Helping you make the right choices and save money when it comes to choosing a gsm cell phone service.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

How do I Choose a phone?

Time to dig into the old email bag. Todays email comes to us from Frank in Miami, Florida. He Writes:
Dear Wyreless World, with so many different models I can't decide on a gsm cell phone. what with the flip phones, and the camera phones, and the ones with games I can't decide which one is for me! Is there anything you can do to help?
There sure is Frank! The best advice I gave to people looking to buy a phone when I was a rep was to let them know that the major wireless carriers have a trial period where you can try out their service for so many days (the number of days varies by carrier) and if you don't like it you can either exchange it for a different phone (make sure you cancel the service and start a new one to restart the trial) or even cancel the service completely and try a different carrier. This also allows you to see if the phone you choose is right for you.

After that gold nugget of a tip the best I can tell you is to really take a few minutes and think about what your going to be using your phone for. Do you use text messaging? Do you even know what it is? If not you're probably not going to need a phone that has a keyboard layout. Is the phone sturdy? If not you might want to get a different model, or be sure to get insurance. Can you get a carrying case with it to further protect it? If not you may want to get one that has this option. Would you like to use it in the car? If so you should make sure a car kit can be purchased for your phone so that you can keep your hands on the wheel where they belong.

In summary take advantage of the trial period to see if the phone is for you, and before you buy make sure you think about what you'll need it for, and be practical. Don't buy a phone because you think it's cool or it looks sharp, buy it because it works well, is sturdy, and meets your needs.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at robertcode@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer your question.

Friday, June 24, 2005

GSM Cell Phone Tip - Futuredating vs Backdating

Unfortunatly for customers many wireless companies now do future dating for their rate plans, what this means is that you have to wait until your next billing cycle starts before you can change your plan. It used to be the norm that you could backdate your rate plan change which would make it take effect at the beginning of the cycle you are currently in. So if your cycle starts on the 12th and today is the 24th you could change you plan and it would be as if you did it on the 12th. This is no longer the case for many wireless companies. If you have backdating please don't hesitate to take advantage of it. Some examples of where it may be good to do so are:

- If you travel outside your home area and forgot to change your plan, as long as you call up before your cycle ends you'll be safe.

- If you know you've gone way over your minutes this month, simply call up and change to a higher plan.

- If you haven't used your phone that much, call up and take a cheaper plan for this month, saving you money.

If you have future dating your options are far more limited, and of course as we all know that's the way wireless companies like it. My best advice is to choose a carrier that allows you to see how many minutes you've used during the month, otherwise you may be playing with fire.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at robertcode@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer your question.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

They say one thing and do another

Wow! I was really overwhelmed by the response I received to my first article, it seems a lot of you out there need help when it comes to wireless service. To be honest I’m not surprised, when I was a rep our company was always tying our hands, not allowing us the methods or the tools to help you.

My first email comes to me from Betty of Wichita, Kansas. She writes:
Dear Wyreless World I am constantly having problems with wireless companies, they tell me one thing and then it turns out not to be true and I’M the one who ends up paying for it! What do I do?
I chose this question because it, or variations of it, was the most asked question I received. Unfortunately this is a huge problem in the wireless industry. I wish I had a dollar for every customer who told me something like “Well this person said this, but I got a bill that said this…” etc.

Some of the tips I can give you to avoid this happening to you are as follows:

#1 If your gsm cell phone company has internet customer service USE IT! – I can’t stress this one enough. Internet customer service is a godsend for customers for this one simple reason: everything that is said to you is in writing. If you call up a rep and tell them someone else said something they have no way of knowing if it’s true or not, but if you send a rep a copy of an email you got from one of their counterparts they, and you, have proof of what you were told.

#2 Keep meticulous records of when you spoke with reps, the rep’s name, and what was said. – This one is important because it gives you legitimacy, if you spoke with “Carl” and the rep goes in and sees the name Carl as one of the reps who worked on your account it lends you credibility and makes it more likely they will believe you.

