WildBill's Blogdom

Mongo only pawn, in game of life.

AT&T and Throttling - Is Their Bandwidth Accounting Correct?

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ATT Text

So, back on January 30, I received a text message from AT&T regarding the bandwidth use on my (grandfathered) Unlimited Data plan. There’s been a lot of people recently receiving messages like this, where AT&T is threatening to throttle their connection to EDGE-like speeds for “being in the top 5% of users”. I’m not alone in receiving these kinds of texts… Mike Senese, Discovery Channel host, also received one, as did Fox News’ Shepherd Smith. Both these fellas travel quite a bit, I’d imagine, and would probably use lots more data than I would… right? I checked my usage when I got the text message, and I was right at the 2GB mark. (I didn’t screen cap that, though I probably should have).


So, I resolved to keep an eye on my data usage. I checked out my bill (both online and paper) and found out that my billing cycle begins on the 12th of every month, so I set an appointment reminder (thank you, Siri) to remind me to reset the counters on the iPhone on the morning of the 12th. Since I do DevOps stuff for a living, practically the first thing I do when wake is check my phone, so I’d see the reminder and whack my phone’s counters early.

iPhone Usage


Sure enough, the 12th came, and I reset my counters so the experiment could begin. Note that the reset date on the stats is February 12 at 8:55am. (Hey, it was a Sunday. I’m allowed to sleep in!) 

I decided to check on it today (the 16th of February - five days into my billing cycle), and my iPhone says I’ve used 113MB.


I can believe that. I’ve watched a few YouTube vids, and done other stuff, so 113MB sounds about right.I then checked my usage against the myAT&T app that accesses the AT&T website for your usage… and I’m rather surprised with the result. AT&T is showing me as having used 196.54MB. That’s 83MB more than the iPhone itself reports. That’s a 73% difference.


myAT&T Usage

It sure looks like either AT&T is overcharging me for data by a LARGE factor, or my iPhone’s counters are off. An argument could be made that I didn’t reset my counters exactly at midnight - and I’d agree, except my phone was “off” and in its charger between midnight and 9am when I reset the counter, and it was associated with my home wifi network, so it shouldn’t have been using the cell network AT ALL. I plan on continuing to dig into this, and I’ll post my results as the month goes on.