I have a Motorola Moto G, the 4G version, with the original ROM upgraded to the latest version (4.4.4 official from Motorola).

The first thing I did when I got it was the same I have done when I got my previous phone and every time I (re)installed a ROM on it: disable mobile data, so that I don't get charged by my carrier and instead use only my home wireless network.

Despite the above, I just noticed that I am being charged for several accesses to the network. Oddly enough, if I go to the data usage screen on the mobile, it says no data has been consumed since I bought it, which is what I would expect. Yet, my carrier says that in total, since I got the phone 20 days ago, it used a grand total of 1 (one) Megabyte in several very short communications.

When I called customer support, they told me that data traffic can still be consumed if I have the phone on 4G, even with the mobile data setting turned off. WTF?! I may be wrong but I find this pretty much impossible to believe. As far as I know, this is impossible - mobile data off means mobile data off; nothing will be transferred, not even in the background, am I right? Or is it possible for something to slip through somehow?

Even better, he told me this is the information they have from the manufacturers themselves, and that several people have been complaining about the same. First of all, I doubt the manufacturers would say something like that because I don't believe it's true. Second, I suspect that these are cases where people have both wifi and mobile data on, and when the phone goes to sleep, the wifi gets disconnected and the phone naturally starts using the mobile connection.

To top it off, the tech support guy told me that if I turned mobile data on, set the connection type to 3G and then turn mobile data off again, it would no longer behave like that. I was waiting for him to tell me that afterwards I'd have to press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A...

He also mixed the concepts of 2G/3G/4G (cell network type) and "mobile internet", not realizing that the type of cellular network, and accessing the internet over that cellular network are completely different things, so I'm taking what he said with a huge grain of salt.

I've been searching for quite a bit now and the closest reference I find to a similar problem is in a post here but I don't have the GPS on (as stupid as it may sound, I didn't even know how to access the GPS on this phone until I saw that post and wanted to make sure it was off).

Besides a problem on the carrier side, does anyone have any idea about what might be causing this? Is it really possible for data to slip through while using 4G and having the mobile data setting off? If so, how, why, what does the cell network type has to do with it, and how do I stop it?

  • 2
    To be honest, it sounds like tech support simply had no idea what they were talking about, and this is an issue on your carrier's end. Given that, I don't know that there's really anything we could tell you that would be helpful. In my experience, data off == data off, and Android seems to think the same thing since you've noted that the phone does not show any data usage itself. Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 19:57
  • Yeah, that's what I think as well - that he has no clue about the issue. When he asked me "do you have 4G turned off?" I knew I was going to waste my time. I was hoping that someone here could confirm this for me. But in the meantime I'm also trying to contact Motorola's support to see what they say.
    – borfast
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 20:05
  • 6
    To prove him wrong: Go to Settings, and in "mobile networks" check what APNs are defined (if any). Try removing/disabling them all (if that's not possible, alter their configuration to render them "useless"). Once succeeded, wait a few days. Check their reports again. If they charged you for that time, you've got them: with no valid APN, it's impossible your device could have used mobile data.
    – Izzy
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 15:06
  • My data is closed and I use 4G too. Same problem with LG G5 (not rooted) with Turkcell. Sometimes it appears randomly but most of the time it occurs when I move to the other site of the building (Wi-Fi might be still connected or not) or when I change a room.
    – ilhan
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 17:30
  • Tech guy knows exactly what he is saying as that is whats happening. Thing is they shouldn't charge that!
    – 100r
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


This has been happening throughout the world and is caused by a technical feature of 4G LTE. Most people don't even notice it because of the small amount of data that's used off their data plan. This is what happens: every time your phone receives or makes a voice call, it automatically switches from 4G to 3G mode due to the fact that LTE is a data-only technology. When the voice call is ended, the phone switches back to 4G mode. You may have mobile data disabled and restricted and yet this switching back and forth from 4G to 3G uses small amounts of data each time. You can prevent this from happening by setting network mode as WCDMA/GSM. So it seems that tech support guy knew exactly what he was talking about after all.

  • 2
    Never heard of it before. I don't have a data plan, shouldn't it cost me money in such a case?
    – SarpSTA
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 21:21
  • Never heard of that before but even if it is what was happening, the tech support guy didn't know about it. He may have hit close to home but this was definitely not his explanation and the other things he said clearly showed that he wasn't very knowledgeable about the subject.
    – borfast
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 12:04
  • I have VoLTE, and my phone doesn't switch to 3G pretty much ever.
    – alexus
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:06
  • Where did you get this information? Seems like a good explanation based on what I see happening in my cell phone. But still I see no other place talking about this. Is this still true in 2017?
    – Gustavo
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 14:19
  • This is true. I've experienced it in MTS Serbia. They charged me also, but I think this cant be charged as its the part of protocol. Year 2019 stock Pixel 3a.
    – 100r
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 7:29

I think that android is not rooted. If you can, you should root it and install something like APNDroid .

Than it will be possible to block data usage completely.

At least I know one person with the same problem - data is off, but money goes to zero. (no data plan)

  • It's not, and yes, I intend to root it. I'm just holding off until I can upgrade to 5.0 or 5.1, so I don't have to do it twice.
    – borfast
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 17:08
  • @borfast I am interested in news about this experience. This means android's phone is not your, it belongs to Google.
    – XuMuK
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 21:06
  • @borfast have you upgraded your android yet?
    – XuMuK
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 8:54
  • I have but haven't rooted it yet, not enough time lately :\
    – borfast
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 12:46

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