Deployment cell phone bills: How to save money

by | Mar 21, 2016 | Deployment Survival, New Military Spouse, Save Money | 0 comments

How can you save money on deployment cell phone bills? If your significant other is gone for a military deployment, one of the first things to take care of is to suspend his cell phone plan. Now, of course you should discuss this with him before he leaves! Will he take his cell phone with him?Will he even be able to use it? Different situations apply to different deployments, and there may be some scenarios where a service member can use a personal cell phone. But in general, NO. If he goes overseas, his American phone won’t work in the host country without being unlocked and having a local SIM card. He won’t have any service unless he pays for an International plan from the current carrier, which is EXTREMELY expensive to do for more than a week. And, in most military deployment situations, there is no wi-fi, for security reasons as well as practical ones. There may be Internet on his deployment base, but it is for computers hard-wired into the network, not those using wi-fi. So generally, if your spouse deploys, he will have no cell phone service, no wi-fi access, and no ability to use his phone for anything that requires a service provider. Finally, even if he did have some access, you have to consider whether he wants to take his device to that environment. In Afghanistan, for example, the sand gets into everything. Not an ideal place for your brand new iPhone.

The sad news is that he won’t have the phone access you are used to. But the good news is that you will save a TON of money! Usually, when we suspend him from our plan, it cuts our bill in half or even better.

How can you save money on deployment cell phone bills? Follow these steps.

To get his line suspended, start by calling your provider. (Verizon, Sprint, etc.) Explain that you need a line suspension due to military orders. This is important to say, because without orders, many providers will not let you suspend a line that is under contract. But there is a law that makes them respect military orders, no matter where you are in your contract. So make sure you have access to his orders and be prepared to scan or email a copy if they give you a hard time.

You will also need to give them estimated dates for the suspension. We all know that deployment dates are never set in stone, but make a guess for 7 months or whatever his command has told you. You can reactivate the line at any time, if they come home earlier.

When they suspend the line, he should not have any payments on the bill, not even the monthly payment for the device itself. It’s up to you if you want to keep making that payment. If it is suspended, it will just take 7 months longer before his phone itself is paid off or eligible for upgrades. These details can vary depending on your provider, so ask questions about your options.

Finally, once the line is suspended, consider reducing your monthly data plan. This is a separate thing from his line service. Look at the recent data usage per line, and see what amount you have used on your own. Chances are you can cut the data plan in half too, and save even more money on a cheaper package!

Remember you will have to call back and get this all reversed before he comes back home! If you want him to be able to call you when he gets back in country, then you better have his phone re-activated by then!

What has been your experience with cell phone usage during deployment? How have you saved money?

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