One Star Pound Bypasses Needless Voicemail Instructions

July 30, 2009

VoicemailIt's 2009, and we all know how to leave a voicemail. We don't need explicit instructions on how to do so from a robot, yet you get just that almost every time you call someone's mobile: "To page this person, press five now. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished, you may hang up, or press one for more options." To reduce your cell minute usage and stop letting carriers waste your life with Silicon Sally's dumb monologue, you've got to know the right keystrokes. Every carrier lets you skip voicemail instructions, but the keystroke is different for each.

Blogger Jeremy Toemon runs down the three-key combo that will cover major cellphone carriers in the U.S.: One Star Pound. When you call a friend and want to leave a VM fast:

  • Step One: Push 1. If your friend is on Sprint (or possibly Verizon, but not always), this skips the greeting and you are done, skip to End. IF you hear a message that says “One is not a valid option” skip to Step Three below, otherwise continue to Step Two.
  • Step Two: Push *. If your friend is on Verizon, you’ll hear the beep, and can leave your message. Skip ahead to the end now.
  • Step Three: Push #. This works for both AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, and you’re all set to go.

So just remember One Star Pound (and listen to what happens in between). NY Times technology writer David Pogue is so incensed by carriers upping minute usage with lengthy automated messages he's launching the "Take Back the Beep" campaign. Here's how to let your feelings known to your carrier about wasting your time on the phone.

It’s so freakin hot in Seattle, I have to be a stickler and say… “It’s 2009, Cingular is long gone and otherwsie known at AT&T”

Jul 30 09 at 11:19 am

Good point–I’ll update Cingular to AT&T, thanks.

Gina Trapani [+195]
Jul 30 09 at 2:02 pm

Unrelated to the post, but I’ve always wondered why # is called ‘pound’ instead of ‘hash’ in the US, yet twitter hashtags aren’t called ‘pound tags’.

Incidentally (and in the interests of making my comment less worthless): you can press # to skip the message on Orange phones in the UK.

Martin Brook [+1]
Jul 31 09 at 3:44 am


Totally unrelated to this post but I see no submission form and too long for twitter.

I see lifehacker has recently changed their comments to show newest at the top. Huffington post also. Standard for most sites is newest at the bottom.

Have you considered which is better?
I would love a long answer or appreciate a short answer.

Ru Viljoen [+2]
Jul 31 09 at 9:16 am

Comments are closed. Thanks for reading!