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Repeatedly charged for data despite mobile data turned off

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Repeatedly charged for data despite mobile data turned off

I noticed recently that my credit had been going down at a much faster rate than usual, and after checking my usage I see repeated charges of €2 for "internet" despite me never turning mobile data on. Only in emergencies do I use mobile data, 99% of the time the I'm on wifi when using the internet or anything data-related on my phone.


These charges don't occur every day, for example I've been charged the last 3 days in a row but not the day before that (and yes I had credit then) and the times are sporadic, mostly when I wouldn't be using the phone, i.e. 2am, 6am... completely random.


I turned my phone off deliberately last night and saw I was still charged €2 an hour afterwards, so it's not like some spurious app has bypassed any settings, it's being taken directly from my account for no reason. Can someone help?

151 REPLIES 151
3 Moderator

The only way you'll be charged for data is if mobile data is on and you've no allowance in your plan. If your data was off at the times you've been charged then this might be a phone issue. If data is left on the phone itself uses it to update and apps that run in the background also use it. Rachel 

Rachel, thanks for the reply.


I've been using safe mode on the phone which disables all third party apps, have mobile data switched permanently off, and also have an option selected on the phone to restrict background data on apps which means they can only use wifi to send/receive data.


Yet I'm still being charged €2 per day for amounts that are clearly not enough to do anything online - I had 6 instances of it happening yesterday and the cumulative amount of data used was 7.67kb - simply turning mobile data on without even doing anything would result in a multiple of that.


Is it possible to check my activity to see where these tiny amounts of data are going so I can maybe disable/uninstall it? Because the activity log labels all data as "internet" so it doesn't really help.


I don't want to have mobile data disabled entirely on my account as I do use it occasionally (and have no problem paying for it when I do), so would it be possible to allow my account a miniscule daily allowance, say 50kb or so? It would cover whatever spurious data is being sent/received by my phone but also not be enough to let me do anything online without turning on mobile data and being charged the €2.



**Update 19/01**

There was a slight change in proceedings today. Usually the initial data access happens around 1AM or at some point in the early morning, but today there was no data activity at all right up until 5:40PM, which is odd in itself.

But also, rather than incurring the usual flat €2 fee, I was charged €1.20. The amount of data in question was 0.12kb. And then again at 6:30PM, I was charged a further €0.80 for 0.08kb of data, but there was a second data entry also at 6:30PM for 1.86kb, and no charge was incurred.


I think that this shows how ludicrously small the amounts of data being transferred are, when I can't even hit the flat €2 fee for "any amount" of data in one go.

Can you PM me your details so I can check this out more for you @Murdee? I just need your full name, address and DOB. 

Not applicable

Hi Murdee,


I have the same problem with my phone (being charged €2/day even though my mobile data is off, apps are restricted and phone changed from 4G to GSM only. Did you get your problem resolved?



Hi @Anonymous, Can I help you here with this? Bob

Hi @Anonymous


I think I got it semi-resolved in the end! It seems to be an issue with Android rather than Three.


To give a bit of a backstory, I have a Sony Xperia E5. Had it since the summer with no issues, up until around December when I noticed my credit going down a lot faster than usual. Tried a lot of different things on the phone including mobile data/4G/roaming turned off, airplane mode/safe mode, background data restricted etc., but no matter what, it seemed I was constantly getting charged for a miniscule amount (typically less than 50kb/day).


Eventually I got to see that the only thing using data was Android OS, and after a bit of googling on the matter I found out that a lot of devices have had a similar issue, and it's been going on since as far back as 2014. I turned Location off, and from then on all the charges stopped.


Seemingly if Location is turned on (even as GPS only instead of high accuracy), it can bypass mobile data settings on the device and make some kind of connection attempt. Even though it doesn't succeed, it still results in a tiny amount of data being sent and for those of us without a data plan that results in a flat charge. I guess because most people nowadays have one it's not a more talked about issue because no one's going to notice a stray 2kb here and there.


What was puzzling me was the fact that I had the phone since the summer with no issues. Checked a few things on the phone and saw that there was an Android system update installed on the 8th of December, which would line up with when the charges started happening to me.


So I was guessing that something in that update screwed up how Location functions and now it will use mobile data whether you want it to or not. This was pretty much confirmed to me by a friend who has the same model phone, is also on Three prepay, but hasn't installed it yet and has never had a charge for mobile data he didn't use.


Hopefully that's of some help! It's not a fix as such but a workaround until they get around to patching it, if they ever do.

Not applicable

Can you PM me the name, address, DOB & mobile number please? I'll check this out. 

Not applicable

Thank you for the reply, Bob.

Sorry it took so long to reply.

I have mobile data turned off at Three's end, it was the only way I could stop the charges. I only use my wifi at homenow, but I am going to switch to Meteor, they don't have this problem.

I know this because my wife is with them and she has no charges when her mobile network is off.

I will have to do without mobile data for new.




Not applicable

Sorry, that was meant to be Murdee.

Thanks again.