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While I have a technical background, I only just recently purchased my first smartphone, and I'm stumped regarding an explanation that my carrier is giving me.

I installed an app from them on my phone that tracks the amount of data usage and balance. Last time I checked, the usage was sitting at around 490 MB. I turned off the device completely and left it like that for about 2-3 days, as I did not need to use it during that period.

I turned it on today again, and it shows that 540 MB have been used. I called the carrier, and they explained that this is because of mobile data being turned on in my phone's settings. They claim that the phone will continue using data even if it's turned off, as long as this setting remains on.

Is this a sensible explanation?

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    The information you have provided is not enough to answer if the explanation is sensible or not, but yes it is technically possible. Mobile data connections (and calls + SMS) to carrier are made by modem, which is entirely isolated from Android OS. Turning device off may not necessarily turn off modem completely (though it should not happen): android.stackexchange.com/a/215782/218526 So the data leakage is possible. – Irfan Latif Jan 12 at 20:21
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    Another possibility is that the app was reporting you wrong figures when you turned off the device e.g. if data usage statistics aren't updated in real-time. Are you sure the app fetches stats from carrier? Or it calculates on device? In latter case the answer again depends on what method the app uses to get data usage. – Irfan Latif Jan 12 at 20:22
  • Without knowing the device model, the operator, and the app from them, it's kind of hard to really know what happened. However and generally, Android also has a native network usage stats that show the graph for "usage over time" in Settings - Data Usage (or something similar). So you may need to check if the graph for mobile data really jumped between those 2-3 days. – Andrew T. Jan 13 at 5:52

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