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Comments on news posted 2011-01-31 11:20:27: Courthouse News Service notes that AT&T is facing a new class action lawsuit over the way the company bills iPhone and iPad data rates. ..

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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

1 recommendation

More Proof that All Data Plans with Overages Are Bad

I've always claimed that a smartphone without an unlimited data plan is nothing more than a very expensive toy. Glad to be validated once again.

If you want to play with a smartphone or similar device, go to a network that offers an unlimited data plan. The extra cost is minute compared to the sanity received.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.


IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

How?

How is it possible to have phantom traffic?

At what level does the screwup occur?

robo74

join:2003-10-23
Harvard, IL
kudos:1
reply to pnh102

Re: More Proof that All Data Plans with Overages Are Bad

This goes out to all the AT&T fans that thought AT&T was perfect.
No such perfect carrier exists.

borka

join:2003-04-01
Brooklyn, NY

1 recommendation

I device talking to apple

Its probably the data thats being generated from the Iphone/iPad talking back to apple, and sending usage statistics and what not.

shoan

join:2006-02-27
Benton, AR
reply to IPPlanMan

Re: How?

I believe this totally. We opened a third cell line to leave at the house in emergencies. This phone was not turned on at all and had no data package on it, I was billed for several data transactions. I called AT&T and they corrected the issue and issued credits to my account. The saving grace for me was the phone was never turned on since I got the sim card since it was a back up card. But of course they acted like they were doing me a favor to fix the issue. I had to put a data block on the account to stop these charges. Something is not right on their end with this data billing.

jsb825
Premium
join:2003-10-08
Exeter, NH

I can see this

When the phone goes to standby, it stops using the wi-fi and starts using the 3G. I know this because I watched the packets stop flowing on the wi-fi network, but I was still getting e-mail notifications. My mother doesn't use her phone for any data, but she has strangely used 7 mbs so far this month. I never used more than 5 mb when I had a blackberry and I got loads of e-mail messages. So Apple explain yourself!! Please!


pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD
reply to robo74

Re: More Proof that All Data Plans with Overages Are Bad

said by robo74:

This goes out to all the AT&T fans that thought AT&T was perfect.
No such perfect carrier exists.

Indeed. I am sure that this happens to everyone with any limited data plan from any network.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
reply to IPPlanMan

Re: How?

said by IPPlanMan:

How is it possible to have phantom traffic?

At what level does the screwup occur?

By design.

As a poster said later, the phone reverts to using 3G service when in standby mode. This could be nothing more than the phone acknowledging where it is and making sure all updates have been downloaded (like service packs on Window PCs.)


Zulu3

join:2008-03-17
Port Saint Lucie, FL

1 recommendation

reply to shoan
Turn your data off. Settings > Network > Enable 3G > off
Cellular Data > Off.

Simple as that


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to borka

Re: I device talking to apple

Or in other words, the consumer is paying to allow Apple and/or AT&T to spy and ultimately make money of them.


Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA
reply to pnh102

Re: More Proof that All Data Plans with Overages Are Bad

I have had unlimited since Day 1 with my iPhone and if they ever put me on a limited plan, I would jump off in a heartbeat

I use well over the laughable 2gb per month and I do not do any video viewing whatsoever.

My iPad is restricted tremendously the last few days of every month due to me using it at work with no Wifi available.

I won't be getting a 2nd iPad unless the caps are lifted altogether or quite a bit.


djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
reply to robo74
said by robo74:

This goes out to all the AT&T fans that thought AT&T was perfect.

All 5 of them?

I saw an extremely high amount of usage on my phone when I wasn't using it / was at home with wifi available. Turns out it was automatically checking my hotmail account, which had 20,000+ messages. It's primarily a junk account, but I was buying a home so I wanted to be alerted to new messages.

Just checking this account racked up almost 2gb of data over the course of a month. I don't otherwise do a lot - prior to enabling the account my usage was 200-500mb/month. Wifi doesn't help. When the phone is locked, the wifi is disabled to save battery. So it will do a lot of email checking on 3G even when wifi is available.

I disabled automatic email checking and got the message count of my Hotmail account down to a low roar, and my usage is back to normal.
--
AT&T U-Hearse
Your funeral. Delivered.


morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
reply to Zulu3

Re: How?

