Report: All iPhones with OS 4.3 to get mobile hot spots

According to a source at BGR, AT&T and other iPhone carriers will be getting a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot option with OS 4.3, which was released to developers today.

Why yes, I would like this feature on my AT&T iPhone, thanks! Bonny Cha/CNET

Yesterday Verizon (finally) announced that it is getting the iPhone for its wireless network. It wasn't much of a surprise--the rumors have been around for years and really came to a head in the last couple of weeks. But a revelation that wasn't widely expected was that the Verizon iPhone could work as a personal Wi-Fi hot spot . This essentially allows the iPhone to act as a Wi-Fi access point for up to five devices, allowing them to connect to Verizon's 3G network wherever the phone has coverage.

This type of easy tethering caught the attention of some AT&T iPhone users, as the feature is not available on current iPhones. The Verizon iPhone was noted as running a version of iOS 4.3, whereas current GSM iPhones are running 4.2. Thus the rumors started swirling that 4.3--released to developers today--would bring the feature to all iPhone's capable of running the OS, Verizon or AT&T-based.

And now, BGR, formerly known Boy Genius Report, says that the feature will indeed be available to all iPhones capable of running 4.3. Right now, that's looking like iPhone 4 on Verizon and AT&T, as well as the 3Gs on AT&T, or unlocked on another GSM provider.

For the personal hot spot to work, it's likely that the phone will have to have carrier support. Right now, AT&T charges a premium for Internet tethering, which is essentially what this is, and Verizon allows it with its top data plan. There's no telling now how other carriers, like T-Mobile, would implement it, if at all.

Of course, this is all according to a BGR source, who remains a mystery. It could be all false, but considering that the current version of iOS allows for USB and Bluetooth tethering, it doesn't at all seem far-fetched. We'll find out when 4.3 gets pushed to all iPhone users, whenever that is. But the next logical question is: will iPads with 3G get this feature?

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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