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Don't waste Anytime minutes to check your Verizon voicemail

Update 11/30/2009: Apparently this is an old trick. So old, in fact, that Verizon has long since gotten wise to it and prevented it from working. I just checked my latest bill, and this trick is not working. I just checked a few forums, and it looks like Verizon locked this down a few years ago. Sorry!

By default, Verizon Wireless phones are programmed to call *86 to check voicemail. This counts as a regular call, so if you call it during peak hours, you're using up your Anytime minutes.

Here's a screenshot from my current bill, where I'm using minutes to check voicemail:


To avoid using precious minutes to check your voicemail, change the voicemail number in your phone to your 10-digit phone number. This will appear as a Verizon mobile-to-mobile (M2M) call, which never counts against your minutes. To change the stored number:
  1. Open Contacts
  2. Highlight the Voicemail contact
  3. Select Edit
  4. Change the number from *86 to your 10-digit phone number
  5. Save the contact
  6. Test by calling the Voicemail contact. You should be prompted for your voicemail password.
From now on, the Usage Type should be M2MAllow, not PlanAllow. After I read about this online, I called Verizon Wireless Customer Service, who confirmed it.

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