Sure Your Cellular Coverage is Good
It's preferable to be on your carrier's own network without roaming and
check every room of your house for coverage, including the basement.
Don't just assume your wireless phone works well at
home, ask your friends if they can hear you well on all calls. If not,
you should find a
carrier that works better with Cellular
Have a second cellular phone in the house. A cheap backup is a prepaid
phone. Some of us have a "glove box" phone in the car. Make
sure you have an extra battery and charger, both can be notoriously
If you plan to use a cellular phone as your 'broadband' connection.
make sure the network offers high enough bandwidth for your usage.
Make sure your changes make economic sense. Consider increased wireless
costs and the loss of any 'bundled' discounts. Don't be fooled by short-term promotions. Project
your costs out a year or two to make sure the promotional price makes
the regular price you pay later, acceptable.
- Check Your Plan
You may be using your wireless phone more often. Unless your usage is
fairly predictable, you never know when you'll face a situation that
requires you to spend a lot more time on the phone than you expected.
Unlimited Talk & Text plans can be quite reasonable include
no-contract and Prepaid plans.
All your precautions go down the drain if the carrier cuts you off for
nonpayment, and they can do it faster than a wireline company can.
Better, set up automatic payment from a credit card or checking
sure to keep your credit card information current so you don't lose
service should your credit card expire,
or watch your checking account for enough balance to pay the next bill.
Use an alternative fax service like eFax.com.
- Do You Have a Family?
a shared landline or broadband phone, each family member may need their
own cell phone, reducing your savings. Some wireless carriers offer
substantial savings for "family" plans.
Leave Your Home Phone-Less
If you leave the house in the hands of the baby sitter and take your
cell phone(s) with you, make sure the sitter has a reliable and
convenient way to contact you, the fire department or the poison
control center. Check the sitter's cell phone before you leave or show
where your 'backup' phone is.
Your Wireless Phone for 911 Service!
Most cellular carriers have 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.
Also, your chances are better to be connected to the appropriate public
safety agency right away.
Ask your local cellular carrier if they offer a special service for
your home. In some areas beyond landlines, some carriers offer a
special deal for wireless phone customers.
- "Wireless" vs. "Cordless"
"Wireless" phone uses a cellular network (or alternatively a wi-fi
connection) and does not need to be connected to anything in the home
to function. A "Cordless" phone has a portable handset that only works
with a base station which is connected to a phone line and power outlet
somewhere within the home.
Your Service to the Most Basic Level
The phone company is required to provide a basic service at a regulated
price but can charge big fees for all their extra features. Drop to the
lowest tier of service with no extra features and either choose a Long
Distance carrier that does not charge a monthly fee, or drop access to
Long Distance on that phone altogether if your telephone company will
do it without an extra charge. Use your cellular phone for "free" Long
Distance calls and the features that you want, like voice mail. The
cheapest wireline tiers use a "measured" number of calls, or are
"incoming only" which may only available if you ask. You might also
qualify for a subsidized "Lifeline" service.
to Cheaper Features
We only Call Forward to one number, our cell phone, so we use a much
cheaper form of Forwarding, like "Call Forward If No Answer", which is
less than $1 per month. Incoming calls are forwarded to a number
programmed at the phone company if you don't answer. This allows us to
use the features of the cellular phone, including Voice Mail. Also,
callers won't know your cell phone number. Be aware that switching to
just Caller ID by itself could be the same cost as a 'package' that
includes several other features.
a Cheaper Long Distance Service
Some people have had their Long Distance (LD) charges increase
without noticing. Since it costs to block access to LD, we just stopped
using our "1+" LD service and started using a Prepaid Long Distance
card. But it's a pain to enter all those digits, so get a "PIN-less"
prepaid phone card that recognizes your number and makes the call with
no extra digits. Enter their "800" access number in a memory location
in your phone and you can access LD with a minimum of button presses.
Avoid paying any more than .05 a minute for US Long Distance. Some
cards specialize in discounts to certain foreign countries. You could
use different providers, based on the location you're calling, on the
same phone line. These cards can also be used with cellular phones that
don't have free Long Distance.
to a Wireline Re-seller
There are many companies that will supply your wired service with all
the features you want: Unlimited Local and Long Distance Calls, Voice
Mail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding and more, all included in one
price. They still connect to your house through the phone company's
lines, so they can only save you so much. But it may be enough to get
the features you want at a reduced price. You can keep your current
number and you get full 911 service.
Up...or UN Bundle
your phone service to a bundle with your cable TV, or vice versa, but
be careful about 'promotional' prices that can increase after a certain
time. If yours has increased more than expected, considering seperating
charges...or "un" bundle.
Consider your wireline as your "backup" instead of using it as your
main phone. It can be dedicated to the alarm or a fax machine, if you
really need one. You can disable the ringer.