Data-only sim switches on GPS and drains the battery

Hi Everyone,
I was not able to get any hints for problem-solving over the web, and am hoping for your help.

I have started to use two sims simultaneously: One “mobile” sim for phone calls and texts, and one “data” sim which can only do 2G/3G data, at cheaper rates. The sims are from two different networks/providers.

Now I am using this config for only two days, and I am running into a huge power-consumption of this set-up. This morning, the battery was drained from about 35% to 15% within of about 10 minutes of reading news-websites.
Further, the data sim seems to switch on the GPS device. I switched it off again, disabled GPS on the phone, disabled Google location service… Still, GPS will be enabled again within minutes by some invisible command…

My first suspicion is that this has to do with the new data sim, because without it being enabled, I don’t observe this behaviour.
However, my second suspicion is that it might have to do with some malware: I keep getting weird ads for “battery saver apps” on my phone when browsing with Firefox to a number of (nor suspicious) websites…

Any help and hints on where to start to solve the gps and battery drainage issues would be greatly appreciated.

  • Can you check the behaviour with a WiFi network (if any malware is active it maybe not cares about the type of connection)?
  • Can you check the data consumption over the 2G/3G, if here is a huge amount visible
  • You can maybe try to swap slots of the SIM cards (SIM1<–>SIM2)?
  • No idea for the GPS stuff. If you disabled it with the main swicht, nothing should be possible to enabe it again automatically
  • If you suspict malware: already tried a antivirus/malware scan? Maybe anybody has a recommendationt?
  • Battery drain ONLY occures with 2G/3G-data enabled? For sure it finishes after disabeling data connection?

Cheers, Robert

Hi Rob, thank you for answering. Concerning you points:

At work, I am in a WiFi area, and the battery drains only very little.

I will measure the data amount.

I will swap SIM card slots and see what happens.

I disabled GPS several times, and it got switched on again on its own. I couldn’t believe it myself - any way to see which command caused this? And GPS switch-on only happens if the new “data” SIM is switched on. Doesn’t happen with data use on the other SIM, nor with WiFi.
I suspect there is something going on with the data sim, that it runs some commands to find out where I am?

Battery drain only occurs with 2G/3G on the “data” sim, correct. I will test this more thoroughly tonight, but pretty sure of that behaviour.


Just to be sure: does it also not happen if you use data on the other SIM?

Some apps ask for the right to switch on you GPS (e.g., Google Maps) and can keep the privilege. They usually only do so when accessing data, so not in offline mode or suchalike.

Maybe check for the rights of some apps with a 3rd party app? The right to “turn on GPS” is not listed in the stuff an ‘app may do’ in the system settings - I just checked that for GMaps.

Hi, I have observed the behaviour, and here is what I find:

The GPS behaviour only appears when I use data from the data sim. Not with the other sim, not with WiFi (e.g. if I get a WiFi signal, the GPS gets immediately switched off, and immediately switched on again when I disable WiFi again, so that the phone gets back on 3G data).

What is more, I only get this behaviour in certain areas: So I am here in Laos, the data sim is by “Lao Telecom”. The GPS behaviour described above only happens in the capital city. When travelling out of the capital city, I did not observe this behaviour. There seems to be something switching on GPS when I am in town. I know this sounds all very weird, but this is what I am observing.
I know that Lao Telecom also operates a WiFi network in town. May be they have implemented a mechanism into their SIM to determine whether I am close to one of their WiFi hotspots by looking up my GPS location???

Is there any way to log which app/command/function calls a GPS signal?

Can you tell us your provider? Maybe this is connected:

PS.: continue the discussion here: