2001 Long Distance Telephone Rates Survey

 

Table of Contents

Survey finds long distance rates and fees creeping up

Long distance rates have increased slightly and long distance companies are finding other ways to increase customer costs as well, according to Consumer Action's 2001 Long Distance Rates Survey of 19 carriers and 44 discount calling plans. The non-profit consumer group's new study looks at many aspects of residential long distance, including the best calling plans, basic rates for customers not on a calling plan, directory assistance, collect calls and calling cards.

Long distance industry leaders AT&T, MCI-WorldCom and Sprint (the Big Three) usually adopt a follow-the-leader approach to policy changes. Since last year, basic rates at AT&T and MCI-WorldCom increased during evening and weekends by up to 13%. (Sprint's basic rates have held steady.) However, all three companies have significantly increased charges, surcharges and fees in other areas:

  • A new charge of $1.50 per month for customers who elect to have their long distance charges combined with their local phone company bill. "It's outrageous that consumers suddenly have to fork over $18 per year for the hitherto free convenience of combining long distance and local charges on one bill," said Ken McEldowney, CA's executive director.
  • A 9.9% universal service fee on total long distance charges (including interstate and international long distance charges and monthly fees). When CA surveyed the companies a year ago, AT&T was charging 8.6%, MCI-WorldCom, 8.3% and Sprint, 6.8%.
    The companies are required to contribute a portion of revenues to federal programs that subsidize local phone service for low income people and rural residents and programs that provide discounted services to schools, libraries and rural healthcare providers. It is not mandatory for the companies to pass this cost along to consumers—but most do anyway.

    According to Michael Balmoris of the Federal Communications Commission, carriers currently pay "approximately 6.9%" of revenues into the universal service fund.

    CA's Ken McEldowney said that large businesses are often given a break on the universal service fee at the same time residential customers are being asked to pay more. "It's unconscionable that residential users are subsidizing big business users. Long distance carriers' revenues were about $100 billion in 2000—the difference between the current universal service fee contribution factor and the 9.9% fee being collected represents billions in overcharges."
  • Directory assistance (information) calls cost $1.99. Last year AT&T charged $1.49, MCI-WorldCom, $1.40 and Sprint, $1.99.
    DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE
    This chart shows the cost of a directory assistance (information) call using the services of the Big Three long distance companies and two local phone companies now allowed to provide long distance service in limited areas. The cost is for calls made by dialing the Area Code + 555-1212. See the calling plan descriptions beginning on page 4 for more information on the companies' service areas.
    A T & T $1.99
    M C I $1.99
    S B C 95¢
    S P R I N T $1.99
    V E R I Z O N $1.25*
    *Verizon increased the cost of this call from 95¢ to $1.25 on Sept. 1, 2001.

Calling plans

No long distance customer should ever be without a calling plan—without one you're paying the companies very highest basic rates. New calling plans are released often, and it can be confusing for customers to keep up and choose the right plan. To assist consumers, CA compiles a chart of the lowest per- minute calling plan rates. This year's chart reveals that calling plan rates are increasing overall:

  • The new standard for fee-based, one-rate calling plans with monthly fees is 7¢ per minute, with six plans charging 7¢ per minute for all calls compared to last year's four. Surveyed companies now offering 7¢ plans are AT&T (One Rate 7¢), Excel (Simply More), Global Crossing (ExactRate), MCI-WorldCom (7¢ Anytime), Sprint (7¢ Anytime) and Working Assets (7¢ Around the Clock Plus). The range of monthly fees for the 7¢ plans is $3.95-$4.95.
  • This year, CA found only six fee-based, one-rate calling plans with rates lower than 7¢ per minute—a contrast to eight such plans last year.
  • A decrease in plans without fees or minimums—from nine last year to six. The overall range of monthly fees found by CA is $1.95 (GTC Telecom) to $40 (Sprint Sense 1000).
  • A decrease in online plans. Last year, CA's survey listed seven plans that require online sign-up and/or credit card billing, compared to only four such plans this year. However, this year a few companies are offering discounts on monthly fees for customers who sign up online and/or who pay their bills automatically with a credit card.

