I've had an iPhone on AT&T since I bought the 3G back in 11/08. For most of the time, I was happily on the unlimited data plan. Typically, I would use 1.5gb to 6gb per month. I was almost never on wifi, would stream Pandora or tunes via iCLoud, email, twitter, etc. 2 months ago, I ditched the unlimited data plan since I was tired of being throttled over 3gb, plus I wanted the ability to legally tether to my MacBook. Still, I continued to stay in my 5gb per month limit even with the tethering.
I activated my iPhone 5 on launch day, September 21st. Realizing I would be able to easily spend my 5gbs per month with the addition of LTE, I proceeded with caution. First, I began maximizing my wifi usage. The antenna was "wonky" on my old 4, and would never connect in certain spots in the apartment. Not an issue with the 5. This phone is on wifi 24/7 in the apartment. Also, It is on wifi at work, and certain spots around the city where my ISP provides free wifi. Next, I made sure all my podcasts were being downloaded while on wifi or synced through iTunes.
I felt pretty confident that I would have no problems with my data usage. I was typically a heavy user who never connected to wifi just so I would get my money's worth with the unlimited data. Now, I am a cautious user on wifi at least 50% of the time, aware that I don't want to exceed my 5gb limit. Allow me to also note that I have a family plan with another iphone, who typically used way less data than me. Unfortunately, I don't have any screenshots. You'll just have to trust me.
So what's the purpose of this post? Well, I am now only 13 days into my billing cycle, and AT&T reports that I am at 3,515mb of my 5,120mb monthly allotment. The other iPhone on the bill is at 4168mb of the monthly allotment. These numbers are concerning to say the least, and average out to about 300mb per day. This would mean at the end of the billing cycle, should the trend continue, each phone would hit 9gb and incur a cumulative 8gb of data overages. At $10 per GB, that is a charge I wish not to add to my already near $200 phone bill.
So I called AT&T and spoke with Tech support. They deny any specific issue with wifi /cellular, unlike the known Verizon problem. They advised me to turn cellular off when home to make sure that it doesn't use data (that's gonna be annoying) and to reset all network settings. He also advised that LTE in general would use more data, and that could be turned off as well. In the end, I asked that he just document my call, "As there must be others with the same problem."
After tech support, I spoke with customer service about my bill. A) There was an extra $20 on top of the two $36 activation fees B) I wanted to preemptively express my concern for huge overage fees on the data. She politely advised there was not much she could do, there is no known problem, etc. I reviewed possible other data plans, but the $50 for 5gb is the most. Again, I asked her to note my concern about the high data usage and asked her to look at my history which she did. I questioned her about the inflated bill (beyond the activation fees), and she was actually stumped. She reported it was because of prorating, but I called shenanigans on her. Ultimately, she offered me a $76 credit.
I guess I won this round. The credit offsets the inevitable overage fee, and buys some time till we see a fix from Apple. I am certain there must be a problem based on my observations over the last 2 weeks, the willingness of AT&T to give a credit, and the known Verizon issue. It also seems like there is some rabble rousing over on the apple forums. Until this is officially resolved, I would advise calling AT&T if this is happening to you too. The more calls they get, the quicker they should apply some pressure to Apple. In the meantime, be vigilant with turning off cellular while on wifi for an extended period of time.
Is this happening to you? Have you seen other "quirks" about the new iPhone? Leave a comment below.
Editor's Note: I realize that there are usually bugs in software when first released, and it's quite plausible that 6.0.1 will correct this issue. But I was home sick from work today and bored and thought I would get some use out of this squarespace account. I fully expect this blog post to slip away in the sea of iPhone 5 stories engulfing the interwebz.
Update 1: Just some more evidence to support my argument. Look at the 12:40am on 10/03. 99% sure I was at home, on wifi, and asleep. And the report shows i used 175mb under those conditions.