>Simple as that

not really. that is the point of this news story. even not using data AT&T will charge you for using data.


Steve B
Premium
join:2004-08-02
Auburn, WA
reply to jsb825

Re: I can see this

said by jsb825:

When the phone goes to standby, it stops using the wi-fi and starts using the 3G. I know this because I watched the packets stop flowing on the wi-fi network, but I was still getting e-mail notifications. My mother doesn't use her phone for any data, but she has strangely used 7 mbs so far this month. I never used more than 5 mb when I had a blackberry and I got loads of e-mail messages. So Apple explain yourself!! Please!

What confuses me is I thought that using Wi-Fi is supposed to help increase your battery life when 3G is the real battery drainer. So if that is right, then why would they design it to disable Wi-Fi when the phone is "asleep"?


FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to borka

Re: I device talking to apple

said by borka:

Its probably the data that's being generated from the Iphone/iPad talking back to apple, and sending usage statistics and what not.

They did NOT turn the phone off.
quote:
disabled all push notifications and location services, confirmed that no email account was configured on the phone, closed all applications, and let the phone sit untouched for 10 days.
I am sure that the phone, as long as it is powered on, is communicating to something. Either Apple or AT&T concerning status, automatic backup of contact lists, or something else.

I wonder what their data usage would have been if they just powered off the phone or iPad completely and not just sitting in standby mode where it can still communicate?

MRCUR

join:2007-03-09
Reading, PA
reply to Zulu3

Re: How?

So I should let all of my friends know who are on tiered data plans to turn their data OFF when not in use? That's absurd. This seems like an issue with AT&T's billing system. Maybe it's an issue with an iPhone, but from the sound of these comments, many non-iPhone users have seen this happen before.

MRCUR

join:2007-03-09
Reading, PA
reply to FFH5

Re: I device talking to apple

AT&T has stated in the past that data used while phones report data usage and other billing related items back to AT&T is NOT charged. Granted I'm not sure anyone has tested if this is true, but that's what AT&T claims.

Apple on the other hand definitely collects data which would be billed as normal data usage.

MRCUR

join:2007-03-09
Reading, PA
reply to Steve B

Re: I can see this

In the long run, WiFi will use more power. 3G is more power hungry when you're pounding data and moving around (jumping towers). Just checking emails isn't very data intensive and as such it's not a bad thing for 3G to be used.

With iOS 4.2, persistent WiFi was added. If cell data is not available, the WiFi should stay connected.

AlfredNewman

join:2010-03-25
Columbus, OH
reply to FFH5

Re: I device talking to apple

But thats not the point of this exercise. It's showing that with the AT&Ts traffic of talking to the device uses up more than the monthly alloted size limit. Once again showing that their version of "enough" isn't nearly enough for a grandmother checking her email or the habitual Youtube user.


Steve B
Premium
join:2004-08-02
Auburn, WA
reply to MRCUR

Re: I can see this

said by MRCUR:

In the long run, WiFi will use more power. 3G is more power hungry when you're pounding data and moving around (jumping towers). Just checking emails isn't very data intensive and as such it's not a bad thing for 3G to be used.

With iOS 4.2, persistent WiFi was added. If cell data is not available, the WiFi should stay connected.

Oh, ok. I guess that would make sense then. As for the phantom data issue being reported by this lawsuit, AT&T has to at least explain themselves. I can definitely understand the concern of customers about this when there are data caps involved and potential overage charges.

vag16v

join:2001-07-27
hereandthere

turning off 3G

In terms of just turning off 3G, as soon as I do that on my iPhone4 the phone drops right off the mobile network completely. That doesn't seem right. Do these iPhones not fall back to gprs or just non-3G data or are they hspa only and thats it?


88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
reply to moonpuppy

Re: How?

said by moonpuppy:

said by IPPlanMan:

How is it possible to have phantom traffic?

At what level does the screwup occur?

By design.

As a poster said later, the phone reverts to using 3G service when in standby mode. This could be nothing more than the phone acknowledging where it is and making sure all updates have been downloaded (like service packs on Window PCs.)

