Lawsuit claims AT&T overbills for iPhone data use

A class action suit alleges that AT&T's bills incorrectly and "systematically" charge for too much data consumption among iPhone users.

Sam Diaz Senior editor, ZDNet
Sam Diaz is a senior editor at ZDNet. He has been a technology and business blogger, reporter and editor at the Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News, and Fresno Bee for more than 18 years.
Sam Diaz

One of the biggest problems that consumers have faced with mobile phone billing in recent years is that there's really no way of independently measuring the amount of data that's being consumed by a mobile Web session. Consumers are at the mercy of the wireless carriers and have put their trust in these providers to accurately bill them.

Now, AT&T finds itself at the center of a class action lawsuit that alleges that the provider's bills "systematically overstate the amount of data used on each data transaction." Granted, the overstatement that's being alleged is small--somewhere in the range of 7-14 percent monthly, according to a post on the Electronista blog.

What's especially telling is how a consulting firm that was hired by the lawyers of the plaintiff conducted its own test of the data billing. Instead of using data and trying to measure it independently for comparison against the bill, the consultant did the exact opposite. The firm bought a new iPhone and immediately turned off all push notifications and location services, made sure that no apps or e-mail accounts were active and then left the iPhone idle for 10 days.

AT&T billed the account for 2,292 kilobytes of data over 35 transactions.

Read more of "Lawsuit: AT&T 'systematically overstates' data usage on iPhone bills" at ZDNet.