A potential $39 billion merger between two of the nation’s largest wireless carriers--AT&T and T-Mobile--could lead to higher cell phone bills, according to some experts.
Here are some cost-cutting measures to consider making now:
1. Use a family plan. You may want to find some “family” to add to your smartphone plan to start trimming your bill. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, as well as other carriers offer family plans that aren’t just limited to those in your family. You can essentially add anyone to your “family” and still take advantage of the savings. Here’s the potential savings by bulking your plan: AT&T smartphone individual plans (which include voice, unlimited messaging and data) start at about $75 per month. A family plan that covers three users for similar features costs $145 a month--about $48 per person. A family of five? The monthly cost is $40 per person.
2. Trade in old phones. Don’t just dump your old cell phone in a drawer. Web sites such as GreenPhone.com and CellTradeUSA will let you trade your old phone for a new one. While you may have to pay a small upgrade cost, you’ll still save in having to buy new.
3. See if you qualify for a discount. Check to see if you qualify for a discounted cell phone plan if you’re a member of a national group such as AAA and AARP. Also, some wireless carriers even offer business discounts that you can apply toward your personal plan.
4. Free texting and video calls. You can curb your texting fees by using smartphone apps. For iPhone users, try Textfree With Voice; Android users might try chompSMS. (Note: These services only work with other smartphone owners who have the app.) You can also save by using video calls: iPhone users can save on calling minutes by using FaceTime video calling, and Android and iPhone users can video chat for free and also save on calling minutes by using Skype.
Source: “Here Are Smart Ways to Cut Cellphone Bill,” Orlando Sentinel (April 3, 2011)