Auto-Lock and select Never. Don't forget to set this back when you are done!

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Step 3.

Navigate on your iPhone to /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreTelephony.framework/   It might be a good idea to back up the entire Support folder to your computer for safe keeping as a critical program is about to be modified.

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Navigate to /var/tmp. Place the ccp401_1.1-3_wortel.deb file or the ccp4.1-4_wortel.deb file in this folder.

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Using the Terminal on your Mac, SSH into the iPhone. Enter this command (for 4.0.1 firmware) and press return.

dpkg -i /var/tmp/ccp401_1.1-3_wortel.deb


Enter this command (for 4.1 firmware) and press return.
dpkg -i /var/tmp/ccp4.1-4_wortel.deb


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A few lines of text will appear. Turn off the iPhone then turn it back on.

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Step 4.

Navigate to /System/Library/Carrier Bundes/your_carrier.bundle/   In my example go to the ATT_US.bundle. Click the arrow to expand it and drag the carrier.plist to your computer and back it up

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Open the carrier.plist file in your favorite text editor. I use BBEdit. You can download a free trial version here. Scroll down to the apn section, then to the apn that has a wap string. Once there go to the integer entry. In my example the line is highlighted and contains the number 4.

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Replace the number 4 with the number 53. Save the file!

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Place this modified carrier.plist back into the carrier bundle folder. i renamed my original file on the phone as an extra safeguard.

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Step 5.

On the iPhone launch Settings, press General, press Reset, and press Reset Network Settings. After you confirm this, the iPhone will reboot.

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Launch Settings, press General, press Network, press Internet Tethering. Then slide the slider to ON.

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You'll receive this pop up message. You could tether over Bluetooth, I prefer USB, so I pressed the USB Only button. You'll now see the Internet tethering blue bar at the top of the screen. This is persistent while tethering so you don't forget you are chewing up data on that could potentially be applied to your next phone bill.

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Step 6.

I then received this pop up on my Mac. I clicked Network Preferences...

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I selected the iPhone from the list then clicked the Apply button in the lower right corner.

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Then the iPhone moved to the top of the list on the left, and the connection was working.

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I shut off Wi-Fi on my Mac and fired up a browser.

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If you want to see how much data you are gobbling up, launch Settings, press General, press Usage and scroll to the bottom. Don't forget to shut off tethering when you're done.

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I found that I needed to reboot upon initial installation to get my visual voicemail working. Once I was prompted to enter my password it worked. Resetting network settings at the beginning of this tutorial erased that password from memory.

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