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Unexplained 02 Data Allowance Drain at Midnight

74017 Views 131 Replies Latest reply: Oct 17, 2013 5:30 AM by LouLou71 RSS
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JPlace86 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 30, 2011 11:20 AM

Hi all. I don't think I've ever had reason to post on here before so I'm hoping that, perhaps, some of you knowledgable lot might be able to help me.


I've had an iPhone on 02 (UK) since they first came out and with each year have upgraded to the latest model. I've had the iPhone 4 since July last year.


I know that recently 02 reduced their "Unlimited" data allowance to 500MB. This never really caused me concern because I never really used data apart from when I was at home over Wi-Fi. Recently, however, I've received a text message saying that I was 80% through my 500MB allowance. I thought this a bit strange but paid an extra £5 for 500MB more to cover me for the rest of the month.


Now, tonight, curious about what I had done differently to accrue such a large use of my data allowance, I checked my bill. It seems that every evening, normally around midnight, I have a large data usage. Now, previously, I'd guessed that the data usage accrued throughout the day was submitted to 02 in one large chunk. However, on the 26th April I used 340MB of my 500MB data allowance, and the next day used a further 180MB!


I couldn't understand where this had come from; I do not live-stream TV or radio over 3G. I don't even do that over Wi-Fi! I don't download anything over 3G. Whilst I'm at work and whilst I'm at home I'm under a Wi-Fi connection. The only data allowance I might use is a quick check of Facebook for 5 minutes before I walk into work in a morning.


Now, on the two days that I've accrued these massive data usages, I made several Facetime calls to my partner who was away training for a new job. This is the only thing that I've done differently. I thought that Facetime usage came out of your Wi-Fi and NOT your data allowance.


Anyway, through 02's website, they offer a chat service with their online representatives. I used this service to talk to someone who, I had hoped, might have been able to help. Now through subsequent phone calls to 02 I have actually learnt that much of what this person told me is untrue but here is what i was told.


  • Facetime calls are chargeable.
    • The person later corrected herself on this.


  • Facetime calls will start via Wi-Fi but if, for whatever reason, connection is lost, Facetime will be maintained via 3G; "If some time the Wi-Fi get discoonected you connected to 3G for the beter responce" 02's representative explained.
    • I don't think that this is true but it might explain my massive data use; the call was about an hour long. Having said that, how do iPod Touches maintain their connection; I've got a 4G Touch and despite using it for the occasional Facetime call, have never had a problem.


  • Facetime depletes your data allowance
    • I thought that the fact that Facetime is done over Wi-Fi means that it would be deducted from the unlimited Wi-Fi allowance and NOT the 3G/data allowance.


  • The person then seemingly contradicted herself by saying that Facetime calls made over Wi-Fi are completely at Internet Service Provider's costing & discretion. The lady explained: "I'm sorry for this but the Facetime is work on Wi-Fi and the Wi-Fi service providers are different"


  • The person told me to delete Facetime so as to better conserve my data allowance if I needed to make it last!
    • I don't think this is even possible. I explained this and she then said "No, don't delete Facetime".


After that I think I was even more concerned than when I started!!


At this point the lady offered me a £2 credit against my account, which whilst appreciated, doesn't really solve the problem. She gave me 02's iPhone Technical Support line (2302) as it was a "technical issue".




Now, having rung 02 and explained the situation, they explained that whilst Facetime wasn't strictly chargeable, it does still come off your data allowance. However, if you exceed your 500MB data allowance, you do not get charged any more, the level of service is simply a "bit slower". In essence, it was explained, the Facetime calls hadn't cost me anything.


I explained that whilst the calls weren't costing me anything in themselves, I was still having to pay extra to maintain the same service-level that I had previously experienced. The lady agreed with what I was saying and said that she would consult with two different departments to see if she could trace what the large data-usages originated from.


The lady returned and explained that, further to her discussions with other departments, Facetime couldn't possibly be the result of the data usage. She said that it had to be TV/Radio streaming. I know categorically that the only thing that I used my iPhone for that night was the Facetime calls. I don't stream any content at all! For viewing of any content I use a TV or, for iPlayer, my PS3 or iPad, but never my iPhone!