    Calling card calls
    This chart compares the cost of a 10-minute weekday, daytime calling card call from Chicago to Los Angeles, using each companies' own card and access number. The total charge includes the surcharge.
    Carrier Total charge Surchage only
    A T & T $10.15 $1.25
    M C I $8.75 $1.25
    S B C $4.25 75¢
    S p r i n t $7.89 99¢
    V E R I Z O N $3.50 No surcharge

'Buckets of minutes'

Frequent long distance callers may benefit from the explosion of "buckets of minutes" plans. You pay a flat rate for a certain number of minutes each month—use them or lose them. Only three carriers offered such plans last year; this year CA found seven. The advantage is primarily to heavy users, as they typically include 200-1,000 minutes of phone time. On the very low cost end, Sprint's 1000 Nights offers 1,000 minutes (more than 16 hours) of evening and weekend calls for a monthly fee of $20. Using all the minutes would give you a rate of 2¢ per minute.

MCI-WorldCom's Select 200 allows users 200 minutes for $9.95 and a one-time choice of which time period to use them in. That works out to 4.9¢ per minute. In the time periods you don't choose, calls are 7¢ per minute.

These plans are strictly use it or lose it—you can't carry over unused minutes to the next month," said Linda Sherry, CA's editorial director and chief surveyor. "Before you sign on, make sure you'll really use all those minutes or the cost will be quite a lot higher in the long run."

Prepaid plans

Personal computer (PC) owners can get a 2¢ rate, or even lower, anytime by prefunding an account with Net2Phone and placing calls from their computer to any phone. The company now offers anyone free 5-minute PC-to-phone calls—to talk longer you have to fund an account. To call from phone to phone, Net2Phone offers a prepaid rate of 3.9¢-7.9¢, with the lower rate for people who live in areas with a Net2Phone local access number.

SBC's Block of Time—not yet available everywhere—allows callers to pay in advance for interstate calls placed from their home phone at 8¢ per minute. That rate includes all surcharges and taxes.

Competitors offer savings

Across the country, a couple of local phone companies have been allowed to enter the long distance market, sharply undercutting long distance companies' basic rates.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 changed many policies regulating the telephone industry. It opened monopoly local phone service to competition, allowing long distance companies to provide local service. The law also promised that the former local monopoly companies known as the "Baby Bells" could provide long distance service when they demonstrated that they had opened their markets to full local competition.

In late 1999 and 2000, the Federal Communications Commission permitted two Baby Bells, Bell Atlantic (which merged with GTE to become Verizon) and SBC, to provide long-distance service in limited areas.

(At press time, SBC served only Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Verizon provides service in all states except Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.)

Because of their long-held monopoly on local phone customers, the Baby Bells have a market advantage over long distance companies. CA's survey found that they have lower basic rates and charges than the Big Three long distance companies. (See Basic rate comparison chart.)

  • Basic rates. SBC and Verizon's basic rates are 10¢ per minute all the time. For daytime calls, this is a two-thirds savings off the Big Three's rates.
  • Calling cards. Using SBC's calling card and the company's toll-free access number, the cost of a 10-minute weekday, daytime call from Chicago to Los Angeles would be $4.25. Verizon's charge would be $3.50. In contrast, the Big Three rates for this call range from $7.89 (Sprint) to $10.15 (AT&T). (See Calling card chart.)
  • Directory assistance. Big Three customers pay $1.99 for a directory assistance call, while Verizon customers pay $1.25 and SBC customers 95¢. (See Directory assistance chart.)

The rivalry is intense between long distance and local companies over entry into the long distance market elsewhere—especially since the long distance companies have found it difficult to enter the local phone market given the foothold of local companies.

"The local phone companies in many cases have an unfair competitive and cost advantage. The long distance companies face far higher marketing and billing costs," said McEldowney. "Currently, the system benefits consumers who live where the Baby Bells can carry long distance calls."

Basic rate comparison

These are the per-minute basic rates for the Big Three long distance companies and two local phone companies now allowed to provide long distance service in limited areas. (See the calling plan descriptions for more information.) Basic rates are the rates charged to customers who do not choose a specific calling plan. Rate is effective 24 hours per day unless otherwise noted.

