For the most part, today’s Verizon iPhone announcement was exactly in line with what most pundits expected: same phone, different network. One intriguing feature of the Verizon iPhone that AT&T doesn’t currently offer, however, is the ability to turn the phone into a WiFi hotspot for up to 5 devices. Wouldn’t it be nice if AT&T also offered this feature soon?
AT&T is “Evalutating” This Feature
There is nothing specifically “Verizon” about this feature. Technically, AT&T’s network is just as capable of supporting this feature as Verizon’s and there are already third-party apps for jailbroken iPhones out there that offer this capability and that work reasonably well. The Verizon iPhones that were on display in New York today ran iOS 4.2.5, a currently unreleased version of the iPhone’s operating system. On Verizon’s iPhones, turning on the hotspot feature is as easy as going to the settings menu and turning the feature on. It’s integrated directly into the OS.
The good folks over at the Business Insider asked AT&T if this feature would make its way to their iPhone as well and a company rep told them that AT&T is “evaluating” this feature but has “no plans to announce today.”
Just a Question of Time?
So will AT&T support mobile hotspots once Apple releases the next update to the iOS? My personal guess is that it will take the company a bit longer before it releases this feature to its users. After all, it took AT&T years before it even officially allowed tethering and the hotspot feature would put even more of a strain on the company’s network. For now, I’m guessing AT&T will start offering this feature once the next generation iPhone is available and it will surely charge a hefty fee for this feature as well (we don’t know anything about Verizon’s pricing plans for the iPhone yet, so the price could turn out to be a non-issue). Overall, though, it will only be a matter of time before AT&T users will get this feature as well.