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Posted Apr 5, 2013
8:17:27 AM
Data usage consistently happening at night while phone is plugged in on wifi

Ok... just got of chat with att support. Wife has iPhone 4 that she uses for phone, text and email. Little to no web browsing and absolutely no media streaming. We are seeing consistent data usage in the hours when the phone is plugged in, on our home wifi, and not in use...

 

04/0311:58 PMphoneInternet/MEdia NetSent16421 KB
04/0312:17 AMphoneInternet/MEdia NetSent7688 KB
04/0112:17 AMphoneInternet/MEdia NetSent4480 KB
03/2812:06 AMphoneInternet/MEdia NetSent7363 KB
03/2712:06 AMphoneInternet/MEdia NetSent15029 KB

 

 

The person on the chat claims that this is due to the phone not using at&t towers, and the usage from other carriers is getting billed at night. Since I'm in the NYC metro area, and AT&T has great coverage (as per their own maps and advertising) Is this the new line from AT&T for the phantom data usage issue? Has the FTC been made aware of this issue yet? Has anyone figured out a way to determine what data is being sent by the phone while sleeping?

 

I've been using AT&T wireless for about 14 years... and T-Mobile is starting to look like the only honest player around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 5, 2013 4:43:07 PM
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ACE - Guru
That info doesn't mean data is being sent at night. Data connections are always active until you turn it off or wifi is on. So at night, ATT time stamps the total data used since the last time stamp.
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
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Data usage consistently happening at night while phone is plugged in on wifi

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Apr 5, 2013 4:43:07 PM
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ACE - Guru
That info doesn't mean data is being sent at night. Data connections are always active until you turn it off or wifi is on. So at night, ATT time stamps the total data used since the last time stamp.
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

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Oct 10, 2014 7:07:49 PM
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This is NOT resolved.  I just came from ATT's brick and motar store with phone records IN HAND of 2 different handsets, and they both were indicating data usage consistantly, at 3:00 AM, 6:00 AM, 9:00AM and 6:00 PM no matter what.  My son keeps his on 24 X 7, and mine is TURNED OFF during the night.  The store clerk "had no idea" what could be causing the issue.  I have now researched this, and it appears to be a common "issue".  WE SHOULD NOT GET CHARGED FOR UNUSED DATA USAGE THAT IS NOT DONE BY THE USER THEMSELVES.  Yes, I "shouted" in capital letters.  I have seen the so called ATT response, that "this is a normal catch up period in which we use for billing purposes.  No actual charges are incurred."  2 members of my family racked up 7GB of data in just 2 weeks!  This is wrong, and ATT should not be putting out notices that is normal, when IT SHOWS UP ON THE CUSTOMER'S BILL.  If this keeps up, I have no issues to switch to another provider, even though I have been with ATT well over 30 years (at least). 

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Oct 10, 2014 7:19:17 PM
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I will also point out, that the phones in question, are brand name Android phones; a Galaxy S4, and HTC 1 M-7.  Not "knowing what to do", I ended up spending MORE money to up my family's data plan from 10GB to 30GB.  I probably didn't need to do that, seeing now there are others having the same problems.  If anybody out there is seeing "odd" data usage at off peak hours, please reply and spread the word.  This either needs a reasonable explanation, or CREDIT back to our accounts!

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Oct 11, 2014 6:40:44 PM
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ACE - Professor
Edited by GeekBoy on Oct 11, 2014 at 7:00:26 PM

JimFromIL wrote:

This is NOT resolved.  I just came from ATT's brick and motar store with phone records IN HAND of 2 different handsets, and they both were indicating data usage consistantly, at 3:00 AM, 6:00 AM, 9:00AM and 6:00 PM no matter what.  My son keeps his on 24 X 7, and mine is TURNED OFF during the night.  The store clerk "had no idea" what could be causing the issue.  I have now researched this, and it appears to be a common "issue".  WE SHOULD NOT GET CHARGED FOR UNUSED DATA USAGE THAT IS NOT DONE BY THE USER THEMSELVES.  Yes, I "shouted" in capital letters.  I have seen the so called ATT response, that "this is a normal catch up period in which we use for billing purposes.  No actual charges are incurred."  2 members of my family racked up 7GB of data in just 2 weeks!  This is wrong, and ATT should not be putting out notices that is normal, when IT SHOWS UP ON THE CUSTOMER'S BILL.  If this keeps up, I have no issues to switch to another provider, even though I have been with ATT well over 30 years (at least). 


