It s no secret, for most of us, our mobile phone bill is one of the major monthly expense, especially if it is a postpaid number. Yes, calling has become free on almost all billing plans, data has also become very cheap, and most plans do bundle a good amount of data, more than you need. Yet, when you look at your monthly bill, I m sure most of you, like me, would be thinking of ways to lower down the bill. More so, after indulging in heavy expenses this festive season. Thankfully, there are a few ways to reduce your monthly mobile bills, and below are some tips to go about it. Also Read - Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video vs Disney+ Hotstar vs Sony LIV: Best OTT plans to consider
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Take some time to analyze your use patterns. This is where most of us end up miscalculating. Go through your mobile bills for the past three-four months to get a better idea. Look at the number of outgoing calls that you make in a month, look at your data usage in terms of GBs that you consume, and also look at the number of messages that you send. This data will help you figure things out in the next point. Also Read - Airtel Rs 79 vs Vodafone-Idea (Vi) Rs 79 prepaid plans compared: Data, calls, and other benefits
Look for the best plan offered by your operator
Every operator has a bunch of plans designed to fit the needs of different users. While Reliance Jio currently has just one postpaid plan priced at Rs 199, Airtel has plans starting at Rs 399 and going all the way up to Rs 799, and more. Similarly, Vodafone Idea has postpaid plans starting at Rs 299, and going all the way up to Rs 2,999. MTNL and BSNL also have their postpaid plans priced between Rs 99 and Rs 1,525.
To check the available plans, you can download the mobile app of your operator on your smartphone, and login with your credentials. If you haven t created an account, then you will get an option to register. Once in the app, you can check your current usage and outstanding amount, activate and deactivate services, check the active billing plans and packs, and also look for other plans that the operator offers.
You can also head over to the mobile operator s website and look for billing plans. For BSNL, you can head over to bsnl.co.in, click on the mobile tab on the top, followed by postpaid tariff and then clink on the link to see the available plans. Similarly, for Vodafone, head over to Vodafone.in, and in the Shop tab, click on Vodafone RED under postpaid to see the billing plans. Similarly, for Airtel, you can head over to airtel.in/myplan-infinity to check the available plans.
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Now, once you are on the plans page of the telecom operator, look for the plans and the benefits that they offer. Earlier, the selection would have to be based on the plan price and the number of calls you get, but today, with every postpaid plan offering unlimited calls, that step is out of question.
So, what is more important today is the amount of data a particular plan offers. Take my example, I don t have any wired broadband internet connection at my place, and I rely on my mobile data to use it as a hotspot. And I surf and download a lot, anywhere between 50-60GB a month. So, for me, the Rs 499 plan that offers unlimited calls, 75GB monthly data, and national roaming fits the need. But, if you already have a broadband connection at home, and Wi-Fi, you don t necessarily need more data, and even 20GB should be good enough, which will mostly be used while not at home or office where you have a Wi-Fi connection.
Then, there are some plans that also offer add-ons, international calls, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video membership, and so on. If you the one who has family or friends living abroad, and frequently make ISD calls, plans that bundle international calls would be good to opt for. Also, now-a-days, most of us stream TV shows and movies on Netflix other OTT platforms, and so a plan that offers complimentary subscription to such plans would be good. It won t lower your monthly mobile bill, but will help you save some that you otherwise pay for OTT subscription.
Finding the best operator
Now, this is a tricky part. Changing an operator isn t as easy as changing phones, but this is an important step. Let s assume your telecom operator has good number of postpaid plans, but the other operator has even better plans at lower price points. Naturally, with mobile number portability (MNP) in place, it is easier to switch operators. But before you make the switch, hold on.
You may have your family, friends and colleagues using a mobile number from different operators. Ask them about their experience in terms of customer service, the network coverage, data speeds, voice calling quality, and more. Sometimes, the grass looks greener on the other side, but once you switch sides, it may be good, same or bad, so proceed with caution.
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Switching to Wi-Fi
This isn t something that many people consider, but if you follow it religiously, it could help lowering down some bills. Say you have a postpaid plan that offers 20GB data, and you end up consuming all of it. Whatever you download after this point will be chargeable, some operators charge 10p/10kb, which is about Rs 10 per MB, some charge Rs 100 per GB, it depends, but the important point here is that this increases your monthly bills.
You have Wi-Fi at your home and office, then ensure that as soon as your reach, turn on Wi-Fi on your phone, which will save your mobile data usage. Also, at places like cafes, shopping malls, airports and railway stations, you get free Wi-Fi access, and it would be a good option to make use of it. There are two benefits it saves your mobile data, and also saves the battery life on your phone.
Using OTT services for calls
As I mentioned above, there are plans that bundle international calling minutes, but these plans cost significantly higher. For instance, Vodafone has a plan that is priced at Rs 999, which also includes 50 minutes of international calls. But today, with a lot of people using OTT apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, to name a few, it would be a good option to call users through these apps. Irrespective of which corner of the world the recipient is, you can talk for hours and hours for free, thus also saving on international calls.
Consider switching to prepaid
Well, yes, this might sound a little off, but the flexibility that a prepaid plan offers, isn t something that you can see on a postpaid plan. To begin, with, you can switch between plans with an ease, rather than having to wait for the billing cycle. Secondly, unlike billing plans where you pay your monthly rental, followed by tax and GST, even for a plan priced at Rs 499, you end up paying around Rs 620 or more.
However, in case of prepaid, you only pay the plan value. Take an example of a prepaid plan priced at Rs 458, which offers unlimited calls, 1.4GB daily 3G / 4G data, 100 free SMS daily, and unlimited roaming as well. A prepaid plan priced at Rs 529 offers 1.5GB daily data, unlimited calls and roaming, and a validity of 90 days.
So, essentially, while a billing plan cycle is of 30 days, you pay approximately Rs 1,900 in three months (about Rs 620 a month with GST and other taxes). Whereas, on a prepaid, in less than Rs 550, your mobile bill is sorted for three months, offering you about Rs 1,400 savings. If you need more data, there are plans priced at around Rs 349 offering you 3GB daily data, and 28 days validity. Even in this case, you still end up saving around Rs 900 in a course of three months.
Often, some people travel abroad and activate international roaming. While there are plans that offer unlimited calling and data when in roaming, there are plans that offer limited data, and once the FUP is hit, there are times where data costs Rs 500 per MB. Yes, even doing a small Google search or scrolling through your Facebook timeline for two minutes could get you a hefty bill of Rs 5,000 or more, it has happened with me one. At such times, it is always advisable to connect to hotel Wi-Fi or public Wi-Fi s which will reduce mobile data consumption.
Lastly, apps like Paytm and Google Pay offer some deals in the form of coupon codes, or cashbacks on bill payments. Do look for such offers where you can save some on your mobile bills.