|SECRET #1: FORGOT
YOUR PHONE? WHAT TO DO
At your next opportunity, call your wireless carrier and ask them to
forward your calls to a number that will be convenient to you. This is
the time to take advantage of your glove box phone or the phone of a
person you will be spending some time with. Otherwise, use what phone
you can find to check your voice mail. Then, when you are reunited with
your own phone, you can cancel Call Forwarding yourself. Store the code
in your phone book so you won't need to look it up.
SECRET #2: FORGOT
YOUR BATTERY CHARGER WHILE TRAVELING? ASK YOUR HOTEL!
Cell phone chargers are the Number 1 item left behind in hotel rooms.
Most hotels are willing to lend or give you cords from their lost and
SECRET #3: "SECRET"
Almost every carrier has plans they don't
advertise. Most of them are cheaper plans that include fewer features
than their regular plans. In most cases, the only way to find out about
these plans is to press a Customer Service agent for more information.
Some plans only 'appear' when you threaten to leave the carrier,
although these plans are not supposed to be considered "retention"
plans, but that's what they are. Some plans contain discounts for
customers who belong to certain groups and aren't really "plans", and
these discounts need to be applied to your account. We listed some of
these special discounts, below.
If you don't want to threaten to cancel, ask if there are offers "to
help keep me as a customer."
SECRET #4: TEXT
MESSAGING WORKS WHEN OTHER METHODS DON'T
When you have a communications problem, like a
hurricane, "All Circuits Busy", not enough 'bars' and the like,
consider sending a Text Message. It works when trying to contact any
other wireless subscriber and all you need is their phone number. This
is your backup for when there is a power outage at the cell site,
you're in a bad coverage area, or you're at a convention and everybody
else is using their phone. This is the way to communicate when severe
weather cuts you off. Your phone will 'hold' the message until it can
receive a clear signal, then sends it off. Some phones hold the message
longer than others, so check periodically to see if the message needs
to be re-sent. It is also an inexpensive way to communicate
internationally as Text is billed at rates much lower than voice calls.
Additionally, you should become aware of how other callers can send a
Text Message to you, in case the emergency is at
SECRET #5: "DO
THE MATH" ON YOUR PLAN
SECRET #7: GET A
BIG DISCOUNT FOR YOUR AGE, YOUR EMPLOYER OR GOVERNMENT
You don't always save on a "Family Plan".
Consider separate plans for each user to get more minutes for each.
Also, you might be paying more for "unlimited" features, like Data and
Text, when an "a la carte" or pay-per-use plan could save you
substantial fees. Sit down with 6 months of your bills (1 year is
better) and look at your charges compared to your usage. Most carriers
offer an analysis of your usage on their "my account" pages. Also,
there may be better "bundles" and features available now than when you
first signed up. Also, consider switching to Prepaid.
Also, check to see how to get Cheaper
SECRET #6: HOW TO
HEAR YOUR PHONE CONVERSATION IN A NOISY ROOM
Don't stick your finger in the opposite ear.
Instead, put your finger over the mouthpiece, or use the phone's "Mute"
button. The noise is coming in through the phone, not into your other
ear. The mouthpiece is normally a very small hole near the bottom of
the phone and is easy to cover. The "Mute" button on some phones is not
easy to press "on" and "off" during a conversation, so your finger may
be the easier method.
wireless carriers have special discount programs for people who are
included in certain groups or situations. Unique plans are available
those 65 years and older, kids phones with calling limits, employees of certain
companies, and Free
"Lifeline" programs for people on government-subsidized
programs. Some of
these plans are as low as $1 or even FREE! Also ask
about deals for students and faculty of many schools as well as a
number of non-profit and co-operative
Service agents don't know about these, or are instructed not to alert
you about them, and you need to ask them to look. These offers are also
available among smaller
SECRET #8: NEED MORE
MINUTES OR DATA? JUST ASK!
