Photo: Pojcheewin Yaprasert / EyeEm
A family in San Jose felt optimistic when returning to California from an annual reunion with relatives in Vietnam until they got a shocking $ 13,470 Phone Bill from T-Mobile.
Vivian Chung had thought that her family was covered by high fees while abroad, but apparently about half an hour's phone use in the air caused a huge strain.
Her son, Nicholas Ho, told KGO that he had used his iPhone to play a game during a flight. But here's the matter: he played the game offline while the phone was in flight mode.
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"How can this phone bill, like $ 13,740.19 in half an hour?" Chung said in an interview with KGO. "Oh my God, we almost fainted. I say this costs more than the trip. "
The family reached T-Mobile, but the carrier was not very sympathetic. The company tells that the son must have downloaded a movie. T-Mobile reduced the bill to $ 3,800.
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KGO, as part of the "7 on your side", digged into the trial on behalf of the family and confronted T-Mobile about the costs. The phone operator just said that Vietnam did not participate at that time in the free roaming T-Mobile plan that the Chung family thought they had. After further investigations, it became apparent that the gaming app played by Ho used data in the background for advertising and software purposes, even though the phone was in flight mode.
T-Mobile has canceled the cost.  It is not a problem limited to T-Mobile customers or even US smartphone users. Consumers with Verizon and other operators have reported spikes in data surpluses that come from similar apps that are updated in the background without their knowledge.
It's a problem that can easily be avoided, at least while they are still in the United States. Follow these steps for iPhone or Android to limit the use of background data.
Alyssa Pereira is a SFGATE personnel writer. Send her to firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @alyspereira .