Jonathan Jensen on Thursday – Reducing call costs on your mobile

I’m on holiday this week so even more dependent on my mobile than usual! Here are some neat tricks for saving money on calls that invariably cost extra …

If you’re on a mobile contract the chances are you will have a bundle of minutes that covers calls to landline (01 & 02) numbers plus mobiles. However the problem with bundles is that they almost always exclude calls to 08 numbers and international destinations. With the huge number of businesses that use 08 numbers this can get very expensive. However there are some tricks to include calls to these destinations in your regular minutes bundle.

A previous post on SMS Text News commented on 08 numbers and suggested finding the 01 or 02 equivalents on SayNoTo0870. This is a great option where there’s a 08 number you call regularly. An alternative is to look for the number that the business you want to call quotes for calling from overseas – have a look at the back of your credit card for an example. This is often a 01 or 02 number and works fine in the UK, as well as from overseas.

Being charged for calls to 0800 freephone numbers is particularly outrageous, so the trick I really like is to include these in your bundle. Call 023 800 30 800 (a Southampton number) and when you hear a continuous tone, enter the 0800 number you want to call (don’t press send again). The call is billed by your mobile operator as a call to a 023 number and included within the bundle. There are also some other 01 and 02 numbers that do the same thing.

When it comes to international numbers, my solution is to use Truphone Anywhere (you do need a compatible handset). You dial the international number as normal, the Truphone software intercepts the call, dials a 01 number and makes the international call via Truphone. The UK leg of the call is included in your mobile bundle. The international leg incurs a small charge from Truphone but it’s a fraction of what mobile operators charge for international calls.

An alternative to Truphone is Rebtel which is 100% compatible with any mobile or landline phone. With Rebtel you register the destination number with Rebtel and receive a UK number to call. The UK number comes out of your bundle and the international leg is charged to your Rebtel account. Similar to Truphone except you need to set up the destination numbers first, whereas Truphone works for any number on the fly. Rebtel also has a system for making calls without incurring a charge to your Rebtel account – they call this a smart call. When the call connects, the other party hangs up & dials the local number that appears as your CLI on their phone while you stay on the call. You’re both then reconnected. Not very user friendly, although probably works okay when both parties are used to it.

As with all numbers you call from your mobile, do check your bills to ensure you’re not being charged for anything you think is ‘in bundle’. The mobile operators do regularly review what’s included and what isn’t.

Anyone got any other tricks to get out of bundle calls into your call bundle?

Jonathan’s also at Sevendotzero.

8 replies on “Jonathan Jensen on Thursday – Reducing call costs on your mobile”

I have an iPhone app currently being reviewed for the App Store which basically works as a SayNoTo0870 dialer.

You dial the 0870 number as usual, but when you hit call it goes off and finds a cheaper number and calls that instead. It's been “in review” for 9 days now, so hopefully it'll appear on the App Store any day now. It's called “0870”.

If it does what it says on the tin THAT is going to be my thing of the week on the podcast!

Can you add in call recording? I always like to record my calls to customer service people

Heh cool 🙂

As far as call recording goes, my hunch says no. When it starts calling, it’s actually doing so from the phone’s dialer app, which means that my app is forced to quit – no background processes allowed! 🙁

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