Take full advantage of your Smartphone for minimum cost

If you are like me, I’m always looking at how to reduce my costs and still get everything I really want. In this article I’m going to cover how to cut your Smartphone costs close to zero.

If you have a Smartphone that you need for business, or are a person that needs, or likes, to make a lot of voice calls for a lot of hours at anytime you want, or can’t wait to surf the net, then this article is probably not for you although it might contain some information that you might find useful.

Seeing as you are still reading I assume you are interested in cutting your mobile costs. Ask yourself “what do I generally do with my Smartphone?”. If you are like me, I use my Smartphone as a Pocket Computer. I generally use my Smartphone to consume information, access social media, to text, and to make the occasional call. Now let’s move onto what most probably interests you about this article – “how do I cut my costs close to zero?”.

Start by going with a minimum contract, or better still prepay. Now you need to understand what your Smartphone has, and how it communicates with the outside world. You have a mobile network (generally referred to as G3, G4 networks), Wifi, Bluetooth, and GPS (used for maps and localising where you are). The part that is costing you the money is the use of the G3, G4 mobile networks, so start by switching of “Mobile data”, or setting it to zero megabytes. NOTE VERY WELL: You don’t need “Mobile data” to make a call, receive a call, or to send an SMS, but do for MMS (does anyone send MMS’s nowadays?)!!! Another way of looking at it is that your Smartphone now has all the functionality of those fine Nokia phones of Yesteryear plus Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS. Wifi and GPS is what I need to make my phone “smart”! Always have Wifi and GPS turned on. A small tip, if you’re buying a new phone, try and get one that supports the latest Wifi protocols. For the big cost saving Wifi is the key, so let’s now talk about Wifi.

Most people have Internet at home and one can connect to the Internet via Wifi. There are now more and more public Wifi hotspots to connect to, and many bars, shops, restaurants, airports etc. have Wifi hotspots to connect to for free for their customers. With a Wifi connection you can now use your favourite Apps to make a call or send a text or make a call for free (WhatsApp, Facebook, Facetime, Skype etc.), although there is the limitation that you’re friends need to be online within that App. In a separate article I have written how to use your “home phone” number on your Smartphone by using a VOIP provider – Landline/Festnetz Telephony (VOIP). Making landline calls are generally a lot cheaper than making mobile calls in most lands.

If you are traveling do look at what your provider charges you. I find it an absolute cheek that you often get charged a lot for incoming calls by many providers and the cost is often quite significant. I recently deactivated my Sim on a trip abroad as my provider was charging far too much for outgoing and incoming calls. In this instance I used Apps liked those mentioned above and my “home phone” number to make calls using a VOIP App – read the article Landline/Festnetz Telephony (VOIP). You might find it in your interest to buy a local pre-pay Sim card, or even buy a package from your service provider, when abroad. Personally, I would go with a local pre-pay Sim card.

Something I find very useful, especially when abroad in unfamiliar territory is the App “Maps”.  “Maps” needs GPS so you generally don’t need mobile data or Wifi. You will need Wifi to initially plan your route. I would suggest planning your route and then downloading it for offline use. I find offline maps extremely useful when abroad and trying to find my way “home”.  To download an offline map search for an area, for example London, and not a specific address. This short video shows how:

To repeat, offline maps are perfect when no Wifi is available and you don’t want to use data connectivity (especially if you’re abroad!). Following on from the example above we can know plan a route within London as shown here:

I generally use an offline map to go from “my location” to somewhere I want to go to and just follow the blue dot. The blue dot shows your current location. Also note that the beam on the blue dot shows the direction you are facing if you are holding your phone in the same direction.

To summarise for absolute minimum costs:

  1. Go prepay
  2. Understand the difference between “Mobile data” and Wifi
  3. Utilise Wifi whenever possible
  4. Control that urge to quickly use Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp when no Wifi is available
  5. Switch off “Mobile data” or make sure it’s set to zero Megabytes
  6. Switch off “Roaming”

You can still keep your costs low even if you buy and use a mobile data plan. Just remember to maximise Wifi data connectivity and ensure that your Apps don’t unnecessarily use Cellular data connectivity. Good practice is to just switch on “Mobile data” (Cellular data connectivity) when you need it, then switch it off when not using the phone or have Wifi.

Hope you have enjoyed this article. Make a comment if you have a tip you’d like to pass on.


One Reply to “Take full advantage of your Smartphone for minimum cost”

  1. These are good uses where the smartphone can only be used if it has power. I wonder how a person could get away with running GPS without quickly draining down the cellphone battery to nothing. I know a great offline GPS mapping app called MapsWithMe, this could be a help too. and it’s free!!!

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