Microsoft investigating Windows Phone 7 phantom data

Some Windows Phone 7 users are reporting that their new mobile device is using data without their knowledge. Some reports that the 'phantom' data is sharing up to 2-5MB per hour, and in some extreme cases, 50MB a day.

Microsoft told the BBC News that it is currently investigating the claims, in hopes that they can find the root cause and patch it. Some users are reporting that they are receiving emails from their carriers warning them they are about to go over their data cap, even when they don't use data very much.

Microsoft is planning to release an update to Windows Phone 7, with performance improvements to the entire phone, including faster application and game load times, copy & paste, and better marketplace searching. All hopes are that the update corrects the issue, so we won't see any delays in the release.

Steve Ballmer noted during his CES press conference that Microsoft is planning to release an update for Windows Phone 7, with "a series of platform improvements." The update is expected to release later this month or early February 2011. Microsoft reported that the Windows Phone 7 update will change the way the software handles memory, and allow for better allocation to increase application and game load times.

Thanks to Subject Delta for pointing this out in the forums!

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54 Comments

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Jarrichvdv said,
You know what? Wait for Microsoft to release full details about this issue i'm sure they'll patch it soon

exactly - let the experts figure out what's causing the issue. nobody is denying teh fact that some ppl are seeing what might be considered excessive usage, but just going by the various things that we're all looking at, its clear that none of us will ever agree to anything someone else said. might as well wait for MS to look into this and define what caused the issue. I for one have had less than 200MB per month usage even with everything enabled along with multiple email accounts.

My wifes HTC Trophy initially hit the Vodafone daily limit of 50Mb every day and she wasn't doing anything. Since early December, it has reduced to about 1-2Mb every day. The only thing she updates regularly is a weather app but that's more of a pull of data rather than push.

I contacted Vodafone about this and they said there was a bug with WP7 that MS knew about when the platform was released. I can't confirm this of course.

Very weird.

Fred 69 said,
2-5MB per hour means 48-120MB per day.
How is 50MB per day "extreme"?

well it is a big problem if you got a plan with 500MB which is paired with the phones in Canada. Should only be bundled with plans that acually can handle its usage.

Fred 69 said,
2-5MB per hour means 48-120MB per day.
How is 50MB per day "extreme"?

If you expect your phone to be using zero MB/day then 50MB is pretty extreme.

jasonon said,
this isn't a problem if you buy the unlimited plan

6GB plan here and it barely gets near 2GB a month.... Bring tethering!

WOW .. actually just checked my phone and I used 700MB this month but I just noticed that I used 54MB at 5:30am on new years eve when I was asleep... it was receiving data every hour so i guess it is the mail syncing to my hotmail (feedback is off) or checking for an update?(maybe because it was the end of the month or something. Everyother day it uses a few MB's but not really over 1 or 2

Lachlan said,
WOW .. actually just checked my phone and I used 700MB this month but I just noticed that I used 54MB at 5:30am on new years eve when I was asleep... it was receiving data every hour so i guess it is the mail syncing to my hotmail (feedback is off) or checking for an update?(maybe because it was the end of the month or something. Everyother day it uses a few MB's but not really over 1 or 2

Just an idea (and no, there is no sarcasm in this post), but how do you know your carriers billing system/report system shows accurate times? could it not just be simply be stamping time stamps on data use as it catches up with usage? I cant see it having priority on the network, so maybe uses a buffer of some kind?

I would think it's all the stupid free apps that have a bunch of rolling adverts which ask to run under the lock screen, and people lock the screens with those apps open.

That's my theory being a Samsung Focus user with feedback turned on, I used 16MB of data last billing cycle.

andrewbares said,
Neowin, instead of copying the wrong information from other blogs, why not bring in better info? For example, the XDA thread about this: http://forum.xda-developers.co...t=871650&highlight=data+plan&page=3

It's the feedback option in the settings that sends a lot of data every day.

That thread doesn't really say a lot, it's a bunch of confused people panicking and conjecturing, not a reliable source of info

Sraf said,

That thread doesn't really say a lot, it's a bunch of confused people panicking and conjecturing, not a reliable source of info


Exactly this.

