While I trashed Vodafone NZ's pricing in a previous post, in at least one way it's far ahead of U.S. telco giant AT&T: internet tethering using the iPhone is already possible over Vodafone's network without resorting to lengthy, kludgy, and unsupported hacks. Who knows how long tethering will stay supported here, or how long it will take before Vodafone remembers to charge extra for it, but for now, tethering is go in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tethering works over both USB and Bluetooth. Using USB to tether simply requires enabling internet tethering in the iPhone's settings, then plugging the iPhone into an available USB port on your computer. The Mac will automatically recognize the tethered iPhone, and your connection will be up and running.
Bluetooth tethering obviously requires enabling Bluetooth on both your iPhone and computer, and then selecting "Connect to Network" from the Bluetooth drop-down menu. Once again, the rest of the setup is automatic -- it really doesn't get much simpler than this.
The speed of the internet connection appears to be comparable to the iPhone's standard mobile speed using USB, but Bluetooth was only about half as fast. I didn't remain tethered for long for fear of gulping down my meager monthly data cap, but for the time I used it, tethering worked with no issues whatsoever.
For my money, having tethering available in little ol' New Zealand long before the U.S. will have it puts AT&T in an even less flattering light -- while AT&T has far more users spread over a much larger area than Vodafone NZ, AT&T also has more towers and more money to pour into their infrastructure.
Any other international iPhone users managed to get tethering working on their networks? Sound off in the comments, and be sure to let us know what network you're on.
Read on for a pictorial guide to enabling tethering over Bluetooth.