I stressed this to the lady that it could only be the Facetime and she denied that it could be. She went back to her department and checked again. Upon her return she asked what time I had made the Facetime calls (which were around 8pm). Having explained this she said that the data usage occurred at 00:00:00  and that as such it could not have been the Facetime calls. I know that Facetime calls can't be done over 3G so I can see the point that she's making but what else could it be?? And at that time??


I looked at the bill myself and pointed out that at 00:00:00 almost every night I had a data-usage, not just on the nights in question. I said that having already noticed this previously, I assumed that the iPhone simply submitted the total data-usage in one go and not just as-and-when. The lady said that data would be submitted as it was used and that, with neither party able to explain the usage, it must be down to a third-party using my data allowance remotely from the phone overnight.


I don't think that data is shown on the bill as and when it was used because on occasions when I know I've used 3G, no mention is made on the bill.




Now my partner has 02 and we had checked that bill to see whether he had a massive data usage which corresponded to mine, which he didn't. He has data usages at midnight most-nights but for the Facetime calls (some of which were made by him) he has no excessive data usage.


I've searched via Google and found various other people on various other networks who have the same mysterious midnight data-usages.


Still on the phone with the poor lady from 02 I pointed this out, which she couldn't really answer. She said that she was contacting a Security department who could directly check what the content related to and that she would get back to me within 5 days, which, with the current Bank Holidays in the UK, is likely to be a week on Tuesday. She remains adamant that my iPhone is being accessed remotely, or "is being updated by third-party apps" which, with the number of people having similar midnight data issues, I doubt.


I know this has turned out to be a mammoth post, and for that I'm sorry, but has anyone else had similar experiences? How have they been resolved?


Does Facetime get taken off your data allowance? One person from 02 says yes, another says no.


Finally what could the two massive data-usages relate to, if not Facetime? I know that there's likely no way to prove that I wasn't streaming TV/radio content but I can say with absolute certainty that no such feature was used.


We had used the GPS for hiking one day in the month but my usage for that particular day in question was only about 30MB so I've ruled that out.


The icing on the cake was that at the end of the conversation, when it was explained that all that could be done was wait for the Security department to get back in touch, the lady asked me "What are iPhones like then? Mine's been delivered today and is waiting for me at home."


Suffice to say I was shocked almost speechless. Almost anyway...


I've got her line & extension number so in the event that she doesn't bother to call me back, I can call her.


Hope you can offer some insight though!!


iPhone 4, iOS 4.3.1
  • Bubbles81 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2011 3:46 AM (in response to JPlace86)



    I have just renewed my O2 iPhone contract and updated to the iPhone4. I have 500mb data allowance which I have apparently used within the past 5 days! I do not stream tv, videos etc but I did have push notifications switched on for 2 email accounts. I do not have facetime and never have had. I have checked my data usage on my O2 account and I too have large data usage at midnight?? I can think of no reason for this? Also, my total data usage according to my account is only 86MB out of the total 500MB included? This would mean that I had not gone over the 500MB limit. The other interesting thing is that the first text I received to tell me I had used 80% of my data allowance came at 3am and the next text telling me I had used 100% of my data came at 4am on the same morning! I was asleep at the time so could not have used the phone! I think it might be telling porkies!


    It does not say anything about incurring extra charges when you have reached your limit. Is it true that the speed is just reduced? I will be in touch with O2 today...


    Have you had any progression with finding out what is draining your data usage?



  • Diane-toronto Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2011 12:58 PM (in response to JPlace86)



    I've had a monthly 150MB data plan for 18 months now.  I NEVER go over my limit.  My billing cycle starts on the 22nd of every month. Yesterday May 31st I received a text from my provider saying that I had used 100% of my wireless internet.  5 minutes later another text saying I had used 75%.  Confused I called my service provider (Fido) and they explained they couldn't see my usage and I would have to go online to view my account.  So I did and to my surprise it showed that I had gone over my plan by 4.55MB.  How is this possible when I only use my phone at home via my WiFi?    


