A recently discovered problem between Verizon and the iPhone 5 has allowed unsuspecting customers to be billed for cellular data usage while being connected to a local Wi-Fi network. To solve this issue, Apple is instructing Verizon subscribers to install the latest carrier update for their iPhone 5.
Although neither Verizon nor Apple provide an official explanation of the issue, I can't help draw a connection between this unwanted data usage and one of iOS 6's new features: Wi-Fi Plus Cellular. The new feature is intended to supplement spotty Wi-Fi coverage with high-speed cellular connectivity. In many circumstances, it actually makes sense that subscribers would be racking up cellular data use despite being connected to Wi-Fi -- so it doesn't seem like this would be a surprise.
This is entirely conjecture, but Apple's "carrier update" fix may provide some method of flagging Wi-Fi Plus data as "free" bandwidth which doesn't count toward your total data pool. Of course, this indicates that Apple mistakenly failed to correctly implement this feature for Verizon's network though. If true, this sounds like an interesting feature for iOS hackers to investigate -- unlimited data on jailbroken phones, anyone?
To install the update, tap Settings > General > About. An alert should appear which says, "Carrier Settings Updated". Click OK to continue. Turn off your phone by holding the lock button for several seconds. When the power off slider appears, turn the iPhone off. Once off, hold the lock button again until it turns on. Afterward, users are instructed to restart their phone one more time in order to ensure the installation completes successfully.