Directory assistance from a wireless phone can get very expensive if used even a few times per month. The cost of dialing 411 is often priced at $1.25 or more per use. Some carriers charge as much as $3.00 per call!

The fact is, there are times when you must use directory assistance from your cell phone. Millions of people are using 411 every day, making directory assistance a multi-billion dollar industry.

There is an easy method for getting all of your directory assistance calls for free. Next time you are in a bind and need to use directory assistance from your cell phone, dial 1-800-free411 (1-800-373-3411). This service uses the same database that all the big carriers use.

The catch? Advertising. Here is how it works…

Dial 1-800-free411 and you will first listen to a short (10-15 second) ad. You will be asked if you would like to connect with the advertiser. If so, press the star (*) key and you will be connected to the advertised business. Do nothing and an automated system will ask you for city, state, etc. just like a normal 411 call.

Be sure you have a pen and paper handy to write down the number you requested. Unlike other cost-based 411 services, you will not be connected to the number you requested. (You could be connected to the advertiser however.)

Is it worth listening to a 15 second commercial to save a buck or two? Only you can decide. It sure beats having to watch 5 minutes worth of TV commercials before your television show resumes. Give it a try, 1-800-free411. Its free.

Google Also Offers Directory Assistance Service

Just as with everything else on the web it seems, Google has its hand in the directory assistance game. Its directory assistance service is also a free alternative.  At least for now there is no advertising involved. (we’ll see how long that lasts!)

To use Google’s directory assistance, simply dial Dial from any phone 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411).

A recorded voice (a Goog-411 team member) asks where you are calling from and what type of business your are looking for.  Say “pizza delivery” and the service will begin listing those types of businesses from your area.  Say the number of the recorded listing you would like and you will be automatically connected.

One nice advantage about Google’s service from a cell phone is that you can also say “text message” and the service will text message you information about the business you selected. The only cost incurred is the charge for the text message itself if it applies.

Will directory assistance services stay free without advertising? Only time will tell. It is hard to imagine Google (or any other for-profit company) not trying to squeek some revenue out of an already multi-billion dollar industry. Then again, Google always seems to beat to different drummer so it is hard to bet against them. Below is the official video demo put out by Google.