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AT&T expands Internet Sharing guests for Windows Phones

One handy feature on our Windows Phone devices is Internet Sharing. It allows you to share your cellular data connection over Wi-fi with other devices (laptop, tablet, etc.).

The bad thing is that carriers usually charge you for this service or limit the number of devices that can be tethered (which make no sense seeing that it's your data). We've been tipped that AT&T has made a change to the guest or device limit they impose on their Internet Sharing settings.

Internet Sharing Settings

Apparently, at some recent point in time, AT&T expanded the number of guests or devices you can share data services with from five to eight. We aren't sure if you have to actually sign up for the service to see the increase in guests or if this is a gradual roll-out type of change.

My Lumia 920 is still showing a limit of five guests but then again, I'm not signed up for the service. Let us know in the comments if your seeing the changes on your AT&T Windows Phone or if you're on another carrier you're seeing the changes.

Thanks, Kai, for the tip and screen shots!

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • First comment! Finally :-D
  • You could at easy write something about the article instead of a pointless comment..
  • In case you didn't realise, I think people are now just ignoring these kind of comments ! :|
  • Yea,and that's why you payed attention?
  • To who, you, I don't think so my good man.
  • Who gives...
  • 7th!!!! Woohoo!! TAKE THAT!
  • First to congratulate you on first!
  • This is stupid. If I was a mod I would ban every person that writes "first" and adds nothing useful to the conversation. You would be "first" to get banned.
  • Your comment didn't have anything more useful than the "first" comment.
  • his comment IS useful... gives the mod something to think about... banning thoughtless people wouldn't be such a bad idea... 
  • 5gb plan.
  • I have unlimited, but I'm sure if I try to add tethering, they will make me drop my grandfathered data plan and pick a regular one... Anyone got input on this?
  • Yeah I do. Unlock your device and switch to T-Mobile if you have coverage.
  • This is correct, I too am unlimited, and u will lose it to get tethering. I called. 
  • I'm waiting for this to change... So sad I can't use what I pay for......
  • How many gigs do you actually use every single month? What's you're average over the last 8 months.
  • Exactly...
  • How are you able to enable internet sharing on the L920 if you aren't on a plan that "supports" it? I wasn't able to figure out a way to do so and didn't see anything online on how to do so. I'm on the 2GB data plan without tethering.
  • I can turn it on but in a few seconds the phone realizes that I'm not signed up for the service and it shuts down.  The settings screen stays up just long enough to snap a picture.
  • Interesting. Mine doesn't even turn it on. Just pops up the call 611 message instantly.
    That's one of the few things keeping me on Android. The ability to root it and force it to ignore AT&T's silly restrictions. I just got a new Galaxy S4 on one of my AT&T lines and the carrier bloatware is disgusting. I rooted it and was able to get rid of most as the user wants to keep it on the stock ROM. I have a clean ROM on my Note 2 without any bullshit. I just wish there was a way to force my Lumia to ignore the restriction from AT&T.
  • The wonders of an unlocked phone. I can't believe carriers can restrict features like that.. Crazy!
  • An unlocked Windows Phone won't help you here. ALL of them obey carrier restrictions. It's in the OS. Based on what SIM card you have loaded in the phone it will use that to check if tethering is allowed. I've used Verizon and T-Mobile WP8 devies on AT&T and they will respect AT&T's tethering bullshit. Only WP7 phones can be "rooted" (WP doesn't have its own term for admin access) and the check disabled.
  • Really? wow didn't realise that.
    Although I got sent an AT&T dev device to Australia (a WP7 handset) and when I put my sim in that, it told me tethering was disabled and to call AT&T to enable. So I figured carrier locked devices would be more locked down. As I obviously couldn't get a plan through AT&T.
    I don't think we really have any carrier enforced restrictions here in Australia like that - from my own experience anyway
  • WP7 operated a little differently. And the whole way it checks is a little odd. Sometimes it will do like what you described where it will give that error when using it on a different carrier. But I have personally tested Verizon and TMO phones on AT&T and they all give that restriction. The only one I got to work was a Canadian ATIV S on a non-smartphone data plan. Maybe AT&T's system doesn't have a response to whether you can tether or not if you don't have a smartphone data plan. I'm not really sure how it works behind the scenes. 
  • I believe the term is interop unlock.
  • That's weird, I never signed up for tethering and I'm able to do so. Never got ant restrictions. Maybe it's because I have a the higher Gb usage. Idk. I've been able to tether my laptop to my phone with no restrictions.
  • Don't you have to have the 5GB plan?
  • It's an arbitrary bullshit restriction that AT&T imposes. My Android has been rooted and made to bypass the check. Tethering works fine without the "right" plan. There is no difference other than a Boolean variable set to True instead of False on AT&T's servers.
