NetShare and International iPhone Owners

About a week ago, Nullriver released an iPhone application called NetShare. The application briefly appeared in Apple’s iPhone App Store, then disappeared. It reappeared again shortly thereafter, only to disappear again. As of now, the application is not available, and Apple has given no explanation for why the application was removed.

NetShare is a tethering application. It can be used to wirelessly share the iPhone’s Internet connection with a Mac or PC. Since AT&T does not allow tethering for iPhones, a possible explanation for Apple’s removal of the application would be that they are enforcing AT&T’s contract.

Unfortunately, the application was removed from the App Store not only in the US, but world-wide. The App Store does allow for area-specific applications. Some applications available in the US App Store are not available in the European store. Apple could have removed NetShare only in the US store; instead, they removed the application everywhere.

My iPhone contract is with Swisscom. I do not have an unlimited data plan, so it makes no sense for Swisscom to forbid tethering.1 Assuming that Apple did indeed pull the application to enforce AT&T’s contract, it is a bit disturbing to find out that they plan on enforcing AT&T’s contract even for people who have signed no contract with AT&T. Hopefully, Apple will clarify this soon.

Addendum : iPhone Alley writes that Apple is «reviewing user contracts with providers» to see whether NetShare is allowed. So hopefully, it’ll come back over here. Can Apple show an app solely based on what contract the user has, or will it simply not be shown in areas where there may potentially be people who have contracts which don’t allow NetShare?

  1. In fact, most European contracts and cell phones are not nearly as restricted as US cell phones and contracts seem to be. ↩︎

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