iPhone User Blames “WiFi Assist” For $2,000 Phone Bill

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I don't know how many people I've had to warn about this "feature" being turned on by default. At least AT&T, once they were contacted by the media, reversed this bill.

What he says he didn’t know was that every time he used his phone in his room, where the home WiFi signal isn’t great, the new WiFi Assist feature — which automatically switches users between cellular and WiFi data to maintain a strong signal — was choosing to use the cell network, resulting in even more data used.
 

scojer

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So when WiFi assist turns off WiFi, does the WiFi icon go away?
 

mrluckypants96

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If I hadn't turned that off I could see this happening to me. In my spare time around school and work I like to watch YouTube videos on my phone, which are very data-heavy. Combine this with a failing router that likes to stay connected but provide no throughput until power-cycled and you get a recipe for lots of data usage. Even explicitly telling the apps to not use cellular data in the settings app doesn't work, since the WiFi assist overrides it.
 

cwizard

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I don't know how many people I've had to warn about this "feature" being turned on by default. At least AT&T, once they were contacted by the media, reversed this bill.

What he says he didn’t know was that every time he used his phone in his room, where the home WiFi signal isn’t great, the new WiFi Assist feature — which automatically switches users between cellular and WiFi data to maintain a strong signal — was choosing to use the cell network, resulting in even more data used.

People should pay more attention, this thing called personal accountability still exists. I would highly recommend this poor guy get a computer or laptop so he doesn't have to do everything in his life on a cell phone.
 

Mabrito

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After reading the article...AT&T refunded the money because they sent the warning text to the son and not the primary owner (parents). That is awfully nice of them (probably because of the publicity).

Honestly...this is one time I would defend the carriers and say they don't own a single cent for the "Wifi assist" causing high bills. They should just forward the complaint to Apple and have them pay it. It isn't the carriers code causing this...it is Apples. Carriers are just providing the service for the Apple devices to run on and has no input/say on the code/features (unlike Android, where they can take months to approve an update and strip out features).
 

Ur_Mom

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I monitor our data usage. When my son got a new iPhone, I saw that it was way high. This was turned on. So, I turned it off. Problem was fixed. Unless you're monitoring it or get that warning, you really don't know until you get the bill....

Still, $2000? That's a shit ton. What was he doing, torrents?
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Still, $2000? That's a shit ton. What was he doing, torrents?

I was thinking the same thing.

I wonder how much data you have to use to hit $2,000

I consider myself a pretty heavy phone user. I'm on my phone ALL THE TIME, and I don't think I've ever exceeded 1.5GB in a month.
 

VladDracule

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Oh what does it matter anyway, your an Iphone user. Your used to overpaying anyway.

:)

not sure how thats true when the iphone runs roughly as much as the newest samsungs yet outperforms it in every benchmark ever done on the chips
 

david_

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Zarathustra[H];1041981476 said:
I was thinking the same thing.

I wonder how much data you have to use to hit $2,000

I consider myself a pretty heavy phone user. I'm on my phone ALL THE TIME, and I don't think I've ever exceeded 1.5GB in a month.
Watch YouTube in HD and get back to me.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

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I monitor our data usage. When my son got a new iPhone, I saw that it was way high. This was turned on. So, I turned it off. Problem was fixed. Unless you're monitoring it or get that warning, you really don't know until you get the bill....

Still, $2000? That's a shit ton. What was he doing, torrents?

On an iPhone? Torrenting on an Android is fairly trivial. I don't know about iPhone. IIRC it has much more security restrictions in place on apps. Not to mention Apple itself would likely be against torrent apps being widely available. Plus anyone with enough of a brain to torrent (doesn't take much, but you know)... should also have enough common sense to set data limits somewhere on their phone. In Android this is again trivial. You can set warning and hard limits. If you hit those nearly instantaneously, you know something is up. iPhone should probably have those options easily available, too, but I don't know.

The only iPhone I have is a 3GS. It's been serving as my dedicated alarm clock (as well as occasional web browser) for several years now. Haven't updated its firmware in several years, too. Probably been like a year or two since it's even been turned off. I have to give Apple some credit: when their OS is stable... it's literally rock solid.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Watch YouTube in HD and get back to me.

Fair point.

I don't use Youtube much. Maybe a video a day or every other day. No idea if they are streaming in HD, as it so tough to tell on a little 5" screen.

I'm on my phone a lot, but most of it is Web, Forums, SSH, VMWare Watchlist App, Waze (while driving) and streaming Spotify as well as my local news radio station.

Even so, let's assume they have a 2GB data plan, and that their total phone bill without overages is ~$180 (typical for a family plan).

That leaves $1820 for overages, which are $10 per gigabyte.

