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Mobile 101

Element Mobile Basics



Common Questions on Your Bill

What are all of those fees and what do they mean?

Federal Universal Service Charge: Wireless carriers are required by the FCC to help fund telecommunications infrastructure for low-income and rural residents, schools, libraries and outlying health-care services, and these costs are passed along to subscribers.


State Universal Service Charge: Depending on your locality, your state or local government might impose a sales tax or surcharges for wireless infrastructure, E911 service or discounted lifeline service for low-income subscribers.


Regulatory Fees: Here, you’ll find costs of federally mandated programs such as wireless-number portability, services for hearing- and speech-impaired subscribers and technology for enhanced 911 services, which track your location in case of an emergency.


Administrative Fees: Handling all these regulations and mandates takes paperwork, and your carrier passes along the cost right here. Also, if you just signed with a new carrier and your first bill packs a bit more punch than you expected, this section is the likely culprit. Carriers typically charge a one-time activation fee of $25 for new customers.

How are fees and surcharges calculated?

Flat Fees:
$1.15      Regulatory and Admin Fee – Tax Exempt
$0.08      E911 Carrier Cost Recovery – Fully Taxable
$0.75      Police and Fire Protection Fee (for first 10 services, 11th and up $.08) – Tax Exempt
$0.80      State Universal Service Charge – Fully Taxable


Percentage Fees:
3.6%      Non-Share Plan Federal Universal Service Charge (calculated on Plan charges only) – Fully Taxable
1.764%  Share Plan Federal Universal Service Charge (calculated on Plan charges only) – Fully Taxable


Taxes (Taxes – Calculated on Plan Charges, Additional Features, Usage, and Taxable Fees and Surcharges (above))

Sales Tax: 5.0% of Taxable Charges
County Tax: 0.5% of Taxable Charges (in all 8 counties we serve)
Stadium Tax: 0.5% of Taxable Charges (only in Brown County)

Note: All taxes are calculated at the individual calculation level and aggregated on the bill for the customer. Rounding discrepancies can occur if you aggregate the taxable charges and then calculate the tax.

What is a Proration Fee?

A Proration Fee is a portion of a full month of billed service. The fee is added when a customer sets up new service, adds/removes features or lines on account, or when making a mid-month rate plan changes. Post-paid customers are always being billed for a month in advance. On a customer’s first bill, you will see a pro-rated charge for a fraction of the entire bill amount as well as a full month of service charge in advance.


This is calculated by dividing the plan by the days in a month. Since there isn’t always the same amount of days each month, the full monthly service charge is divided by 28 (days) giving the per day charge for the customer’s plan.


Pro-rated charges (on first bill) are charged from the day the line(s) was set up, until the bill cycle date. Bill cycle date can be found on either the customer’s bill and while accessing their account.


Monthly Plan/28(days) = Per day charge


Per day charge X days left until bill cycle date = Pro-rated charge

What does it all mean?

Anytime Minutes: Anytime minutes, or calls that can be placed during peak hours (weekdays between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.), are the basis for any mobile phone plan. Your basic monthly plan gives you an allotment of anytime minutes per month–the more the minutes, the more expensive the plan. Be sure to keep an eye on those anytime plan minutes. You’d be surprised how easy it is to stray over your allotted minutes, and you’ll pay dearly for the oversight–25 cents a minute (40 cents for Alltel plans). Having a hard time cutting your conversations short? Trade in your old plan for one with more minutes. You’ll save money in the long term. Also, keep in mind that your carrier counts any fraction of a minute as a whole minute–that means a 5-second check of your home voicemail counts as an entire minute off your monthly allowance.


Nights and Weekends: Off-peak (or nights and weekends) minutes are for calls made outside of peak hours. They can help keep your mobile phone bill from going through the roof, but exercise them with caution. Make a note of when your night or weekend begins, and remember that if you place a call at, say, 8:59 p.m., you’ll be using your anytime minutes for the entire call. We should also point out that night and weekend minutes start at the appointed hour in the time zone you’re traveling in; for instance, if you’re an East Coaster traveling in California, your night/weekend minutes would begin at 9 p.m. Pacific time, not Eastern time.


Mobile to Mobile: Otherwise known as in-carrier calling minutes, are free minutes to anyone with the same carrier. Mobile to mobile can help cut your monthly mobile bill, especially if your friends and family use the same carrier you do.


Monthly Rate Plan: Recognize this figure? Back when you were a naive mobile phone newbie, you might’ve thought this was all you’d shell out for your monthly bill. Of course, now you know better. Anyway, this number represents the static cost of your monthly plan, including anytime, off-peak and in-carrier minutes, as well as features such as call waiting, caller ID, conference calling and voicemail.


Minute Overage Fee: Here’s where frustration comes in. Also known as a usage fee, this item typically combines the cost of any minutes you consumed above and beyond those allotted in your monthly plan (carriers also include fees for downloads, data service and text messages that aren’t covered by a the rate plan). If you chatted up a storm last month, look for your usage fee–and your entire bill–to skyrocket. Again, the best way to avoid a usage fee is to keep track of your monthly minutes and stay below the limit; or if you’re just dying to chat, you can up your allotment of minutes. You can keep track of your minute balance by calling your carrier or going to its Web site. If you have teens bopping around with their own handsets, chances are they’re too busy socializing to worry about whether they’ve used up all their monthly minutes. With prepaid mobile phone plans, your kids get only so many minutes a month; after that, their handsets go dead until they’re recharged with more cash.


Text Messaging: Did you get a monthly bucket of SMS messages to go with your monthly rate plan? If so, it’s a good idea. For as little as $4.99 a month, you can buy a pack of 200 text messages, or a charge of $19.99 a month for unlimited messaging. Did you go over your monthly allotment of text messages? Or worse yet, were you texting without a text-messaging plan? While sending and receiving a text message is a relatively cheap proposition–15 cents each to send and receive–all those text messages can add up.


