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Is AT&T overcharging its iPhone and iPad subscribers?

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Is AT&T overcharging its iPhone and iPad subscribers?
Uh oh, it looks like AT&T might be in big trouble now. Just recently, an independent investigation took a closer look at the way the nation's carriers were charging their customers for data usage, and the results did not look very bright for AT&T. The research showed evidence that iPhone and iPad users that use AT&T's 3G data services are being overcharged on a regular basis – by up to 300% in some cases.

The entire investigation cost about $80,000 and was conducted by using different carriers and different devices, one of which was the iPhone 4 for AT&T. Even when it was not in use and had every single application that might use data turned off, the iPhone 4 used data 35 times according to AT&T's data usage statistics. The results were quite surprising, to say the least.

Have you ever been overcharged by your wireless carrier? Do not be afraid to speak up – share your experiences with us by leaving us a comment below.

source: MSNBC via 9to5 Mac


53 Comments
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posted on 19 May 2011, 10:33 6

1. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)


First!
I'm sure that Steve Jobs is behind all this...

posted on 19 May 2011, 10:35 8

2. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


Your username is fitting.

posted on 19 May 2011, 19:39 2

40. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


ya... cause steve jobs is just so amazing he secretly owns att... and lets just say hes part of "the new world order" or whatver thats called...

posted on 19 May 2011, 10:50 15

3. KickRocks (Posts: 168; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)


At&t overcharges all their customers as a whole........PERIOD!!

posted on 19 May 2011, 10:53 5

5. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 281; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


They were over charging me back when I had a frikken Nokia candy bar dumbphone.

posted on 20 May 2011, 00:14 3

48. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


That might explain why they got rid of the unlimited data plans so quickly.... :-)

posted on 19 May 2011, 10:52 2

4. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 281; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


ATT/Cingular has always overcharged their customers. I use to be a loyal Cingular customer until they started charging me for a bunch of BS.

posted on 19 May 2011, 18:09

37. BobbyTaba (Posts: 316; Member since: 11 Aug 2010)


Ya on Verizon I par 23 dollars less with the same exact family plan. They said it was taxes

posted on 19 May 2011, 10:58 3

6. guest (unregistered)


This is not unique to Apple products all att phones not on an unlimited plan gets charged usage over night when the phone is not in use. My Samsung focus and my wifes palm pixi use anywhere from 1-11mb per night while we sleep. When I called att they blamed it on our apps which of course are off. This problem is all over the web and I suspect att will pay big eventually

posted on 19 May 2011, 13:21 2

27. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


This is true. But as somebody who works for AT&T I can tell you that the only customers concerned about this are iPhone customers. I don't think I've ever dealt with a non-iPhone customer over this mysterious late night data usage.

posted on 20 May 2011, 13:05 1

52. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


iPhones send your facetime picture (captured without your knowledge) and your location (also captured without your knowledge) back to crApple for analysis and compatibility testing for the HumancentiPad!!

But no seriously, odd how this info ACTUALLY IS secretly stored on your device...

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:10

7. Tiberius183 (unregistered)


heh. If you were lucky to get unltd data when AT&T had it. They no longer even offer unltd plans.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:16 2

8. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


I wouldn't know. I have unlimited data, so it's the same flat rate fee that I pay every month.

posted on 19 May 2011, 19:39 1

41. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


me too

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:16 5

9. Stephanie Smith (unregistered)


I bought an iphone in January. When I purchased my phone, I said that I don't use the internet much, and so I got the 200mb plan. The day after I have my planned, I started receiving text messages from AT&T that I have used 90% of my data usage and I was going to be charged $15 for every 200mb overage. Although I didn't use much, I did have my work e-mail on my phone so I thought that, that was the case. I called AT&T to upgrade my usage to the 2GB for paying $5 more each month. After I got the upgrade, I disconnected my work e-mail from my phone. So, really, I was not connected to the internet at all. Two days later, I received another text message from AT&T that I used up 60% of my data usage. The next day, I received another text message that I used up 90% of my data usage and I was going to be charged $15 for every 200mb again. I contacted AT&T to remove my charges. They did not want to remove the charges. They said my plan shows that I was on the Internet at 2am and 5am on those days. I wasn't I was sleeping at that time. I argued with them until they removed my charges. After they removed those charges, the next day, I received another text message saying that I've used 90% of my data overage, which I was going to be charged another $15. I called AT&T again. After arguing with them, they removed my charges. They advised that I take my phone to Apple to review. I took my phone to Apple. All they said was that the antannae may had drawn too much data, and replaced my phone. After receiving my new phone, two days later, I received another text message that I've used up 90% of my data usage again. I contacted AT&T and asked them to remove my charges. After being on the phone with them for 45 minutes, they said they would remove the chages and advised that I turne my data off so that my phone would stop using data. When I need to use the Internet, then I could turn it on. This was so inconvenient for a couple of months.

now, i don't know what happened, but I stopped receiving these messages and each month i only use up to approximately 20mb. I am glad investigation is being done because this makes no sense at all to me.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:37 5