Let's start with the easy part.  Have you actually read your bill?  Have you looked at the online billing details for your data usage?  If you are on a Mbile Share plan, the data usage for each phone is summaraized and reported in 3 hour incremetns.  I believe this is stated on your bill, and I know it is stated in the on-line detail usage report.  The reports you are seeing every 3 hours are just the summaries of the usage during that period (assuming that the data connection is closed during that period as well).  This explains the data usage every 3 hours, that's how the details are summarized for reporting purposes.

 

Now for the next part, the usage during the middle of the night.  Are you aware that almost every (if not every) smartphone manufacturer is trying to claim they have the "best battery life"?  One of the things they do to achive this "battery life" is to do things like turn off the wifi radio when teh phone's screen goins into a "deep sleep" mode.  Android phones can run applications in the background, so unless you physically turn the phone all the way off (not just put the screen to sleep), your phone can continue to use data all night long.  Since the screen goes into "deep sleep" your phone then turns off the wifi radio and now to use data, your phone uses the next data connection is has, your cellular data.

 

Now here's the fun kicker for you.  Let's just say that you or your son uses Facebook.  When you scroll through the timeline, those videos there start to play automatically because Facebook thought you would want to watch them.  Guess what, that uses lots of your data if you are not connected to wifi.  Even worse, Let's just say that at 8:00pm, you start watching a 90 minute movie on Netflix.  That movie ends at 9:30 and you go to bed shortly after that.  The data for the full movie is reported at 9:30 when the connection is closed, and then it is rolled-up into the midnight reporting bucket, when you are sound asleep.  It sure looks like AT&T is reporting false data, but they are not, it is just that the data is reported later than the actual usage due to the inherent delays.  We aren't even considering what happens if you are using one of the old Cingular towers to use the data.  From what I understand, to the world AT&T & Cingular are both one company.  To our phones they are really 2 different companies, so there can be some delays in data usage on Cingular towers getting back to the AT&T billing system, even though it is all part of the same parent AT&T.  Now you are starting to see how this can be a nightmare, and we havent even addressed the fact that data used when "roaming" on other providers towers might not even apper on your bill for several days after the actual usage.  I used to see data usage on my bill for 3-4 days before the end of the previous billing cycle and I was sure I was gettign re-billed for data usage, so I went back to my previous bill and verified that The new charges didn't overlap anything on the previous bill, they were just delayed in getting into the AT&T billing system.

 

It's a logistical nightmare for anyone who tries to keep track of every byte of data they use.  I have found that if I use my phone in a normal manner, that the amount of "float" I have from one month to the next is about the same every month, so the extra on my bill from last month will pretty uch offset the stuff I used at the end of this month that won't be reported until the next bill.  Keeping that in mind, I don't try to manage my bill down to the last byte, I just use my phone and keep a small buffer there to account for the months where the data is reported without delays.


Jerry B.
"GeekBoy"

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For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Data usage consistently happening at night while phone is plugged in on wifi

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Oct 11, 2014 7:38:58 PM
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I force my phone to only use WiFi at night by turning Airplane Mode on.  This turns all data and WiFi off so I then have to manually turn WiFi back on only.  This completely fixed my issue at night and my frustration with unhelpful AT&T.  I started doing this about 8 or 9 months ago and haven't had any middle of the night data activity what so ever.  Cheers!

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Oct 11, 2014 8:30:25 PM
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I appreciate your extremely detailed response.  And, now, that my head has cooled down, and I've reviewed the data usage column; to the right, is the actual charge, which is ZERO.  Now, I have NOT added up all of those odd-ball data "chunks" occurring during the 1-3-6 A.M. slots, so I don't really know if those are being "charged" to our bill.  It just seems like I was getting the run-around from the clerk, who didn't explain what you just did.  He did mention a very good promotion right off the bat about whoever buys (or upgrades) to a 15GB plan, gets doubled to 30GB for the life of the plan!  When the dust settled, I took advantage of that promotion, so hopefully, I won't ever have a data usage issue.  My son did mention he watches a lot of You-Tube videos, so I told him to only watch those (along with any streaming services), using Wi-Fi.  Only time will tell what is really going on, but I'm reviewing it with "open" eyes.  Thanks - JimFromIL

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