As a long distance ... I've often wondered why people are hesitant to switch to new, lower priced, long distance ... it hit me. It's the same reason I get stuck in the tooth paste aisle
As a long distance consultant, I've often wondered why people are hesitant to switch to new, lower priced, long distance plans.
Then it hit me. It's the same reason I get stuck in the tooth paste aisle at the grocery store. There are so many tubes of toothpaste to choose from. Each with different benefits, flavors, features. I'm not a toothpaste expert. How do I know which toothpaste is best?
So I pick up the usual tube, just to avoid making a decision.
Are you doing the same thing when it comes to long distance? If so, you're missing out on the lower rates offered in today's market. Read this and get ready to shrink your long distance bill!
- Average Usage Plans -
Most of us make between fifteen minutes to two hours of long distance calls a week.
If you fit into this range, you'll get your best deal from a small long distance company. One that specializes in low per minute rates for residential and small business callers. Small companies have to compete against the big three (AT&T, Sprint, MCI). They often do so by offering lower rates.
Most small long distance companies are very dependable. They generally provide better, more personal, customer service. Most offer plans with rates under 5¢/minute.
Call quality is the same whether you're using a big or small long distance company, they all use the same fiber optic networks. There are two exceptions to this. One is international calling, which does vary from carrier to carrier. If you make international calls, find a service with experience in that field. The other exception is 'voice over internet' services, which have a reputation for poor voice quality at times.
When comparing plans that charge by the minute, look for:
1) A flat rate. The price should be the same any time of day or night.
2) No service fee. This will save you $4 to $8 up front. You may need to use a credit card, or use certain amount of service, to get this benefit.
3) Billing increments of one minute (or less), and a one minute (or less) per call minimum. Nothing should be billed in higher than one minute increments.
Avoid services that advertise a per/unit price. Don't assume 'unit' means 'minute'. It doesn't.
Avoid plans that require you to sign a multi-month or multi-year contract, and avoid plans that require you to use a certain amount of service each month. You can find low rates without these restrictions.
Do keep in mind that the primary rate long distance companies advertise is the interstate (state to state) rate. If you regularly make in-state long distance calls, be sure to check and compare those rates as well.
In part two, we'll look at high usage plans, and list some items to compare side by side when selecting a plan.
Chris Andrews is the president of Andrews 3.8¢ Long Distance. He provides free consultations to our readers. Just email your long distance questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. New customers are welcome, visit http://www.andrews.com for details.