Can we pay for what we get in 3G data access?

Chunyi Peng*, Guan Hua Tu, Chi-Yu Li, Songwu Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Data-plan subscribers are charged based on the used traffic volume in 3G/4G cellular networks. This usage-based charging system has been operational and received general success. In this work, we conduct experiments to critically assess both this usage-based accounting architecture and application-specific charging policies by operators. Our evaluation compares the network-recorded volume with the delivered traffic at the end device. We have found that, both generally work in common scenarios but may go wrong in the extreme cases: We are charged for what we never get, and we can get what we want for free. In one extreme case, we are charged for at least three hours and 450MB or more data despite receiving no single bit. In another extreme case, we are able to transfer 200MB or any amount we specify for free. The root causes lie in lack of both coordination between the charging system and the end device, and prudent policy enforcement by certain operators. We propose immediate fixes and discuss possible future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobiCom'12 - Proceedings of the 18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking
Pages113-124
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2012
Event18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2012 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 22 Aug 201226 Aug 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM

Conference

Conference18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2012
CountryTurkey
CityIstanbul
Period22/08/1226/08/12

Keywords

  • Accounting
  • Cellular networks
  • Charging
  • Mobile data services

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  • Cite this

    Peng, C., Tu, G. H., Li, C-Y., & Lu, S. (2012). Can we pay for what we get in 3G data access? In MobiCom'12 - Proceedings of the 18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (pp. 113-124). (Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM). https://doi.org/10.1145/2348543.2348560