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Voicemail service is a network-enabled mobile phone service that automatically answers your incoming calls, when you cannot answer them personally. You will have to set when you want your incoming calls to be forwarded to your voicemail box. Your voicemail messages will be saved in your voicemail box for a limited time from two to up to 30 days depending on the network.

Voicemail will greet your caller with a default message or a message you recorded yourself and then record your caller’s message with date and time. The voicemail recording time is limited, usually 60 seconds.

Some useful situations were voicemail might be useful include:

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    • When Busy: while you are answering another call


    • When there is no reply: you cannot answer call maybe in a meeting or in church


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    • When phone is off or you are out of network coverage: maybe in the village or a flat battery (RECOMMENDED)

Before you can use voicemail, you must first activate the voicemail service in your mobile phone SIM using the appropriate voicemail code from your mobile network. You will then set when your incoming calls would be diverted to your voicemail. You will have to select one of three options given above.

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Once your voicemail is active, your incoming calls will be forwarded to your voicemail whenever you cannot answer your calls as a result of the set situation.

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In Nigeria, many people have some misconceptions about voicemail. Some Nigerians think that voicemail is billed similarly to normal call. For example, some people switch off their phones once they hear voicemail response, there aim being to save their credit.

Voicemail does not bill you until you hold the phone till the beep. Normally when you call someone with voicemail active, the call will be forwarded to his/her voicemail, if he/she cannot respond to the call. You will then here something like Your call is being forwarded to voicemail. This will be repeated about three times and then you will hear something like Please record your message after the beep.

After a while, you will hear a beep. It is only after the beep that you should start recording your voicemail message; you have a maximum of about 60 seconds to do that. Note that you will not be billed (especially within the same network) until after the beep. So if you do not want to leave a message drop the phone before the beep. To record a voicemail, simply speak to your mobile phone speaker after the beep.

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The charge for voicemail is flat. After the beep you will be charged a flat fee irrespective of how long you voicemail message lasts. The fee will vary between N10 and 20 Naira in Nigeria depending on network. Note however, that you have limited time to record a voicemail, usually a maximum of 60 seconds.

So next time you hear a voicemail response, do not hang-up except if you have to. Voicemail gives you an opportunity to leave a message for the person you are calling when the person cannot answer.

If you decide to record a voicemail message, you first tell the recipient who you are, then say why you are calling and you may ask the person to flash or call you when they return.

How to access voicemail messages stored for your phone

When you have a new voicemail, you will hear a beep, or a ring tone, you may also receive an SMS informing you of a new voicemail message. You will then have to dial your voicemail number to read the message. Your voicemail number will be provided by your network and is the same for all mobile phones on the network.

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Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article WHAT IS VOICEMAIL was written by Paschal Okafor. The article was last modified: July 30th, 2019

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