  • You need to select AT&T LTE 1 in the Access Point app, if you're on AT&T. Today's update seemed to have something to do with it.
  • I tried that and no love. I'll need to call them to see whats up.
  • Have you updated Access Point?
  • I wasn't aware there were limitations to how many devices can share your data over tethering. I'm on meteor in Ireland and have seen nothing about limits ?.
    Or is this totally carrier specific ?.
  • It shows it on internet sharing screen when you enable it. Think the default is 8 connections max at once
  • Ah yeah see it now. Never even noticed there was a 8 guest limit before but then again only ever had a couple of devices connected at once.
    Its a sad state of affairs when you have to pay extra for a service that you have essentially already paid for, ( your data plan.) just certain carriers being greedy, me thinks.
  • Mines is sharing 5 still on a 15gb mobile shared plan
  • A rooted WP7 could be modified to allow internet sharing even if you weren't paying for it. Like every other phone in the world. It's so frustrating that this restriction on internet sharing a) makes no sense, b) obviously a scam and c) so loosely enforced that it's usually a simple matter of getting it for free... But here's where WP8's extra security turns around to bite us in the ass- can't bypass the stupidity of our carriers.
  • I mean, ATT doesn't go after people who bypass the tethering fee, and they don't update the protocol to make it more secure so that you can't get it for free on most phones. Which means that tethering plans are essentially a tax on those who don't know they don't need one.
    Except for us unlucky souls.
  • ATT does go after non-subscribers. I set up my girlfriend's little Pantech feature phone to tether her laptop via Bluetooth. She got away with not subscribing to tethering for a year and a half, but eventually they sent her a letter saying to either stop or start paying the tethering fee.
    So far they haven't bothered me for using my Quantum for the same purpose, but who knows how long that will last.
  • how do you enable tethering on a Quantum? I can't find any settings.
  • ATT will go after you if they want. A lot of people get away with it because they don't tether very often and the types of traffic that goes thru their line is normal for a smart phone. When desktop style packets come thru is when they start to notice I think. Just my observation. 
    All they do is send a letter asking you to pay for tethering if you want to continue. Verizon just got out of the hot water with tethering. They have to allow it now because of the spectrum contract they signed with the US govt. I wish ATT was in the same boat. It's my data and I want it now! I pay for it, does it matter if I tether? No!
  • I have tethering - mine still shows a max of 5 after I turn it on. Would this really be something tied to a network setting that would just update on-the-fly or does it have to be enabled in an update at some point?
  • I've had this capability with my plan on AT&T for some time now. You have to have the 4GB Mobil share plan to have it connect with my Surface all the time as needed.
  • I'm in Brazil and I have a unbranded Lumia 920. After I got it from the repair it was with a updated OS version. And since that it allows 8 devices to connect. OS version: 8.0.10211.204 Firmware: 1232.5957.1308.0001
  • It worked using my daughter's iPad mini. I didn't know i even had the service
    6GB family plan
  • 5 devices on mine. You can use it on a family share plan. I have a 10gb bucket.
  • I just switched to the 10GB data share plan and I can share 8 devices on my 8X.
  • That must cost you a whole lot. I hope you use lots of connected tablets otherwise it doesn't make much sense. 
  • I had it when I first got my 920 on ATT, but somewhere along the way since then... Gone. Don't pay or need it, but it was good to have just in case I suppose. Oh well. Shows 8 now anyway...
  • My 920 on att is still listing 5 as the limit. Then again, I'm not signed up for their internet sharing add on.
  • Did you find a way to bypass the restriction? How are you doing that?
  • I was told by the rep as I was changing to a family share data plan that I could add a feature to enable my devices to act as a hotspot, for $10 per month. I asked, why? Especially seeing that I was able to use the feature even when I was on a 3 GB plan without paying extra then. He was silent, no answer for a minute, and then he basically, in a conspiratorial undertone, said I didn't have to pay the $10, some people don't. I asked what the $10 would give me that I didn't already have, and he was actually stumped.
    Short answer, I haven't done anything to game the system, far as I know. I may have slipped through a crack somewhere. But after paying for a 10 Mb shared plan for my family, there's no way I would pay an extra $10 to share the data I already paid for. It's really kind of an unfair practice by the carriers. If you're on a data plan and have a device that support internet sharing, set it up, you may be surprised by the results. I hope you are.
  • Family share data plans allow tethering. The rep didn't know what he was talking about. Family share data plans though are huge ripoffs unless you're using multiple tablets so I refuse to switch to them.
