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

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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...

 

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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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Message 1 of 20

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Guru

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

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.
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Message 2 of 20

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Guru

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

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.
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Message 2 of 20
Contributor

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

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). 

Message 3 of 20
Contributor

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

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!

Message 4 of 20
ACE - Master

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


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"

--

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.
Message 5 of 20
Contributor

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

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!

Message 6 of 20
Contributor

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

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

Message 7 of 20

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

I think you should view your bill few paper bill go through all your phone calls and text messages and at the very end you'll see how your phone every 30 seconds or every second streaming sending and receiving data your phone is probably hacked I am currently experiencing the same thing as well as a few my friends good luck
Message 8 of 20
ACE - Expert

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


Imloosingit wrote:
I think you should view your bill few paper bill go through all your phone calls and text messages and at the very end you'll see how your phone every 30 seconds or every second streaming sending and receiving data your phone is probably hacked I am currently experiencing the same thing as well as a few my friends good luck

@Imloosingit

1.   The posts are from 2014, it is now 2017.  

2.   Data is not reported in real time.  Data used during the day is usually reported back to ATT hours later, often over night while your home, on wifi and asleep.  

3.   Your phone is an independent meter of your data use.  Look in settings., data usage.   Compare the totals on the phone during the bill cycle to your bill totals.  They won't be exact, but very close.  

4.  Your phone can't be hacked to use your data.  

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) We are customers too, NOT employees. Our answers 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 9 of 20
Teacher

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

I am dealing with this same problem. And yet AT@T has no solution for me. I don't know what else to do! I have been to three different att stores. Talkeked to four or five stupid people that claim to be specialist and nobody has a clue as to what the problem could be
Message 10 of 20
ACE - Expert

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


henderson888 wrote:
I am dealing with this same problem. And yet AT@T has no solution for me. I don't know what else to do! I have been to three different att stores. Talkeked to four or five stupid people that claim to be specialist and nobody has a clue as to what the problem could be

@henderson888   The problem is a general misunderstanding of data use and reporting.  Data is not reported at the moment used, but many hours later.  

Store employees may never have had a problem with data and Tech support has a list of common problems, I'm sure you've heard them all.   

Ive also seen every customer's usual claim;

"I've done nothing different, same phone....".   No.  Not the same phone on the inside.  The software it came out of the box with is changed regularly with updates.  Each may alter how data is used.  Faulty app and phones can cause astronomical data use.   

Read and please ask questions....

https://forums.att.com/t5/Community-Blog/Data-Management-Cause-for-gray-hair-hair-pulling-and-stress...

 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) We are customers too, NOT employees. Our answers 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 11 of 20
Tutor

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

So is AT&T telling us that we must turn off our phones at night to avoid false billing. I have heard five-year olds make better excuses than that. So I will be turning my android phone off at night. My wireless phone is my primary phone so you are telling me that I can only use it sixteen hours a day and have it off for eight? 

Message 12 of 20

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

No I am telling you turning it off will not prevent the usage they will claim that it will but you will see your usages still through the roof I'm telling you that you have a bug in your phone that needs to be rectified reset cleared your data and you cannot reload your contacts your photos or apps because somewhere or another it is in bedded in one of them you have to carefully clean each one at a time before you can install it it's a real big pain in the butt
Message 13 of 20
ACE - Expert

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


acmetown wrote:

So is AT&T telling us that we must turn off our phones at night to avoid false billing. I have heard five-year olds make better excuses than that. So I will be turning my android phone off at night. My wireless phone is my primary phone so you are telling me that I can only use it sixteen hours a day and have it off for eight? 


No, that is not what is being said. If your phone is actually using data at night (remember, data reporting is not real time. Data usage reported at night was not necessarily used at night), turning data off will stop it. There is no false billing going on. Despite many people claiming that data reporting is false, I've never seen anyone prove it. 

*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 14 of 20
ACE - Expert

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


acmetown wrote:

So is AT&T telling us that we must turn off our phones at night to avoid false billing. I have heard five-year olds make better excuses than that. So I will be turning my android phone off at night. My wireless phone is my primary phone so you are telling me that I can only use it sixteen hours a day and have it off for eight? 


@acmetown

Nope.  I, a fellow customer who has made understanding data use a hobby (more of an annoying mission) am telling you turning off your phone at night will make no difference in over night data reporting.   Because this is reporting data you already used during the day.  

There are ways to reduce data use on your phone.  It's covered in the link I posted above. 

Like many people I dropped landline and keep my phone on 24/7/365.  I have excellent home wifi.  

But I have settings on my phone to prevent accidental use.

Look in your settings at which apps are using the most data.  That's where you start.  On teens phones YouTube, and social media are often the most data use.   

 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) We are customers too, NOT employees. Our answers 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.
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