AT&T announced this morning that it would finally allow U.S. customers to tether their iPhones -- use the phones to give internet connections to other devices. Tethering will begin after Apple releases iPhone 4.
To add tethering will cost an additional $20 per month, however.
The wireless company will also change its data plan for iPhone users, currently $30 for unlimited use.
Beginning June 7, customers can choose a $15 per month data plan for 200 MB or pay $25 per month for a 2 GB plan. To use the tethering option, you will need one of the new plans.
Current smartphone customers don't have to switch, meaning you can stay with your current unlimited model, but current customers can make the change to the new rates without a contract extension.
Remember, you cannot tether under the old unlimited data plan.
Both new data plans include unlimited access at no additional charge to AT&T 20,000-plus Wi-Fi Hot Spots in the U.S. The company said it will help customers manage data usage by sending free text messages as you near usage limits as well as providing an app that will track usage.
AT&T said its new "DataPlus" plan, for 200 MB of data, is enough to send and receive 1,000 emails per month (with no attachments) plus 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 web pages, post 50 photos on social media sites and watch 20 minutes of streaming video.
Switching to this plan would save current customers $15 per month. If you exceed 200 MB of data in a month, an additional 200 MB would be provided for an additional $15.
AT&T said 65 percent of its customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
The "DataPro" plan provides up to 2GB of data, and would be the choice for most people who want to use the tethering option. AT&T said it would provide enough space to send and receive 10,000 emails with no attachments, plus 1,500 emails with attachments plus view 4,000 web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites and watch 200 minutes of streaming video.
If you still surpass this amount of data, customers would get an additional one gig of data for $10 per use in the cycle. Currently, AT&T says 98 percent of all smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data per month.
Ulimately, these changes mean lower prices for the bulk of smart phone customers. Smartphone voice and data plans now start at $54.99 per month on AT&T and to add a line to a family plan is $24.99 per month or $15 less than previously.
Also, new iPad customers will have the $25 2 GB data plan replacing the $29.99 unlimited plan. This changes goes into effect June 7. So if you want unlimited data on iPad, you need to sign up before June 7.