Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Mobile Meanie

In the seventies my family didn't have a phone. When we needed to make a call it incurred a trip down the road clutching a pile of two and ten pence coins and there was invariably a queue at the telephone box on arrival. When at last, you were chatting whilst, of course, standing in a puddle of wee,  the next person in line would  be angrily banging on the window if your call was over two minutes long.  No wonder letter writing was popular.

Technology progressed and telephone use escalated.  We did get a phone in the family home eventually although strict time limits were imposed when I called friends.  Then in the early nineties the 'mobile' phone made an entrance.  Except that the first ones weren't very mobile.  I recall a night out in Exeter taking turns to carry a heavy sports bag containing the car phone of a friend who was on call.

Whether the modern day notion of being contactable anywhere is a good thing or not is subjective but I'm not going to talk about that.  Mr Lovelygrey's phone has started beeping to advise him by text that the joint account is running low.  So it's high time for a thrifty post.

Mr Lovelygrey is a software engineer working from home.  He needs a reliable connection and adequate support when if and when things go wrong so our landline is with BT. But all our calls are directed through the alternative carrier, 1899.com. We pay a connection fee of 4-5p per call and then there is nothing else to pay when phoning most UK landline numbers at any time during the day. Some calls are charged per minute including those to mobiles and overseas numbers but seem very reasonable, for example those to the US are 1p per minute.

The main disadvantage is that the person receiving the call is often surprised when they find that they are not talking to a double glazing salesman based in Calcutta. Caller ID is shown as 'international'. But this is just a minor irritation compared to the savings made.

How do I save on my mobile costs? I haven't tied my self into a contract, instead buying a reconditioned phone on Ebay. Then I simply don't use the thing very much, restricting most of my communication to the landline, Email and the Internet. Avoiding being a phoning/texting junkie saves me shedloads keeping my call costs down to about £40 annually. Surely it's worth going cold turkey for that!

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