Tests prove that Vodacom disappearing airtime is real

Mista_Mobsta

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So if I understand this correctly: The reason that Telkom/MTN airtime isn't affected is due to the option of opting-in/out of OOB rates whereas with Vodacom/CellC that is not an option? Then the airtime is deducted as a setting on Android bypasses the Data On/Off function and still keeps the APN connections open which is causing traffic to show on Vodacom's side? Has anyone managed to test the APN changes @gamer16 ?

Also 10/10 for helping out with this query on MyBB so quickly @vodacom
 

HOrse

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This headline is misleading and untrue - based on the responses that were provided, it seems that the devices are actually using data to connect to the play store - which explains why youprepaid SIM cards are being billed for usage.

Perhaps the other networks zero rate it which is why there is no charge..

If you want to prove that data is “disappearing” perhaps turn off data completely on the devices and test again after a few days - or even remove the SIM cards completely and check again .. if there’s a change then perhaps this article holds some merit.

MyBB usually has quality content , this article just irked me - it should have been scrapped after the responses were received, or perhaps the title reworded to correctly describe the story. “Networks explain the disappearance of airtime on certain devices “
 

ArmatageShanks

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This headline is misleading and untrue - based on the responses that were provided, it seems that the devices are actually using data to connect to the play store - which explains why youprepaid SIM cards are being billed for usage.

Perhaps the other networks zero rate it which is why there is no charge..

If you want to prove that data is “disappearing” perhaps turn off data completely on the devices and test again after a few days - or even remove the SIM cards completely and check again .. if there’s a change then perhaps this article holds some merit.

MyBB usually has quality content , this article just irked me - it should have been scrapped after the responses were received, or perhaps the title reworded to correctly describe the story. “Networks explain the disappearance of airtime on certain devices “

Hmm no

Information availalable at the time makes the headline correct, clickbaity, but correct.
 

Napalm2880

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Which devices are known to exhibit this behaviour. Is it only an Android issue and is it specific to a particular brand?

This negatively affects Vodacom (and other networks) clients. What actions will Vodacom take from here?
 

AnimateX

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What I find interesting according to the tests in this article, is that even with mobile data disabled there is still mobile data usage. That points to a defect in the OS.

Would be nice of Vodacom to zero-rate those domains, but they technically don't have to. The phone is using data on their network and they can rightfully charge for it.
 

MeestaR

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To test this fully, get an rooted Android device, that can run the pcap stuffs, and load wireshark for the local wifi stuff.
On the terminal, check if your RMNet interface is not present by using "ifconfig", if you disable "mobile data".
Install Busybox if ifconfig is not found.

Android has a linux kernel, so if the API only remove the routes to the rmnet interface, then maybe DNS queries can still slip through.
I suspect that the DNS queries is still routing through the mobile data connection, (the kernel is resolving the DNS queries)
 

WAslayer

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To test this fully, get an rooted Android device, that can run the pcap stuffs, and load wireshark for the local wifi stuff.
I have seen in some Android devices, on the terminal, check if your RMNet interface is not present by using "ifconfig".
Install Busybox if ifconfig is not found.

Android has a linux kernel, so if the API only remove the routes to the rmnet interface, then maybe DNS queries can still slip through.
I suspect that the DNS queries is still routing through the mobile data connection, (the kernel is resolving the DNS queries)
DNS queries are definitely getting through.. captured some packets earlier..
 

AnimateX

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Just tested on an older Android 4.4 device and it works as expected. When connected to Wifi, all rmnet devices are taken down. Would be interested to see from which versions of Android don't obey this.
Wlan On.png Wlan Off.png
 

jannievanzyl

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Got confirmation that a developer can select which connection to use. So, if both Wi-Fi and mobile are up, it's not automatic that all data will go across Wi-Fi.
 

AnimateX

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Got confirmation that a developer can select which connection to use. So, if both Wi-Fi and mobile are up, it's not automatic that all data will go across Wi-Fi.

Good to know, and it would make sense from a API perspective to have that available.

