Tips for Reading Your First Cell Phone Bill
OH MY, doesn't everyone remember receiving their first cell phone bill? The billing on your monthly cell phone plan is a little silly and it causes a lot of confusion as people may feel they have been ‘overcharged’. When you first purchase a phone, your bill cycle does not start the day that you purchase the phone. The month that the first day of your bill starts is usually determined by your geographic region. So your first cell bill is what they call ‘pro-rated’.
Your minutes and monthly service plan are essentially divided up on a daily basis and you are charged based on the number of days difference from your ‘true’ cell phone billing start date PLUS the charges for your first month bill PLUS the one time activation or set up fee.
Example, let's say you choose a cell phone plan that is $40 a month for 600 minutes and your bill cycle starts the 5th of the month. If you purchased your phone on the 20th of the month you would be billed for the remaining 10 or 11 days of the month you are in, plus the 4 days into the new month, plus one month in advance and any over calls that you might have incurred from the first few weeks you had your phone plus the activation fee. Remember you didn’t start at the beginning of the bill cycle so you wouldn’t have technically had 600 minutes for the month, you would have only had about 300 minutes for the month which is about 20 minutes per day over your 15 day period which is basically around 4-5 short calls per day. Yes, you see how you can go through those minutes very fast.
So your charges on that first cell phone bill would breakdown as follows:
0...............Overcalls from pro-rated month
$35...............One-time activation (per phone up to 3)
$40...............One Month in Advance
$16.15............17% Tax & Cellular Fees
See the confusion that this causes? You bought your cell phone less than 3 weeks ago and were expecting your cell phone bill to be around low $50 range with tax included and it is already double. Once again remember that not only is your cellular bill pro rated but so are your minutes. To get an estimate of your pro-rated minutes take the number of total minutes in your monthly plan and divide it by the number of days in the month. Then times the number of minutes per day by the number of days left in your bill cycle. This is how many minutes you will have from the first date of purchase until the start of the first day of your bill cycle.
Now that you understand your first cell phone bill, click here for best practices.
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