So the total data use was 182GB + 2GB base = 184GB. :eek:

How big is an HD Youtube video again?
 

cyclone3d

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After reading the article...AT&T refunded the money because they sent the warning text to the son and not the primary owner (parents). That is awfully nice of them (probably because of the publicity).

Honestly...this is one time I would defend the carriers and say they don't own a single cent for the "Wifi assist" causing high bills. They should just forward the complaint to Apple and have them pay it. It isn't the carriers code causing this...it is Apples. Carriers are just providing the service for the Apple devices to run on and has no input/say on the code/features (unlike Android, where they can take months to approve an update and strip out features).

Do you honestly think that Apple had no input from the carries about this before they implemented it?

Carriers - what can we do to raise our profits without having to get even more customers?

Apple - We have just the thing! Buy more phones from us and we will charge you less per phone AND include this "feature" called Wifi-assist. The way it works is this:
It disables Wifi when the arbitrary signal strength lower limit for Wifi is reached and instead uses Cellular data.

Carriers - This is just the thing we were looking for! :D:D:D:D:D ;) Where do we sign?
 

FrozenSteel

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Zarathustra[H];1041981476 said:
I was thinking the same thing.

I wonder how much data you have to use to hit $2,000

I consider myself a pretty heavy phone user. I'm on my phone ALL THE TIME, and I don't think I've ever exceeded 1.5GB in a month.

Watching Netflix at work, a 13 episode season would consume 10GB of data. I'm sure if you came home everyday from work/school and binged netflix/hulu/any other video service, data would rack up pretty quick.

As for overpaying for iPhones, if you look at the hardware included in an iPhone, compared it to Samsung Galaxy S6, which costs pretty much the same amount of money (I had one and exchanged it for the same cost of a 64GB iPhone), you'd notice that the iPhone was the better value hardware wise. OS wise, that's total different if you can't stand iOS. Me, I very much prefer it as I think its API's are more refined.
 

nutzo

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People should pay more attention, this thing called personal accountability still exists.
\

Not if you are an iPhone user, or part of a protected minority.

Personal accountability is only for white guys, police and other disfavored groups.
 
Joined
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People should pay more attention, this thing called personal accountability still exists. I would highly recommend this poor guy get a computer or laptop so he doesn't have to do everything in his life on a cell phone.

I would agree to an extent on the personal accountability. But, that was pretty shitty of Apple to introduce that feature as on by default. I mean I'd be partially in the same boat if android did that, I certainly don't read each line item of every change that comes with every upgrade.

Now, I'm sure I would have noticed on the data usage side that something was up. I do check that a couple times a month online to make sure no one on my plan is going to blow me up with a super bill.
 

Meeho

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Zarathustra[H];1041981502 said:
Fair point.

I don't use Youtube much. Maybe a video a day or every other day. No idea if they are streaming in HD, as it so tough to tell on a little 5" screen.

Actually, there is a huge difference between 360p and 720p even on phones. I have a 5 GB data plan and have to switch even to 240p often as Youtube makes going over the limit quite easy.
 

natos

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Zarathustra[H];1041981476 said:
I was thinking the same thing.

I wonder how much data you have to use to hit $2,000

I consider myself a pretty heavy phone user. I'm on my phone ALL THE TIME, and I don't think I've ever exceeded 1.5GB in a month.

Reallly?!!?!?

Go watch a few videos, a even a few youtube clips of 3-5 mins each.....and watch it skyrocket. Or even a regular episode of a tv episode......you could easily hit the 1.5GB.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Reallly?!!?!?

Go watch a few videos, a even a few youtube clips of 3-5 mins each.....and watch it skyrocket. Or even a regular episode of a tv episode......you could easily hit the 1.5GB.

Yeah, as mentioned before I don't do much in the way of video on my phone.

If someone links me to a funny youtube video I may watch it, but they are usually short ~15 second clips and may or may not be in HD. I fired up Netflix app to test it once, but I found the tiny screen experience to be unappealing to watch TV shows or movies, so I never do that.

I'm on my phone almost all the time, but it's mostly Web and Forum type stuff, a bunch of IT tools (SSH/Vmware management) and some Waze GPS. The most bandwidth intensive I get is probably Spotify Streaming and streaming my local news radio station (WBUR).

I had no idea people are actually watching tons of video content on their phones. It just sounds completely unappealing to me. Id rather save that for when I'm at home infront of my TV or PC.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Icon in the corner changes. I call B.S. unless he's beyond stupid...

Well, he is a kid...

Inexperience and stupidity are two different things.

