Rich Lenz, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Paying to communicate anywhere and anytime is becoming a significant part of one's monthly budget. And with all the smart phones available now, there are still some smart ways to make a phone call on those smart phones.
In a competitive business, where AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular, Sprint and others are vying for their piece of a $200 billion pie, forgiveness is not just a virtue, it's a necessity.
"You get your bill and you've seen they've got 8,000 text messages but you had a plan for 1,500. If it's something you've just noticed, we'll take a look at it, evaluate it and probably adjust your bill," said Andy Morgan with AT&T.
Adjust, as in reduce your bill, so if you suffer sticker shock, be sure to call or go online and ask for help. To avoid problems in the first place, do your homework and know what provider, phone and plan best fit your needs.
"I just want to have a phone that you can talk on," said cell phone customer Joe Beaver.
"It's pretty uncommon that I'll actually talk to someone on the phone," said cell phone customer Mike Harvey.
It's a generational thing, so Joe Beaver bought a simple phone and later reduced his minutes and that reduced his monthly bill, big time.
"I believe it was about $60," said Beaver.
Well, that's worth making the trip for!
"Oh yeah," said Beaver.
But that wouldn't work for Mike. He needs lots of minutes, lots of texting and with the advent of mobile Internet, television, movies and music, an unlimited data plan.
"Everything you do is kind of wired into that and there's interesting ways of tracking that data and using that data to just make you life better, so without it, you know, I probably wouldn't have found this store today," said Mike Harvey.
Shop around, different providers charge different amounts for their data plans, though most will push you to sign a two-year contract.
And here is something very important to remember. If your contract is about up, it behooves you to come on into the store or get on the phone and let your provider know you're thinking about going to the competition. At that point you'll be put in touch with someone whose job it is, is to get you to re-sign.
They want to make it worth your while and that is where you can cut some deals and really save some money.
Deals you won't see advertised, but sometimes improvised once you make the call.
To review, evaluate your bill each month and get rid of what you don't need.
Pay your bill on time, sounds simple but it saves money.
Get the right phone for you, not one that has features you don't use.
And stay alert for special offers and sales.
"This is a extremely competitive business- all you have to do is watch TV or pick up the paper to see all the advertising and you know, we know customers have a choice between several different companies," said AT&T's Andy Morgan.
It's estimated that 172 million smart phones were sold last year. That number is expected to grow, while sales of conventional cell phones, remains flat.