|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: GET A PHONE NUMBER IN THE AREA
CODE YOU WANT
wireless carrier may not be able to provide a phone number in your
choice of Area Codes. It's important to some people. With "Number
Portability" you can fix that, although it's not free. Contact your
local wireline phone company and order a real phone line (or wireless
from a cellular carrier that does offer service in
your desired Area Code, but watch out for Early
Termination Fees). You can "install" the
wireline in a home or business, some phone companies will assign you a
"virtual" phone number that rings another. You may not have many
choices of numbers. Then, contact your cellular provider to "port" your
number from wireline (or wireless) to your final wireless account. The
final wireless carrier will help you through that. This action will
cancel the old service for you. Don't do it yourself, but check with
the carrier later to make sure it terminated properly. There are more
tips for number
Of, course, you could keep the new wireline active and just Call
Forward that number to your cell phone. This can be done with both
actual and virtual phone numbers. You may need to pay for a certain
amount of service, installation charges, and go through the headache
choosing a long distance carrier, but how bad you you want it?
SECRET #6: "DO
THE MATH" ON YOUR PLAN
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 #7: 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.
SECRET #8: IMPORTANT
NUMBERS TO PROGRAM (or NOT Program) INTO YOUR PHONE
-Add an entry in your phone book, "ICE" (In Case
of Emergency) and a relative's phone number. In case of an accident, it
gives you a better chance of your being identified and relatives
-Add the Local direct number to certain Public Safety agencies, like
*CSP, #77 and the like. A 911 operator needs to determine the nature of
your call, but a direct call to the right agency will expedite your
-Make sure you enter a number for "HOME", even if you never call home.
It's the most often used way for someone who finds a lost cell phone to
return it to the owner.
-If you belong to AAA or other auto club, be sure to save their number
in your phone book. Your auto manufacturer and insurance company may
offer help as well.
-Add your power company and land line repair service to the list. A
phone directory may not be available when the power is off or the cable
-Do NOT add "911" to your speed dial list. This alone accounts for a
huge number of accidental calls to 911 operators. Learn about Wireless
-Do these things now...before you need them!
SECRET #9: USE
THOSE EXPIRING PREPAID MINUTES
not going to refill your prepaid phone, or will be losing other minutes
that are about to expire, use the leftover minutes for something other
than calls or texts.
some good: Make an SMS donation. The most famous is the Red Cross Haiti
Relief Fund for $10 by Texting "HAITI" at 90999, their “2HELP” (24357)
containing the message "GIVE", to donate $5 to their general Disaster
Relief Fund, or search for a list for Text donations, like
something for your phone. Download some ringtones or an app that you
otherwise wouldn't buy. It should stay with the phone for the next time
you or someone else uses it.
-3rd, with a significant balance, you can often apply it to a new
postpaid account with your carrier, which may not require a new
SECRET #10: REGISTER YOUR PHONE FOR
cellular carriers offer a method of associating your wireless number
with a particular address. This is helpful if they get a call from your
wireless number but cannot determine your location. Some people
consider this a privacy issue, but the benefits outweigh those issues,
especially if someone else, like a child, makes a call for you. You may
also register your phone for "Reverse 911" notifications.
these options are locally controlled and may not be available in your
SECRET #11: GET A
BIG DISCOUNT FOR YOUR AGE, YOUR EMPLOYER OR GOVERNMENT
wireless carriers have special discount programs for people who are
included in certain groups or situations. Unique plans are availbale
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 #12: NEED MORE
MINUTES OR DATA? JUST ASK!
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 a
few minutes 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 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 #13: DON'T
CARRY 2 PHONES!
Some of us
now have one wireless phone for Personal use, and another for Work. Use
Call Forwarding from one to the other to keep from carrying both all
day. Even better, use a form of "Conditional" Call Forwarding and if
you don't answer the first phone within a few rings it Forwards to the
second, without needing to be programmed each time you switch phones.
And you could Forward the second phone to your home or office voice
mail, or yet another cell phone's voice mail. Some prepaid phones can
be had for less than $40 a year just to use their voice mail. You
can also program all of these functions with your computer for Free by
using Google Voice.
SECRET #14: 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 number, but most likely, your phone book entries won't
work without adding the proper prefix. Also, be very careful about
using Data outside the US. You could rack up thousands of dollars in
charges. Check your carrier's web site or customer service for
instructions on what to do if you travel off their network or out of
SECRET #15: GET A MORE "BUSINESSLIKE" PHONE NUMBER
FOR YOUR CELLULAR PHONE
When you place an ad in the newspaper, Yellow Pages or your business
card, often customers know that's a cell phone number, making your
business look a little less 'legitimate.' With "Number Portability" you
can fix that, although it's not free.
Contact your local wireline phone company and order a real phone line.
You can "install" it wherever you'd like, some phone companies will
assign you a "virtual" phone number that rings another. You won't have
many choices of a number, but choose one with an "old" exchange people
would recognize, or one that you recognize as
"businesslike". Then, contact your cellular provider to "port" your
number from wireline to wireless. You may need to establish a new
wireless account, but the wireless carrier will help you through that.
This action will cancel the wireline for you. Don't do it yourself, but
check with the wireline later to make sure it terminated properly.
There are more tips for number
portability here. Of, course, you could keep the new wireline
number and just forward the number to your cell phone. This can be done
with both actual and virtual phone numbers. Some carriers offer
"vanity" phone numbers that spell something, at an additional charge.
You may need to pay for a certain amount of wireline service,
installation charges, and go through the headache choosing a long
distance carrier, but in the end, you'll look like you're in business
at an 'established' location.
SECRET #16: INTERNATIONAL
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 #18: 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 the existing
phones and just add a Wireless Phone Phone "box". You
can cut the cord and cut your
monthly charges in half, and save even more considering that you'll be
getting all calling features, including Long Distance, all included.
Options for both a Wireless
Home Phone as well as Wireless Home Internet are
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