Messages sent to your friends abroad won’t be included in your monthly allotment. They’ll cost more, too. They’re 25 cents per sent and received message.


Data Plans: Did you send lots of multimedia messages without a monthly plan? They can add up quickly, costing 25 cents per message. MMS are included in individual or unlimited text packages. Did you download any ring tones, wallpaper, games or applications last month? Cha-ching. Surf the Web without a data plan? Look for itemized charges, computed by the kilobyte. Alternatively, if you signed up for a data plan that lets you surf the Web or check e-mail on your handset, you’ll find the monthly charge included in the Rate plan, or per line depending on the plan chosen.


Phone Insurance: This portion of your bill includes such charges as equipment-protection (essentially insurance for your phone in case of loss or theft, or physical damage; $5 to $7 a month) and roadside-assistance plans, which provide AAA-type services such as fixing flat tires, towing and locksmiths, again for about $3 a month. Both are worthwhile investments, considering the price. When filing an insurance claim for a lost/stolen or damaged phone, a basic handset has a deductible of $50. Deductibles for Smartphones are $95.


Customers with ePlatnum insurance ($7) are also eligible for reward dollars that must be used towards the purchase of equipment. Contract Renewals, Early Upgrades and Full Retail purchases are all applicable. A customer CANNOT request the credit towards their bill. Customers also cannot use the credits they have acquired on a different M.D.N. If the cost of the phone is less than the credit then the remaining credit balance may be used towards accessories that you must charged to their bill. Notate accurately and accordingly. The credits can be used regardless if the customer has done an insurance claim. This incentive is NOT used by any other carrier out there right now! So explain the benefits and the rewards; who in their right mind would say no?


International Roaming: Have you been traveling abroad and taking advantage of your GSM handset? Good for you–just prepare to pay. While your jet-setting world phone may let you hop on to foreign networks with the greatest of ease, you’ll pay dearly for the privilege. Depending on the country you’re traveling to, expect to pay anywhere from 9 cents to a whopping $5 a minute, as well as 25 cents per incoming and outgoing text message. If you’re looking to save money while chatting abroad, check out Element Mobiles Web site, or call in to get current rates. Also, check your operator’s Web site, as it’ll have a chart detailing the roaming charges you’ll pay in dozens of countries. Element Mobile also offers international calling plans for a small monthly fee ($4 per month) that lower–but don’t eliminate–your per-minute roaming fees.


411 Service: Dialing 411 to look up an address or a phone number might be tempting when you’re on the go, but it isn’t cheap. Element Mobile charges $1.50 per 411 call, plus airtime. If you’re averaging a 411 call every day or so, that can add up to about $45 a month–ouch. Instead of dialing your operator, try using the Web browser on your phone to look up phone numbers and addresses; if you do, that data plan will quickly pay for itself.



Element Mobile’s Service Area

At Element Mobile, we’re proud to do business only in Central Wisconsin. It’s every bit as much our home as it is that of all our good friends, neighbors and customers. Our customer service area includes eight counties: Wood, Portage, Waupaca, Adams, Juneau, Green Lake, Marquette and Waushara. Of course, our coverage area is both local and nationwide. We partner with the best nationwide carriers to bring you free, unmatched nationwide service.



How to Pay Your Element Mobile Bill

Element Mobile offers several convenient ways to pay your bill, so you can pick whichever method best suits your schedule and lifestyle. You can pay in any one of our retail stores; pay over the phone; or pay online:

  • In-store: stop in at any Element Mobile store location and pay by cash, check or credit card
  • Over the phone:
    • Dial #PAY from your Element Mobile phone
    • Dial 1-800-236-1461 from any phone
  • Online: log into the My Element portal and click on the instructions link for bill paying

Talk with an Element Mobile Customer Service team member if you have any questions.



Setting Up My Element 

My Element gives you the option to pay your bill online, so you don't need to leave the comfort of your home. Just follow these instructions:


1. When you first go to My Element, click on "create a new login."

2. Enter your Invoice Number and Amount Due from a current bill, then click Continue. 

3. Follow the screen prompts to complete the transaction. 

For any questions, call 1-800-236-1461 and talk with an Element Mobile Customer Service team member. 



Voicemail Made Simple

Setting up a new voicemail box is easy! Just follow these instructions to set up your new voicemail box and retrieve old messages. For technical support, please call Element Mobile at 1-800-236-1461.


New Voicemail Setup Instructions

STEP 1 Dial 1 from your mobile device

STEP 2 Dial 0000 as a default password

STEP 3 Follow the prompts to set up your voicemail box



PRESS 1 Retrieve messages

PRESS 3 Send a message

PRESS 5 Hear mailbox ID

PRESS 7 Play date and time

PRESS 9 Set up mailbox

PRESS * Return to main mailbox

PRESS 0 Help



PRESS 1 Play

PRESS 2 Keep and play next message

PRESS 3 Delete and play next message

PRESS 4 Save as new

PRESS 5 Reply to message

PRESS 6 Forward message

PRESS 7 Skip back

PRESS 8 Pause/continue

PRESS 9 Skip forward

PRESS * Return to menu

PRESS 0 Help



PRESS 1 Listen to greeting

PRESS 2 Re-record greeting

PRESS 3 Delete greeting

PRESS 5 Pick new greeting

PRESS * Return to main menu

PRESS 0 Help



Downloadable User Manuals

Below are the links to download user manuals for all of Element Mobile's handsets. Simply click the link below to download the manual for your handset (requires Adobe Acrobat).


Standard Phones