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Will Carriers Charge More for Playbook Tethering to a BlackBerry?


On of the big questions I have about the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook and its ability to leach off the 3G connection of a BlackBerry smartphone is if carriers will charge extra for it. We are still not hearing from RIM if the PlayBook will have a BIS connection and transfer all its data through the RIM NOC’s like BlackBerry smartphones. We know that in Bridged mode it just shows you a nicer larger view of a BlackBerry smartphones email, BBM, and other applications so that will obviously still go through RIM’s servers. On the other hand the tethering to a BlackBerry is still unknown.

My guess is that RIM will once again bow to the carriers will but I really wish that just once they would stand up for their end user customers. They could make the 3G tethering in such a way that the carriers would have no idea and it would just use your regular BlackBerry smartphones data bucket. Especially with carriers in the US who have already started placing tiers on data this would make sense.

What do you think will happen?

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  1. The recent videos with RIM’s VP (of something or other) didn’t show much optimism. I think he pretty much said it’d be left the carriers.

    I’d like to be optimistic, but i guess we’ll see.

    I’m not sure what my carrier’s policy is. I think Rogers allows free tethering if your data plan is over 1GB. Unfortunately mine is only 500mb at the moment.

  2. At least with a BB you’re getting datasmart tech right? 😉

  3. Of course the carriers will. That’s why we will still use the Tether App and throw it in the face of those who say they get DM tether for free :) Just saying :)

    • Of course, if you have the ability to be “bridged”, wouldn’t the Playbook be able to bypass the 3G/4G/Wimax options and use the phones data…again allowing you to use an app like Tether? If you can use the email, BBM, etc off of bridge, you would think the browser or mobile applications the same way.

  4. Unfortunately I really don’t see anything positive coming out of this question. Iwould hope with all the competition out there with cell phones and tablets RIM would figure something out to stand out.Great product + great benfits will improv their market share. It will probably be left up to the carriers and we all know with them it all comes down to dollars and cents. On the flipside it might be possible for carriers to want to steal this market from one another and create special plans for playbook owners. I doubt it, but hey ya never know.

  5. well i think tethering will be left to the carriers and mayb we get to know these when the playbook is released according to the video with RIM’s VP of strategy

  6. I sure hope Tether is creating an app for the Playbook as we speak. If I have to pay a lot more to bridge to my BlackBerry that could be a dealbreaker for me.

  7. Blackberry data is already so expensive I hope they figure something out

  8. As mentioned, paying more for the tethering WILL be the deal breaker. Every one of the tablets out there is currently adding a new data plan. The value for me as I travel the world would be to leverage what I have in my International BB data plan with the Playbook. Without that option, I might as well have any Android tablet. The BB integration becomes moot.

  9. I haven’t been with BlackBerry that long but in my short experience, I feel that RIM will leave it up the carriers to make the decision and we will have to pay for tethering.

  10. I’m curious about this as well. In theory, if the PlayBook is bridged with a BlackBerry, how would the carrier know which device was using the data? Everything that leaves the BlackBerry is encrypted…

  11. Yes they will charge and its going to hurt RIM because they keep marketing it as a 2nd device. Why carry it around if I know I need wifi to use the browser?

  12. I think they should charge a flat fee like some carriers already for PC tethering, I cant see them double dipping on the charge, but combining it.

  13. ummmm…where do carriers come in to play if you can buy the thing from places like office depot? exactly how is office depot going to charge you a tethering fee?

  14. Office Depot won’t but your carrier could if they discovered you were using your BlackBerry phone to access the internet on your Playbook.

  15. Ok, I’m not quite sure if the Playbook will allow setting up connections in the same way as a PC. What I know, is that AT&T do not technically allow tethering, unless you add this feature for a flat monthly fee. However, there is a way around it. I know for a fact that one could configure an AT&T BB as a modem and just leach from its data plan without extra charge. I really hope that this would be possible with the Playbook.

  16. I am going with the carrier profit motive! It will most likely cost users to tether much like trying to use the phone with a notebook (without tethering software).

    • BB to PC Tethering without additional software is perfectly achievable. That is what I was trying to say in my slightly unclear previous post. I just don’t know if that would be the case with Playbook.

  17. So far all carriers have enacted some sort of Tethering/hotspot fee. I feel you might have to pay extra to using the BlackBerry as a modem.

  18. i realy dont believe they would charge more… but who knows

  19. There MAY be a fee, but it won’t have anything to do with your PlayBook. It will likely be like iPhone is now on Verizon, 5GB of data for $30 or add hotspot feature for $20 more. But the enterprising folks like Tether will find a way to mask the PlayBook data use as just more web browsing on your BlackBerry Smartphone UNLESS RIM builds a way to block that into the PlayBook OS.

    I’m still not sold on this whole “bridge” mode myself. Sounding like a total kludge to me. Just give me native capability in the PlayBook OS so I can do everything over wifi, and an app that I can have on my PlayBook and my BlackBerry to keep the two in sync.


    The tethering requirement will stop a lot of new adopters cold in their tracks if they have buy a PlayBook AND a BB.

    Then, you (the carrier) charges a fee above the BB’s data fee… Well that just seems like you would setting up PlayBook for defeat.

  21. I still dont see how tethering can be charged for in this case. It is still using one connection via the Handheld. If it was using a second connection, then thats understandable, same as using a BB APN and TCP connections.

    The tether in this case with the playbook is essentially only a local tether.

    I would boycott this, if this is going to be the case.

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