In this article SIMsurprise explores some ways to help you reduce your call and text costs so that you can make your pre-paid credit go a little further - maybe even a lot further. Also we point out that landline free numbers are not necessarily free when calling from a Mobile.
Text Messaging On Your Mobile Phone
Most phones have a set number of characters, for example 160 characters per message, that a text message can use in order for that message to be sent as one message.
Go over that allocated number of characters and your message will be received as one message by the person you have sent the text to, but your network will send it as two or more messages each message being a multiple of say 160 characters- the recipient will receive the message in two or more parts - the subsequent parts being received as a message update.
Therefore, if you send a message that is 450 characters long (spaces are included as characters) your network will charge you the cost of 3 messages although from your perspective the message is only 1 message.
When writing a text message try to abbreviate words and phrases in such a manner that the recipient can easily decipher what is meant. For example: B4 means before - you are reducing this phrase by 4 characters.
This is often referred to as Text Speak - love it or hate it - it can save you some money - and saving money can only be good.
You might like to read our article titled Mobile Phones And Text Speak
0800 Numbers And your Mobile Phone
Here we have an interesting point.
Many businesses have a free phone number, typically beginning with the code 0800, or a reduced rate phone number.
These free, or reduced cost, numbers are typically for calls from a landline.
Some networks, but not many, will allow calls to be made from their Network and benefit from the fact that they are advertised as free, or reduced cost.
Other Networks will charge you your standard call cost per minute - so be aware that while calling a "free" or "reduced cost" landline number from your mobile you might in fact be nibbling away at your credit.
Why do they charge you
Competitor networks will charge each other for sending a call across their Network.
For example BT might charge Vodafone for a call made from the Vodafone Network that is sent through BT's infrastructure - Vodafone will then pass that cost on to you.
These charges are referred to as Mobile Termination Rates.
You might like to read more in our article Mobile Termination Rates
Some businesses have a mobile Phone number - it might be cheaper to call this number from your mobile - especially if they are on the same network as you are.
Lock Your Mobile Phone Keypad
If you carry your phone in your pocket sometimes it is possible that the motion of walking, running, or simply moving about, can apply pressure to the keys of your phone keypad.
With an apparently random pressing of keys it is possible that a call can be made, or a text message sent - the next thing you know your credit has reduced, and the next time you see your best friend you get asked about that message you sent last night which was blank, or gobbledy-gook.
When your phone is not in use Lock the keypad.
Locking and unlocking the keypad is usually quite a simple process of pressing two specific keys in quick succession - these keys are usually explained in your phone manual. For Nokia handsets these keys are typically the menu button followed by the * key
If your keypad is locked you can usually answer an incoming call, as you normally do,without unlocking the keypad first.
When your keypad is locked, to make a call, or send a text, you have to unlock the keypad first by pressing the appropriate keys first.
The chances of the two keys required to unlock the keypad being pressed in the correct order, within the time required, by complete accident is quite remote.
Therefore you are not making accidental calls, or sending spurious text messages, which reduces your credit in the process.
Roaming With Your Mobile Phone
When you are using your mobile phone outside of your home country, ask your friends and colleagues to text you instead of phoning you for a voice call.
When roaming, voice calls often cost the caller and called person a charge whereas texts are often free - particularly within the European Union.
For more information on Roaming you might like to read our article titled Mobile Phones And Roaming.
Mobile Phone Network Deals
Many, if not all, networks have offers available for both Contract and Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers.
Specific deals vary from Network to Network and most will change from time to time as new deals are introduced, or older deals withdrawn.
So do check with your network regularly for new, or updated, deals - any deals quoted in this article can be withdrawn by the network at any time, although every effort will be made by the author to ensure that any deals quoted are current and available.
Such deals are given different names within each Network.
Typically, a deal will involve either a blanket reduced cost call, or free calls, to other users on the same Network.
For example (these examples are hypothetical): free O2 to O2 calls. Or 2p per minute for Vodafone to Vodafone calls.
At the time of writing this article update, Orange have a deal called "Magic Numbers" and it goes like this:
. . . A Magic number can be any Orange UK mobile number, or Orange Broadband Wireless and Talk number. You can have up to 3 Magic Numbers from your first day. The good part is you can talk for up to one (1) hour for 20p.
As perhaps can be expected there are terms and conditions - so check them out.
If you run a business where a number of your staff are out and about for long lengths of time - e.g. traveling salespeople, or your staff stay away overnight or for days on end, using a deal such as Orange's "Magic Numbers" could save you a lot of credit when you call them using your mobile phone.
For more information on what might increase text, call, or data transfer charges and costs for contracts or "unlimited" packages, you might like to read our article Unlimited Or Fair Usage.
This article explains about Fair Usage and Excessive Usage - two clauses that might be in your Mobile Phone Contract which can give rise to surprising, nasty, phone bills.
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