How to Control and Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill?

 

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With the rise in taxes and service charges on cell phone services it is better to find ways that can help you reduce your phone bill, while still being able to communicate.

There are different services and applications that can help you in this regard, from making calls to sending SMS. Remember “there’s no such thing as Free lunch” so they will in most cases cost you but that will be significantly less than what your service provider charges you.

Examples:

You can pay a flat monthly rental for internet to use it for email, browsing and in addition you can make Skype calls to those who are on Skype, or otherwise send them text messages through various services.

Prerequisite: A working internet connection on your phone; GPRS, EDGE, EVDO (PTCL Evo) or WiFi.

An unlimited (2 GB) GPRS package would do the best. Zong offer’s best rate of Rs. 200 per month for unlimited internet, while others are offering it for Rs. 500 per month.

Voice Calls & Chat

Skype:

Skype allows you to make free Skype-to-Skype calls. Performance on EDGE is subject to your carrier and location but you can make pretty decent voice calls and even satisfactory video calls in some places as tested by ProPakistani.

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Google Talk:

Google talk is the default IM client on Google services. It allows you to make voice and video calls and chat with other Google (Gmail, Google+ etc.) and AOL users. The best part? Use it to make free calls to US/Canada; both mobile phones and landlines.

  • Platforms Supported: Web based, BlackBerry, PC’s, Mac, Android.
  • What you pay for: Standard GPRS charges by your carrier. Free on WiFi.
  • What you save: Local and International Call Charges.
  • More: http://www.google.com/talk/start.html

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Fring:

Fring is a video/voice chat application and also a multi-service chat client. You can use to make free calls to all other Fring users. It works almost exactly like Skype.

In my tests Fring’s voice quality was better than Skype’s. I made a couple of calls on Wifi through my phone & the voice quality was just great. Used EDGE for texts though.

The connection strength of Fring was better the Skype on EDGE, for me at least, audio was almost impossible on Skype while just satisfactory on Fring.

On the contrary, Skype worked great for another tester in a different city + carrier. So, your carrier and location are very important when making voice calls. It is better to have both applications installed.

  • Platforms Supported: Android, iOS, Symbian.
  • What you pay for: Standard GPRS charges by your carrier. Free on WiFi.
  • What you save: Local and International Call & SMS Charges.
  • More: http://www.fring.com/

clip_image010Nimbuzz:

One of the most widely used IM clients with support for multiple platforms. Has voice call support besides instant messaging. Fring and Nimbuzz are the same. Some will prefer Nimbuzz, some will Fring.

I prefer Fring just for clean interface and standard notifications for missed calls & messages but most of my friends are on Nimbuzz.

  • Platforms Supported: Almost all, including Java supporting phones.
  • What you pay for: Standard GPRS charges by your carrier. Free on Wifi.
  • What you save: Local and International Call & SMS Charges.
  • More: http://www.nimbuzz.com/en

Text/SMS

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WhatsApp:

I guess it needs no introduction, simply amazing. A complete article to explain it is here. It is a replacement for your standard SMS Application. First year of the service is free so grab it now.

  • Platforms Supported: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian.
  • What you pay for: Standard GPRS Charges. Free on WiFi.
  • What you save: International/Local SMS Charges.
  • More: http://www.whatsapp.com/

clip_image014GoText:

GoText works on Java supporting phones. It is unique and different than the other applications because it uses already available Free/Paid SMS service providers (websites) & doesn’t have a server of its own.

To send SMS from a web based service provider you’ll have to go to the website, login and use it. But here, you give your login details and site info to GoText, it connects to that site and sends that SMS for you, from your phone. If you know PHP or you’re an admin you can add your site to the GoText list for others to use.

For Ufone the GPRS charges are Rs. 15/MB. With this package you can send around 500 international SMS with GoText because it uses 1-2KB per SMS. It’s a little complex to setup.

  • Platforms Supported: Java enabled phones, iPhone – iPod (beta), PC (beta).
  • What you pay for: Standard GPRS Charges.
  • What you save: International SMS Charges.
  • More: http://www.gotext.org

clip_image016FishText:

Just like GoText, sending SMS thorough FishText doesn’t require the other person to have this application installed because these two send standard messages.

FishText gives you 20cents at signup; this can help you send around 10+ messages around the world. After that you have to pay. Messages between FishText users are free. Sending messages costs from Rs. 1.8 to Rs. 8, depending upon where you want to text. By my research this is the cheapest paid service available.

  • Platforms Supported: iPhone, Android, PC & Java supporting phones.
  • What you pay for: Standard GPRS Charges
  • What you save: Local/International SMS Charges
  • More: http://www.fishtext.com/

Max99:

The Pakistani MIM client offered free international SMS. Unfortunately their site is down at the time of this writing so I couldn’t get the current update. Anyways, Introduction is here and International SMS details are here.

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JaJah: Your first 5 minute call is free, anywhere.

More: http://www.jajah.com/call/trial/

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Evaphone: Your first two calls are free, (thanks to MZC for this one).

More: http://www.evaphone.com/locale/en

Jaxtr:

clip_image022You know a local call is cheaper than an international one, right? Jaxtr uses this to your advantage.

You call a local number in your country, say Pakistan, the other person calls a local number in his country, say Ukraine. Jaxtr gets you two connected to make an international call for local call charges.

Local numbers are not available in Pakistan yet but bookmark it for when it does. Also you can make calls with your phone for Rs. 3/min to destinations that cost normally Rs. 40 in the paid option.

More: http://www.jaxtr.com/user/index.jsp

It’s all about finding the right services & packages. For me WhatsApp & Fring are the choices, for you it may be just Nimbuzz or Skype. Do test them.