#3 Confirm with another rep – This may sound time consuming, but often the time you spend beforehand can save you tons of time, not to mention hassle and possibly money, afterwards. If a rep tells you something that sounds too good to be true, say thank you, hang up and call back, ask the new rep that you get if what the last rep said was true. I warn you this isn’t 100% fool proof, but it can help you weed out the big whoppers that cost you lots of money.

#4 In EVERY instance be polite and courteous with your Customer Service Rep – This is SO VERY IMPORTANT! Trust me I’ve been that voice on the other end of the phone and for the people who were polite and courteous I made double sure I did everything in my power to help them. It’s not that I didn’t try to help the ones who were ignorant it’s just I didn’t go out of my way to help them, it’s human nature. If you are angry or having a bad day DON’T CALL CUSTOMER SERVICE! Wait until tomorrow.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at robertcode@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer your question.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Choosing a Rate Plan for your GSM Cell Phone

The number one question I got asked when I was a representative for a large gsm cell phone provider was “what rate plan is right for me?”

If you read nothing else in this article read this next line:
It is FAR FAR better to have too many minutes than not enough.

FACT!: If you bought the Cingular Nation 450 minute plan for $39.99 and went over by 1000 minutes it would cost you $450 in additional minute charges. On the other hand if you had gotten the most expensive Nation plan Cingular has the 6000 for $199.99 you would have saved yourself $250.

Now obviously I’m not advocating getting a plan that has more minutes then you could ever possibly use, I’m just showing you how much more sense it makes to pay a little extra for more minutes than you use.

So back to the original question: “what rate plan is right for me?” Basically there are many ways to answer this question. If you’re a new or prospective customer what I suggest is to get a plan that is way above what your going to need for the first month or two and then work it down based on your usage, because trust me it is a lot better to pay a little more in monthly service than it is a lot more in overage charges.

As you saw from the FACT! it’s far better to pay a little extra when you start out to avoid getting a huge bill, after a few months follow the steps below for customers with history.

If you are a customer with a history the best way to pick a rate plan that’s right for you is to go by your past usage. (Unless of course your needs are going to change.) Take a look over your past bills and see how many minutes you’ve used, then select the highest amount and go from there. One of the key mistakes customers make is to use an average amount of minutes to decide how many to get in the future.

FACT!: The average of 1000, 500, 2000 is 1166. A plan giving you around that amount, say 1200, would be good for two of those months but in the third month you’d go over by 800. At a rate of 45 cents a minute that’s $360! Spending even an extra $30 a month for say 2000 minutes would only cost you $90 total and it would be spread out over three months instead of getting it all at once.

After you figure out how many minutes you are going to need you’ll need to figure out how you are going to use the phone. Do you make a lot of long distance calls? Will you be traveling at all? Do you use text messaging a lot? And so on. Take a look on the company’s web site and see all the features they have available, some companies also have bundle packs that give you minutes, long distance, and text messaging. These can save you money and are worth looking at if available.

The biggest confusion people had when I was a rep was the difference between Long Distance and Roaming. I can’t tell you the number of calls I got because people were told they had “Nationwide Long Distance” and thought that meant they could travel anywhere in the country and make calls. So to clarify here are the definitions for each of these terms, in plain English.

Long Distance: Making any call from your home calling area (The area where you can use your phone without getting charged roaming) to another place outside your local area (usually your town or city)

Example: You live in New York and, while still in New York, you make a call to Los Angeles.

Roaming: Making OR Accepting any call while you are physically outside of your home calling area.

Example: You live in New York and you get on a plane and fly to Los Angeles and make or accept a call while in Los Angeles.

Another misconception people have is that if they are roaming they can still call phone numbers in their home area without getting charges. (Example you live in New York, fly to Los Angeles and call back to New York) This is incorrect, as you can see from the definition I specified “any” call. The ONLY numbers you can call for free while roaming are 611 (Customer Service) and 911 (Emergency Services)

So if you are going to be traveling be sure to get a plan that gives you roaming across the country, it may cost you a little more in monthly service but Roaming Charges are around of 70 cents a minute.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at robertcode@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer your question.

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