WHAT SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING AT ON YOUR CELLULAR BILL AND HOW
CAN YOU LOWER IT?
Carriers act like they are consumer friendly and giving us lots of information, but the bills are very complex and much of the information you need is not available on the bill. This is not an industry known to be transparent.
- Register your account online so you can view the entire bill.
Most carriers now only send a summary bill so unless you log into their online system
you won’t see the calls made or the detail of charges.
o Manage your features and utilize blocks. Most carriers can
implement blocks to halt data, 3rd party downloads and international
usage. If the block is in place your employees won’t be able to use it
without calling the carrier first. When you remove the block, now is
the time to add the feature, text plan, International discount plan, data
o Know your carrier’s ‘special’ features and use them if appropriate.
Verizon has Friends and Family, Sprint has Any Mobile Any Time,
o Dump unused inventory. If there are phone numbers not being used
dump them or put them on standby until needed.
o Take advantage of employee or member discounts. Anyone in your
family work for a large corporation, member of a credit union, or
specialty association? Get that discount going!
o Are you overbuying minutes? Are your rate plans pooling? Ask your
carrier the difference between your current plan(s) and the plans now
offered. NOTE – When your carrier reports total peak minutes used,
they are including those free mobile-to-mobile peak minutes. Once you
subtract these from the total, then you’ll have a good idea of total peak
o Dump the insurance? The deductible on most phones is $50 or $150
for smart type or Blackberry phones. I find it less expensive to buy
upgrades than pay for insurance. Just make sure you have units on your
account that are eligible for upgrade, If you have no eligible units, then
you may need insurance.
o How can you avoid 3 party charges?
Call the carrier and request all 3rd party charges be blocked. Don’t sign up for games or alerts. Many of them come with recurring monthly fees and are difficult to find on
the bill. There are tons of free downloads. Use these instead.
o Don’t use 411. Download Yelp! or use Google on your smart phone to
locate your party. 411 costs $1.49 - $1.99 per call, depending on the
o Do you travel internationally or make international calls? Verify
first that your phone is capable of use outside of the U.S. Activate an
international ROAMING plan if you’re leaving the country and add
worldwide data so it can be used for email or other data purposes. Add
an international calling plan if you’re making calls FROM the U.S. to
other countries. Not all carriers have these discount plans, but make
o Threaten to cancel. Often this will trigger your call being transferred
to a ‘save specialist’ or retention department employee. These
departments are better equipped to offer you specials in order to ‘save’
o Keep notes. If you are unable to get your carrier to fix a problem or
billing issues, you may want to file a complaint with the Public Utilities
Commission. For a successful resolution, be as detailed as possible in
o Don’t discount prepay! If you want to keep your bill low and don’t use
the phone often, prepay can be a great way to go.
Don’t put the fox in charge of the henhouse! Cellular sales people are paid
commission based on the plan they sell you. The higher the plan, the more features
added, the higher their commission. Do your own research and order online. If you are
going to a store to buy, know that there are often additional fees tacked on that may not
be applicable if you buy online. Also, make sure you are at THE CARRIERS STORE
and not at the store of one of the carrier’s agents. The prices are NOT the same.
Do not send it through to payables without a thorough audit. Manage it! Audit it! Keep inventory tight, manage your features, get the best discount, update your pricing plan, don’t use 411.
Often larger companies find it most cost effective to outsource their bills to firms like Cellular Billing Consultants, where inconsistencies are highlighted, changes implemented and credit negotiated without using valuable employee time.