this is now less of a problem, one of the
most common self-inflicted wounds is running out of minutes or Data
run out of month. In many cases the carriers will be able to spot you
some extra to help you get through the tough times. As with any call
to customer Service, you might need to press the issue. Don't use
additional "force", just use multiple pleas. You might use the terms,
"what can I do?" instead of "what can you do?" The
agent needs to look at your records to see if you've been naughty or
nice. Don't expect to be given anything if you're always asking. Quite
often the request for extra minutes or data for this month
goes down a little easier when you ask for a more expensive plan for
next month. Some carriers will change your plan retroactively,
and some will now do it without a contract extension. Often you can
change back if your circumstances change again. Some carriers offer
SECRET #9: LEARN
HOW TO USE YOUR PHONE WHEN "ROAMING"
You're on vacation and want to check your voice mail, but it won't
work. If you are roaming outside your network's service area you may
need to call your own number, instead. Codes like "*VM" may not work
while roaming. If you're out of the country, a certain dialing sequence
is required. GSM phones may decipher the sequence for you by adding a
"+" before the voice mail
access number, but most likely, your phone book entries won't
work without adding the proper prefix. Check your carrier's
web site or customer service for
instructions on what to do if you travel off their network or out of
WIRELESS LONG DISTANCE BARGAINS
Some carriers charge as much as .65 per minute for Long Distance
charges to foreign countries, but you can make those calls for a few
pennies per minute, or FREE! Here are some great alternatives:
GET LOCKED INTO A SINGLE CARRIER BECAUSE THEY "OWN" YOUR PHONE NUMBER
OR FAVORITE FEATURES
customers get a toll-free number to call and then enter their
international number and complete the call for FREE! You only pay the
TracFone per-minute air charges.
carriers offer flat rate international calls. For example, MetroPCS
offers an add-on for free calls to several countries. Cricket
Wireless offers plans that include a fixed number
of calls to Mexico and other international locations. Check the country
list before signing up.
calling card with lower rates. You can add the access number
to your wireless phone book, or enter the whole sequence with your
frequently-called numbers. Calls, for example, to Mexico, can be as low
as a few cents per minute, with no monthly fees.
a cheap, international long distance app through your Smart phone's
to Google Voice
and get flexible Number Portability and a full slate of phone features
all fully programmable. You can choose what number rings what
phone at what time, cheap international wireless calls, and voice mail
that responds to each caller in the way you choose. You really don't need a phone
number. You do need a data connection but can use various
apps to make
and receive phone calls and texts. These include Google
Hangouts, Google Voice
and there are also "WiFi-only" phone services
assign you a phone number, but you may not need to use the
cellular networks to complete calls. Get more
on our Google Voice page.
SECRET #12: 2nd
PHONE LINE INTO YOUR HOME? MAKE IT WIRELESS!
If you have
a 2nd phone line coming into your home for a "business" line, the
kids, or for a specific person in your house, you can use your existing
phones and just add a Wireless Home Phone "box". You
can cut the cord and cut your
monthly charges more than in half, and save even more considering that
getting all calling features, including Long Distance, all included.
There are options for both a Wireless
Home Phone as well as Wireless Home Internet are
MANAGING YOUR WIRELESS PHONE NUMBER
We now have a full page of
methods to manage your wireless phone number: how to move it,
keep it, change it, or hide it.
SECRET #14: SMALL
CARRIERS: DO THEY HAVE THEIR OWN NETWORK?
is a growing number of small wireless carriers that have sold
turned off their own cellular network and now sell wireless service
under their own name but as an agent of one of the larger carriers.
They may not want you to know that you could find the same or
better deal at the major carrier's store. It may not be a bad
thing, many of these cellular 're-sellers' can give you better customer
service or bundle discounts with their other services. Just
remember to ask if they have their own network or
maybe how many cell sites they operate.
SECRET #15: DON'T WASTE LEFTOVER PREPAID MINUTES
can donate the dollar value of those minutes to organizations like the
Red Cross and Make a Wish by texting to their "donate" Text
number. Here is a list of text donation numbers. Or, charity begins at home...call your mom.