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BlackBerry Bridge Now Available for AT&T – Requires Tethering Plan for Browser


I was really excited to learn that the BlackBerry Bridge is now officially available for AT&T customers in App World. RIM just announced it on their blog and said you may need to search for it in App World to find the download and they will be rolling it out throughout the day. The only problem is that there seems to be one major catch.

RIM seems to be saying that you will need an AT&T tethering plan ($20/month) to be able to use the BlackBerry Bridge browser on AT&T. I am really pissed at AT&T for doing this and even more annoyed at RIM for caving and allowing them to do this. If I already have an AT&T tethering plan than the Bridge Browser is relatively useless unless my BlackBerry is on a BES trying to browse the internal network. RIM should have simply released this app since this is a slippery slope. The second they allow one carrier to charge for the Bridge Browser many more will follow suit.

I want to really thank strangle the RIM employees who decided it was worth throwing their customers under the bus and putting the carrier first. There was really no reason to compromise on this one with AT&T. If every other carrier in the world was fine with the Bridge the way it was why cave to AT&T? Way to go #TeamBlackBerry! Can’t you stick up for your users against AT&T for once?

Here is what RIM has to say about the Bridge Browser:

Another feature of the BlackBerry Bridge application is the ability to browse the Internet on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet using your BlackBerry smartphone’s data connection**. This feature is designed to enable you to access the Internet (or the intranet site of your organization) using your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, even when you’re outside of Wi-Fi® coverage.

** Note: AT&T users must have a tethering plan included with their wireless service plan to take advantage of the Bridge Browser. To enable tethering on your BlackBerry smartphone, go to or dial 611.

I guess when AT&T said: “AT&T is working with RIM to make the BlackBerry Bridge app available for AT&T customers. We have just received the app for testing and before it’s made available to AT&T customers we want to ensure it delivers a quality experience,” they meant… AT&T is looking for a way to squeeze more money out of this newfangled “Bridge” app. We will only release it once we find a way to force our favorite lapdog RIM to provide us a way to charge for it. I short “Quality Experience” means “Money in AT&T’s bank.”

22 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. It is kind of sad that they couldn’t just release it without requiring a tethering plan. The delay on the release was probably so they could have something put it place to prevent tethering without the plan. It does seem like RIM caters to AT&T way too much. They shouldn’t allow them to block BB Maps and they shouldn’t have let them charge for tethering.

  2. I love how the RIM blog has it in really tiny print at the bottom.

    It’s like they’re ashamed of it.

  3. I wouldn’t blame customer for jumping ship now! Seems RIM is looking for ways to make customers leave by giving in to AT&T.

  4. How would AT&T be able to know that one is using the Bridge Browser? Wouldn’t they have to prove it in order to charge customers?

    • They wouldn’t have to prove it.

      It’s not like if they decide to charge you a couple hundred dollars for tethering fees that they give you a statement of proof along with it.

      At most they would just show you the data usage (and that would probably have to be requested), which in itself is not really proof that it was tethering.

  5. This is why insane price increases do not result in mass carrier switching.

    VZ introduces stupid expensive, tiered data plans.

    AT&T blocks bridge (and will likely introduce even worse plans than VZ once LTE becomes available).

    It just goes from worse, to worser, to worserest. They just keep evening the playing field by making things more expensive.

  6. I have a 2GB data plan now that doesn’t go over 100MB because I’m always within a wifi range so why should I plan 20 bucks more to use the bridge?? That jus ridiculous.

  7. I echo!! Go Ronen.

  8. I really do want to curse now! I have been with ATT for 10yrs and never have any service issues. I never have any bill issues BUT this blocking stuff really angers me. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED ATT??? Greedy MFers!!!!

  9. Hang on a sec here, aren’t there rumors that the new line up of BBs will have wifi hotspot which I failed to detect in any official or leaked simulator?
    If BBs have that feature in the near future, why get pissed off now?
    This could be a way of getting those customers that abuse the unlimited feature to stop that by switching to a limited 2GB or 4GB with tethering.

  10. The least RIM could do is not annouce this total fucking failure. I mean, I’m an AT&T customer and I’ve been using the bridge from day one. There was no need to put this product out at all.

    RIm has just devalued a potential selling feature of this product, the big question is what did they get from AT&T? If nothin then Mike and Jim really should be fired.

    What have we been saying for the last 6 moths? get your head out of the carrier’s asses and build products for customers.

    my guesss here is the reason for the delay in the 9900

  11. I totally agree!! RIM you SUCK!!! You should have fought for your customers!

    Now we know why RIM is sometimes called RIM-T&T

    I mean, I was planning on buying a Playbook for the bridge feature alone! Now I have to extra for the bridge use??!! If I need to pay extra for tethering, why no tether then to a galaxy tab 8.9 when it comes out? With its extra resolution, FLASH support, bigger app selection and actually a lower price too!