    I call again and speak to another agent who mentions I may have kept a "page" open.  Nope...have I been on YouTube alot.  Nope. I only go onto FB, check my emails and mostly play off line games.  I don't upload or download and if I do, it's minimal.  Like I said, 18 months without even coming close to my 150MB limit.  Now I'm over and I still have 3 weeks left before my billing period ends.  For this reason the agent added 500MB to my account at no extra charge so I wouldn't be charged extra. 


    So what is causing this?  What have I done?  I've googled that question but haven't come close to any explanation.  Only the same questions from other IPhone users. 


    Can anyone out there help? 




    PS I upgraded my 3G Iphone to the 4G, 3 months ago. 

  • Bhose Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I can only add my voice to the complaint. No solutions I'm afraid.

    I have had an iPhone4 for 11 months now. I have never come close to the 500GB allowance in any month - it's usually about 300GB.

    And last week I had this midnight data drain for several days like you all.

    The phone was on Wi Fi and I was not using it.

    I am 10 days into my cycle and have just received a text from O2 saying I am at 80per scent.


    I have always had email on 15minute sweep, .me account on Push, only cleared background running apps every week or so....and still only had on average 300GB of use in a month.


    So why this sudden bizarre change ?


    I hope someone can come on here with an explanation and maybe even a solution.


    Until's good to share.

  • Bhose Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2011 11:40 AM (in response to JPlace86)

    I'm not sure that it is a billing error.

    I think there is a glitch somewhere that is making the iPhone draw data or a glitch that makes O2 servers think it is drawing data.

    The strangeness is compounded by the fact that many of us had the phone off or on Wi-Fi when these data draws happened.

    And the midnight log in ??!!

    The search continues....

  • tonefox Level 5 Level 5 (7,700 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2011 11:46 AM (in response to Bhose)

    I get the same. But I have unlimited data by getting the contract two days before the 500MB limit hit.  I know, I just want to be hated..... 

  • Bhose Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 11, 2011 2:09 AM (in response to JPlace86)

    I've just seen that someone on another forum is having the same issue with O2 and iPad.

    So it can't be an iPhone issue.

    I becoming convinced that it is an O2 glitch.

    But are they going to do anything about it ?

  • Simmo22 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2011 6:17 AM (in response to JPlace86)

    I had exactly the same last night.  No explanation.  My battery was dead this morning but judging from the apps, it could only hvae been mail, calendar, camera or maybe facebook that was running in the background.  It just *might* have been the Eurosport app still streaming in the background though it isn't supposed to do that.


    One very telling comment I did find on the internet was that the iPhone switches wifi off when it’s in sleep mode.  So as soon as you've got your lockscreen up, you're on 3G even if you're in range of wifi.  That's got to be worth bearing in mind.


    But it still seems very fishy.  O2 not particularly helpful though they confirmed I'll still get data - just slowly - for the next few days of my billing period.

  • code937 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2011 7:32 AM (in response to JPlace86)

    @Simmo22 ! Me too! o2, had 2 texts - one saying i was 80% near my limit then 20 mins later saying i'd reached it!?!?!? i was on wifi at the time, my phone wasnt even in use and hadnt been touched or moved most of the day!? Called o2 this morning and theyre compiling a list of all my data usage and getting back to me in the week, good to see im not the only one and ill be reffering my rep to this thread!

  • Simmo22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2011 8:22 AM (in response to code937)

    Personally I suspect this is something bizarre with the phone rather than o2.   My  battery was flat this morning which suggests that the phone was busy doing something whilst I thought it was off.  I therefore think it's more likely to be something bugging in the phone and sending or receiving loads of data; rather than a mistake by o2...


    BUT I'd be really interested to hear what you come up with!

  • code937 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2011 8:37 AM (in response to Simmo22)

    Well, come to think of it i dont *think* anything was running however i do have a shortcut to a live feed of the nasa space station, and although i *believe* it wasnt running it could well be the cause. We shall see when o2 send me back my stats, if this is the case it means the app can stream while being closed and it used 3G while in sleep mode rather than the wifi... all possibilites, will keep you posted!

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