Day Rate Mondays-Fridays Saturdays Sundays
A T & T 30¢ (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) 16¢ 16¢
M C I 30¢ (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) 25¢ 10¢
S B C 10¢ 10¢ 10¢
S p r i n t 30¢ 10¢ 10¢
V E R I Z O N 10¢ 10¢ 10¢
       
Evening /Night Rates      
A T & T $10.15 $1.25 $1.25
M C I 25¢ (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) 16¢ 16¢
S B C 10¢ 10¢ 10¢
S p r i n t 30¢ 10¢ 10¢
V E R I Z O N 10¢ 10¢ 10¢

Lessons learned from Consumer Action's annual survey

Consumer Action conducts its annual Long Distance Rate Survey to help consumers get the best deal. The survey highlights some important guiding principles for long distance users:

  • You need to be on a calling plan. Just signing up with a company does not guarantee you will get that company's best rates. The Big Three long distance carriers—AT&T, MCI-WorldCom and Sprint—charge high rates to customers who are not on a calling plan. (See Basic rate chart.) Other companies have much lower default rates for customers who don't specify a calling plan. Bottom line: Always ask how you can get the lowest rate.
  • Online plans are cheaper. A comparison of calling plans from the Big Three shows huge savings off basic rates for customers who use online plans. (See chart below.) AT&T customers can save 67.6% by using its 5¢ e Weekends plan and MCI customers can save 68.2% using its One Net Savings plan. (The savings is calculated using a "calling basket" of 126 minutes of calls in various time periods.)
  • The plan with the lowest rates is not always the best deal if it comes with a monthly fee. Yes, you might pay 5¢ per minute, but you have to factor in the impact of the fee on your monthly calls. (See "Big Three Calling Plan Savings" chart below.)

    Big Three Calling Plan Savings

    Customers who opt for a calling plan can realize significant savings over the Big Three long distance companies' basic rates. This chart compares possible savings using a sample "calling basket" of 126 minutes (42 daytime minutes, 42 weekday evening minutes and 42 weekend minutes). If a plan has a monthly fee, the total includes the fee.

    Carrier Total (Basic Rates) Calling Plan Name Total With Plan
    A T & T $29.82 5¢ e Weekends* $9.66
        One Rate 7¢ $12.77
        One Rate Weekends $12.19
    M C I $30.45 One Net Savings* $9.66
        7¢ Anytime $12.77
        12¢ Anytime $15.12
    S p r i n t $29.40 7¢ Anytime $14.77
        Nickel Anytime $15.25
        Nickel Nights $16.45
        Sprint Sense Anytime $17.55
    *Online plan
  • Before you use any company's calling card, ask how to get the best rates. In many cases, you will have to sign up for a calling plan. Calling card rates vary greatly. Using the card along with the proper access number ensures that your call is carried by the company you prefer.
    Many companies now offer calling card calling plans that give you much lower rates. For example, an AT&T customer who uses the company's card and toll-free access number to make a 10-minute weekday, daytime call from Chicago to Los Angeles would pay $10.15. If that customer was on AT&T's calling card calling plan ($1 per month and 25¢ per minute) the same call would cost $2.50.
  • Companies charge their highest rates for operator-assisted calls. Never allow the operator to dial a collect call—or any call—for you. Companies charge their highest rates for operator-assisted calls—and you'll be sticking the person you're calling with an outrageous charge. (See "Operator-assistance not needed" chart below.)

    Operator assistance not needed

    The cost of a 10-minute, daytime collect call from Chicago to Los Angeles almost doubles when you allow the operator to help.

    Carrier Dial it yourself: Operator Assisted
    A T & T 800-CALLATT: $8.49 $15.49
    M C I 800-CALLATT: $8.49 $13.89
    S p r i n t 800-2SPRINT: $8.45 $14.40
  • Many people who place collect calls don't realize how expensive they are—after all, they rarely see the bill. Do your friends a favor by using a prepaid phone card instead of calling collect. Shop carefully for a prepaid phone card, because added charges increase the cost of your calls.
  • If you or your family members frequently call home while away from the house, consider a personal toll-free number. A personal 800 number lets family members—or others—call you at home at your expense. Shop around before choosing a carrier—rates and plans vary widely.
  • "Dial around" (or "10-10") long distance plans can give you significant long distance savings, especially on international calls. These widely advertised services allow you to place calls from your home using different long distance carriers depending on your needs. For instance, you can use one 10- 10 service with good rates for calls in the U.S., and another when you place international calls.
    To make it easier to dial the access number, program the access code into a speed dial if your phone has this feature. Most 10-10 plans are billed with your local phone bill. Always get the full story on how the plans work before trying them—some have the best rates if your call lasts for at least 20 minutes, while others have monthly fees charged to users who dial only one phone call per month. To compare many plans, visit the 1010PhoneRates.com site, which is frequently updated.
  • The Big Three carriers add 9.9% to your long distance bill each month to recoup the federal universal service fee (USF) they must contribute to bringing phone and Internet service to low income people and rural areas. You'll pay 9.9% on your monthly fee plus any monthly spending minimum you are charged in addition to your calls. Some companies don't charge as much as the Big Three—so ask carriers about the USF charge before you sign up.
  • Calling directory service is an expensive way to find a number—up to $1.99 for each call. Plan ahead by writing down numbers in your address book, using your phone directory or looking up numbers on the Internet. (Check out 411.com, directoryassistance.com or Yahoo on the web.) You can order phone directories from other cities for a small charge by calling your local phone company—the cost will be worth it if you'll be consulting them often.

