Can my cell phone network provider "tell" what cell phone I am using?

  • rnch

    Posts: 11525

    Feb 06, 2012 3:54 PM GMT
    About 6 months ago my bf gave me his 2 year old i-phone when he upgraded to the newest i-phone model.

    I went online and registered the new phone with my cell phone provider, AT&T.

    They promply started charging me $25.00 more a month for an extra "data package. Since 99% of my cell phone usage is texting only, the "data package" was not needed (i already had unlimited texting).

    6 weeks ago I changed back to my old phone, a samsung propel at the AT&T office. they swapped out the SIMS card and took the extra data package off my monthly invoice.

    Gotta admit, I miss the superior pic taking ability of the i-phone.

    IF...IF I swap out the SIMS card myself, use the phone only for texting, pics and a random phone call only and do not notify AT&T of my cell phone change; can they tell what cell phone I am using (and charge me the extra 25 bucks)?


    icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2012 5:25 PM GMT
    Yes.
  • MCIC

    Posts: 211

    Feb 06, 2012 5:27 PM GMT
    Yup, they can.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11525

    Feb 06, 2012 5:56 PM GMT
    How do they know/How can they tell?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:00 PM GMT
    Your phone sends the info to their network when registering
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:00 PM GMT
    rnch saidHow do they know/How can they tell?


    Your SIMS card is a microchip. It has your identification on it; hence you too have access to your friends numbers you saved on it. Your fingerprint is that card. I don't have a SIMS card in my phone, but then again, I don't do it out of being found out by my lame carrier, Cricket.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:02 PM GMT
    I used to work for t-mobile and i can confirm this. when you insert your sim card into a phone, the phone's serial number imprints itself onto every single call you make. and we had this form that we would type in your number and it would populate a list of serial numbers the sim card was in. then all we had to do is look up the serial number
  • helios01

    Posts: 349

    Feb 06, 2012 6:09 PM GMT
    yeah i know t-mobile does.
    But can they do that just start charging you with no prior notice
    to you?
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:14 PM GMT
    rnch saidHow do they know/How can they tell?



    They know everything. They know what you watched on TV last night, what you ate for breakfast this morning, how many times a day you masturbate. And they know that you've asked this question on RJ.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:16 PM GMT
    Iceblink said
    rnch saidHow do they know/How can they tell?



    They know everything. They know what you watched on TV last night, what you ate for breakfast this morning, how many times a day you masturbate. And they know that you've asked this question on RJ.


    And they can use all of this to frame you for a crime you did not commit.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:18 PM GMT
    helios01 saidyeah i know t-mobile does.
    But can they do that just start charging you with no prior notice
    to you?


    most cell phone contracts will actually put in there that the reserve the right to do so if you start using a smart phone, and if you sign the contract you are SOL.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:26 PM GMT
    The SIM card identifies your relationship with a carrier. The phone (mobile device) itself has a separate identifier, called IMEI. It is typically on a sticker on the back of the phone or under the battery.

    The IMEI uniquely identifies your phone, including make and model. The phone sends it along with the SIM identifier whenever it connects or reconnects to the network. If your IMEI belongs to an iPhone, the carrier will know immediately.

    Whether and how they react to it, that's largely a matter of contract terms and customer service. You may want to look at other GSM providers, like T-Mobile, to find out if they accommodate you better, should AT&T be unwilling to help you.
  • aldss

    Posts: 70

    Feb 06, 2012 6:44 PM GMT
    put your SIM card in any phone and use as you please, I was management for a phone store in the uk for over 2 years.

    Yes the network can know what phone is being used but believe me they dont care to much, every phone has an IMEI number, the only reason they would ever care to know for this number really is to be able to block the phone if it was ever reported stolen. Believe me they cant do jack to you, you can use any phone you want, your contract is with the air time provider not the phone manufacturer.

    And yes they would like you to tell them if you had an iphone for the simple fact that iphone have different traffics to any other phone. Ive been using my iphone with a blackberry contract sim for over 2 years. Like i said it really don't matter. Enjoy what ever phone you want, when you. icon_smile.gif

    Oh and you can call, text, use internet on it as long as your air time package contains it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:53 PM GMT
    Yes we can...

    The network registers the IMEI number of the handset every time you make a voice call. we can tell what handset, when it was bought, where and by who and we keep the records for every voice call made on that handset for 12 months.


    No fake insurance claims... My wife lost her iPhone I'll claim on mine
    No using stolen handsets
    No giving or selling you sim card to other people to make calls

    They have a data outside of bundle rate
    Here it's $1.30 per day up to 50mb and €1.30 per mb over that, you'll get hit with something similar
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    Feb 06, 2012 6:59 PM GMT
    rnch saidAbout 6 months ago my bf gave me his 2 year old i-phone when he upgraded to the newest i-phone model.

    I went online and registered the new phone with my cell phone provider, AT&T.

    They promply started charging me $25.00 more a month for an extra "data package. Since 99% of my cell phone usage is texting only, the "data package" was not needed (i already had unlimited texting).

    6 weeks ago I changed back to my old phone, a samsung propel at the AT&T office. they swapped out the SIMS card and took the extra data package off my monthly invoice.

    Gotta admit, I miss the superior pic taking ability of the i-phone.

