Today, AT&T announced it would finally support a wireless hotspot feature -- on the upcoming HTC Inspire 4G phone. The Android phone will be released Feb. 13.
The company will also change its current data allowance to 4GB for customers who pay $45 for data plus tethering.
Previously, the data was capped at 2GB.
So if nothing else, if you're a heavy data user, you can now get a 4GB plan for $45.
Of course, it's natural to assume this is a reaction to Verizon's upcoming iPhone. Thursday morning (2/3) at 3 a.m. current Verizon customers can start to order Apple's phone and everyone else can get one on Thursday Feb. 10.
Verizon stores will open at 7 a.m. and allow lines to form by 5 a.m. on the 10th. The Verizon iPhone will come with unlimited data plan for $30 and WiFi hotspot for an additional $20 per month. That hotspot will have a separate 2GB bucket of data. Go beyond that 2GB bucket and you'll incur an overage fee of $10 per gig.
AT&T stopped unlimited data for its iPhone/smartphone customers, allowing legacy owners to keep the plan but forcing new customers into one of two new options: $25 per month for 2 GB or $15 per month for 200 MB.
AT&T has forced its unlimited legacy customers into the 2GB plan in the past if they wanted to add tethering.
No word on whether AT&T will allow its iPhone customers to use the HotSpot fuctionality, which will be included in the next Apple software update. But iPhone owners who want to tether their device to a single other device could adopt the new plan.
The hotspot feature would theoretically allow multiple devices to get onto the internet with the phone.