There is so many forums reporting these issues, and this article wasn't about how much data was being used, it's about Microsoft finally acknowledging it and looking into the issue.

Andrew Lyle said,

Exactly this.

There is so many forums reporting these issues, and this article wasn't about how much data was being used, it's about Microsoft finally acknowledging it and looking into the issue.

What issue? They are just holding it wrong.

All these smartphone things are crap. Use phone to just receive and make calls. Now people wants to do every thing on their tiny small screen which they could do in a much better way with their computers.

Auditor said,
All these smartphone things are crap. Use phone to just receive and make calls. Now people wants to do every thing on their tiny small screen which they could do in a much better way with their computers.

While I agree with you, I by myself use an smart phone just to have a handheld spare computer... just in case. G1 user.

Auditor said,
All these smartphone things are crap. Use phone to just receive and make calls. Now people wants to do every thing on their tiny small screen which they could do in a much better way with their computers.

Alas, for many it is important to have some functions in much easier access - I for one find it much more convinient to flip on my phone and quickly catch up on my emails and the news headlines over breakfast than I would to sit down, power up my PC and load the browser and probably get distracted along the way, to accomplish the same task.

Auditor said,
All these smartphone things are crap. Use phone to just receive and make calls. Now people wants to do every thing on their tiny small screen which they could do in a much better way with their computers.

I beg to differ, they are extremely useful things to have

Auditor said,
All these smartphone things are crap. Use phone to just receive and make calls. Now people wants to do every thing on their tiny small screen which they could do in a much better way with their computers.

It's more like phones are features to pocket computers tbh. If I wanted just a phone, I'd get just a phone.

Auditor said,
All these smartphone things are crap. Use phone to just receive and make calls. Now people wants to do every thing on their tiny small screen which they could do in a much better way with their computers.

And what about these stupid folks whoo want a car instead of a horse and cart, that was good enough surely?

Nothing to report on my Samsung Omnia 7, data usage hasn't changed since switching from my old HTC hero. I use around 700MB PM (this is for business use as well, synced to exchange, I get a lot of support emails and use CRM/sharepoint a lot plus web browsing).

Nothing to see here, well not specifically 'here' anyway, must be a certain app/config issue.

duddit2 said,
Nothing to report on my Samsung Omnia 7, data usage hasn't changed since switching from my old HTC hero. I use around 700MB PM (this is for business use as well, synced to exchange, I get a lot of support emails and use CRM/sharepoint a lot plus web browsing).

Nothing to see here, well not specifically 'here' anyway, must be a certain app/config issue.

Sorry Ive just logged onto my orange online account to check things properly ad it seems I was wrong, I'm using less data now!

January bill used 316MB, December used 285MB, so I think I might be able to drop to a half meg per month plan and save £5, thanks for the article Neowin, without it I wouldn't have looked at my bills when I did

duddit2 said,
Nothing to report on my Samsung Omnia 7, data usage hasn't changed since switching from my old HTC hero. I use around 700MB PM (this is for business use as well, synced to exchange, I get a lot of support emails and use CRM/sharepoint a lot plus web browsing).

Nothing to see here, well not specifically 'here' anyway, must be a certain app/config issue.

BTW I have the following:

FB synced
2 x gmail accounts
Windows live account synced
exchange account synced
use web browser extensively while roaming for:
FB access
Neowin
CRM (updating case issues and billing while onsite)
Sharepoint (accessing documents while onsite from our comnpany sharepoint server, network maps etc)
xBox live synced (and play games, some using connection)
Upload plenty of pictures to FB and skydrive
stream zune tracks with my zune pass

So I wouldn't call myself a light user, AND feedback is enabled so blaming the feedback option is I think a little misguided.

I had to move upto a 1GB package back while using my old Hero as it was constantly going over the half GB mark, now I think I can go back to half GB, go figure

emzino said,
Any ideas as to why this is happening?

It's the Feedback option in the settings, which by default sends the feedback over 3G every day/night. You can disable it or set it to only use WiFi, but by default, it uses 3G.

andrewbares said,

It's the Feedback option in the settings, which by default sends the feedback over 3G every day/night. You can disable it or set it to only use WiFi, but by default, it uses 3G.


