Telephone Services and
Telecommunications for Truck Drivers

While telephone services and telephones can be a professional truck driver's lifeline for business and personal use, they vary greatly in quality and availability. Which work best and which are the best bargain?

Finding a Telephone on the Road

Angled shot of land line pay phone. Enter just about any truckstop at the professional drivers' entrance and you'll see a row of telephones on the wall. In some truckstop restaurants, you can still see a telephone is installed in at least a few booths. The reason is obvious: professional truck drivers need to communicate.

Back when we first started driving an 18-wheeler, we had a Motorola satellite communication system in our truck through which we were supposed to receive and transmit data, including load information. It was a shame that our first fleet manager (Randy) preferred that we use a telephone to call the company's toll-free number to get our loads.
Have a great idea for frugal telephone services or telecommunications? Share it!

After one particularly tiring day of driving, we were waiting on a new load assignment. Mike lost count of the number of times he heard Randy say, "I don’t have anything; call me back in an hour." One's patience starts to wear really thin after calling back for the third or fourth time and getting the same result!

Although the situation may have improved since we were teaming, some shippers and consignees don't make it easy for professional drivers to use their telephones on the premises. Areas designated for drivers are not commonplace. So, we had to use any telephone we could find to stay in touch with our company.

Believe it or not, we put up with this "find a phone" situation for a long time.

While we may have eventually gotten a mobile or cellular phone just for dealing with our company, that wasn't the motivation behind why we got one.

The Event that Led Up to our First Telephone Service on the Road

Cell phone in hand If you've ever been in an emergency situation, you know that nothing can replace having a telephone with you. Such was the case late one night when we were traveling south on I-85 toward Charlotte, NC. We noticed that the driver of a car, also heading south, was weaving all over the road. He was obviously drunk or strung out on drugs. ("Yikes, honey, did you see that? He just barely missed that concrete barricade?!")

To prevent a very serious accident, we attempted -- but were unsuccessful -- in getting the attention of law enforcement on Channels 9 and 19 on the CB radio. We couldn't even locate another truck driver with a cell phone who could relay the information via 911 to law enforcement.

We ended up pulling into the rest area near Concord and calling in the driver from a pay telephone. We never saw the driver again and hope he didn't wreck. But we were so shaken by the experience that we decided that the next time we went back home, we would get telephone service with nationwide coverage.

Our First Cell Phone Service

Back in the early 1990s, mobile telephone services were not as readily available as they are today. We had a hard time finding a service that met our needs, but ended up contracting with Cingular (which at that time was not part of AT&T), because they had cell phones that had both digital and analog coverage.

We didn't plan to use the telephone services much, which was a good thing because being as how we traveled all over the country, we would have incurred hefty roaming charges away from our home area. Thankfully, cell phone coverage has greatly improved since then.


Numerous telephone services and telephones -- each having pros and cons -- are available to let you stay in touch with both business and personal contacts. Among them are:
  • Cell, cellular and mobile telephones;
  • Calling cards;
  • Toll-free numbers;
  • VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet Protocol) phone service;
  • Magic Jack;
  • Prepaid cell phones such as TracFone; and
  • Satellite telephones.
Little girl holding out phone.

Mike Simons wearing his headset and on his cell phone. On the linked pages, you'll find out which ones we've used and which we consider to be the best. As is the case with most technology, however, we haven’t tried everything available, so we’d like to have your feedback on which telephone services and telephones work best for you and why, on the form at the bottom of this page.

We address texting and cell phone use while driving. 

We will also be discussing other forms of telecommunications used by truck drivers. Furthermore, we plan to have input from experts in the field to help you save as much money as possible.

Money saving tip Money saving tip: No matter what kind of telephone services or telephones you are considering getting that allow you to make calls away from home, check on such things as:
  • activation fees,
  • contract period,
  • cancellation fees,
  • service period vs. airtime,
  • coverage area,
  • roaming charges,
  • plan's number of minutes per month,
  • cost of additional minutes,
  • cost of additional telephones and lines (such as for family members),
  • cost of additional services (such as sending text messages),
  • billing increments (for example: 6 seconds vs. 1 minute),
  • required accessories (headset, charger, belt clips, etc.),
  • number of "anytime" minutes,
  • number of night and weekend minutes, and
  • all other fees, including a fee for using a pay phone.

You may use the form below to submit a tip, idea, opinion, review, or question on this subject.

Have A Great Idea for Frugal Telephone Services or Telecommunications?

Do you have a great idea about telephone services or telecommunications that truck drivers can use and save money at the same time? Share it!

Telephone Services and Telecommunications Ideas Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see telephone services and telecommunications ideas from other visitors to this page...

Add GPS, Podcasting, and radio to your cell phone 
All smart phones have applications you can download for individual local radio stations as well as NPR where you can listen when you have a connection. …

Wireless modem 
You may have to download the driver from the website to a computer first, then connect a cord to the phone to upload if your provider blocks it. Look for …

Compare cell phone plans Not rated yet
Why is it good to occasionally compare cell phone plans? Because cell phone companies sometimes introduce plans with features that work out better for …

boost mobile prepaid service  Not rated yet
I have had boost mobile for about 2 years. They use the Sprint network. They are reasonably priced at 50 dollars a month for unlimited phone, text, Internet. …

Portable wireless WI/Fi and Phone service Not rated yet
I don't have actual experience doing this.. but, I am thinking of going OTR again (I drove for 10 years.. have been off the road for the last 5yrs)... …

Learn Spanish over the road Not rated yet
CD programs for Spanish such as "Drive-Time Spanish" would allow you to play lessons when the road is empty out in the desert. The program gives the English …

Use your satellite television over the road Not rated yet
You probably saw a satellite antenna adapted to slide into a PVC pipe hanging on a side mirror of a semitruck. Aim this antenna towards Texas anywhere …

Television on your cell phone Not rated yet
In your applications store on an Iphone or in the Android Marketplace on your Droid phone, download to watch Beverly Hillbillies, NCIS, Star Trek, …

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All information on this site is intended for informational and educational purposes.
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