The operating environment for your wireless phone is based upon two inter-related factors: the coverage area you choose through a local service provider and the wireless communication technology employed by your service provider. You'll want to choose a service plan that best meets your travel needs and one that minimizes long-distance and roaming fees.
Roaming occurs when you place a call with your wireless phone outside of your home coverage area. How you'll be billed for roaming depends largely on the service plan you choose. Roaming charges are generally flat, per-minute rates that apply to both calls you place and calls you receive, and they're usually much higher than calls made and received inside your service area. Your provider may also charge an additional one-time monthly administration fee for each month that your bill shows any roaming activity.
There's an ongoing debate about wireless phone usage and traffic safety. Some experts argue that talking while driving poses no more of a threat than tuning your car stereo. At least two major studies, however, suggest that using a wireless phone while driving can increase your risk of a crash.
If you're experiencing problems with your wireless phone, try troubleshooting before taking it to a dealer for service. If nothing appears on the liquid crystal display, or LCD screen, the phone may need to be turned on or the battery might require charging. If a no-service, or out-of-service message is displayed, you've likely traveled outside your coverage area or you might have a weak signal.
Your monthly wireless phone bill includes many standard items. The monthly service charge includes your basic monthly service fees, plus fees for any additional items such as call forwarding, caller ID and voicemail. Home airtime or usage charges consist of minutes that you've used that are included in your basic plan, as well as peak and off-peak minutes that you've used over and above those included in your plan.