December 2, 2005, Newsletter Issue #24: Cellphone Tips from!

Tip of the Week

Most cell phone plans include both peak and off peak minutes which are part of the total talk time allotted for the plan. Peak minute times will vary with most plans but the standard timeframe is from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Friday. Off peak minutes typically include nights and weekends with nights beginning at 9:00 pm and ending at 6:00 am. The weekend minutes usually begin at 9:00 pm on a Friday evening and end at 6:00 am Monday morning. Of course, this will vary from plan to plan as some carriers offer longer off peak hours.

The main difference between peak and off peak minutes is that peak minutes are minutes deducted from the total minutes allotted in a given plan. For instance, if the plan has 600 peak minutes users can talk for up to 600 minutes during peak hours without any additional charges. Once the limit is reached, however, overage charges apply (usually on a per minute basis). On the other hand, off peak minutes are free with most carriers and are often unlimited.

The starting and ending times of both peak and off peak minutes should be evaluated when looking for a cell phone plan. A user should track how much time they spend on the phone during the day and evening before deciding which cell phone plan is best for them. If the user primarily talks during the day they will want a plan with a lot of peak minutes but if they usually talk at night they will want a carrier that offers free nights and weekends with a small amount of day minutes. If the consumer is unsure of what they will need when starting out it is best to overestimate than to underestimate phone usage as overage charges can be brutal. It is also convenient that the plan can usually be adjusted within the first 30-90 days at no additional cost to the user or change in the length of the contract.

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