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Telstra modem using HEAPS of data?


17 replies to this topic

#1 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

Question on behalf of DBF, who bought a Telstra 4G modem to use with his XBox in December.

I think it came with about 5GB of data included. That was gone within a couple of weeks, but he put it down to using the xbox so much. Topped it up with about 6GB. Two weeks later that was gone, and he'd barely used the internet. Figuring he was using more than he thought, he put 16GB on it (which cost $180). Two weeks later he brought the xbox over so we could watch a movie, but the internet wasn't working. I said to leave it until the next day and try again. It still wasn't working. I put the card in my USB modem and it said there was no data left! 16GB in two weeks! DBF was working for those two weeks and only used the internet a few times.

He rang Telstra and they gave him a big spiel which sounds like a heap of BS to me. They said that these modems 'use' data while left idle. Apparently if you leave it on all day and don't use it, it will use HEAPS of data, even if no device is connected. So basically they said "You've used 30GB in two months."

When he got off the phone and told me, I was furious. He works 12 hours a day for ten days at a time and spends most of his time off with me, so I know he can't have used that much data. I couldn't use that much if I tried! I reckon the whole "uses data while idle" just sounds like rubbish, like the idea a powerpoint could leak electricity. The data has to GO somewhere, it has to be used somewhere, it can't just disappear. If you're not using the data then you shouldn't be paying for it!

Telstra gave him 6GB as a consolation but I said that's nothing compared to the $180 worth of 16GB you should still have 14-15GB of!

I googled the situation and found some forums where people have horror stories of laptops sitting idle for 2 hours and using 8GB, and so on.

He has left it here so I can use it, so far the 6GB they gave him has lasted suspiciously longer than the mystical disappearing 16GB.

Has anyone heard of or experienced this?


#2 qak

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

Does he have security enabled on it?

#3 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

Yes, of course.

#4 Sassy Dingo

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:28 PM

Automatic updates?

#5 qak

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

Can he turn it off when not using it?

#6 Genabee

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

We have a Telstra wireless thingo too and we seem to go through it much quicker than we used to, since we set it up so that we could both use it wirelessly...

Hubby did tell me something along similar lines to what Telstra told you...



#7 Apageintime

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

I'd check his security settings just to be sure!

#8 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

The security is fine.

They say it is being used even when anything that uses it is turned off. So if the modem is on but all phones/laptops/ipads are disconnected, apparently they say it still uses data. I don't see how that's possible!

Wizzlet that's interesting. My parents have the older modem and they don't have any trouble. It seems to be the 4G ones.

Have been googling and found many similar cases online. Grrr. What a pain.

#9 greypink

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

QUOTE (Sassy Dingo @ 27/01/2013, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Automatic updates?

This is what I was going to suggest

#10 InsertAwesomeHere

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

Id changed the password on it just in case someone is using his data.

What they said is true depending on what's connected. If his phone or computer are connected there are automatic updates and things that use data in the background.

He should be able to switch the device off when he's not using it. He should also be able to ask Telstra for a data usage breakdown so he can see where the data is being used.

#11 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:39 PM

He has just had times when he forgot to switch it off but everything else was switched off, just the modem left on until it went flat or he noticed it flashing.

Telstra said they can't give a usage breakdown, they can only see how much has been used in each 'session'.



#12 spersephone

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

That's right, they get the amount of data used, but no real specifics about when exactly (to the minute) or by what device.

Is the X-Box turned on?  On Standby?  Is it possible that it's checking internet connectivity periodically?

Modems do send out data continually - they check to see if a device is on, they send and receive data continually.

You would be best to turn it off completely (the modem) for 24 hours if you can, and use that as a baseline.  Confirm that no data is being used in that time to confirm there is no discrepancy.  

Then when you do turn it on, day by day try to limit usage to one device and see if you can confirm whether one device in particular is using the data at a much higher rate.

However, the faster your internet, the more data you naturally download, even when you don't seem to be doing anything.

If you use Firefox or Chrome on your computer, you can put an add-on in your browser that can alert you to how much data you're using (you have to set it up with the username and password for your ISP).  That will give you an idea of how much you're using per day.

I think ideally until you determine what might be causing it (if anything), you may need to go the extent of turning the modem off every time you don't need to use it.  

We used to do this when we first got broadband, we had 700MB allowance and realised it used at least 10MB per day doing nothing, so there was about 300MB per month gone.  Of course the situation is different now (that was about 2002?), but the concept is the same.  Data will be used while you're not seeming to do anything.  

These devices are known to be very data hungry so it might be better to swap it for an older one that doesn't use 4G if you can't get any satisfaction.  However, I don't know if this is possible for you?

#13 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

I'll pass all your comments and advice on to DBF. Thanks everyone original.gif


#14 qak

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

Can he turn it off when not using it?

#15 Prickly

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:18 PM

We bought the 4G Telstra wireless modem and used 4GB in 2 days. You could see it ticking over - 1MB a second, despite nothing running.
Our previous usage pattern was around 4GB a month - so to use that amount in 48 hours was ridiculous.
We complained and complained and complained.
Eventually got out of the contract. Paid $50 for the device which is now sitting unused in a cupboard, and agreed to pay for the 4GB which we had 'used'.
I'm now running my computer on a 3G Telstra dongle and have used about 6GB in 2 months. Once we move permanently and get a landline, I'll go back to an ADSL2 modem. (with a different ISP).

#16 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:07 PM

QUOTE (Prickly @ 27/01/2013, 07:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We bought the 4G Telstra wireless modem and used 4GB in 2 days. You could see it ticking over - 1MB a second, despite nothing running.
Our previous usage pattern was around 4GB a month - so to use that amount in 48 hours was ridiculous.
We complained and complained and complained.
Eventually got out of the contract. Paid $50 for the device which is now sitting unused in a cupboard, and agreed to pay for the 4GB which we had 'used'.
I'm now running my computer on a 3G Telstra dongle and have used about 6GB in 2 months. Once we move permanently and get a landline, I'll go back to an ADSL2 modem. (with a different ISP).


Just checked his sim card again and it has used 3.5GB of the 6GB they gave him. I used it today, but I definitely did NOT use 3.5 GB in the last 8 hours!

I'll recommend to him that he only use the wireless when he's on the xbox, and to turn it off all the rest of the time. 3.5GB in one day! And I know he hasn't used it at all since they topped it up because it's been at MY house!

If I ever get a chance to get ADSL it will NOT be with Telstra. Grrr.

#17 spersephone

Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

It's not Telstra, it's the modem.  Other Telstra Internet plans are good.

It's the type of modem.

Edited by spersephone, 27 January 2013 - 07:35 PM.


#18 Coffeegirl

Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:50 PM

Does he actually have 4G available in his area?   If not the modem is constantly looking for it, hence using your data.  My iphone does the same.  We have very patchy 4G coverage, so I turned it off and my data and battery life increased dramatically.  

I only turn the 4g back on when I go into the city.

Caheck the whirlpool forums and see if anyone there is experiencing the same.  I know Telstra has a couple staff that troubleshoot throught the forums too.



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