charged extra for using whatsapp on an unlimited data plan

mataz

    I am charged extra for using WhatsApp but I have an unlimited data plan. How is this possible?

      All replies

      • snn555

        Whatsapp call became wifi calling

         

        Maybe that link explains it a little. 

          • mataz

            Yes I made international calls and have been doing it since WhatsApp was invented. No charges. Until this month. I am a computer engineer and know a thing or two about VoIP. International or not it shouldn’t matter. It is data and I have an unlimited data plan. I’ve had an unlimited data plan for 10 years. The only thing that can explain this is the Internet deregulation legislation. But we have not received any communication from T-Mobil that this was going to happen.

             

            Sent from my iPhone

          • magentatechie

            Oh my goodness! I would certainly be pretty confused too!  How were you using WhatsApp?  Did you make an international call with it?

             

            I ask because I have been doing a ton of research regarding this very situation.  Users from all carriers have reported seeing international call charges on their bill after using a VoIP service such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc for years. I'd love to get more information about your situation.  For example, if it was an international call, were you on WiFi at the time and was your WiFi calling turned on?  Was the phone in airplane mode?  Did you grant WhatsApp permission to use your Phone (not just SMS or Contacts)?

              • mataz

                Yes I made international calls and have been doing it since WhatsApp was invented. No charges. Until this month. I am a computer engineer and know a thing or two about VoIP. International or not it shouldn’t matter. It is data and I have an unlimited data plan. I’ve had an unlimited data plan for 10 years. The only thing that can explain this is the Internet deregulation legislation. But we have not received any communication from T-Mobil that this was going to happen.

                 

                Sent from my iPhone

                  • magentatechie

                    Hey man, I am certainly not a computer engineer, just a concerned party who sees a pain point and wants to know how it can be relieved.  I absolutely didn't mean to offend.

                     

                    If you don't mind my asking, was there a code in the Type column on your bill?

                     

                    And your theory may be correct, but it doesn't explain how this very phenomenon has been happening across several carriers, platforms, and applications for years now.

                     

                    The link that snn555 posted is one that I've been studying, my main curiosity is at exactly what point the calls started registering as something other than straight VoIP, and why/how does it trick the carrier into reading the data transferred as a chargeable WiFi call (if this is indeed the case)?

                     

                    I'm also pretty curious as to be why these applications require permission to access the phone/dialer of the phone and was that always the case?

                     

                    Forgive me, I'm rambling, but I really would appreciate any information you'd be willing to provide.  If nothing else, there can at least be some preventative information provided to customers and support if we can just find the common factor amongst the complaints.

                      • mataz

                        No offense taken. I was just mad about them and maybe that negative energy transferred in my message...

                         

                        Why would a WiFi call be chargeable? The data doesn’t travel on T-Mobile’s infrastructure. Anyway I called them today and they appointed an expert to look into my complaint.

                         

                        Sent from my iPhone

                          • magentatechie

                            According to Wi-Fi Calling , WiFi international calls are billed at your plan's regular international rates. Sprint does the same and calls made over WiFi actually count against plan minutes. I have no idea how that works, but apparently carriers are not able to differentiate between a regular WiFi call and one made through a VoIP application, nor how the calls register as international in the first place.

                              • magentatechie

                                Hey there, mataz, did you ever hear back from T-Mobile?  I am terribly sorry to bother, but if you don't mind, I'd love to get some more information from you about your international call. (Nothing too personal, really!)

                                 

                                My biggest question is- do you have WiFi calling turned on?  (Even if you were on your T-Mobile LTE connection, the setting can still be switched to the "On" postiion)  Next, on your bill- was the call charged as a Call or as Data, and do you remember there being something populated in the Type column?

                                 

                                I would genuinely appreciate any answers you could provide to assist me in my research.

                                • j.a.r.v.i.s

                                  magentatechie, mataz

                                   

                                  This issue is a pretty interesting one - i replied on that original thread.

                                   

                                  There are 2 ways that this would go through:

                                  1. The call ran over the data network via WhatsApp:  For this to occur a data connection to the other user would need to be in place (either via WiFi or via LTE).  The call would be initiated and executed by WhatsApp and their dialing infrastructure.
                                  2. The call was actually a call running over the T-Mobile network:  For this to occur, as stated, WiFi calling would need to be enabled  Even if it wasn't, the call would go over the T-Mobile network (WiFi or LTE).  Both would be considered calls rather than data and charged.

                                   

                                  In case #1, i would not expect any charges as the call would happen on the WhatsApp application and it would be data only.

                                  In case #2, however, this would be billed according to the plan. For Stateside International plan users , it could be free depending on the destination country, however for a normal T-Mobile ONE user, it would be a cost.

                                   

                                  The above assumes that you are located within the US as data should be included. However when roaming internationally, data may or may not be included based on the users plan.

                                   

                                  It wasn't really clear which case we encountered, so hard to tell.  What'sApp should only make data calls, however, if WhatsApp handed off to the phone dialer and made an actual phone call, it could be chargeable.  Also if WhatsApp was roaming internationally, and not covered under the plan, also a cost.

                                • tmo_amanda

                                  Hey, mataz!

                                   

                                  It sounds like this has been a preferred way for you to communicate without being hit with outrageous bills. I'm not exactly sure why the sudden change in billing without being able to view the account (which Community Managers do not have access to). I checked out the internal info we have available with regard to WiFi calling and WhatsApp. Here is what I was able to find: a) this app is indeed considered a data service but shouldn't be using your T-Mobile phone number but works over mobile data and WiFi b) we only bill for data usage while on mobile networks per the data limit/rate where you connect c)to dispute these specific charges, we refer you to the app provider as we don't offer adjustments for WhatsApp calls. I see that on the previously linked thread that a credit was offered and the only thing I can say about that is that the situation/account may have been different.