Windows Phone 7 Likes Your 3G a Bit Too Much

By  |  Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Reports across the Web are surfacing that Microsoft has a serious problem with Windows Phone 7 that may become very expensive for some: the OS seems to use an awful lot of cellular bandwidth, even when idle. This means those with smaller data plans may find themselves in for a shock when their bill arrives.

One user wrote into Paul Thurrott’s WinSuperSite telling he had to put the phone into airplane mode because he was near his 2GB data limit, and copious amounts of data were being used even when idle. Thurrott himself replied that he had noticed increases of data usage.

What’s happening here is that even when on a Wi-Fi network — for whatever reason — the phone is still using 3G for data. Its unclear what applications (if not the entire phone) is doing this, but its a serious and common problem apparently that Microsoft has yet to confirm.

This thread on HowardForums discusses the problem as well, with the original poster claiming WP7 may be using as much as 2-5MB of data per hour when idle. There’s other posts to Microsoft Answers as well. Lets put this in perspective: based on estimates, even with that phone on your kitchen table, over 1GB of data would be used. That’s a definite ouch.

“This is a curiously common problem, and I’m sort of shocked Microsoft hasn’t addressed this publicly yet, either to confirm it or to offer a fix,” Thurrott mused.

We’d like to know if anyone is experiencing this problem. If Microsoft does confirm this, it’s going to have to do something to prevent lawsuits from disgruntled users.


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10 Comments For This Post

  1. arshad Says:

    I have had my WP7 for about 2 billing cycles and have not seen threats usage you are referring to. So unless you have more definite evidence wouldn't you say it is premature to publish Articles like this?

  2. John Irwin Says:

    I have not had this problem at all. I just reviewed my bill and i had used half of the 2 GB i have a month. Doesnt seem to be a problem.

  3. bill Says:

    Part of the problem is with pushing info to live tiles. It only makes sense that when your phone is gathering info and moving that info to a live tile on your phone that you would have large levels of data charges coming to you.

  4. John Says:

    I have had my WP7 for almost 3 months with a 200 MB plan. I don't do high bandwidth work when I'm not on WI-FI but I have had no trouble even with the smallest data plan.

  5. Ed Oswald Says:

    I'm wondering if this may be localized to a specific model.. and its a hardware issue. Guess as more comes out we'll find out..

  6. j-p Says:

    Optimus 7
    383 MB in the last 30 days
    my plan includes 6GB/month = me not caring, but seems about right for the amount of live tiles and data usage.

  7. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    I wouldn't be surprised if the network providers had something to do with this, asking MS to set the OS to use 3G by default even if WiFi is available… Since they introduced the datacap in the US this means greater revenue for them.

    This is the only viable explanation I see since I can't imagine MS making such a stupid mistake by accident when making an OS specifically designed for smartphones…

  8. ss303 Says:

    Here in Aus i've not been having a data problem with my month old WP7 phone (HTC Mozart if it matters), nor others from what i have heard. I have a 1G/mth limit and have been keeping an eye on it every few days as I know how expensive extra data can get! To my surprise with some moderate levels of surfing (mobile + full websites) and 3G constantly on (wifi normally off to save battery) I've not really been using too much data. I also have 3 email accounts linked live to my phone.

    Perhaps this is a network/provider specific issue? FYI I am with Telstra on their 4G network, my Mozart is the 850/2100 model I believe.

    Loving WP7 so far!

  9. tojoski Says:

    I went from using ~200mb the 1st two months to all of a sudden 598mb just 18 days into our billing cycle. My wife went from using 45mb to over 200mb just 18 days into the cycle.. Something is definitely up and at&t is clueless.

    The only new app that we both have is the weather channel app, but really, how could it use soo much just updating the live tile?

    Whatever it is, it put my wife over her 200mb cap..c'mon Microsoft help me prove the apple fanboys wrong, but I'm starting to wonder

  10. guest Says:

    Hi, I work for a global company, we have just given out roughly 30 windows 7 phones with daily usage limit set at 25Mb. First bill came through and one employee had a bill of £600, second bill came through and highest bill was £1350. All the bills are excessive so I suspect there's a major floor with either the way the provider calculate the data usage or there's a major floor with the OS.