Save money on 411 info calls.

411 Directory Assistance can cost a bundle!

You might not realize it unless you’re in the habit of closely examining your cell phone bill, but cellular service providers charge a lot for “411” calls (calls you make to local — or national — directory assistance by dialing 411).

Here are the fees that some of the top carriers charge for each call to 411:

Note that you are using your minutes (“airtime”) each time you call 411 — so if you call from a roaming area, you could be charged 40 cents or 60 cents or more for each minute you’re on the phone with 411 — in addition to the above charges. Ouch!

At these rates, it makes a lot of sense to use an SMS-based search service like Google SMS instead of dialing 411. SMS-based 411 inquiries are free, except for the SMS charges, so you can save a dollar or more for each lookup you do via text instead of calling directory assistance.

For example, suppose you want to find a local flower shop. A call to Cingular 411 costs $1.50 plus airtime — and the operator might not give you the number and address of a shop unless you know its name first.

But if you send an SMS to Google saying “florist 90210” you might get 3 messages back from Google, each of which has the name, address, and phone number of a different florist. For a total of 4 SMS messages (the one you sent plus the 3 you receive) Cingular will charge you 40 cents.

That’s a savings of $1.10 — plus you’re not using any airtime — and you get three times as much information. Now that’s a strong argument for using SMS!

About Dylan Tweney

I'm the publisher of and of several other sites, including daily haiku/micropoetry site In my day job, I'm an editor.
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12 Responses to Save money on 411 info calls.

  1. Anonymous says:

    The best directory assistance that I’ve ever tried is 1-800-411-SAVE. I actually talked to a live person. Besides that, their operators are very generous and were’nt rushing at all. They even connected me. To think its free, the service was really amazing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I called 411 Save, and it cured my cancer! And then I called 411 Save and they stopped the Iraq war….

    yeah yeah. Spamming for dollars. Please, stop the BS comments. We can tell its from the same pathetic marketing department.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, using 1-800-411-SAVE for directory assistance is indeed a way of saving money. Live friendly operators give out accurate phone numbers in one click. Aside from being free, their service is fast and all you have to do is listen to a short advertisement. I’ve tried it once and I’m sure that this service is what I’ll be using in the next coming days. It’s for you to try it.

  4. phil2009 says:

    It’s great you guys love 1-800-411SAVE. I personally wanna commend this service also… the live operators are way too cool versus dumb machines! I love it to pieces!

  5. PhilSavior says:

    It’s never too late to change sides… 1800411SAVE is the best… you get free services and the operators are great… are you sure your onthe right side?

  6. pizzaboy says:

    I tried 1-800-411-SAVE. you only listen for a second to an ad but it works and they found my listing. This is wonderful.

  7. phil2120 says:

    I hate to use this opportunity to vent, but some things just really bug me.  Ever call FREE DA and get stuck talking to a computer?  Why do companies always insist on taking the human touch out of customer service? I heard about 800-411-SAVE and they use people.  They are quick to answer, friendly, and always understand what I need. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    I tried free411 and 411 save, and could not get an operator or a text message too. I looked for a florist in bowling green (i liked that example, lol). 800TheInfo got that and sent an SMS, so I called back and mumbled and they actually had an operator.

    I pick that one over a straight sms service

  9. Anonymous says:

    Try using 1800-411-SAVE. You can request for business, residential and government listings. It’s also operator assisted making it much more easier rather than talking to a machine. Check out their video

  10. jules says:

    If you call 1-800-The Info, you can do just that. Request a category, and then narrow it down by a neighborhood or search the entire city for a type of listing. Florist, Taxi, or request a specific type of cuisine.

    This service will also send you a text with the number and the address for free, allowing you to have your SMS as well.

    I have tried it and the service is great. If you have trouble, they roll you quickly to an operator.

  11. Dylan says:

    Yes, but then you wouldn’t be using SMS!

    Sometimes it is actually more convenient to text. For instance, 411 operators often won’t give you information unless you already know the name of a business — you can’t just say “give me the phone number of a florist in Bowling Green Ohio.” With Google SMS, you can do that — and you’ll get several answers to choose from.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Or, you could try 1-800-free411 …

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