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Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

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Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

Noticed random data charges (INT/MD) beginning with the latest billing cycle (11/14/2014). Every 3 hours at exactly 12am, 3am, 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm (8x per day). Spoke with customer service, and was told that it is probably an app, etc... Turned off my phone, still get data charges when phone is OFF. Customer service suggested that I contact Apple, maybe a device issue? (when the phone is off?)

I have 4 phones on my plan - An Iphone 4, and 3 Iphone 5's. All have these charges, all phones are in different parts of the US. My brother (different account) with Iphone 6 has the same charges, at the exact same times? Looked through previous bills, could not find any charges at these precise times. So, 5 phones all with different configurations, apps and geographic locations all using random amounts of data at precisely the same times. So far in 3 days the INT/MD charges at these precise times are 344mb for the 4 phones in my account out of a total of 343.984mb TOTAL used. At this rate, I will end up with 3.44gb in a 30 day billing cycle - that I did not use - remember, some of these charges occurred when the phones were OFF.

Any suggestions?

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Message 1 of 270
Contributor

I have this same issue. Started October 27. They told me...

I have this same issue. Started October 27. They told me same thing but it is not possible. I have 4 phones my mom and dad have iPhones without apps and theirs is doing it too. I think this is an ATT data scam. I did not see anything in the contract about this. I will be getting s lawyer. I racked up 7gb in 12 days. I used to never go over 3gb in 30 days. They told me it was the apps and I asked why did it start on the 27 of October. I will keep you posted. I am furious.
Message 2 of 270
Master

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

If you read your itemized bill, you will see that the information that is presented to you is aggregated every 3 hours for users with Mobile Share plans. What you will see is that at 3:00pm, it will report all data usage that the billing system received for the period of noon through 3:00pm. This will only include data where the transmission connection was closed during that window, so if you had an app open all day, and finally closed it's data connection at 9:01pm, then all the data it used on that open connection would be reported on the midnight roll-up, assuming that the data makes it all the way back to the AT&T billing system by midnight. If the data happens to be used on a "partner tower", then the report may be delayed hours (or even days) before it makes it back to the AT&T billing system.

There is no scam, it is normal data accumulation and reporting.

Jerry B.
"GeekBoy"

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Message 3 of 270
Tutor

This answer is hogwash. Prior to Nov 7 no data use at tho...

This answer is hogwash. Prior to Nov 7 no data use at those times ever posted to my phone. The usage occurs on iPhones and Android phones and as I said did not start occurring until late. There is something else at play here and AT&T is avoiding the issue with ignorant responses.

Message 4 of 270
Contributor

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

My wife has an iPhone 6 and has been home on maternity leave for the past month. Her phone has never been off wi-fi yet she's incurred 600mb of data charges in 3 weeks due to this 3-hour charge issue. These charges range between 9kb and 100+mb and it is the only data charges on the usage chart. How does that fit with your explanation? We'd really like to figure this out as we only have 2gb shared and this has used over a quarter of our limit. Plus, if she's on wi-fi, why would a data usage update be sent using cell data?
Message 5 of 270
Contributor

Re: This answer is hogwash. Prior to Nov 7 no data use at tho...

I have the same problem.I have so far only seen the charges on my son's phone. I talked to someone at AT&T who had no clue about anything.When she saw the data usage every 3 hours she said "oh yea WOW" She said that she had no idea what website could get into my son's phone. Did you ever find out what is going on??? I have turned my son's data off because it is about to be 3 a.m. Please let me know. Thanks    Heike

Message 6 of 270
Master

Re: This answer is hogwash. Prior to Nov 7 no data use at tho...

Unless your smartphones are alway connected to external power, then they may be turning off the wifi radio leaving you using cellular data when you think you should be using wifi. Almost all smartphone makers do this now in order to claim longer battery life. If your phone is streaming audio or doing any background or "screen" updates while the screen is off and it is not connected to external power, there is a very good chance that it will use cellular data and not wifi. This is just a fact of life with using current smartphones.

Jerry B.
"GeekBoy"

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Message 7 of 270
Master

Re: This answer is hogwash. Prior to Nov 7 no data use at tho...

By the way, don't forget that there was a major Android OS release recently so if the phone is runnign Android, there could have been an OS update that has caused your to start using more cellular data, or to be doing background updates. Make sure you check the phone OS settings to see that all background updates (that aren't necessary) are disabled.

Jerry B.
"GeekBoy"

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Message 8 of 270

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

In response to JerryB/GeekBoy's explanations that cell phones are now opting to use their cellular connections even in the presence of a known WiFi network, and thus will run up your data bill UNLESS THEY ARE PLUGGED INTO A POWER SOURCE:

 

This doesn't match my experience: I have data charges at 3am and 6am exactly in the mornings, and, not only is my phone plugged in beside my bed all night long, it is also within range of our home WiFi network.  So, a) what data usage between midnight and 3am does the phone need to report? b) If apps are geolocating, or synching with the Cloud, why aren't they using the WiFi, since it's available and connected and the phone is plugged in to its power cable?

