Friday, February 28, 2014

4G: Godsend or liability?

I have recently received notification from O2 that I can now access 4G. Sure enough my free 4G bolt on has been activated on my iPhone 5s (by the way it's space grey, not gold as O2's 4g checker insisted). In the week or so I've had this enabled, I haven't seen a 4G signal anywhere near where I live in South Wales.

Also, for information (bear with me, this becomes relevant shortly), I have a 1Gb data "bolt on". I've recently upped this from 500mb a month as a couple of times I've just tipped over the 500mb a month limit. I also NEVER stream video unless I'm on a wifi connection.

Yesterday I travelled to London on a 2 day business trip. I was delighted as my train approached London to see a 4G signal, and indeed, the connection on the normal apps I use (Twitter, Facebook, email, seemed quick).

Last night in my hotel room I checked my data using the O2 app and saw that I had 943 Mb available for the remainder of my contacted month (to 25th March). As I had a 4G signal, I attempted an iPhone FaceTime (video) call home to my wife. This turned out to be very short because the connection at one end (not sure whose) wasn't great. According to the call log, the call lasted 2 minutes and used 5Mb of data. Then, using my iPhone in no different way than I normally do, including some limited tethering to my iPad, by about 8pm my remaining data had dropped from 943mb to about 740mb. Odd, but I wasn't entirely alarmed.

By this time my iPhone was sat on the desk in my hotel room and although it was tethered to my iPad, the ONLY thing I was actively doing was watching a film on the iPad. It's important to note that the video file was actually physically on the iPad (that is, it was NOT being streamed to the iPad from anywhere). The iPhone had no open apps running (as far as I could tell).

Imagine my surprise therefore when my iPhone text alert went off at 21.17 to say I had used all my UK data for the month!!!!! Somewhere between about 8pm and 17 minutes past 9 I had used almost 3/4 gig of data doing nothing other than looking at twitter and during which time I had streamed no video or used any other data intensive apps, and was predominantly watching a local video file on my iPad about 6 feet away from my iPhone.

I immediately bought (rather begrudgingly) a further 1GB bolt on as I've still got nearly a month before my data monthly rolling contract end. At the time of writing this, about (24 hours later), according to O2's app, I have only 420mb of that available, so the best part of another half gig of data has disappeared.

What the hell is going on? How can I have used nearly 1.5Gb data in around 4 hours, doing nothing other than the things I normally do, that in any normal month, leave me using around 500mb data?

The ONLY difference as far as I can see has been the enablement of 4G and being in a 4G area. 4G should use MORE data, it should just make it quicker.

I am perplexed, and if this is the 4G experience, then frankly I don't want it.

So, I spoke to a very pleasant girl at O2 tonight who told me that although this amount of data consumption was unusually high, it was because she could see that my phone was downloading "updates" at 12 midnight and 3am and this was consuming the large amounts of data.

Now I'm REALLY perplexed. According to my phone iTunes and App Store settings, automatic downloads is turned ON for music and apps (though I've downloaded none of either in the last few days, and is OFF for updates. Additionally the "use cellular data" (for automatic downloads and iTunes Match (which I don't use) is OFF.

Basically, the girl on the O2 call told me that was that. She was sorry, but couldn't offer anything other than suggesting I take the phone to an Apple Store to have it checked.

I can't see that's going to help. I'll keep a close eye on my data use age, but worryingly I suspect that my two day jaunt into a 4G area has something to do with this. It shouldn't have, but there's no other conclusion I can draw


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad Mini

1 comment:

KIDESHA freckles said...

That's so true 4G hardly works and when it does it consumes a lot of data in a short space of time. I would seriously want to know why that happens.