AT&T users: Check your data usage on the fly

As most of you know, I’ve been tracking my monthly data usage on Windows Phone and the comments section of this blog was the impetus for a Microsoft investigation into spurious data usage by Windows Phone-based devices. (My most recent data usage report can be found here; I update this monthly.)

I received an email from Dave R. this morning noting that iPhone users can dial *data#  (*3282#) from the device to receive an automated (and free) text message from AT&T that describes their data usage so far during the current billing cycle and some other information. And it occurred to me that this can’t possibly be device-specific but must instead by carrier-specific. And it is. You can dial this number from your Windows Phone, if you’re on AT&T Wireless, of course, and receive a mini data-usage report via SMS.

My last data usage report showed that I had used 415.32 MB of data for the (roughly) December 2010 time frame. Currently, we’re about 20 days into the current billing cycle and AT&T reports back that my January 2011 usage, so far, is:

Next Bill Cycle: 02/02/2011
Data (MB): 158.2 of Unlimited
Messaging: 23 of 200

Doing a bit of math, if my current rate of data usage remains constant, I should come in at about 250 MB of usage data for the full month. That is considerably lower than the last several months, so I’m curious to see what really happens. (And my math could be suspect too.)

Regardless, a nice little tip for any AT&T user.

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8 Responses to AT&T users: Check your data usage on the fly

  1. blkballoon925 says:

    AT&T calls these *Services, they are simply GSM USSD codes.
    Dial *MIN# (*646#) for minute usage.
    *BAL# (*225#) for current billing balance.
    As this post explains, *DATA# (*3282#) for data and messaging use.
    *PAY to make a payment over the phone.

  2. If you are an AT&T user, you can also grab their “myWireless” app from their section of the Marketplace. I use it to monitor my & my wife’s data & minute usage. It’s the only worthwhile app they’ve produced.

  3. moodsman says:

    I have been using the data usage short SMS since I got my Samsung Focus WP7 phone on ATT.
    It works very well, but it does have an accounting delay of a day or so.

    I created a phone book entry and just request the data usage once every few days. You do not get charged for an SMS message for receiving the info.

    There are several things that you can tweak if you want to minimize data usage:

    a) The phone seems to use the 3G cellular connection even if you have Wireless connected and active. When I will be at home or office for extended periods, I turn off the 3G signal so it doesn’t use it accidentally. ( Settings -> Cellular -> Data connection – > Off ) You still receive phonecalls and SMS, but your email will not get updated unless you are connected to a Wireless network. I just turn 3G back on as necessary (almost never).

    b) Disable Feedback as mentioned in this blog (Settings -> Feedback -> Send Feedback -> Off )

    c) Disable checking for updates via cellular network (Settings -> Phone Update -> uncheck “Use my cellular data connection to check for updates”)

  4. Jon Abad says:

    If you are in charge of a family plan, the AT&T myWireless app for WP7 does a nice job of showing you the minutes, messages and data that have been used by anyone in your plan.
    Alas, they don’t show you any historical or trend data that you get from the website, but its a nice thing to have.

    I haven’t pinned the app before, so i don’t know if data usage shows up as a live tile. Would definitely be nice as a full WP7 citizen.

  5. Rob Keiser says:

    The AT&T myWireless app also shows the data usage. For some reason they don’t tell you but if you tap on the information for a line or group in the summary page it will take you to the details page for the number (or group if you have more than one number). If you have more than one number the numbers are listed, tapping on a number will take you to the details page. This is a pivot style app set to the minutes page so sliding over to data shows the data usage for the currnet billing cycle – both the numbers and a bar graph.

  6. eugb says:

    I’ve got an AT&T app from the AT&T App Store that shows data usage, txt usage, call usage. It’s called AT&T myWireless and it’s free.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Yep. This option I’ve described doesn’t use any data, however. And it’s free, regardless of your text messaging plan.

  7. davidbrian81 says:

    I don’t know how you do it. I switched to att for the Windows Phone in November. My first month I used 1.9Gb of data. Last month I used 1.5Gb. No yahoo mail here either. LOL I don’t watch any video on my phone over the internet either.

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