Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lower Rate Long Distance Options

Want to save money on your phone bill quickly and easily? Simply switch to a lower cost long distance service.

What? Didn't that ship sail years ago? How can you expect to save money on phone service without buying a bundle or changing to VoIP?

Surprisingly, the newest technology options aren't always the cheapest. Good old analog telephone service works just fine for many users. It's especially good if you have only one or two phone lines and your Internet service is a bit flaky.

Domestic long distance rate finder. Click to see how much you can save.Not everybody needs unlimited local and long distance calling. That's because not all of us hang on the phone all day. You may think you're getting peace of mind by having no limits on how much you can talk and not change your monthly phone bill. But how much of a premium are you paying to have that luxury?

Try this. Keep a phone log for a week. Just write down every time you pick up the phone to make a call and how many minutes you talk. Don't worry about incoming calls. With most standard landline plans incoming calls are free.

So who did you call and for how long? Are most of your calls local? How long are they? Or, do you mostly call out of state? This isn't just a game. Your calling pattern really makes a difference.

Here's a suggestion. Check out the cheapest service from your local phone company and see what it costs. Now, use the domestic long distance rate finder tool to price out competing long distance plans. You enter the first 6 digits of your phone number, which identifies the phone company office you are using. Then, from your log, enter the number of minutes you call in-state long distance and state to state on a monthly basis. If you logged for a week, just multiply those numbers by 4 to get a monthly estimate. Click the "Get Long Distance Rate Now" button and you'll see the results.

Since I'm not a big caller, I entered 60 minutes for in-state minutes and 120 minutes for out of state calls. The best deal for this arrangement on a residential line is Pioneer with a total bill of $6.22 for long distance service per month.

You see correctly. It's $6.22, not some enormous bill. That's with 3 hours of calling. There are months when I'm not on the phone calling long distance numbers even that much.

Click on the total bill amount (it's a link) and you'll get a breakdown of the cost. For the search I just ran, it's $3.24 for the 60 interstate minutes (state to state) and $1.14 for the 30 intrastate (in-state) long distance minutes. Add the federal taxes and fees plus a 99 cent monthly and the total adds up to $6.22. This doesn't include state or local excise taxes, which are too many and varied for this tool to deal with. These tend to be the same for every service, so comparisons between carriers will still be valid.

What's with the 99 cent fee? That's due to low usage. If you spend more than $15 a month for long distance calls, that fee disappears. Some carriers charge these fees. Others don't. It doesn't matter, because what you are looking for is the lowest total cost each month. A competitive carrier like Pioneer has such low per minute rates that it often makes them the best deal.

So, do you have a local landline phone service you like, with reliable service, good voice quality and a low monthly bill? You don't have to give it up to save money. Just switch to a different long distance provider. You can order quickly and easily online and the long distance carrier you choose will make the change in conjunction with your local phone company. See, it is quick and easy. Now, find out how much you can save on your long distance phone bill.

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