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How to cut your mobile phone bill costs

[This article refers to TopTips.ie which I gave up as no longer necessary – instead, you can click on the ValueIreland Top Tips page.]
How much are you spending on your mobile phone per month? Do you know? Where is your biggest usage – is it on calls, text messages or on data charges?

Here are a few Top Tips on how to save yourself some money on your mobile phone bill. These Top Tips should work whether you have a pre-pay or post-pay mobile phone, and no matter which network you use.

Become aware of your usage – Most of the mobile phone companies will provide you with a break down of your monthly usage – either through a paper bill, or through online reporting. Study the breakdown of your usage to see where exactly you’re spending the most money.

Don’t change without thinking – Many of the Top Tips below will suggest that you could change your contract with your mobile phone provider. Be aware, that any time you change your contract with your phone provider, they will sign you up for another years contracts. This might not be what you want, so always be sure of the consequences of what you ask your mobile provider to do.

Change your tariff – Depending on the analysis in the first step, you should first check your service providers website to see if you should be on a more suitable tariff. This could mean less minutes, or more texts included – or potentially moving to pre-pay if you’re a post pay client. Also, you should ring your mobile phone service provider to see if they can recommend a more suitable tariff or add-on that would give you better value for money.

Use CallCosts.ie Though I’ve heard reasons enough to be dubious about the effectiveness of this service, it does seem to be a fairly accurate and useful tool. Based on your mobile usage (minutes and texts), CallCosts.ie can suggest if other mobile service providers might provide a better package than your current provider.

Use your full package – If you have a package of minutes and texts from your mobile provider, make sure you use the maximum every month – especially if your service provider doesn’t allow minutes and texts to roll over until the next month. If you find you don’t use your allocation every month, change your tariff.

Use the freebies on offer – There are mobile service providers who provide free minutes and texts with contract sign-ups, while others provide “phone a friend for free” offers. Make sure you follow up on these offers and take advantage of as many of those as you can.

What are your friends doing – Following on from the points above, check to see what network your friends on? Based on some of the offers available with regards to phoning friends for free and cheaper calls and texts between networks, it can be cheaper for you if all your friends are on the same network.

Use online text messaging – If you’re with a mobile phone company that provides a bunch of mobile text messages online for free, use them as much as possible. If you’re in a job with access to a computer, then use that during the day rather than texting on your phone. If you have broadband and use your laptop in the evening, then that’s the time to text online also.

Stay within your network – where possible, don’t make calls outside your network. It’s on calls such as these that most mobile phone companies make their profits – the “interconnect” charges between your service provider and other networks.

Do you need to text – A “text conversation” over a series of 5 or 6 text message with a friend (particularly on a different network) could cost you more than having the same brief conversation via a voice call.

Call at certain times – Mobile phone calls during peak times can cost you significantly more than off peak. Where possible, don’t make calls during peak times – if you have an office job, use your work phone for example.

Be careful about special offers – don’t just buy a phone, or sign up for a deal, just because of the flashly lights and bells and whistles that you might think you’re getting. Most “free credit” offers these days take nearly a year for you to get your credit, and only if you top up for sometimes up to €20 per month.

Caution while roaming – Remember that while on holidays abroad, using your mobile phone could cost you significantly more than at home. Though some companies do offer special offers for people while roaming, they’ll still cost you more. If you can, leave the phone behind – you’re on holiday after all.

Beware premium costs – Do you really need to be sending photos via MMS – they cost more? Do you really need to download all those games – they can cost €5 or more.

Avoid 1890 / 1850 / 0818 extra costs – If you have a mobile phone minutes package, and even if you don’t, you are charged extra for these numbers when called from mobile phones. Use the SayNoTo1890.com website to find geographical alternative number for many companies that use these numbers.

More to Come – Come back soon to TopTips.ie to get a full listing of how to save money when roaming and using your mobile abroad.

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