The Cellular Back Door
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Cheaper Wireless  Save on Your Wireless Service

Cellular doesn't need to be expensive, but costs can get out of control if you're not paying attention. The wireless companies take advantage of this, but with some simple steps, you can achieve significant savings, often more than half off, and yes, it's possible  to get FREE wireless! Check these cost-saving strategies to see what works for you:

Your Employer, School or Organization Might Get You a Discount:
If you work for a large company, government agency or university, you probably qualify for a discount, as much as 25%. This may include phones for yourself and all your family. Check our Employee Discount Page or ask your personnel department (instead of the boss), sometimes the carrier will help you look. It may require a change of wireless companies.

Military and First Responders:
Active Military, Veterans, First Responders and their families are eligible for serious discounts.  Search for those discounts or ask.

FREE Wireless Plans!
If you've lost your job or got bumped off someone else's plan, consider one of these methods to get FREE wireless.

Join the "Family":
Carriers now offer competitive combinations of Calls, Texts, Data and Features that are split among all members of a "family". The big benefit is how loosely they define a family. You can join with a friend or colleague to share a plan, just make sure you agree how billing and overages will be handled. Many carriers will bill each "member" separately.

Switch to Prepaid:
You may be able to use your current phone or carrier and start paying a lower fixed rate, or by the minute instead of by the month. There are choices among the major carriers as well as substantial deals among prepaid-only companies like TracFone that offer nationwide coverage. Some prepaid services have prices that start at almost FREE, a few cents per month, or just a few dollars a month...believe it or not! See the Guide to Switching to Prepaid.

Have You Reached a Certain Age?
Most carriers offer a special discount or special plans for customers at 65 years of age. Some of these discounts are available to the 55+ crowd.  These deals can either be for "Unlimited" plans or plans with a smaller amount of minutes or data.  Careful, you could save even more with other methods of saving money such as family plans or switching to prepaid.  You might have slipped into this age group without thinking about it, but be prepared to prove your age.  Yes, you'll get "carded".

Switch to a Data-Only Service:
Most carriers will sell you a package that only includes wireless Data access.  When you need to make a call or text you will do it through an app that completes calls through VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) either through a data connection or "Wi-Fi Calling." This is available from several carriers, many prepaids and Google Fi.

Government Support and Subsidies:
Most wireless carriers offer a government-subsidized "Lifeline" or "Link-Up" service at a significantly reduced cost. Lifeline support lowers the cost of basic, monthly local telephone service and can be Free or just a few dollars per month. An eligible customer may receive the Lifeline discount on either a wireline or wireless connection but the discount is available for only one account per household. Qualifying programs are either determined by each state's Public Utility Commission or the federal Lifeline/Link-Up program. Some states and U.S. territories do not provide state-funded discounts, but in most cases, an individual is eligible if he or she participates in any one of several public-assistance programs. Get more on our FREE Wireless Page.

Switch Plans - Pay for What You Use:
You might be on the wrong plan. You can save by switching to a cheaper plan that more closely matches your usage, one that includes more features you now pay extra for, or one that includes more Data which keeps you from paying overages. Some carriers will help you evaluate your usage over the past year and tell you which plans would be best. This is a call you can make on the way to work. If someone in your family uses more Text or Data than Voice, there are plans with Data-only, or Unlimited Data with some extra Voice minutes or Unlimited minutes to wireless numbers.  There may be other options you can choose if you just ask.

Switch to a "Wi-Fi First" Service:
There are several carriers, including cable companies, that try to complete your calls over Wi-Fi, failing that, will then complete your calls on a cellular channel.  Some will connect to Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.

Look for Bundles:
Some communications companies offer "bundle" discounts for their cellular products when you subscribe to their other services.  In addition, some communications companies, not affiliated directly with a wireless carrier, offer a bundle discount with an unaffiliated wireless service tied together with one bill and a fixed rate.  These include wireline phone companies, cable operators and Internet service providers.

Cancel Unused Features:
The most common unused product is handset insurance. Unless you have really bad luck, insurance won't pay off when phone replacement still may cost you up to a deductible. You also may have an old plan that charges extra for features that are now included in newer plans.

Switch to a Carrier That Doesn't Add Taxes or Fees:
Several carriers now absorb all taxes and fees and offer your monthly charge as a single flat fee.  Even some Prepaid carriers charge taxes and "government-imposed" fees.  Look for a new carrier that doesn't charge anything above the fixed cost.  You may need to press your new carrier to reveal all of the charges that will be added to your bill.

Watch for Special "Deals":
You might be able to catch really good price on a new phone model.  Some carriers will subtract a certain amount from your bill if you sign up for "Auto-Pay".  Also, watch your online account page for extra deals that may only require you agreeing to the new (lower) charge. This may include promotions that are being offered to new customers. Watch out, making changes to your account, like changing your credit card, may cancel these deals.

Don't Overpay for International Calls:
Some carriers, like TracFone, offer Free international calls to a number of countries. Others, provide unlimited international calls for a set fee. You can also use the Wi-Fi features of some phones to use service like Skype, and even using the Skype app on some phones does not incur extra charges. You can also program a prepaid calling card code in to your phone book. There are several inexpensive international long distance services available through your phone's broadband connection such as Google Voice. Also, consider texting instead of calling, many carriers offer FREE international texting, even prepaid.

Don't Overpay for Roaming Outside the US:
There are lots of options for using a wireless phone in foreign countries. In some cases you can save with your current phone and wireless carrier. See International Roaming.