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On my Galaxy s3, 3 different reports on (cellular) data usage are giving me 3 wildly different answers.

My data counter widget reports 1.26GB transferred, up and down total.
Android's internal data usage screen says 1.46GB transferred.
And my carrier (via their app) says 1.332GB transferred.

What would cause these to disagree to this extent?

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Note that Android's internal data usage screen does specifically say: "As measured by your phone. your carrier's data usage accounting may differ". It's also worth bearing in mind that many carriers only show you "chargeable" data, but your phone doesn't know what is and isn't chargeable, eg some carriers don't count access to their own servers and services as chargeable data, and some carriers have deals with content providers to not charge their customers for data access to that content (I know Skype and Facebook have struck deals like this in the past). –  GAThrawn May 1 '13 at 17:51
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2 Answers

  • your data counter widget most likely summed-up the exact amount of data transferred. i.e. for a transfer of 33 kB, and another of 17 kB, it would count 33+17 = 50 kB
  • your carrier more likely sums up blocks of 10 kB. So given the same example, he calculates 40+20 = 60 kB
  • not for real, but it looks like Android's internal takes both and makes an average, so for our example it would come up with 55 kB. Makes absolutely no sense (and I doubt it's true), but rawly matches the numbers given in your question...
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The built-in Android one likely also counts errors and retries with sending data, where it may never actually get to the carrier for it to be counted on their side. Basically it will count every piece of data sent, but the carrier only counts what it receives, so if you are in a low coverage area, your phone may have to send data multiple times. –  bassmadrigal May 1 '13 at 16:47
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All of these things are going to be counting data from some point in time. For your carrier, that will be the start of your billing cycle. For Android's internal data counter, it depends on the Data Usage Cycle setting under Data Usage in the Settings app. For your widget, it again depends on the settings. Getting the reset times in sync is critical for making the numbers match up (and even then, as @Izzy pointed out, the carrier may account for data differently).

You could test this theory by turning off all data, setting Android's internal counter and the widget to reset at the same time, waiting until that time passes, then re-enabling data. The numbers should be better synced then. If they're not, then there's a chance the widget isn't able to track all data sent for some (likely security) reason.

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Both Android's view and the data counter widget are already set to match the billing cycle, which starts on the 6th of the month for me. –  Compro01 May 1 '13 at 18:58
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