Using Your Cell Phone Trial Period

by : Syd Johnson

If you use your trial period wisely, you can avoid some costly missteps when you sign up for your wireless service. The trial period is all about testing your plan. You always want a phone that matches your lifestyle, your geography, budget and service needs.

Your lifestyle

Some people ‘use’ their cell phones and others ‘love’ their cell phones. Which one are you? Users tend to stick to the ‘for emergencies only’ rule and don’t go over their minutes. Cell Phone ‘lovers’ take the phone to the park, the beach, work, library, school etc. If you are in this category make sure your cell phone service will fit your daily schedule.

Do you spend a lot of time in a mall, an emergency room (meaning base floors or lower levels of the building) or out on the range? During the trial period go to these areas and check your bars. Better yet, call a friend or two and see what type of reception you get. Go to the local mall and try to make a call from the parking lot, first level, second level etc.

  1. Are you roaming?

  2. Did your call go through?

  3. Was it clear?

  4. Can you make calls from the kitchen, but get constant static in your living room?

Knowing where you spend the majority of your time and the type of reception you receive will give you a realistic idea of how much your service will really cost every month.


Despite the claims made by the wireless companies, some services work better indoors, in cities, in the south, on the west coast etc. Pick a service that provides excellent local service. Do not rely on commercials, special offers or recommendations from friends and families in other states when you are picking your service. The only thing that matters is the type of reception you will receive in your town. Take your cell phone out for a day and this will determine your ultimate level of satisfaction.

If you’re a business traveler, take an average of where you spend most of your time each month, and use this as your geographical guide when you sign up for a plan.


So you’ve got your $39.99 plan all ready to go. Do you want to check email when you’re out of the office? Do you plan to send text messages to friends, family or lovers? Whip out that contract and start reading. This time, read the entire thing, not just the pretty part that describes all the excellent benefits of having a cell phone.

You want the ugly part with things like per minute, over limit, roaming, extra fees, taxes, surcharges and other financial terms. This is the part that takes your $39.99 phone bill and turns it into $89 at the end of the month. If you’re not sure, call and ask. Some companies will even let you use your phone for free (no minutes deducted) for some of the more pressing customer service issues, or if they make an error on your statement

Customer Service

Give your cell phone company a call. Okay, so you don’t need to really make a call, but you’re going to make one anyway. Call them at different times of the day. Did you get the automated service from hell? Press 5, and then #, so you can come to 5, and a nice “thanks for your service, goodbye." Almost every user will need to contact their service provider at some point. Make sure customer service is available 24X7 before you need to call.

Cell phone companies are notorious for incorrect billing and credit charges. Cell phone users are well known for not reading their contracts. Put these two together and you will find the need to make at least one customer service call during the year.

  1. Can you get through?

  2. Was the service prompt and courteous?

  3. Does the customer service rep have an accurate and complete knowledge of your contract?

If you find constant discrepancies between your contract and the customer service line, be prepared to make calls on a regular basis to get your bills straightened out.

If you follow these simple tips, you can use your trial period to weed out a bad service with a good sales force, and avoid a host of potential problems later on.

Go ahead, enjoy your service. If it’s great, please spread the word. If it’s not good, you’ll probably do that anyway. Either way, we’ll all thank you for it