12. Doakie (Posts: 2109; Member since: 06 May 2009)


Lol iPhone...and lol AT&T. I hate too laugh at people's misfortunes but seriously, you picked att which is easily the most expensive carrier per MB. Unless att is the only carrier who has good coverage where you live, which I have heard of, you already are stupid with your money, so I don't feel bad for you. If you picked the most expensive carrier just to get an iPhone, you deserve to be ripped of... I'm with Sprint not because I want a certain phone, but because they're the most price effective. I must be a heartless jerk, because I seriously want to laugh out loud.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:53 1

19. applesauce (unregistered)


Apps and location "services" are likely culprits, or another "bug" in a prior OS

posted on 19 May 2011, 12:35 4

22. donpeppino9 (Posts: 67; Member since: 24 Jan 2010)


i had sprint for 8 years, and while they do present a good value their quality isn't up to par with ATT. i know cause i've recently switched to att because gsm provides far better phone choices. between the two carriers i get far better reception and coverage with att. combined with the fact that their technology provides better phone choices, better battery life, and much more affordable international roaming options, its not hard to see why att peole continue to flock to att rather than pay less for mediocre service with sprint. all of the att complaints about dropped calls and poor reception are from iphone users. apple makes a great device but its clear theres an issue with their device radios. you dont hear these complaints with verizon because their version got revised to fix the antennae problems. lets also point out that verizon and att are priced the same, the only difference is verizon gives you unlimited data and att doesn't. i wonder if having faster 3g sucks up all of the spectrum, which is how verizon is able to provide unlimited with their slower evdo rev a technology. even then, verizon is planning on ending unlimited data soon.

posted on 19 May 2011, 17:08 2

35. vrtulsq (unregistered)


You are correct. You are a jerk.

posted on 19 May 2011, 19:22

39. URC (unregistered)


Not only that, LOL @ getting an iPhone when you don't use the web. What is the point? There's a reason VZW dropped their $15 data package...everyone just kept going over because apps auto-update all of the time and it sucks your usage up. If you didn't want to worry about data usage, you should have gotten a simple feature phone.

posted on 20 May 2011, 00:22 1

49. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)


There's always some cheap bastard bringing up their value with Sprint. That's great for you, but why bash someone b/c they want to pay more for a quality service. People have diff. priorities, for you its all cost driven but for others maybe their priority is better coverage. Viewing someone as stupid with their money b/c they don't share your same outlook makes you a dirt bag. No one is bashing you for signing up for a service that is about 6 subscribers away from being MetroPCS. The sinking ship that Sprint is these days doesn't seem like you made a smart choice.

posted on 21 May 2011, 15:37

54. hnic (unregistered)


I had the same issue Stephanie.. When I got the Captivate from ATT, I was receivng texts every other day about my data usage. Since I only had my phone about two weeks, I was still in that thirty day return window. I called customer service and complained, they sent my phone to problem resolution. They never gave me an answer why I was geting charge with so much data, but they gave me the unlimited plan. Keep in my mind i close all applications went into the settings to not have any apps updated until I did it manually. I was still receiving those texts . I told them I would pay of the remaining balance of my contract and go else where.. Havent had a problem since.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:17 2

10. jp1samuraix (Posts: 8; Member since: 16 May 2011)


wow! that is f**ked up

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:28 2

11. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)


how much you want to bet that if this happend to verizon, there would be at least one more article about this on PA released within an hour of this one.... also.... dont you think this article would be at least four paragraphs longer.... just wondering...

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:37 2

13. skymitch89 (Posts: 1310; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


I have. T-Mo wanted me to pay two different bills for the same month. I had paid my previous month's bill, and then switched to a family plan so my friend could get a phone. When the next bill was due, they wanted me to pay for the single line that I had had and for the family plan that I was on. That was the end of me using T-Mo, and now I'm a fairly happy Sprint customer.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:38 2

14. hawk62 (Posts: 320; Member since: 21 Nov 2009)


Thats why unlimited data is great! But even on wifes iph4, her data is very low so this story doesnt sound too bad. Vz was were worse with all their fucking $1.99 or was $2.99 data charges for pushing the wrong button on the phone.

posted on 19 May 2011, 13:42 1

28. Whateverman (Posts: 3271; Member since: 17 May 2009)


It's not that hard to figure out. Just don't press the button that says "Web". But even then VZW gave credits for the $1.99 charges and offered a data block to prevent it from happening again. VZW is by no means perfect, but if you think that's worse then charging $15 for overages when you have no option for an unlimited plan, you are entitled to you opinion.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:41

15. fairly_mismatched (unregistered)


It'd probably all the personal information being sent back to Steve Jobs.

I kid, I kid. It's probably just a bug.


I think I remember stories from months ago about this being done over multiple carriers and multiple devices..

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:47

17. bluechrism (unregistered)


Another reason to block the merger?? Ok, not a great one, and this article is a bit incomplete and i would like to know how other devices/carriers faired.

Oh, and can goingto be blocked - his/her posts are just spam.

posted on 19 May 2011, 11:52 2

18. applesauce (unregistered)


Fact: the iphone is a known data hog. It's part of "the experience", and is the reason it's THE most expensive phone to own and maintain in the NA market, and why apple still brands it as a "premium" device, even with technologically superior devices available.

What is surprising (if true) is if it the phone used data even when having all data turned off; that could cause significant issues especially if while roaming internationally. I wonder if that has anything to do with location services for WiFi hotspots? (seriously, not taking a jab at the location thing, but it would make sense if that's the case)

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