Those of you that follow Apple will have noticed this week that they released iOS 4.3 to developers – iOS being the operating system which runs the iPhone, iPad and AppleTV. While there are a number of tweaks in the latest beta release there are two main features which have been widely publicised: AirPlay for Video and Personal Hotspots. I want to discuss the personal Hot Spots, because I was excited enough about this to go and download the new version of iOS straight away…
What is Personal Hotspot.
Personal Hotspot will allow you to turn your phone into a wireless network, and connect up to 5 devices to it to share it’s 3G data connection. It will become a sort of MiFi. I am interested in it because I currently carry around (and pay for) a 3G mobile broadband dongle so I can use my laptop if I am away from WiFi, and this would do away with this as I could just connect my laptop to my iPhone’s Wireless Network.
This is a feature which the iPhone needs to keep up with a number of Android handsets which already have the WiFi hotspot capability.
I currently pay 3 £15 a month for 15Gb of data through my dongle, although I rarely use that much. I am allowed 500Mb of Data on my O2 iPhone tarriff, so I expected to pay a bit more to allow more data using the hotspot feature.
Tethering & O2 Bolt On.
Sure enough, to use the Hotspot feature your iPhone has to be enabled for tethering – which requires a bolt on from O2. Further research though suggests it is a terrible value bolt on. O2 want £7.50 for 500Mb a month. So to get the same allowance I have from 3 I would have to pay £225 a month. A complete and utter rip-off – now I remember why I never had it in the first place.
To make things worse Android users can already use their inclusive 500Mb allowance through their WiFi hotspot without having to pay anything extra. Oh, and 3 offer “all you can eat data” on their iPhone tarriffs (although it does make reference to not using phone as a modem)…
… are O2 trying to cripple the iPhone? They need new tariffs before this feature goes public (estimated March), or it is an expensive feature which Android users get free!!