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  1. HED
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       #1  
    Having spent 45 minutes this morning with a very helpful tech rep who took the initiative to figure out how VZ's web access billing works for the Treo, I learned some very interesting things:

    Firstly, it is true that you can access the web using the Treo without paying an extra monthly fee for a web access -- that is, you use air time miniutes instead. However, if you do it this way, you will have to be very disciplined to avoid running up an extraordinary level of airtime minutes very quickly: After activating my phone on Fri, I spent some time on the web Sun morning. I then put the Treo aside for the rest of the day. That night I discovered that on a that one day alone I had run up 690 airtime minutes. Fortunately it was Sun and I have unlimited weekend airtime minutes.

    Concerned about the sudden huge accumulation of airtime minutes, I called VZ tech support. After a while he figured out why this was happening: Although the Treo was just sitting on the table all day long, the web page I had accessed in the morning remained open and as a result the airtime minute meter kept ticking. My understanding from the tech rep is that the meter will keep ticking if any web site is open in Blazer -- it is not necessary for the web site to be continuously sending data (like streaming audio). It appears you don't have to have Blazer "open" on the screen for the air time meter to be ticking -- they accumulate anyway.

    To stop the airtime meter after a web session, you have 2 choices:

    (1) you can turn off wireless web (by pressing the button on the top of the Treo) but there is a big problem with this approach -- the phone won't work until you turn wireless web back on again;

    (2) you can "disconnect" from the web page by pressing the MENU button while in Blazer, going to the option pop down menu, and selecting DISCONNECT. (Phone is not affected and continues to work.)

    If you have the discipline to be sure to do one of these at the end of every web session, and you don't use the web a lot, you may not need to subscribe to a data plan and the airtime minutes billing option may work for you. But the price of carelessness is extremely steep: If you fail to followup with one of these procedures after a web session, then in just one day you can rack up 800-900 airtime minutes. It took me about 3 seconds after this was explained to me by the tech rep to figure out that I needed to add the data plan.
    Last edited by HED; 07/26/2004 at 07:08 PM.
  2. #2  
    Thank you for that thorough explanation.

    Over the weekend I started worrying that maybe there was something wrong with my data usage estimates. However, what I believe is happening to me is that my data usage takes much, much longer to update than my voice usage.
  3. #3  
    I noticed something similar on my account - but my support rep wasn't as helpful and she did try to talk me into upgrading to unlimited data option as well. I told her I didn't want to upgrade to that until I got a good idea on how much I would use the data feature during peak hours, but the minutes on my account since I got the phone could not possibly be correct.

    I guess you are right - if you don't click "disconnect" in the browser, the data link is still active, but in "stand by" mode. Should users get billed for "stand by" mode? Is it in the contract agreements any where?

    I started looking though my Treo manual and there is no mention of clicking disconnect in the section about the web browser. Nothing in the index either. The only mention of "stand-by" data mode is on page 37 in the description of the icons. Green arrows - active data connection, grey arrows - data connection in "stand-by" mode - you can still send and recieve calls. Think about that one - you are getting charged data stand-by minutes and you can be getting charged mintues for using the phone as well!

    I have only had my Treo since Thursday and my account is showing 843 peak minutes. That's 500 minutes over my plan! Last month on my old phone, I only used 60 minutes of peak time.

    I say if the connection LED is not lit - then I shouldn't be charged air time. Definitely a bug. I'm going to fight them on this one - no way I'm paying over $200 because a web page was in "stand by" mode while I used other features of the phone or was on a call.

    I talked to customer service, and technical support asking if there is some way the phone is using up minutes even though I am not using it. No one mentioned anything about "stand-by" mode in the browser. I was told, if the led was amber and the icon shows green arrows - then I am using air-time minutes.

    Either this is a bug in their billing system, or a BIG oversite in their instruction manual.

    I think it should be pretty clear about when you are getting charged for minutes and when you can safely assume that you are not. I assumed if I did not have the browser open, and was not on a call or other application connected to the internet, that I was not racking up air time.

    I'm also not going to upgrade to an unlimited data option if I can contain all of my data connections within the limits of my montly minutes and as long as the speed does not bother me too much.
    Last edited by stansell; 07/26/2004 at 11:21 PM.
  4. #4  
    You have to be VERY disciplined about disconnecting from the Data Network (through the Blazer menu, or through Preferences / Network / Disconnect), after EVERY time you use a program that uses the data network (any IM program, any browser, programs like Directory Assistance, etc.).

    You guys are going to end up being very annoyed at your phone, when it's really Verizon's fault! Unless there's a way to set the Treo to disconnect after X number of minutes of "data standby" - I don't know if this feature exists (don't need it w/ Sprint).
    Last edited by ericdfairchild; 07/26/2004 at 08:21 PM. Reason: fix typo
  5. #5  
    I agree that we really shouldn't be getting charged for stand-by time. However, I've already developed the discipline to click disconnect every time I use a data service. Fortunately, SnapperMail (GREAT PROGRAM, BTW) has an option to automatically disconnect after a send/receive. So, for example, if I want my Treo to check my e-mail every half hour, it'll turn itself on at the appointed time, it'll check my e-mail accounts, and then it'll actually DISCONNECT from the NA network. To be honest, if it weren't because I found SnapperMail, I think I would've returned my Treo, because the fact that it came with no native mail application is incredible. However, SnapperMail is much, much better than a Palm-native mail application.