    IF...IF I swap out the SIMS card myself, use the phone only for texting, pics and a random phone call only and do not notify AT&T of my cell phone change; can they tell what cell phone I am using (and charge me the extra 25 bucks)?


    icon_confused.gif

    I'll send you an inactive iPhone 3GS if you like. I'm just keeping it around as a back-up in case my husband drowns his iPhone 4 in the washing machine, as he's done with phones before. It's not cutting edge, but it's got 32GB, and physically in good shape.
  • helios01

    Posts: 349

    Feb 06, 2012 10:03 PM GMT
    Cody_O said
    helios01 saidyeah i know t-mobile does.
    But can they do that just start charging you with no prior notice
    to you?


    most cell phone contracts will actually put in there that the reserve the right to do so if you start using a smart phone, and if you sign the contract you are SOL.


    wow I did not know that. well i only did it once in the past that i bought a HTC second hand but the network didn't allow me to use the internet so thats why i thought one needed to activate it by going personally to sign something that you are acknowledging it.
  • NerdLifter

    Posts: 1509

    Feb 12, 2012 5:53 PM GMT
    In you cell phone contract, you sign away many privacy rights, including, but not limited to, reporting what type of phone the SIM card is in. There are other privacy rights you wave as well, but I can't remember them off hand.

    You also agree in your contract that if you put your SIM card in a smartphone, you will charged for a data plan. They usually will send you a text warning that they have detected you changed your SIM card into a new phone and that you will see new charges on your upcoming bill.

    Now, as for my personal opinion on all of this: I hate cell phone companies. They know they have a product that everyone needs to have in the modern work-force age, so they keep increasing fees. They find any possible way to milk low level consumers out of as much cash as possible for outrageous rates.

    Ever read the fine print on the AT&T apps that come shipped on some smart phones? IE the ATT Family Locator or the ATT Maps app? It says you accept being charged $X.XX amount per month somewhere around the 3rd page of the terms of service of the app, after you use the app for the first time.

    Don't get me started on texting plans. Do you know how SIMPLE and CHEAP text is to send electronically? One text cannot be even quantified in terms of USD, it's so damn small. But charge you out the #$% for it?

    Data plans, charging $20 for 300 MB? They sure love cash.

    As U.S. consumers, we've become complacent with these cell phone companies.
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    Feb 12, 2012 6:12 PM GMT
    Studinprogress said
    As U.S. consumers, we've become complacent with these cell phone companies.


    I think we still have the cheapest cell plans available in the world.

    10 years ago, SMS texting was hot in Europe because it was wildly cheaper than voice for them.

    I just pay my bill and move on.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2012 7:48 PM GMT
    1500 minutes & 1500 messages, plus 30 MB web access. $30 per mo.


    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/paylo-plans.jsp
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    Feb 12, 2012 7:53 PM GMT
    StudlyScrewRite said 1500 minutes & 1500 messages, plus 30 MB web access. $30 per mo.


    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/paylo-plans.jsp
    Metro PCS. Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited. 50.00 per month no contract.

    Love it!
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    Feb 12, 2012 8:08 PM GMT
    Studinprogress saidData plans, charging $20 for 300 MB? They sure love cash.
    One problem providers have learned that consumers are not tech savvy and don't care if they affect other people they share a cell tower with.

    Coworker: "Oh yeah, I downloaded a DVD while camping with my AT&T phone"icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

    Data plans are structured to control demand, which ends up making a larger percentage of their customers happy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2012 9:22 PM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/paylo-plans.jsp
    Metro PCS. Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited. 50.00 per month no contract.

    Love it!

    Another good one!
    Clarification: I wasn't being supportive of Virgin Mobile alone, I was simply pointing out an alternative to AT&T/Sprint/Verizon contracts.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2012 9:27 PM GMT
    StudlyScrewRite said
    TropicalMark said
    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/paylo-plans.jsp
    Metro PCS. Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited. 50.00 per month no contract.

    Love it!

    Another good one!
    Clarification: I wasn't being supportive of Virgin Mobile alone, I was simply pointing out an alternative to AT&T/Sprint/Verizon contracts.
    Yep! The "big boys" I dumped two years ago........ they thought they had dumb little me just hoping for a morsel dropping!

    Told verizon to cram it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2012 9:31 PM GMT
    RobertF64 said
    Studinprogress saidData plans, charging $20 for 300 MB? They sure love cash.
    One problem providers have learned that consumers are not tech savvy and don't care if they affect other people they share a cell tower with.

    Coworker: "Oh yeah, I downloaded a DVD while camping with my AT&T phone"icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

    Data plans are structured to control demand, which ends up making a larger percentage of their customers happy.


    Malarky. There is bandwidth to burn, and it's cheap, cheap, cheap. There is a ton of dark fiber. It's just a way for the providers to rake in millions in additional revenue from a captive customer. True, there is limited bandwidth in some places, but, that doesn't mean they can't throw a bigger pipe at it. You should be able to suck data as much as you want. It's cheap, cheap, cheap.

    Cell data plans are structured to monetize bandwidth and maximize return to the stockholders. (I grandfathered my unlimited data, but, I rarely use over 2G anyway.)

    I have a 35M over 35M home internet connection....unlimited.

    Folks like Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, and (to some degree) Sprint, just ride on either the CDMA network or the GSM network. It's the same network in many instances (roaming agreements). As LTE evolves, it'll be a big fat network. Most "unlimited" carriers are just reselling service.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2012 9:33 PM GMT
    When a phone registers into a MTSO, it sends up the ESN.

    From there, everything about the phone can be had. Smartphones are regarded as devices requiring a data package to do their functionality (push, pull, browse, email, ip based stuff). With the iphone, I think they require it as part of the Apple ecosystem.

    IOS 5 supports imessage which is not really SMS based. It's data that gets floated into the Apple cloud if the phone you're sending to is marked as being compatible with imessage.

    A cool feature of iMessage is that you can send to 1 address and go to multiple devices. E.g., I get my iMessage on both my iPad2 and iPhone and can respond from either / or in real time, and back and forth.