Check Your Used Cell Phone Minutes For AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint

Since the Sunrocket demise in July, we have been living with just a cell phone – no landline or VoIP – and it’s actually worked out pretty well. I like the simplicity. We haven’t had any overage problems, but I did tend to check a lot in the beginning to make sure. Here are some easy ways to to check your remaining minutes for several cell phone providers:

AT&T (Cingular)
Dial *MIN# (*646#)
AT&T Firefox plugin (might currently be broken)

Verizon
Dial #MIN (#646)
Verizon Firefox plugin

T-Mobile
Dial #MIN# (#646#) or dial 611 + say “minutes”
T-Mobile Firefox plugin

Sprint Nextel
Dial *4 or dial *2 + say “minutes used”
Sprint Firefox plugin (not currently working for me)

Then there is the Windows desktop application WatchMyCell, which logs into your online account page for you and tracks how many minutes you have left. It will even send you an text message or e-mail whenever you’ve reached your chosen threshold.

Now, all of these automatic methods will require your username and password. Although I’ve done some digging and found nothing obvious, I can’t be sure none of them are doing anything shady. I would at least change your password to something unique to the site. Personally, I just program the number as a contact. Let me know if I missed anything.

Comments

  1. I have always felt the safest way is to log on to your online account and check your minutes. Also, pretty much all of the carriers still charge you for the time you call in to check your minutes.

  2. If you have a web enabled phone with Verizon you can go to my account on your phone and check your minutes for free.

  3. I would love to ditch my land line too but I use it for dsl. I imagine you use cable (and have cable TV)? Let me know if you did any bits on how to get internet without phone or cable TV service…..I haven’t checked to see if you can do that…

  4. you can also check t-mobile minutes by dialing #999#. I don’t think I could give up my land line though — speaking inside my home with a cellphone rarely works well.

  5. Thad, many of the telcos around the country are starting to offer “naked DSL”, which is DSL without a usable telephone line. Of course, the phone company still has to install a circuit, but I think they have it setup in their switches to not allow calls.

    You might see if your phone company provides a measured calling line in your area. Here with ATT in the Houston area, a measured line is around $30 with taxes and fees, and DSL can be done on that line. There are restrictions on calls on the measured line, but you can contact your phone company for more info.

  6. Thad,

    I have DSL without a land line. I get mine through Covad reseller in my area. YOu may have to search around to find one in your area but look to see if they sell Dedicated Line DSL. This type of service does not require you to have a phone number with the local telco since they run a NEW Dedicated line to your house just for DSL instead of utilizing line sharing. This allowed me to drop Verizon completely in favor of VoicePulse VOIP phone service!

    Good luck in you fight against Big telco! :)
    Here is an example of what I am talking about.
    http://www.speakeasy.net/home/onelink/

    CARLO.

  7. Graham Lutz, The Young Capitalist says:

    I’m fired up about the AT&T Firefox PLugin! I didn’t know that existed! One more thing I can accomplish with just my computer!

  8. Great blog. I stumbled upon this a few weeks ago and have really enjoyed reading your posts. I also suffered from the demise of sunrocket, and considered going to just our cell phones.

    Have you checked out magicjack.com? Unlimited voip phone service for a year for only 39.95. I moved over to Net2Phone as they honored the rest of my Sunrocket contract (11 months), but a friend of mine just got Magicjack and has no complaints!

  9. Thad,

    You should check to see if your ISP offers dry loop DSL service.

    A home or business can have dry loop DSL without needing a land-line phone or pay local service charges. It’s not available everywhere but it’s worth a shot if you prefer to use only a cell phone.

  10. I did buy MagicJack and did a review on it. I have since stopped using it though. I might start again if I have an extra computer later on.

    More and more telcos are offering dry-loop (or naked DSL) as Andrew said. I do have cable modem myself. Also, if you must have a landline ask to switch to the barest minimum plan – sometimes only about $10-$15 a month including taxes.

  11. 10KPortfolio says:

    Thanks for the tips. I usually don’t check my minutes but this may help get me to start.

  12. Personally I have gotten by without a phone line at home for about 3-4 years. I picked up a family plan and gave everyone phones (including my 7yo daughter) and consistently my phone bill is less than it was before hand. It’s cheaper for me to pay for the extra line charges and just leave a phone plugged into a charger at home than it is to put in the landline.

    Yes, I get internet through the cable company, WITHOUT any TV. I don’t watch TV enough to bother paying for it and just use the bunny ears when I am bored and want to watch ‘something’. I do have a 300+ movie collection, but that was built over time while I still had cable service anyways. Unfortunately I am too far from the central office to get DSL of any type anyways.

    Magicjack is ok, it works MOST of the time, but I don’t like the fact that they keep saying ‘you can change your number in October, no November, No December’ bit. Make up their mind already. I am just happy staying with my old number since they will never have a Hawaii area code anyways. It freaks people out when I call them from Seattle and I am next door. My computer is on all the time anyways, but I don’t always plug it in as it tends to hog memory.

    T-Mobile doesn’t charge you to call #MIN#, I do it all the time and not once have I been billed.

  13. Google is biding on some of the wireless spectrum that the FCC is auctioning off. This would allow Google to provide more services such as web and wireless device for the web (or phone). I think this is great since it should allow for more competition in that market and hopefully bring down prices for consumers. I’m all about affordable mobile plans!

  14. AOL’s BillManager can do something similar for T-Mobile users.

    Because it is from AOL, I have a slightly higher degree of confidence in providing tmo username to them than to these other entities.

    https://billmanager.aol.com

    I use it and absolutely like it.

  15. If you decide to forgo a land line, even just a local one, then be sure to register for your local reverse 911 (as they only call land lines unless you register your cell) and identify a local payphone in case of emergencies. You could also consider getting friendly with your neighbor and borrowing their line in cases of emergency. After the last earthquake in CA, the cell phone towers were quite busy and getting through required a few attempts. Land lines are good when there are power outages, too, as the local phone station will switch to generator whereas not all cell phone towers will be operational.

    I’m all for being frugal, but having studied VoIP and wireless telco networks in grad school, it’ll be a while before I will consider going to cell only… I think of the land line as insurance.

  16. I don’t think it uses minutes for any of these numbers, but I may be wrong. I know for sure that *4 via Sprint is free.

    MagicJack also is a bit off sometimes because my computer sleeps to save energy when I do not use it. Sometimes it doesn’t spring back to life right away. I just didn’t use it enough to justify plugging it in all the time.

  17. Or you could use Yodlee, which you should be doing anyway. Yodlee has a minutes tracker on it and will email you when you get close to your monthly quota.

  18. For iPhone users on AT&T there is an app called QuickMin by Wildboom – it checks your minutes balance daily and simply pushes it to the app icon badge. You don’t even have to log in to check your minutes. It even alerts users when they are below a certain number of minutes.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quickmin/id370942162?mt=8

    http://www.wildboom.com/our-work/quickmin

  19. There should be an app to check your usage for minutes and web.

  20. Herman Bell says:

    I had A friend on my account and she went with her kids and it saved me a good bit, what I need to know how I am doing with my plan.
    I don’t have roll over minutes on my plan.
    Please let me know how I am doing since I do not have roll over minuets.
    Tell me how my minuets are doing.

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