Left Coasters Buy East Coast Phones For Better Nights And Weekends?

George H. sent us this little note, suggesting a possible way to get better nights and weekends time from your cell phone:

    A comment on Ask MetaFilter doesn’t include any supporting documentation, but if true it could be a good way for people on the west coast to save some cash.

    I recall one of the TWiTs mentioning that they got their cell phone on a trip to Rhode Island, even though they live in California, so their “Nights and Weekends” start hours earlier.

We’re posting this more for curiosity’s sake. How would that work? We could see it working if you kept your Rhode Island number, but if you plugged in a California SIM card into it, wouldn’t your nights and weekends again be measured by local time? The alternative seems to be to always pay long distance and roaming charges to call your local friends.

Anyone have any information on this? We smell bunk, but if it isn’t (and doesn’t involve roaming charges and ubiquitous long distance calls) then it might be a sweet tip.


Edit Your Comment

  1. John Stracke says:

    My plan has unlimited roaming & LD, but not with unlimited airtime. So, yeah, I could see it.

  2. Cell phones receive time-stamps from the local towers and the call placed through the tower would register on that tower’s time zone, so I don’t think this would work.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Drew writes:

    “I still haven’t changed my Sprint PCS number, though I moved to St. Louis from New York in 2003 (if everybody has a cell phone, the long ditance is free). My plan (and voicemail) still run in EST, so I get an extra hour of nighttime. Whee! “

  4. Ben Popken says:

    Omri writes:

    “For what it’s worth, I have a back East (Pittsburgh) phone number and have lived in Los Angeles for three years. I use Sprint, and I definitely gain no night and weekend benefits from having an EST number.

    The Sprint “knows” that I have a back East account, because on my voicemail the time that the automatic voice says a call came in is always in EST. But for purposes of billing, they always use the local time of wherever I am when I make or receive I took the call.

    I know from experience that night and weekend minutes only begin for me in CA when local time hits 9pm.

    But to try to figure out how the Spring billing system is recording things: I was in Chicago for a bit last month, and I just checked my local call log on my cell phone (which is obviously in whatever the local time is) against my statement from last month and they matched up. So the Spring billing system works on whatever local time you’re in – forget where your SIM card is registering (I’m actually using a CDMA phone so no SIM card, but whatever) or where your area code is.

    It also makes no sense why night and weekend plans would use a static area code. If anything, it’s _easier_ for the billing system to just get the local time from the cell phone tower that your cell phone checks into when it enters a new zone. Then all it has to do is record the information. It would take extra work to accomplish the financially disadvantageous system whereby they billed you based on where your area code works.”

  5. ValkRaider says:

    This is dumb. I know for a fact it goes on local time – NOT on where you plan originates. I travel a lot for work and my “free” hours ALWAYS start and end in the local time zone I am in – with no connection whatsoever to my home time zone.

  6. Das Ubergeek says:

    Verizon even say in the small print that it’s based on the local time zone of the tower you’re using… so if you’re near a time zone split, you could get burned.