Going Mobile, Part 1: Wireless Phone Service for Your Home Business

Written by Donna Schwartz Mills

This article may be used freely on your website as long as it remains intact, including author byline and resource box and links. We would appreciate it if you would notify us when it is used: < mailto:donna@parentpreneurclub.com >

Going Mobile: Wireless Phone Service for Your Home Business (Part 1 of 3) by Donna Schwartz Mills < http://ld.net/?americanglo >

There is no more important tool for your at-home business than your telephone. You need it to sell your services, negotiate prices, keep in touch with vendors, market and more. Posting your phone number on your website and listing it on your business card gives potential clients peace of mind that you are a real person that they can reach at will. It's a simple way to give yourself credibility, even as you are just starting out.

However, it doesn't takerepparttar new home worker long to discover that there's no quicker way to lose that credibility than lettingrepparttar 117488 kids answerrepparttar 117489 phone when clients call. That's whyrepparttar 117490 experts advise that you:

* Get a second phone line, dedicated to your business; * Let your family know that you arerepparttar 117491 only one to answer it, and * Have a good voicemail system in place for those times when you can't answer it.

But this can be quite an investment when you're just starting out, especially if your home is not already wired for two telephone lines.

The solution: Go wireless.

As mobile phone use inrepparttar 117492 United States has exploded,repparttar 117493 cost of wireless service has gone down -- so much that a growing market segment is foregoing traditional "landlines" entirely.

In fact, after comparingrepparttar 117494 cost of installing another line to my home withrepparttar 117495 cost of a mobile phone, I discovered thatrepparttar 117496 latter actually cost *less*. That's because today's wireless networks allow carriers to bundle features like voice-mail, three-way calling, call waiting and caller ID into their basic services -- at no extra charge. Throw in free nationwide long distance on some plans and you could end up *saving* money while gainingrepparttar 117497 convenience of carrying your office phone with you while you're ferrying your kids to their after-school activities.


Start by asking yourselfrepparttar 117498 following questions:

1. How much time do I typically spend onrepparttar 117499 phone each month for business? How much time do I think I will use for personal needs? When will I be usingrepparttar 117500 phonerepparttar 117501 most? (M-F 9-5? Weekends? Evenings?)

2. Are my clients local or will I also need long distance?

3. How often do I leave my local calling area - either for business or personal reasons, and where do I go most often?

4. What extra features will I need? (These can include wireless Internet access, text messaging, free mobile to mobile calls, emergency roadside assistance, transmission of digital photos, etc. I highly recommend buying some kind of protection plan in case you lose or break your new phone - these can be lifesavers!)

Write down your answers and then visitrepparttar 117502 following website, which is a clearinghouse for all things mobile:

< http://www.WirelessAdvisor.com >

Going Mobile (Part 2): How to Get In on the Wireless Revolution -- Without Credit Checks or 2-Year Commitments

Written by Donna Schwartz Mills

This article may be used freely on your website as long as it remains intact, including author byline and resource box and links. We would appreciate it if you would notify us when it is used: < mailto:donna@parentpreneurclub.com >

Going Mobile (Part 2): How to Get In onrepparttar Wireless Revolution -- Without Credit Checks or 2-Year Commitments by Donna Schwartz Mills < http://ld.net/?americanglo >

In Part 1 of this series, we explored reasons why some home business owners choose wireless phones for their telephone needs, and how to find a carrier that works for you. (See Part 1 at < http://www.family-content.com/articles/data/20020924130604.shtml >

In that article, we focused on standard wireless service plans inrepparttar 117487 United States, whererepparttar 117488 customer agrees in advance to pay for a minimum amount of airtime monthly -- for a period of one or two years. Beforerepparttar 117489 customer signs a contract, he or she is subjected to a credit check and may be required to leave a hefty deposit to get started.

This could pose a problem forrepparttar 117490 new home-based entrepreneur who may be strapped for cash and credit poor, and making a one or two year commitment may not berepparttar 117491 wisest choice for someone inrepparttar 117492 start-up phase.

These individuals may want to check outrepparttar 117493 new prepaid plans springing up inrepparttar 117494 U.S. Most of these are using a model popular in Europe, which work like this:

* Customers buy a service package consisting of a telephone and a prepaid voucher for airtime (ranging from $10 to $25).

* Users are charged forrepparttar 117495 calls they make and receive up torepparttar 117496 amount of prepaid airtime.

* When a customer runs out of airtime, he or she can "top up"repparttar 117497 account, either by buying more time online or overrepparttar 117498 phone with a credit card or paying cash at a local store for another air time voucher.

This kind of service requires no credit checks or long-term commitments; customers may quit at any time.

Most ofrepparttar 117499 major U.S. wireless providers have introduced their own versions of this kind of system and have recently been joined by European and Australian players getting their feet wet inrepparttar 117500 American market. In fact, industry statistics indicate that this isrepparttar 117501 fastest growing segment ofrepparttar 117502 wireless market.

You should also note that evenrepparttar 117503 large national carriers may not be offering their prepaid plans in your area. Do check out their websites for more information.

Here's a rundown of some ofrepparttar 117504 prepaid plans currently offered inrepparttar 117505 U.S.:

AT&T Free2Go < http://www.attws.com/personal/prepaid/index.jhtml >

The nation's largest telecommunications company offers a dizzying array of services, including this one. When you purchase a Free2Go package at $99.99, you get a Nokia 3361 TDMA Digital multi-network phone, battery, charger & headset and a voucher worth $10 in airtime.

Once again, you need to carefully analyze your calling patterns. AT&T offers a choice of a "Home Calling Plan," which gives you one rate for local and long distance calls and another rate for roaming... and a "Nationwide Calling Plan," which gives you a higher, blanket rate (but does not charge extra for roaming).

AT&T's pricing has an additional wrinkle in that your per-minute rate will vary depending uponrepparttar 117506 amount of your prepaid vouchers. If you buy just a $10 Local Plan voucher, your airtime will cost you 50 cents per minute... but that decreases down to 12 cents per minute with a $100 voucher. Be sure you dorepparttar 117507 numbers very carefully before you buy!

One nice thing about AT&T's plan is that if you have an old phone lying around that is compatible with their network, you can just go down to one of their dealers and pick up a Free2Go Starter Kit at no cost - all you pay for is your airtime to get started!

BoostMobile < http://www.boostmobile.com/home.htm >

This Australian company is currently testing its new U.S. service in California, with plans to go national in 2003. Their youth-oriented advertising is targeted to teenagers, but that's no reason why their parents might not be interested, ifrepparttar 117508 service is good.

Boost offers a nice selection of Motorola phones onrepparttar 117509 Nextel network, which means that their service also includes Nextel's nifty Direct Connect "walkie talkie" type feature (renamed by Boost to Boost2Way). The downside of using Nextel's network isrepparttar 117510 coverage, which is not as wide as some ofrepparttar 117511 other major carriers. Boost's phones also feature some nifty games (as noted above, their target market isrepparttar 117512 teen segment).

Packages range from $99 to $399 (for a model with a color screen -repparttar 117513 better to play those games with).

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