Monday 5 February 2007

How to save on telephone costs

I remember back in the early days of the "mobile" telephone when the handset was the size of a brick and the battery pack was a separate, even larger brick that took all night to charge up and then only lasted a couple of hours on standby. In those days I was a volunteer for the State Emergency Service and the "duty officer" had the dubious honour of lugging this "mobile" phone around with him or her all weekend.

Times have sure changed since then, with current mobile phone models that fit in your pocket lasting a week between charges, and let you browse the web etc. The other thing that has changed a lot is the cost of using a mobile phone. It's common to get a current model phone for "free" when you sign up for a mobile phone contract - DW and I got two phones (of the same model so that we can exchange batteries, chargers etc) for free under a 12 month contract at $14 a month per phone, with $14 worth of included calls. The included call balance is shared between the two phones, so we can run up a combined phone bill of $28 in calls each month without paying anything above the basic plan rate. As we don't make that many calls, we haven't ever exceeded our included call limit in a month.

In comparison, our landline costs us $32 a month just for the line rental - any calls are extra. In the near future we will dump the landline and just use our mobile phones for all our calls.

If you're looking around for the best possible cell phone plans and phones, have a look at Wirefly. They even have some free cell phones available, and family plans from all major service providers including cingular, T-mobile, verizon, sprint and nextel. You can get two free phones with a family plan. Family cell phone plans (also known as shared plans) can be great value for a single household or family compared to using an individual cell phone plan. A family plans mean all your talk time minutes are pooled for common use, so you'll need to have an idea of the total talk time required for all members of your family.

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