 

Here's what I'm really unhappy about: Am I to take it that the only way to counter this [bad word here] is to turn off Data when I'm at home and at work (both places have good WiFi)?  That's what I ended up doing last year before I upgraded my data plan from a crappy 200mb to a 1 gb (shared) plan.  I figured if I only sometimes exceeded the 200mb limit, I'd never get close to the 1gb limit -- and yet now I'm getting those "you've used 75% of your data" text messages from AT&T.  I am not happy about having to go into menus and switch the data on and off when I really don't use data much compared to other people.

 

If someone has evidence that I can leave data on but make sure to close applications I will be a lot happier.  PLEASE let that be the answer.

 

Screenstory

Message 9 of 270
ACE - Sage

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

If you turn off data, or even turn the phone off entirely, once you turn it on, it will do network check ins. While a lot can be done over wifi, not all can.

Jerry can explain the technical better than I, so I will leave that to him.
(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
*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.
Message 10 of 270
Contributor

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

i also have the same every 3 hour data use and i have 4 phones on a shared 10 gig    i don't care that they wait and get all data from the three hours that's fine the crap that i'm mad about is that its using data when all apps data is off (not all data off to phone toggle)  and i'm almost always on wifi if it is going to use cell data it should be on them i'm not using the data myself  that data is not a result of me going to a web page or other app i contacted apple and att and apple tried to get me to think that it was a software bug but after resting my phone and updated it still had same issue att told me that some apps even on wifi use cell data and if i don't want to use data to turn the data toggle off for all data to my phone at this point i'm looking around for a carrier that does unlimited data even if the service is crap that way there's no chance of going over and on top of it i cant access past bills but i know that when to i had only 2 phones using data we never between both went over a gig in a month  and now there are 3 phones after 8 days we have used 1 gig i know some is actual use but when most of the time there on wifi and pluged in or we are sleeping  so there using my data for me thank you att

Message 11 of 270
Tutor

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

Same thing here...5 phones (1x iPhone 4, 2x iPhone 5s, and 2x iPhone 6) and all do this data thing every 3 hours. Send data via cellular whether it is day or night, wi-fi or cellular, plugged in or battery. I've curbed it a bit by turning off back up functions on all the apps and turned of iCloud back up. I think i have gone through almost every setting for the phone and for every app, yet I still get small packets data charges every 3 hours.

 

Surprise, 2 days left before the billing cycle ends and I'm now over the limit...automatically added 1 GB of data that I will now have to pay for. [Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate].

 

I hope the AT&T tech that is responding (Jerry??) will find solutions and not just provide excuses.

 

Mike

Message 12 of 270
Contributor

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

I also have 4 iPhones (2 iPhone 6, 1 iPhone 6+ and 1 iPhone 5) with a group share plan of 10gb and as of this past October all of them have started using data every 3 hours on the hour. Our shared 10gb is gone within the first 2 weeks and theres nothing I can do about it. We have always had iPhones with AT&T since they came out and have never used more than 5gb per month. I have spoken with Apple and At&t numerous times and I'm always told its an App, something in notifications or something else acessing the data. I've turned off ALL notifications and all data for ALL apps but data is still being used every 3 hours, on every phone. Before October I did not have this problem! My brother has the same iPhone on a different provider and doesn't have this problem so I cannot see how its just updating the data used during that time. It aappears to me that AT&T is taking everyone for a ride; to the tune of $150 for additional data usage. At the very least they should give a detailed account of where the data was used, ie: app, imessage, email, photos, iCloud, etc.

I have just tried a new approach, since I only have 6 days left on this billing cycle I've gone into my AT&T account and turned off data use for one of our phones. Now that iPhone can ONLY access data when on wifi. We'll see what happens.
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Message 13 of 270
Contributor

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

I noticed this last week, I turned my data off on my phone for 3 days, thinking I had a virus or something, because somehow I have used 5 gb of data, when I never use data, I am always home or work. So I reset my phone, since even after turning data off I am still using data somehow. did a factory wipe and not installed any new apps, and data off, still my phone is somehow using data, if I look at the data manager it says 0. I am completely concerned, somehow, people have hacked att and are eating other peoples data plans, I know it sounds insane, but if I am not using the data, unless ATT is bumping up the numbers somehow on their end, it is the only thing that makes since. I have also noticed my husbands line is doing the same thing he is up to 3 gb himself. this is ridiculas, I don't have time to babaysit my phone, and figure out what is going on. I hope ATT gets this fixed like now. Also we have had trouble, with logging in to our account recently, anyone else?

 

Message 14 of 270
Tutor

Re: Data Charges every 3 hours (12 - 3 - 6 - 9...) even when phone is off ???

I read a lot of posts and talked to AT&T. It seem that all data used is
blocked in 3 hour increments for billing. That is why it looks like that.
As far as cellular data use overnight and when connected to WiFi (when the
phone is not being used), AT&T blames this on Apple (and other
manufacturers). They say even when on WiFi, the phones are designed to
revert to cellular data when in sleep mode. Seems like a pretty big scam
between the service providers and the manufacturers. I sent a technical
request to Apple to fix this. The way I see it, since I bought the phone,
they should design the phone for me, "the customer", not for the service
provider to rack up additional data overage charges.

Message 15 of 270
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