    Ok, I'm done giving SnapperMail this unsolicited, uncompensated advertisement. ;-)
  6. #6  
    What about the program Radio Control ( http://clanhobbs.org/treo/ ). It lets you automatically turn on and off the wireless network. The only problem is you can't set specific days so I guess on the weekends you just shut the program off. I'm giving it a try.
  7. #7  
    ndirish2001 I'm confused about the whole email thing. I've downloaded snappermail and I'm able to receive email. In order to send I have to use verizon's smtp server correct? Is this an additional cost? Is there any other way to send email? Thanks.
  8. #8  
    I just discovered another related bug based on another post.

    If you send a picture mail, the data connection turns green for a while, then turns grey (stand by).

    I don't know if I'm getting charged for minutes after sending a picture mail (supposed to be paying by the message on my plan - not sure if that is only SMS or SMS and MMS) but I might be getting charged minutes for the data standby time after a picture mail goes out.

    That is a definite bug in their billing system if that is happening.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by trumwr
    ndirish2001 I'm confused about the whole email thing. I've downloaded snappermail and I'm able to receive email. In order to send I have to use verizon's smtp server correct? Is this an additional cost? Is there any other way to send email? Thanks.
    No, I use my ISP's SMTP servers.

    There are some ISPs that require different incoming and/or outgoing mail servers when you want to send/receive e-mail while not connected through them.

    For example, my primary personal e-mail account is with AT&T Worldnet. Worldnet gives me two sets of servers: one for when I connect through them, the other from when I connect through any connection whatsoever. Worldnet requires SSL security, which is why I had to get the Premier Bundle version of SnapperMail.

    Have you checked to see if your ISP is listed in the SnapperMail site? I actually got my settings for my AT&T Worldnet account directly through them.

    If your ISP is not listed there, then I'd suggest you contact your ISP for instructions on which servers to use.
  10. #10  
    Finally found something related to this on Verizon's web site. This in the Mobile Web FAQ:


    Am I always connected to the Internet?

    You are connected upon making a selection. After 30 seconds of inactivity, your wireless device "times out" (meaning you will no longer receive information and will no longer be billed for airtime). At that time, you can read the saved (cached) content without being billed for airtime minutes. You can reconnect to the Internet by making another selection (you can tell when the browser is re-initiating because you will see "sending/receiving" displayed on your phone).

    That is similar to what I've seen on my browser - but I guess we are getting charged air time even when the browser "times out". So I say no we don't need to be very disciplined - Verizon's got a bug in their billing system with the Treos.
    Last edited by stansell; 07/27/2004 at 12:19 AM.
  11. #11  
    i had this problem with my old motorola phone when i used it with my sony Clie NX70v to connect to verizon's web service using minutes from my voice plan. if i did not go to "disconnect" on the browser, i would be charged for the standby minutes. this only happed to me once and i learned my lesson. Luckily they refunded my money as is was hundreds of minutes. In fact the only reason the session ended was because my phone battery died! Usually it was no problem because i would unattach the phone from the Clie after checking email/web and the phone would disconnect.

    This would be a nightmare with a treo and i question if it is a billing problem. If it is, it has been going on for quite some time. I just bought a sprint Treo, and the major reason for swithing was the data service differences. The coverage was about the same in my area and where i travel. i hope this is helpful.
    Last edited by treoperk; 07/27/2004 at 08:10 AM. Reason: typo
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by treoperk
    This would be a nightmare with a treo and i question if it is a billing problem. If it is, it has been going on for quite some time. I just bought a sprint Treo, and the major reason for swithing was the data service differences. The coverage was about the same in my area and where i travel. i hope this is helpful.
    I don't know if Sprint suffers from the same problem. Do they have a per-minute data plan? If not, then it wouldn't show up.

    As for Verizon, the phones were only available to the general public as of last week. I ordered on Monday July 19th and got my phone Thursday. The problem is fairly new.

    I say based on their FAQ - it is a billing problem. Per the FAQ for the service I have - I am not getting charged air time when in stand-by mode after the web page has loaded and the phone disconnects. There are no instructions to disconnect when done using the browser in the user manual.

    It also appears that the picture mail feature included with the phone leaves the data connection in stand-by mode. There is no disconnect function in the picture phone software.

    That is not an undocumented "feature" it is a definite bug that will suprise a lot of people when they find they have $1000 phone bills when they only used the web browser a few minutes.

