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Customer service quiets outrage over Telstra’s 117 MB mystery

Peter Moon (via AFR) | July 23, 2013
Thanks to a glitch in Telstra's mobile data usage recording system, our iPhone usage suddenly appeared to skyrocket, exposing us to a world of pain.

That's how we learned about the Great 117MB Issue.

Apparently Telstra has had quite a few customers recently reporting inexplicable 117MB bursts of data. It was, we were told, a known issue.

So much so that just by mentioning the magical number, we were immediately credited with a gigabyte of extra data for the month. That was our third lucky strike but it didn't tell us what had really happened. Telstra support said they didn't know.

Something was haywire and they weren't yet at the bottom of it. Not a technically great answer but fine customer relations.

In a snap, our issue had been addressed. We'd been recredited the data that had disappeared into the cyber black hole.

Why would we be unsympathetic that Telstra couldn't offer an explanation? These things happen.

Since then, we've seen web reports of other Telstra customers discovering 117MB downloads in theirusage records.

Some users theorise that Telstra's billing system is simply aggregating usage until 117MB is hit and then reporting it.

That's plausible except that first, we were hit by an otherwise inexplicable gigabyte of data usage in within a few hours and, second, Telstra support immediately confirmed a corresponding issue.

So it does seem that a techno-gremlin has been playing tricks with some part of the network.

From September 1, all mobile users should receive alerts within 48 hours after their data consumption passes the three milestones.

Real-time notification would have been nice but that's not yet feasible according to the telcos. While the new data warnings are strictly only required for plans that can incur excess use charges, as opposed to speed limiting, we hear that some providers intend to send alerts across the board, which is all the better.


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