  • It's included with MobileShare I know that much. Also when I was on TMO with my 710 it worked fine, even with a standard data plan. I assume WP gets round the 'must purchase tethering' feature.
  • That's until you switch to a new device. TMO system has a bug that allows free tethering until a new device is added. 1st hand experience and an explanation from a TMO tech support guy.
  • What gives? I am just on att data share plan and tethering is free.
  • Did not even know about this. Started it up and worked great with my playbook.
  • I have the 15 gb shared plan which includes tethering - my 920 still says 5 max...
  • I have a question, I have the 5gb plan with att with sharing but I have no clue if there'sax data allowances for downloading? Like my our phones when updating an app if its so large requires WiFi. But say if I use my phone as the WiFi hotspot is there a limit? Cause if there is I haven't come across it yet.
  • It uses the data from your 5GB pool. It's not a separate thing (like Verizon used to be)
  • No I understand it takes my 5gb pool but I was wondering if there's file size limits for downloading? I know once I hit my cap its a mute point but curious cause I've not come across a limit if there is suppose to be for downloading.
  • Mine now shows 8, I'm on the 10gb shared data plan.
  • If your not signed up for internet sharing how do u have it enabled on the lumia 920? I have grandfathered in unlimited data. No share plan, etc. I would really love to enable ICS. On lumia 920
  • I never even got to use this feature, so I just left AT&T two weeks ago.
  • Mines changed from five to eight just checked.
  • And I have the 15 gb sharing data plan
  • Stupid networks. None of the NZ operators do that. We get 10 guests, and it uses your standard data plan.
  • I have a Nokia Lumia 920 on ATT and I have the tethering service and my limit is 8 guests that are allowed to connect.
  • I believe that you CAN overturn the carrier restrictions if the phone is unlocked. I have an 8X that is T-Mobile USA branded and use it here in Canada on the wind network. I tether it all day long to my iPhone iPad and nexus.....although sometimes when I accept an update it reverts to T Mobile default and tries to make me sign up for a tethering plan in order to tether. Rebooting the phone normally solves this
  • Nope mine still says 5
  • Internet sharing on my L900 still show 5 guests... And yes I have tethering included in my plan.
  • I have the 15GB Family share plan and I stil show 5. Not that I have ever used 5 would still be nice to see more.
  • We get 10 in México with Telcel, which is really something since the monopolic company is usually known for it's bad and limited services. We just have to wait for the competition to get more coverage.
  • Free for 8 devices on WP for Verizon. It may be for WP only, a friend with an iPhone says he has pay.
  • You have a "share everything" plan, your iPhone friend probably has an older plan
  • By the way, I have a 500mb plan. It's crazy to pay even 3gb.
  • I have it unlocked and I can share with up to 8!
  • A Lumia 920
  • I'm using the 920 unlocked on T-Mobile. From my experience, T-Mobile doesn't restrict you from enabling the tethering feature but if it detects any sort of "tethering" you will be redirected to purchase a tethering plan in browser.
    I put tethering in quotes because I was detected as tethering even when I didn't, I think it checks your browser user agent string and if it happens to be desktop, Which I used for forcing a desktop site it did the redirection.
  • I show 8. It has been 8 for awhile, I think. Oh, I do pay for the service though.
  • The last update Rogers messed up my internet sharing, now I have to use this work around to get it working :(.
  • i am on a mobile shard plan through ATT (mobile shared is where you share a pool of data instead of minutes)
    connection sharing is included with the plan. i just tried mine and it still says 5 devices.
    Red L920
  • My 920 still shows the 5 user limit.
  • Rogers does 8 as well
  • Interesting, L521 on TMO shows up to 8 clients.
  • Just checked and mine's showing 8 now... But I've got to wonder.. Why would anyone want or need to share their phone's internet connection with more than just a couple devices anyway? 5 is way more than enough for me...
  • For AT&T, you need to have a mobile share plan, it can be 1,2,4,5GB whatever, but it must be mobile share. I have a L920 unlocked and had a 1GB mobile share with AT&T and had Internet sharing. Now I'm on TM but the service is not active for prepaid customers so I have to wait a monthmand get on the same plan but post paid to get Internet sharing.
  • US case only.
  • Tethering does absolutely not work at all on my Lumia 920 in Netherlands (Telfort). Don't understand, cause indeed, it IS my data! They capped my mobile internet to 1GB a month, so it's MY choice how I want to use that 1GB. If it was an unlimited internet connection, I could understand. But not this.
  • Moot! The point is moot! There is no such thing a as a mute point. Bing it.
  • I'm on Rogers and it lets me have 8. I'm surprised this is a carrier-set limit. I just assumed the OS put a limit to maintain optimal performance or something.
  • I'm signed up for it and still have five limit. I'm on latest public release.
    My Lumia 920 is still showing a limit of five guests but then again, I'm not signed up for the service. 
    If you are not signed up for the service, how did you know your Lumia 920 showing a limit of 5 guests?