Though if one disables mobile data, then the OS is supposed to obey that. I'm wondering if this was a development decision in later versions of android that when you disable mobile data, it only disables the ability to use mobile data on the API side (would explain why the data usage trackers on the phone don't pick up any data) but not disable the actual interface to be able to do connectivity checks. Just thinking..
 

access

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Got confirmation that a developer can select which connection to use. So, if both Wi-Fi and mobile are up, it's not automatic that all data will go across Wi-Fi.

so you can see the device ip address on the vodacom network when the mobile data has been disabled?

edit: also, mac tracking a thing...

and is your network counting frames as data usage
 
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|tera|

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Got confirmation that a developer can select which connection to use. So, if both Wi-Fi and mobile are up, it's not automatic that all data will go across Wi-Fi.
Sounds like a bug.
so you can see the device ip address on the vodacom network when the mobile data has been disabled?
You would be able to see it yes, due to WiFi being enabled, and if you are connected to a WIFI network. That's the point. WiFi should be used only and not mobile data as well.

I've seen this exact issue on an old tannies Samsung S5.
I had to show her to switch mobile data off when at home and WiFi off when she leaves. While switching mobile data on again.
This is like a really old Android phone.
Edit: Lol,, she did use Vodacom, come to think back. This was early this year though, January - February.
 

MeestaR

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Got confirmation that a developer can select which connection to use. So, if both Wi-Fi and mobile are up, it's not automatic that all data will go across Wi-Fi.
I agree. Depends on the Android API interface to the kernel. I wrote an app a while ago, that you could force the app to use a mobile data connection (if enabled) to send data, even if the device is connected to Wi-Fi and has internet access.

But the question is: does Android bring "down" or kill the data connection of the rmnet interface if you disable "Mobile data" from the UI?
Or, just remove the network route?

Will have a look-see in the android sources for this.
I have a rooted LoS device with a extra VC SIM to test on.
Also run a proper pcap.

Another thing: One of of my cousins's mobile data was depleting like crazy... Even if she blocked everything with Glasswire. Glasswire did nothing to reveal the culprit. After a quick wireshark sniffing session on a Windows 10 machine as a hotspot (internet gateway), DNS queries littered the logs (every 2 seconds!), which revealed to be resolving apple's server ip's. Turns out Apple Music was the culprit. Even if you try blocking the offending app, DNS queries still slipped through, resolving Apple DNS names every two seconds, the same thing over and over...
 

access

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Sounds like a bug.

You would be able to see it yes, due to WiFi being enabled, and if you are connected to a WIFI network. That's the point. WiFi should be used only and not mobile data as well.

I've seen this exact issue on an old tannies Samsung S5.
I had to show her to switch mobile data off when at home and WiFi off when she leaves. While switching mobile data on again.
This is like a really old Android phone.

the wifi and the mobile data have 2 different ip addresses and ranges.

and they disabled mobile data in these tests

goto settings about device status while you are there disable/enable the wifi and mobile data. you will see different ip ranges, one for a local network the other for a public ip(mobile network). the public ip disappears if you disable mobile data...

other apps seem to say the same. layer 3 is disconnected.
 

|tera|

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the wifi and the mobile data have 2 different ip addresses and ranges.

and they disabled mobile data in these tests

goto settings about device status while you are there disable/enable the wifi and mobile data. you will see different ip ranges, one for a local network the other for a public ip(mobile network). the public ip disappears if you disable mobile data...

other apps seem to say the same. layer 3 is disconnected.
I'm aware the network operator assigns an ip address to the mobile data connection. Also that WiFi would need it's own, wherever that may be.

My point is that the disappearing data has been happening for a long time.
If it's due to a function of Android, Vodacom need to fix it.
I'm not saying they should fix Android.
Let's lose semantics.
 

jannievanzyl

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But the question is: does Android bring "down" or kill the data connection of the rmnet interface if you disable "Mobile data" from the UI?
Or, just remove the network route?
If you test this, make sure you check the difference in behaviour between 3G and 4G.
 
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