Then that data should be FREE of charge.


dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to IPPlanMan
said by IPPlanMan:

How is it possible to have phantom traffic?

When A T & T isn't generating the amount of overages they thought they'd generate by removing unlimited plans.
exactly why UBB is bad[for the consumer]
--
The shortest distance between 2 points adds 1.5 stars to T. want $25? solve »coord.info/GC20A37 for me


jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1
reply to AlfredNewman

Re: I device talking to apple

said by AlfredNewman:

But thats not the point of this exercise. It's showing that with the AT&Ts traffic of talking to the device uses up more than the monthly alloted size limit. Once again showing that their version of "enough" isn't nearly enough for a grandmother checking her email or the habitual Youtube user.

In 10 days, only about 2.5MBs of data were used. In a month, this would only be 3-4% of the 200MB plan, and these usage statistics are not about stealing personal data, they really do provide information that helps improve the devices and the services.


WhyADuck
Premium
join:2003-03-05
kudos:1

1 recommendation

This is why we should all oppose metered billing

This is why I hate the idea of anything other than flat-rate telecommunications services, and always have. I remember reading a story a decade or two ago where a telephone company in some city (I think it was in New York) had been systematically double-billing for local calls - every time a user made a local call, they were charged for two, and this had gone on for YEARS. The phone company wound up having to pay a fine (which amounted to a slap on the wrist) but as far as I know, none of the affected customers ever got refunds. The scheme would probably never had come to light except that city officials hired a firm to audit all telephone traffic going in and out of city offices, and that's when they discovered the double billings, which affected every user in that phone exchange.

With the gas or electric or water company, they put a meter on the side of your home. If you have doubts that the meter is accurate, you can shut off the main breaker or close the main valve and see if it still measures usage, because you can watch the meter in real time to see if any of the dials are turning (and yes, I'm aware that some electric companies are trying to move away from that type of meter, and I will just bet that some of them will be found to be overcharging). To catch an internet overcharger would be much harder because you'd basically have to unplug everything from your cable or DSL modem for an entire billing period (during which you'd still be paying for service) to see if you get billed for any usage. And even that would not catch schemes that overbill as a percentage of actual usage (you use X GB, they bill you for x times 2 GB).


dellsweig
Extreme Aerobatics
Premium,MVM
join:2003-12-10
Campbell Hall, NY
kudos:1

I verified this and tried to engage ATT........

Greetings

Let me start by saying I have an unlimited dataplan.

Over the past couple years, I have noticed that the data usage numbers seemed odd. Just as the article points out - I was being billed for data while my phones were either off or connected to a WiFi network.

I collect netflow data so I tried to show ATT the data that was flowing on my home network from my IPhones and compared it to what ATT was billing as 3G data usage. I got no where - and I can be very persistent. I escalated this ticket and finally received a lame response saying the actual data billing times are batched to there is no relation to what is shown on the bill and reality.

I also tried to push this issue on the ATT Direct Dslreports forum and got the same answer.....

I also tried to point out to ATT that even though my phone was connected to the 3G network (via my home microcell) and WiFi at the same time - they were billing me for 3G data. In actuality, th iPhone was sending large amounts of data via the microcell (3G) INSTEAD of the wiFi connection (verified with Netflow).

I would love to join this suit!!!!!

--
Nothin' left to do but smile smile smile


ohwait

@qwest.net

Sketchy updates are sketchy

So those 3 am updates weren't really from me sleep-using?

Even with no downloaded apps?

Must be the forced apps running info/usage updates w/o my consent. Naughty naughty.


N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2
reply to pnh102

Re: More Proof that All Data Plans with Overages Are Bad

Looks like AT&T has been taking Verizon billing lessons.
--
Petty people are disproportionally corrupted by petty power

moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
reply to WhyADuck

Re: This is why we should all oppose metered billing

And that would be nice except the cell phone companies will charge a high "connect" fee and then charge for data. To actually only pay for what you use would actually decrease income and profits.


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
reply to jsb825

Re: I can see this

But Karl is also saying when the phone is turned off. I can understand background programs. When the phone is off seems not right. Incoming traffic, maybe. That should be dropped once the device releases its IP address. Possible network misconfiguration?