No, it's not. It's been disproved so stop spreading lies about the OS to make it sound bad.

andrewbares said,

It's the Feedback option in the settings, which by default sends the feedback over 3G every day/night. You can disable it or set it to only use WiFi, but by default, it uses 3G.

^

I don't think the feedback is taking this amount of data, and I haven't had this kind of problem with everything on (facebook, hotmail, feedback, uploads, downloads...)

andrewbares said,

It's the Feedback option in the settings, which by default sends the feedback over 3G every day/night. You can disable it or set it to only use WiFi, but by default, it uses 3G.

I have feedback selected, and also the 'use my mobile data connection' is ticked, no excessive data use to report here, quite the contrary, I'm using less on win phone 7 than back on android with hero and same (if not more) data use.

omnicoder said,

No, it's not. It's been disproved so stop spreading lies about the OS to make it sound bad.

No, it hasn't been disproved. It DOES send lots of data every night, about 20 MB or even more in some people's cases. And I love WP7, so nice try at making me seem like an evil fanboy who's spreading lies....

andrewbares said,

Nope, it's because of the Feedback option in the settings, which by DEFAULT uses 3G to send feedback.


No. The feedback thing was disproved since tons of people have that enabled and not everyone is experiencing high data usage. So far the only thing thats similar between the people who are noticing this "bug" is they all use yahoo mail syncing.

And not to mention, sending feedback isn't enabled by default. When you first set the phone up it asks whether or not you want to enable it.

/- Razorfold said,

No. The feedback thing was disproved since tons of people have that enabled and not everyone is experiencing high data usage. So far the only thing thats similar between the people who are noticing this "bug" is they all use yahoo mail syncing.

And not to mention, sending feedback isn't enabled by default. When you first set the phone up it asks whether or not you want to enable it.

I do not use FB but what that continuous "updates" about what people are doing? It could be very well data consuming. Again I only push emails from Exchange as I did with the HD2 but FB seems a suspicious app too.

/- Razorfold said,

No. The feedback thing was disproved since tons of people have that enabled and not everyone is experiencing high data usage. So far the only thing thats similar between the people who are noticing this "bug" is they all use yahoo mail syncing.

And not to mention, sending feedback isn't enabled by default. When you first set the phone up it asks whether or not you want to enable it.

Nope, you're wrong. I have the HD7 without a single hint of Yahoo on it anywhere, and my phone was sending 20+ MB per night, when I was asleep. That was when I had the Feedback option turned on. Then I turned it off, and those random 20 MB connections stopped happening. So yes, it is related to the Feedback.

That "issue" could also combine with a Yahoo syncing bug, causing even more data usage, but Feedback DEFINITELY causes all of this data to be used.

And you saying that "tons of people have that enabled and not everyone is experiencing high data usage" doesn't hold much ground, since the amount of data sent for feedback could vary depending on how much they use their phone. Also, a number of them could have unlimited plans and could care less.

andrewbares said,

Nope, you're wrong. I have the HD7 without a single hint of Yahoo on it anywhere, and my phone was sending 20+ MB per night, when I was asleep. That was when I had the Feedback option turned on. Then I turned it off, and those random 20 MB connections stopped happening. So yes, it is related to the Feedback.

That "issue" could also combine with a Yahoo syncing bug, causing even more data usage, but Feedback DEFINITELY causes all of this data to be used.

And you saying that "tons of people have that enabled and not everyone is experiencing high data usage" doesn't hold much ground, since the amount of data sent for feedback could vary depending on how much they use their phone. Also, a number of them could have unlimited plans and could care less.

could not care less

ryan9523 said,

I can't find a tinfoil hat small enough for a phone

Actually a tin foil hat (if large enough) would stop the problem

Minooch said,

Actually a tin foil hat (if large enough) would stop the problem


Pft, just use an EMP pulse. The alien technology won't work then And you won't need to worry about data loss either!

SpeedyTheSnail said,

Pft, just use an EMP pulse. The alien technology won't work then And you won't need to worry about data loss either!

But if I loose my phone then how can I call for help when the great alien invasion of 2012 happens when the world ends? Just like it ended in 2000!