You might have already noticed in the AT&T iPhone 4 vs. Verizon iPhone 4 comparison we did yesterday, that an exclusive feature “Wi-fi Mobile Hotspot” is present in the Verizon iPhone 4. Rumors have suggested that this feature is coming to GSM iPhones too this March when iOS 4.3 is released.
What is the Mobile Hotspot Feature?
If you are an existing iPhone user you would already know that right now if you want to share your iPhone’s internet with your laptop you can do it via USB cable or via Bluetooth.
The Mobile Hotspot is an additional feature in Internet Tethering(Sharing) allowing you to share it over wi-fi with upto five devices. This would be a really handy feature allowing you to now share the iPhone’s internet with not only your desktop or laptop computer but also with any wi-fi enabled device like iPod Touch or iPad among various other wi-fi enabled devices.
It’s surprising why Apple took this long to release this feature. The Samsung Galaxy S had the Wi-fi hotspot feature right since launch and the release of Android 2.2 Froyo brings wi-fi hotspot feature to all other Android phones.
Which iPhone firmware supports Mobile Hotspot?
The Verizon iPhone will be running iOS 4.2.5 at launch and already has this feature. The iOS 4.3 launch in March will bring it to all GSM iPhones including iPhone 3G/3GS and iPhone 4.
Redmond Pie has posted an image it found which confirms this rumor and tells us that the OS Version for iOS 4.3 will be 8F5148b and the baseband version will be 04.08.00
Will it be available for all GSM iPhone?
Well, the answer is yes and no. It also depends on your carrier. For example, AT&T did not allow Internet Tethering at the time of launch but made it available later. As of now, you cannot be sure if they will allow wi-fi tethering. The reason behind this is that cellular carriers don’t want their networks to be clogged due to excess usage by an added number of devices.
Similarly, in India not all carriers allow Internet Tethering. Airtel does while Tata Docomo does not. So, you will have to wait to see if your carrier is going to allow this service.
We’ll keep you updated as more iOS 4.3 news comes up. Don’t forget to join us on Twitter for latest iPhone and Apple updates.