How to Get Free Cell Phone Service

by Shawanda Greene

Who else has an irrational fear of becoming homeless?


I guess it’s just me, huh?

As much as I pride myself on being a logical, semi-mentally stable person, the thought of ending up on the streets haunts me daily.

It’s crazy, I know.

Although the possibility of living in a cardboard fort under a bridge is unlikely, I’m compelled to mitigate this remote risk. So, I’m constantly thinking of ways to preserve cash by spending as little of it as possible.

Which brings us to this week’s Tightwad Tuesday.

There are some things even I am unwilling to give up: lip balm, that dark brown gel for black girls, Internet, and my cellphone.

Today, we’ll focus on how to get free cellphone service.

A couple weeks ago, while having a casual conversation with a friend on my iPhone, I was continually interrupted with the all too familiar phrase, “I can’t hear s*** you sayin’.”

How annoying is that?

After about 10 minutes of repeating myself, I became frustrated enough to seek out an alternative.

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I hung up the phone, opened the free Talkatone app I’d downloaded on my iPhone, and called my friend back, not over AT&T’s crappy cellular network, but through Google Voice, i.e., the Internets.

The call was crystal clear.

I heard everything that was said, and everything I said was heard.

My confidence grew, and I started doing things you’d never do when connected to a call using AT&T’s service. You know, really weird stuff like walking and moving. At one point I even sat on my bed, and the conversation carried on without a hiccup.

This got me to thinking. I could talk over the Internets without using my mobile minutes. With Talkatone, I can make calls using a 3G or wireless connection without depleting my 400 anytime minutes.

You’re probably thinking, “But, Shawanda, you still have to pay for your data plan and your anytime minutes.” You’re right. I’ve only told you how to make free calls on your iPhone.

But you don’t need an iPhone to use Talkatone. You can use this free app on your 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch or an iPad. As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can talk AND text AND instant message at no cost using these devices. You’ll need a Google Voice number, but that’s super easy to set up.

Unfortunately, Talkatone isn’t available for Android users. :( However, there’s GrooVe IP that functions in pretty much the same way. I would spend more time talking about it, but I don’t have an Android. Just know it’s possible to talk over the Internet, send text messages, etc. for free. You can figure out the particulars for yourself.

If I ever find myself in a financial pinch, I just might switch to Boost Mobile, reactivate the ol’ Motorola Razr, and use an iPod Touch for my in home calling needs.

Have you ever tried talking over the Internet using your smartphone? Do you know of any other ways to get free cell minutes? 

This article was featured in the Festival of Frugality – Pre-Halloween Edition at NerdWallet.

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