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Reading Your Cell Phone Bill-knowing Your Minutes

Apr 20, 2008
Many people complain that they are paying too much for their cell phone. After an original cell phone service plan of approximately $50, some people are paying extra money every month and have no idea why. Most admit that they do not understand their cell phone minutes as they are listed on the bill, so these people just pay the amount due on the account every month. If you are one of these people, Understanding your minutes can go along way to saving you money.

On a typical cell phone bill, the first section listed is your Calling Summary. This area breaks down the kind of minutes that you used and the number of minutes used during the billing cycle. To understand this section of your bill, you must first understand the different kinds of minutes.

There are Anytime minutes. These are calls that are placed at peak times, usually Mondays through Fridays between 7 a. m. to 9 p.m. These minutes are the basis of your whole cell phone plan. If you have gone over your allotted amount of these minutes, the additional costs can be great, considering some cell phone companies charge as much as $.45 per minute for every minute that you have gone over. Most companies also count anything less than a minute as a whole one, so if you use 20 seconds to check your messages the company will count it as one minute. If you notice that every month you are exceeding your Anytime minutes, you should consider upgrading your cell phone plan. The additional cost to do this will save you money in the end.

Next on your bill there may be Off-peak minutes. These minutes are the same as Nights and Weekends and refer to calls made at slower business times, usually in the evenings from 9 p. m. to 11 p. m. and weekend hours. Many companies offer these minutes free, but you should always keep track of what time you are making the calls. If you start a call at 8:58 p. m., the call is costing you Anytime minutes. You should also be aware that if you are traveling, your Off-peak minutes start at the designated time in the time zone in which you are in, not the time zone in which you live in. So if you are from Arizona but are traveling in New York, your night and weekend minutes will begin at 9 p. m. Eastern Standard Time.

Next on your bill are In-carrier minutes. These are more commonly known as mobile-to-mobile minutes. These minutes are calls that are made between two cell phones. Many cell phone service providers offer special plans (such as MyCircle from Alltell) to the people that you call the most. You can just register the people and their phone numbers with your cell phone service provider and the company will not charge for any calls made to those particular numbers. These plans may be a good idea if you call the same people numerous times during the week. Even if you do not have one of these plans, some service providers will offer discounts if you and the person you are calling use the same provider.

Understanding the different cell phone minutes and the method used to bill you for them can help you cut down your monthly bill. By knowing which types of minutes that you are receiving extra charges for can help you choose a new plan with your service operator to ensure that your cell phone bill remains affordable.
About the Author
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