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Long Distance

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Welcome to Long Distance 101
Your information center for Long Distance Calling

Phone Card Questions Click Here Cellular Questions Click Here

Section: 1
How to find the best calling plan for your needs

Section: 2
FAQ Common phone service questions and answers

Section: 3
Long Distance terms broken down into simple english

 

Section: 1

How to find the best long distance plan for your needs

The purpose of this exercise, is to figure out your AVERAGE long distance call usage per month. This is VERY easy.
Locate your last 2 long distance phone bills and add your total minutes on all long distance calls made out of state. Now devide this number by 2
Add togther your total minutes on all long distance calls made within your state, Now devide this number by 2

We will use the state of Wisconsin in our example.  Rates will vary some depending on which state you live in

Month Long Distance Call Minutes Wisconsin to Florida Long Distance Call Minutes in within Wisconsin

Janurary Phone Bill

117 277

Feburary Phone Bill

183 153

150 Minutes Average Per Month

215 Minutes Average Per Month

Note: If you make international calls, break these calls down the exact same way as regular long distance calls
If you make frequent international calls, please view our prepaid phonecards for the lowest rate guaranteed

Example Time - Using the information above

Interstate: 150 minutes per month
Intrastate: 215 minutes per month

Opex Value Plus long distance

Opex Value Plus 2.7 cent Plan
2.7 cents interstate
1.9 cents intrastate for Wisconsin

Monthly Fee $.00
No Contracts - Month to Month
Billing: Automatic

150 minutes X 3.9  cents/min  = $ 4.05
215 minutes X 4.9 cents/min  = $ 4.08
View Sample Phone Bill
Grand Total: $9.09

More information

Pioneer Telephone long distance

Pioneer Telephone Ratebuster 2.7 cent Plan
2.7 cents interstate
3.4 cents intrastate for Wisconsin

Monthly Fee $.00
No Contracts - Month to Month
Billing: Automatic

150 minutes X  2.7 cents/min  = $ 4.05
215 minutes X  3.4 cents/min   = $ 7.31
View Sample Phone Bill
Grand Total: $12.13

More information

Talk America long distance

Talk America 5 cent long distance
5 cents interstate
4.9 cents intrastate for Wisconsin

Monthly Fee  5.00.
No Contracts - Month to Month
Billing: Mailed phone bill

150 minutes X 5 cents/min  = $ 7.50
215 minutes X 4.9 cents/min   = $ 10.53
View Sample Phone Bill
Grand Total: $24.29

More information

 

Now you are ready to find the best deals
Good luck in finding the best plan for YOU

View All Plans

Long Distance Calculator

Have a question or need help? Use our Customer Care Button at top of this page


Section: 2

Q and A  ( These are actual questions received by us )


Internet Phone Service
I see allot of commercials for internet phone companies like Vonage, Verizon Voicewing, Yak Voice, etc.
For about $25 a month I can get everything, local and unlimited long distance. Should I switch?

While Internet phone service "VOIP" has improved significantly over the past year, you may be better off keeping traditional phone service.
Voip phone service sound quality is comparable in many cases to cell phone sound quality.
While we do carry both plans, here are a few things to consider:

Your will need additional equipment to use this service.
If your electric power goes out, you will not have any phone service
If your internet service goes out, you will not have any phone service
Many of these internet phone service companies also require a 1 year contract.

Unless you talk over 2000 minutes a month in long distance, you will not see a significant savings


Local and Long Distance on one phone bill
Recently my local phone company started to offer local and long distance on 1 bill.  What should I look for to see if it is right for me?

Many local phone companies have now been approved to offer local & long distance in the market. Your best bet would be to use our rate formula from section 1 to determine if this plan will indeed save you money.

Everyone likes the idea of one less bill in the mail.

1. Check to see if there are any monthly fees or monthly minimums.
2. Look to see if you are signing a 6 or 12 month contract. Many new plans now require this, this will be the fine print at the bottom of the offer.
3. Compare Intrastate & Interstate rates against your current provider.

If your are saving $2.00 a month on your local phone bill, yet paying higher rates or higher monthly fees, its not worth switching.
If their rate per minute is at least 2 cents a minute cheaper than your current plan, give it a try.
It always pays to do some research on your current plan to see if you will notice a savings on your long distance calling.


Cable Long Distance
My cable company is now offering local and long distance together along with my cable bill.
Their local phone service is about 15.00 a month, my local phone company is about $20.00 a month. I would save $60.00 a year
What do I need to know about Cable Phone Service?

Many cable companies are now offering these cable local & long distance plans to increase subscriber growth in the market.
They do seem to have a larger local calling area than most all local phone service providers. This is a plus. Local Toll Charges are expensive.
Their package plans including local and long distance rate plans do not seem very competitive.
Most of their package plans are from 5 to 7 cents a minute for long distance and some have monthly fees attached.

Many Cable Phone Service carriers will now allow you to keep your current long distance carrier the same and only switch your local service to Cable Phone Service.

We have heard the voice quality is better than some of the newer Internet Phone Service plans, like Vonage or other VOIP internet phone plans.
While we do carry Cable Long Distance plans, here are a few things to consider:

Your may need additional equipment to use this service.
If your electric power goes out, you will not have any phone service
If your internet service goes out, you will not have any phone service
If you want to keep your current phone number, they do charge a 1 time fee of about $10.00 for this
Cable Phone Service companies may require a 6 month or 1 year contract

If you can get a Long Distance rate under 5 cents a minute with no monthly fees & save 5.00 a month, it may be worth looking into


Long Distance Companies
While looking through all the plans, I notice long distance plans like OPEX, Unitel, Cognistate, etc.
I have never heard of these companies. Is the call quality the same?
They do have lower rates yet I am afraid to switch to them.