    • Dude, you need to relax for two reasons. 1. I’ve had a PlayBook for the past month and haven’t heard boo from AT&T about the extra data usage from the bridge browser. 2. Although I understand your frustration, I hardly think RIM is to blame. The carriers have MOST phone manufacturers over a barrel because the phone manufactures need the carriers to sell their phones to generate revenue. Back when BlackBerry devices were hot (like Apple is now), RIM probably had some leverage with the carriers…however, with RIM’s market share really down, I’m guessing they get bent over by the carriers and are told to like it and ask for more.

  12. There is lot that BlackBerry users can can and should be upset with Research in Motion over, but, ‘caving into AT&T’ for ‘allowing’ them to charge for Bridge Browsing is not one of them.

    If you bought a BlackBerry from AT&T, you didn’t buy it from RIM. You bought it from AT&T. If you get your wireless service via AT&T, you didn’t get it from RIM. You got it from AT&T.

    AT&T made a business decision not to allow their customers to user Bridge Browsing for free, but, charge you a monthly fee for it. This has as little to do with RIM as does your cable company charging you for premium channels has to do with the manufacturer of your TV.

    • There is one key element you’re forgetting here. By default Bridge Browsing is just browsing through a proxy hosted on your BB phone. The carrier has no way of knowing if the data you’re using is bridged browsing or some other app that’s using BIS-B (which is, by the way, routed through RIM’s NOC – meaning that the underlying service *is* in fact from RIM)

      This means that if this policy is enforced, RIM is doing the enforcement.

      I actually wonder if it *is* being enforced – to my knowledge no new version of bridge has been released for att. That means that either it’s somehow enforced at the NOC level; that the functionality to block based on carrier+service book was always present and was enabled remotely; or that is not actually enforced at all.

      I’d love to hear from someone who tried to use bridging on att and does not have tethering, since this announcement was made.

      • Marc – to answer your question, my Bridge browser works the way it did prior to the announcement, without any nastygrams from AT&T that pop up saying they want to suck another $20 out of my wallet every month for a service that I already pay for. Regardless who is administering the policy, the money grubbers at AT&T are still the ones to blame IMO. I look at it this way, I pay a monthly internet fee to Comcast every month to get internet in my house. They don’t charge me if I have one computer hooked up or five….and they also don’t charge if I use 2 gb of data or 20 gb. IMO, this is just another way for Big AT&T to stick it to consumers and phone manufacturers, while lining the pockets of their shareholders and execs.

    • I don’t get the reasoning Robb. Are you saying because you buy a phone from AT&T they can decide what apps it runs? Or is it because the phone is on AT&T’s network that gives them that right? You don’t think it is RIM’s responsibility to stand up for end users who are their customers to ensure a positive experience?

      Take your example of TV’s and cable companies. This would be the equivalent of a cable company saying you cannot have two monitors/tvs connected to the same cable box. Or better yet do you remember when the cable companies tried to greedily charge you per computer that connected to the internet. Just because you get service from a carrier does not mean a manufacturer is justified into caving into their every demand.

      • My point is that RIM hasn’t sold a single BlackBerry to single AT&T customer. They sold devices to AT&T to AT&T’s specifications. AT&T then sold those devices to their customers and have dictated what applications can and cannot be installed and what services AT&T customers will or will not have to pay for.

        Now, don’t get me wrong, I think AT&T customers should be up in arms because of AT&T’s decision to charge for Bridge Browsing. The fact that AT&T and other carries charge customers additionally for tethering data connections they already pay for is equally as bad. Consumers, however, need to address this with the carriers, not, hardware manufactures.

        I actually think a better analogy would be multiple TV’s connected to the same cable connection. You get basic channels, i.e., email, bbm, contacts, and tasks… If however, you, want to get the premium channels other than on the TV connected to the the cable box, i.e., BlackBerry Bridge, your cable company, or at least the ones that I’ve dealt with, charge you for it.

        I am not saying that I agree with this, and, there are certainly ways to get around it, however, I don’t blame my TV manufacturer, or, the manufacturer of my cable box because of what my cable provider charges for…

        • You make good points Robb and my beef is mainly with ATT, however I’m not sure RIM should have promoted this announcement. If they truly believe they are losing sales because ATT will not support the bridge then the solution is to get cracking on native email and also have a website dedicated to ATT customers to download the bridge.

          I guess the real reason people are upset is that Apple seems to tell the carriers to go blow and they do nothing. Of course in the end this is RIM’s fault since the haven’t made a phone that would give them powers over the carriers like Apple has.

          I am only hoping that the 9900 will come out to many carriers at the same time so that I can leave ATT when it does.

          • I agree with you 100% on that point. Apple has leverage as they have the device that consumers want. RIM, unfortunately, has no leverage with the carriers right now as they can’t even get them to release their devices.

            The sad thing is that when RIM did have a bit of clout and had the ability to ‘wag the dog’, they put out the BlackBerry Storm 9530 which was supposed to be an iPhone killer.

            Needless to say, RIM, succeeded in only killing their ability to tell carriers how things were going to be for the foreseeable furture, as compared to the visa versa…

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