Cell phone voicemail – Don’t be tricked into using your anytime minutes
Maybe some of you already know this but since the tech at the Verizon store I dealt with didn’t know it and he’s been working in the field for more than 4 years, you may not know this either.
Every cell phone provider has a voicemail and all have the “number” preprogrammed into your phone when you buy it. Usually it’s already setup as a speed dial option on the phone using the 1 key. For example, you dial or press and hold 1, the phone automatically calls your voicemail. The number the providers use is not really a number at all. Verizon uses *86 to automatically call your voicemail. When you do this, your phone makes the call but if it’s during your “anytime” minutes, you get dinged for the call and those minutes get deducted from your monthly limit. What they don’t want you to know is there is another way to get to your messages without using your “anytime” minutes.
With Verizon, and all the providers, you get unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes when you call another customer on the network. Verizon calls it “IN CALLING”, Cingular/AT&T call it M2M (Mobile to Mobile). So what you need to do is go into the contact or speed dial section of your phone and find the voicemail entry. Change the default *xx option that’s probably already preprogrammed in there and make it your phone number with area code. Then save the entry. Now when you call back to voicemail, you’re basically calling yourself. Since your line is busy (you’re calling yourself) you will immediately get your voicemail greeting. The default to stop the greeting is usually #. Press it and then you’ll be prompted for your pin or password code. Once you enter it, you’re now in your voicemail and didn’t use any of your “anytime” minutes. Your bill will show the call as “IN” or “M2M” minutes, which are always unlimited.
I did this for years with Cingullar and when I bought my new Verizon phones, I updated the voicemail number the same way. The guy at the Verizon store didn’t even know this. Basically millions of cell phone users are unnecessarily using their minutes when they could be making the call for free.
Hope this helps someone.