    Remember - the term is "air time" - the time the radio in your phone is communicating with their tower. I hope Verizon gets this worked out - I really like the phone and my Verizon service for the past two years has been great. This was the first time I ever had a reason to call customer service
  13. #13  
    I have used Treo600 Connection Manager on my phone. This is a custom application for the Treo 600 which allows the control of automatic disconnects from the network. When enabled, the Treo 600 Connection Manager will automatically disconnect from the network after a specified amount of idle (Dormant) time. You can even pick specific applications in which this disconnect does not occur!

    It may not work since it is only Supported on Sprint PCS Treo 600s
  14. #14  
    All,
    I am a brand new Treo owner (and new to treocentral.com) and so far am pleased with the service (it's only been 3 days). Please see the link below for some info that might further explain Verizon's billing scheme. Please take not of the phrase "You MUST press or click "END" or "DISCONNECT" button to ensure that session disconnects and charges cease."

    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/m...ortantInfo.jsp

    -Red Rider
  15. #15  
    Parityone, where does one get this application "connection manager"? Thanks

    Red Rider, this has been my experience over the past 2 years using Verizon service coupled with my Clie. That is quite a paragraph. I'll bet many will be referred to it when they call customer service complaining of this problem
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by RedRider
    All,
    Please take not of the phrase "You MUST press or click "END" or "DISCONNECT" button to ensure that session disconnects and charges cease."

    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/m...ortantInfo.jsp

    -Red Rider
    That page is for National Access. I have Mobile Web and per the Mobil Web FAQ:

    After 30 seconds of inactivity, your wireless device "times out" (meaning you will no longer receive information and will no longer be billed for airtime).

    This is the same plan I had with my previous phone - that is the way it worked, that is what I expected from this one.

    The Mobil Web terms and conditions page on the web site is pretty much useless - nothing about air-time and such - I'm not sure if they are using the right text on the web page:
    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/m...eweb/terms.jsp

    Even if I do have to disconnect after using the web to prevent from racking up hours of connect charges - my gripe is there was nothing given to me warning me to select disconnect in the option menu of my browser. Nothing in the instructions that came with the phone say to do that. The Mobil Web FAQ says that when the browser times out and disconnects I am not being charged for minutes. Even the NationalAcess information you provided says the connection will terminate after 5 minutes of inactivity - but I have hours and hours of prime minutes now on my bill. Over $200 worth of extra charges in the span of one day.

    Nah - something is not right and there is no way I'll accept "I should have known" as an excuse for charging me that many minutes.

    If I didn't do a Google search - I still wouldn't know why my phone was racking up minutes - even after talking to customer service and technical support about the problem.

    They were only interested in upgrading me to an unlimited data plan, not resolving the underlying issue that is causing my minutes to be out of line.

    The customer service rep told me to wait until I get my bill. If I didn't look up my minutes and continued to let my phone sit in "stand-by" data mode - I would have faced a bill over $2100 That's not acceptible - especially due to this little bit in the customer agreement:

    You must still pay any disputed charges until the dispute is resolved.

    So - I'd like this settled before those charges show up on my bill and so I can use my phone during peak hours without concern that I am adding to the already over $200 bill I might get.
  17. #17  
    Stansell,
    I doubt that everyone participating in (and reading) this thread are solely Mobile Web users. I am under the National Access Plan (as I suspect others are too) and posted that link for those of us with National Access. It is my understanding that anyone who has their data minutes drawn out of their normal pool of voice minutes is governed by the National Access TOS (as per several Verizon CSRs I’ve talked to). I thought it might be helpful if the National Access connect/billing FAQ was posted in addition to the Mobile Web FAQ so we could all have a better understanding of how we’re billed.

    Before I acquired my Treo 600, I had a LG 4400 which I used as a wireless modem when I traveled (to check e-mail and surf the web with my laptop), so I have had some billing experience with Verizon and their data plans. They’ve always billed me as outlined in the National Access TOS (as they should have).
    Last edited by RedRider; 07/28/2004 at 08:05 AM.
  18. #18  
    You can get it from Palmgear. The program is called "Treo600 Connection Manager"
  19. #19  
    I just got off the phone with Verizon, and asked about my minutes. Since last week 4 days I racked up 1200 minutes peak! I laughed and said look at my minute usage for the past 4 years, do you think it's strange that all of a sudden I used 1200 minutes in 4 days? Do you think it may be the phone? Of course she said, we have not heard of any usage problems with the Treo. RIGHT! Is that there official stance?

    I am lucky because my phone died on Sunday so that is my reason for getting the minutes removed. I also believe that unless the yellow light is on, we should NOT be billed.
  20. #20  
    just got off the phone with Verizon, and asked about my minutes. Since last week 4 days I racked up 1200 minutes peak! I laughed and said look at my minute usage for the past 4 years, do you think it's strange that all of a sudden I used 1200 minutes in 4 days? Do you think it may be the phone? Of course she said, we have not heard of any usage problems with the Treo. RIGHT! Is that there official stance?
    This is the perfect business model for increasing revenue!

    Talk about trying to push people into the unlimited data option. I do hope this will not be their final stance on this issue.
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