If you think we missed something or if you have a tip please leave it in the comments.


  • One more thing to mention is swicth to POSTPAID.
    it is 6.5% cheaper than prepaid
    no admin fee
    no service charges

    this is not for call also data usage and also any other usage like info location base etc

  • Great post Rameez.. but there is a catch… GPRS/EDGE/Internet packages offered by Mobile Operators in Pakistan… Whatever their price is (240-500)/month, the bandwidth is not good enough to make calls..even, i must say,, for browsing.

    Since smartphones now offer a complete web surfing experience like someone can enjoy on PC, it consumes more bandwidth. Flash content is there as well.. how about watching some video shared on facebook, google+,, etc.

    My point, the package needs to be redefined by Operators.. These applications have better usage in 3G environment than in Pakistan.

    • Thanks Shamsheer and everyone who liked it.
      .
      To solve the browsing issue use Opera Mini, you will see the difference yourself. Opera Mini forwards your request to its server, which then compresses the website that you want to view according to your handset and serves it to you.
      .
      As I have said voice calls depend. I was able to use Fring at late night when there was no network congestion. If your operator has a strong network in your area you can make voice calls otherwise it will be a let down for both parties.
      .
      I agree if 3G was here it would have been great… more than great.

  • Good post, who have wifi is saving a lot of money specially employs who used to do calls abroad or even local to head offices.
    i am using skype on my phone and even it saves alot of my money and labour, using wifi i can enjoye all i can do in office, some time edge can help me in doing some important email on the go..
    wish we can get 3G soon

  • please make one correction. Zong 2gb package cost is Rs.200 including tax. Earlier it was Rs. 240 including tax

    • hahaha! I planned that but than there was space requirement so I had to go with the Logo… Don’t worry, Allah mouqa dai ga :P

  • Salam,
    The web site has back online, we were having some maintenance on the server as well as on web site, so i would apologize by the max99 team.

    Thank you

  • I dont know about other carrier but i am using Zong 200 rs Internet on my Galaxy S 2 and its rock even Skype calls are crystal clear with no delay on edge i tested a speedtest i got speed from 170k to 210k and Mashala i am so happy with that service it never say no to me. And one thing i forgot to mention i am from Lahore.

  • bhaiooo…
    use ufone gprs…
    & use skype,fring or nimbuzz….
    n enjoy free callss n instant messageesss…..

  • Salam, nimbuzz s40 not for voice call, many user have only GPRS with 2 to 4 kb speed, so how to use any calling application, package is only sloution for calling.

  • Salam, nimbuzz s40 not for voice call, many user have only GPRS with 2 to 4 kb speed, so how to use any calling application, package is only sloution for calling.
    Propakistani hotmail com

  • I am using viber on my iphone nd every i talk to my brothr in uk .viber uses edge or wifi etc its voice quality is way bettr than normal cellular quality .viber almost saves my 3000 rps mnthly and my brother saving is around 100 pound so use viber on ur iphone or android .search it on google you will find it best

    • If you don’t have a phone that support GPRS unfortunately you can’t use these applications. The only solution for low cost international calls will be JaJah/Jaxtr but you have to buy a package online.

  • a wonderful post. deserves appreciation as it summarises the different apps and lists their plus and minuses. great work. keep it updated please as its a very good reference

  • Can anyone tell me if i make a voice or video call using my iphone from skype or from any other free calling softwares you mentioned, how many bandwith they actually use?

  • Frankly i want to share with you that most of the websites of above softwares are blocked in my ISP (ETISALAT) here in UAE.

  • Our all telecome companies gprs sucks even we cant browse then how to make calls however great post, thanks

  • Dear Rameez, very informative article and shows your efforts and dedication towards your work.

    Please keep doing this and also hat-off for all those people who participants through their comments, as this exericse also bring out more information and sharing of experience.

  • Rameez,

    You mentioned that we need ‘a working internet connection on your phone; GPRS, EDGE, EVDO (PTCL Evo) or WiFi. My question is, how do you get EVDO on your phone? Please reply excluding that Ufone futura cell phone offer.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy 5 Android phone and would love it if an EVDO connection can be configured on my cell; I’m not a techie but I feel that if my phone suppports 3G, PTCL should be able to be configured on it.

    Hope to find a solution to this because I’m sure a lot of high end smartphone users want to know if this is possible.

      • Read the description of wifi cloud for the first time… It really is the solution I was looking for, the price tags are high both for the device and the monthly usage. Especially when the current users don’t seem to be big fan of the service!

  • AOA All.. Pakistani Mobile Operator jab itne achay hourly package day rahen hain tu iss jhanjat mein parne ki kiya zarorat hai.

  • @Poster and Aamir,

    Though I am using these services or used in past, Jajah is purely VoIP, Fring and Nimbuzz have VoIP (SIP protocol) feature and you can configure it to use any VoIP service…gtalk2voip allows you to use Google Talk as VoIP client…

    But all these are illegal if we read the generic rule of PTA that your Internet connection can’t be used for voice…LOL..so you can be questioned why are you spreading something illegal ;)

  • bhaiyoo
    i have a NOKIA c2-01 it has a 3G speed Connection, im looking forward to use nimbuz though its a Java phn will it work ??
    i want to know if i use nimbuz once i registered with it do i have to pay charges for txting,calling frm nimbuz-nimbuz users ,nimbuz to skype,msn or gmail?
    & how much i hv to it will charge while using it from Djuice network even im not happy with its 3mb for 15rs which is too costly for a day ….

    • Dear…with java version you can’t make call with nimbuzz to nimbuzz user… you can make chat with that and there is no charges at all from nimbuzz but you have to may data charges ..


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