Most all of these smaller phone companies lease long distance lines from the major carriers including AT&T MCI & Sprint. Its the same call quality as the name brand carrier, without the name brand price. Since these smaller carriers do not run commercials on TV, or mail you free phone cards, they can offer lower rates very close to their wholesale cost. Now bear in mind, most of these smaller carriers only offer online sign-up, and their customer support may only be from 8 to 5 pm. If you do not call your long distance company every week at 6 am. you will see no difference in call quality or change in the way you place your calls.


Switching Fees
I signed up for your long distance service, and no where was there notice
of a charge for switching carriers.  Is there a charge?

Yes. About $4 to $10 One Time Charge
Most all local phone companies charge the customer a (switching fee) to change to any new long distance provider.
Your local phone company charges you a fee for you to switch, not your new long distance carrier.


The Big Switch
 I would like to know, how long would it take before the new long distance plan, would be my new long distance company.
You asked the 10,000 dollar question. It all depends on many things.
1. How fast the long distance company completes your application and sends it to your local phone company. (1-2 days)
2. How fast your local phone company completes the change to the new long distance company. (1-3 days)
Generally speaking anywhere from 2-5 business days before your new long distance plan is active


Intrastate & Interstate
You claim long distance is 4.9 cents per minute, yet your intrastate chart
notes various charges.....what gives???

In the long distance world, there are 2 different rates for long distance.
 
1. Interstate: The rate every long distance company advertises as their long distance rate.
    Interstate means From State to State. Example: Call to New York from Colorado
 
2. Intrastate:  Calling within your State. Example:  Calling from Yonkers New York, To Buffalo New York.
This is also called a toll call.

Most of the time it costs more to call someone long distance within your state than to call out of state.
This has to do with the local phone companies
and the contracted price the long distance company negotiated with the state.


High Intrastate Rates
Why are Intrastate rates ( Calls within your state ) Higher than Interstate rates ( Calls out of your state )?

That's a very good question, with a very lengthy answer. We have researched this question heavily, and this is the information we found out.

Intra-state rates are controlled by your state's Public Utility Commission. The PUC controls what the Local phone companies or (LEC)s can charge the long distance carriers to use their lines to originate and terminate calls within your state. The Local phone companies  have a max-min range they can work within.  Some local phone companies, realize the importance of keeping their customers happy and that keeping their "intrastate" rates low, will only benefit them in the long term. The greedy local phone companies, charge the highest rates allowed to other long distance companies to encourage their customers not to use anyone other than the local  phone companies "preferred" long distance carrier, so the other smaller long distance companies must accept those term charges in their instate rates - driving them higher.  If your are upset  about the high in-state rates for your state, watch for PUC "Notice of Hearing" announcements that must be published in your local papers, and participate in the rate-setting process (the public is always invited to formally register their objections to proposed rate increases).

 

Section: 3
Glossary Telephone Terms

What is the Presubscribed Interchange Carrier Charge? ( PICC FEE )
The Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge is a charge that long distance
companies pay to local telephone companies to help them recover the costs of
providing the "local loop." Local loop is a term that refers to the outside telephone
wires, underground conduit, telephone poles, and other facilities that link each
telephone customer to the telephone network.

The monthly service fee that consumers pay for local telephone service is not
enough to cover all of the costs of the local loop. Historically, the local telephone
companies have recovered the shortfall through per-minute charges to long
distance companies. Now, however, part of these costs are recovered through
flat-rated charges to long distance companies, who use the local networks to
complete their long distance calls. Because the costs of the local loop do not
depend on usage, this flat-rated charge better reflects the local telephone
company's costs of providing service.

A long distance company pays this charge for each residential and business
telephone line presubscribed to that long distance company. If a consumer or
business has not selected a long distance company for its telephone lines, the
local telephone company may bill the consumer or business for the Presubscribed
Interexchange Carrier Charge.


On the plus side, many carriers now do not charge this fee to residential customers. Check with the plan for confirmation


PIC Freeze
Many local telephone companies offer a "PIC freeze" service. The PIC freeze allows a customer to block any change of their telephone company without the customer's written authorization. In order to minimize any unauthorized changes that would disrupt your long distance service, STAR69.NET recommends that you consider this option. Your local telephone company can provide you with assistance regarding this service.


Slamming
A word about Slamming
"Slamming" is a term used to describe any practice that changes a consumer's long distance carrier without the customer's knowledge or consent. Slamming is the single biggest category of telephone complaints handled by the FCC.


Federal Universal Service Fee
Effective November 1st, 1999, the FCC has mandated that ALL long distance carriers levy a "Universal Service Fund Surcharge" (USF)  on all inter-state, intra-state, and international traffic (proceeds are contributed to the High Cost/Low Income Fund, Schools, Libraries, and Rural Health Care). For more information, please go to the FCC website
Click Here


Intralata Calls
Toll calls made entirely within a LATA are referred to as "local toll calls" or, Intralata calls.
Generally your local telephone company carries and bills those calls and rates vary depending on when the calls are placed. Some local telephone companies allow customers to choose another company to carry local toll calls.
We encourage you to check the rates that your local telephone company charges before you choose  any other carrier to take those calls. Consult your local telephone company or the "white pages" in your phone book to determine where these areas are.

 

 


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