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!!