I have an old Telecom HSUPA USB Modem T-Stick Model MF 636 made in China by ZTE Corporation.
I use it as an emergency wifi source for when wifi is not available on holiday or when our home broadband is down.
I have a SIM card with a prepaid amount on it and I buy blocks of 300mb of data when I need to use the T-Stick.
Because our house internet was down recently, I purchased a block of 300mb of data from Spark for $10 which can be used for 1 month.
So I plugged in my T-Stick to my laptop (very slow 7.2 Mbps enabled) and I spent about 15 minutes on Trade Me much of which was waiting for pages to load.
After this time, I checked my Spark account and found to my surprise that, not only had the full amount of 300mb of data been used, but also a further 170mb had been charged against my account at 30 cents per mb reducing its balance by $50. So it cost me $60 to browse TradeMe for 15 minutes and absolutely no video was downloaded during that time! Good one Spark, $4 per minute to use their internet!
So I phoned Spark and a lady in Manilla said that my computer may have been downloading updates in the background and because I had used this amount of data, it would be unfair to other users if Spark was to refund any of the $60 I had spent for the 15 minutes of browsing. I tried phoning again later and, after much discussion, another lady in Manilla said that as a one-off goodwill gesture Spark would refund me the $50 excess usage, but they couldn’t credit me with any of the $10 paid to get the 300mb because I had obviously used 470mb altogether. I said that my web browsing on TradeMe would probably have used no more than 20mb of data but I was given the impression that I was very lucky to get the $50 excess charges refunded!
I was told by Spark that I should make sure that Windows 10 updates are turned off when using the T-Stick. However, it doesn’t look like any major Windows updates were downloaded during the 15 minutes I was on internet and I can’t think what else would download approx. 450mb of data without my being aware of it. In any event, I couldn’t see how you can stop Windows 10 from doing automatic updates (can anyone tell me please how to do this)?
Now, mobile phones when on mobile data can be set to not download program updates, but Spark said this was impossible for the T-Stick to do. So, I have concluded that the T-Stick is completely worthless as the computer can download all sorts of things in the background and run out your expensive mobile data in no time!
If anyone else uses a T-Stick for Spark mobile data I would be interested to know please whether you have experienced a similar problem and how you avoid your computer downloading a lot of unwanted data when you are browsing!