To a young teenager it would seem laughably silly that anything they could do on their phone could result in huge overages. Their parents are just nickle and dining them whenever they complain, you know. :p
 

akaliel

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I used up about 1GB just this morning alone. Doesn't take long when you're playing with a VR headset and watching a few youtube 360 videos at 1440p. It took about 20 minutes. LTE is very fast. Then I got a text from my carrier, telling me I was within 10% of my data limit for my month. It resets in 2 days so I'm not worried. I have a 9G plan.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Just goes to highlight how different people use their devices differently.

Personally I just never watch any video or play any games on my phone. (That's what my desktop and HTPC are for :p )
 

akaliel

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Zarathustra[H];1041981873 said:
Just goes to highlight how different people use their devices differently.

Personally I just never watch any video or play any games on my phone. (That's what my desktop and HTPC are for :p )

I'm at work for almost all of my usage. My company has locked down their internet pretty tight, most sites are blocked outright and for the ones that aren't WebSense makes you click a "Your boss is watching you. Are you sure you want to go to this site?" button. Even if the site is just google news. So everyone around here uses their phones to waste time when we're not busy.
 

akaliel

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I can't see your image. That site is blocked (magically HardOCP isn't, for some reason).
 

Vaulter98c

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Im unlimited on my m9 and Ive hit over 90gigs in a month, 110 was my max, I'm sure people could do more then that
 

akaliel

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Unfortunately, in Canada there are no unlimited plans. And we vastly overpay for everything else. 9G on a two line shared plan is about $200 here.
 

Makaveli@BETA

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People should pay more attention, this thing called personal accountability still exists. I would highly recommend this poor guy get a computer or laptop so he doesn't have to do everything in his life on a cell phone.

Agreed but in this day and age no one thinks they have to learn anything about the products they buy. They just want to be spoon fed for everything or to just pickup a phone and call someone until they get a $5,000 bill then now its a priority.

And apple users are the worse for this.
 

Makaveli@BETA

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Im unlimited on my m9 and Ive hit over 90gigs in a month, 110 was my max, I'm sure people could do more then that

Serious question but 90GB's on a cell phone.

do you not use any of the other equipment in your sig at all :p

I have so many machines and gadgets it allows me to spread my usage out and like the poster above. I prefer to do my you tube watching on my desktop pc or HTPC connected to my 64 inch plasma.

The screens on phones are not big enough for me to comfortable enjoy a full movie and if I have to watch TV episodes they are downloaded and transferred to the SD card on my phone if I have to watch them when mobile and that would only be commuting to work.

The amount of data some of you use is crazy to me but I guess YMMV.
 

Showbiz

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I thought the entire point of having widely available wi-fi, and using it on phones was to avoid the egregious cellular data charges? Seems like a step backwards no?

Now we're using a service that cost $$$ per KB, to supplement service that is 99.99% of the time free, who's ubiquity grew to supplement the $$$ per KB service? :confused:
 

rat

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Zarathustra[H];1041981910 said:
My usage:

Extremely similar to my usage except all my texts end up as data because I use Google Voice. I find it incomprehensibly difficult to understand how someone can break 2GB a month in data unless they're doing torrents on their cell plan.

ONLY time I ever exceeded 2GB in a month was when I had to tether my phone due to an internet outage at home. So I pretty much assume that's the case when someone complains about being throttled.
 

Mistral

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Zarathustra[H];1041981476 said:
I was thinking the same thing.

I wonder how much data you have to use to hit $2,000

I consider myself a pretty heavy phone user. I'm on my phone ALL THE TIME, and I don't think I've ever exceeded 1.5GB in a month.

My last 15 days show 15 gb data usage so around 1gb per day, however this has been more quiet month than usual.

Never use wifi.

Costs 13 euros a month.

:)
 

Mistral

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Sorry it was actually 20gb ypon recheckinh. So stretching it out, prob 40-50gb on normal full month.
 
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Unfortunately, in Canada there are no unlimited plans. And we vastly overpay for everything else. 9G on a two line shared plan is about $200 here.

Of the Big Three carriers, true.
Wind Mobile offers unlimited data on a $50/mo plan, but their coverage sucks.
 

Yakk

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Unfortunately, in Canada there are no unlimited plans. And we vastly overpay for everything else. 9G on a two line shared plan is about $200 here.

Yeah it's really bad, WiFi Assist should be illegal in Canada. Dangerous as hell with the rates they charge.
 

Vaulter98c

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I do a lot of traveling for work and for the Army. Plus I have a 250+ BluRay collection on my home server and I'm always watching my movies on my phone when out of the house. I consume a shit load of data, from pandora music to videos to looking up stuff for customers to GPS all day long, and when I'm really out and about for a few days at a time I'll tether to my laptop. I do more then that (no torrents tho, I figure it would be a huge red flag on a mobile) but using a lot of data isn't that hard. I pay for unlimited for a reason.
 

Bowman15

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Use your mobile phone as a cable TV device and you deserve what you get. No sympathy here.
 
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