Something mysterious is sucking down hundreds of megabytes or gigabytes, even, of data on Windows Phone 7 handsets. Microsoft is blaming an unnamed third party for the issue.  (Source: Mobile Top Soft)
Some customers' phones were downloading 50 GB per day, leaving them stuck with $5,000+ bills

Windows Phone seems off to a promising start, posting decent sales and readying updates to add key missing features.  However, the last thing it needs is a high profile issue to be plaguing its up-and-coming lineup.

That's exactly what appears to be happening.  Windows Phone devices are downloading massive amounts of data, leaving some users stuck with thousands of dollars in data overages and puzzled at how they managed to use many gigabytes of data, while just doing the standard routine of web, email, etc.

Well in a surprising twist Microsoft has assigned the blame for the Windows Phone 7 phantom data menace to a phantom third party who apparently makes some interface component of the OS.  

The company writes to the newspaper Seattle Pi, commenting:

  • We have determined that a 3rd party solution commonly accessed from Windows Phones is configured in a manner that may potentially cause larger than expected data downloads.  We are in contact with the 3rd party to assist them in making the necessary fixes, and are also pursuing potential workarounds to address the configuration issue in case those are needed. At this point in our investigation, we believe this is responsible for most of the reported incidents.
  • We are investigating additional potential root causes for the remainder of the reports.
  • A small (low single-digit) percentage of Windows Phone customers have reported being affected.
  • We are continuing to investigate this issue and will update with additional information and guidance as it becomes available.  

  • A
    ccording to the report some users have experienced data usage as high as 50 GB a day -- enough data to produce heart attack inducing overages on T-Mobile or AT&T, Windows Phone 7's initial U.S. carriers (neither of which offer truly unlimited data plans).

    The newspaper says Microsoft would not reveal what third party is involved with the phantom data menace (we suspect they're Sith).

    Updated: Jan. 20, 2011 4:20 p.m.-

    A few updates and clarifications.  First, as some pointed out, the 50 GB figure is extraordinarily high, and would represent a phone that would have to be plugged in most of the day and be running very hot from the high traffic.  For those confused, that figure came from the Seattle Pi, the same place we referenced for Microsoft's statement.

    As to the figure of $10,000+ bills actually per megabyte overage rates on T-Mobile are $0.10/MB, so 50 GB (51,200 MB) would result in an overage of $5,120 USD.  Our estimate was based on outdated overage rates of 25 cents per MB.  We stand corrected.

    Of course it is unlikely that customers will actually have to pay these fees, if it is the fault of a malfunctioning supported service.

    A Microsoft spokesperson shared/confirmed the exact same statement with us, as was printed in the Seattle Pi.

    And for the record we're bullish on the Windows Phone 7 platform, by and large, and are not trying to knock it.  It has perhaps the most innovative interface of any smart phone OS on the market today, though it lacks certain useful features (likely soon to be filled in).  As to this particular story, we are merely trying to chronicle it as it develops.

    "It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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