Mac Information

Apple Macintosh, iPod, iPad and iPhone news and advice in Dublin, Ireland


Internet tethering problems in Ireland

Internet tethering on the iPhone offers the possibility of using your phone as a modem, something which is very welcome for travellers and business users. It may can reduce the number of devices you carry with you, as many people on the road would already have a USB modem, which plugs into a laptop and provides 3G data access.
iPhone tethering in Ireland
Apple explain the steps required to set up internet tethering on this page, and troubleshooting tips here.

However the situation in Ireland is quite different when you go to use this feature. O2, still the only official provider of iPhones in Ireland, charge an extra fee for using tethering. Here are their current prices:
1GB O2 Advance Internet Tethering - €12.50 monthly - 1 GB usage allowance
7.5GB O2 Advance Internet Tethering - €16.99 monthly - 7.5 GB usage allowance
15GB O2 Advance Internet Tethering - €19.99 monthly - 15 GB usage allowance

O2 users will notice that the company had recently changed their iPhone data allowance, changing from a cap of 1GB to unlimited data. This applies to people on the O2 Advance package, and allows them to use their phone's built in internet applications in Ireland without worrying about extra charges. This is a welcome move, although it did seem to take the announcement that Vodafone would stock the iPhone in 2010 to change their minds on this cap.

However we can't but feel that O2 have simply shifted their charges around, and looking for extra money from customers for tethering seems a mean move. Especially as some of these customers may already be paying €80 per month for their iPhone and data allowance. Plus, the 1GB data add on, at 12.50 per month, is a measly amount of data for the money charged, and we would not recommend this to anyone.

Turning to Vodafone and their distribution of iPhones in Ireland, described to us as a "grey-area" by Apple representatives, the situation seems to be a non-starter. We spoke to their customer care line and they seemed to believe the feature was supported, but the data team in Vodafone (different department) say that this feature is not currently available to iPhone customers, and that this will only change later this year when Vodafone start to officially sell the phone. This leaves pre-release iPhone customers in a grey area. They have all other features on the handset, but tethering cannot be supported until Apple and Vodafone organise a software update to support the Vodafone Ireland network.

So for now we have to stick with our laptop's USB modem; and pay for the privilege.

Simon Spence/2010

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