How Long Do Cell Phone Companies Keep Information About Your Location, Usage & Bills?

Graphic courtesy of Wired.
Graphic courtesy of Wired.
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Do you know how long mobile phone service providers keep records about which cell tower you used? Or, text messages? Or, call detail records? Wired took a look at a photo copy of a U.S. Department of Justice summary table titled “Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers” that provides the specifics.

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Some key differences between mobile phone service providers are:

Text Message Detail: While Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon keeps this information for 1 or 2 years. AT&T keeps it for between 5 and 7 years for post-paid customers.

Text Message Content: AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile do not keep this informantion. However, Verizon keeps it for 3 to 5 days.

Call Detail Records: Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon keeps this information for 1 to 2 years. AT&T, on the other hand, retains it for 5 to 7 years.