New online rate and service disclosures are hard to find

Consumer Action (CA) reviewed how several long distance carriers are dealing with new federal detariffing disclosure requirements and found that while the companies are complying, key information is mostly hard to find, difficult to access and not easy to understand.

"Detariffing is a step backwards in consumer rights," said CA's Linda Sherry. "It has allowed long distance carriers to hit customers with 'take it or leave it' contract terms, while at the same time failing to deliver even its much touted benefits for easier comparison shopping."

CA recommends that federal phone regulators give consumers these basic protections:

  • Advance, written notification about changes in rates and terms.
  • A standardized format for posting the required information.
  • Per-minute rates and surcharges for all calls-calling cards, collect, operator handled, etc.-not just calling plan rates.

"CA is also troubled that virtually the only route to this information is on the Internet," said Sherry. "Does our government know that not everyone has a state-of-the-art computer system and online access?"

As of July, long distance companies must provide information on their web sites about rates, fees and domestic calling plans, changes in rates and terms and how disputes will be resolved. In most cases, the companies will provide the same information to people who call their toll-free customer service numbers. Companies have to post international rates by early 2002, although many carriers have done it already.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved last year to "detariff" long distance phone service. Until recently, carriers that provided interstate long distance service were required to file legal documents called tariffs with the FCC, detailing per minute rates, cancellation procedures and other policies. Each company was obligated to stick to its tariffed terms. Detariffing means eliminating those filing requirements.

The FCC reasoned that reduced prices and improved terms would result once consumers could easily compare long distance rates and services. But the agency did not take any steps to ensure easy comparison of such information, or to require that consumers receive notices of rate and term changes in writing.

Whether or not detariffing will result in lower rates remains to be seen. Consumer Action's new survey of long distance rates, completed during July, shows that both basic rates (for people not on a calling plan) and calling plan rates are sliding up.

New relationship

Detariffing changes the relationship between your carrier and you by eliminating the bonds of a regulated tariff system and substituting a free market contract relationship. Ironically, it may make it easier for carriers to limit access to basic information about their rates and services.

This summer, long distance customers received new service agreements as notices and/or bill inserts from their long distance carriers. These contained information about rates and other conditions, including how disputes with the company will be settled. (As noted in the September-October issue of CA News, Consumer Action filed suit against AT&T because it notified customers that all disputes must be addressed through binding arbitration and not in court.)

Yet, the service agreements of Big Three carriers AT&T, MCI-WorldCom and Sprint have no provision for advance written notice when rates increase or terms change.

The consumer affairs committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has taken up the fight for more pertinent notices, with a focus on written notice. The committee, chaired by Leon Jacobs of the Florida Public Service Commission, wants the FCC to require carriers to provide customers with written notice of changes in terms.

"The web posting required by the FCC is to help consumers compare plans, to choose and to monitor markets," said Diane Munns, a committee member who is a Iowa Utilities Board commissioner. "It is not a substitute for adequate written notice."

The web sites

"A real shortcoming of detariffing is that there is no standardized template for presenting the information," said Sherry. "You have to dig for it. Even if you find it, software glitches and technical jargon make you want to give up before you even read it."

Here are links to help you find rate and service information from the Big Three and the two local phone companies now allowed to offer long distance in limited markets:

AT&T

AT&T Consumer Services Rates, Terms and Conditions
http://serviceguide.att.com/

After clicking on "Consumers" on the home page (www.att.com), one can reach disclosures via the Consumer Information box on the lower right-hand side of the page. But to read the documents on this site, one needs the newest versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel or must download free viewers from Microsoft's web site.

"I can't see the average computer user accessing this information easily," said Sherry. "Not everyone has the most up-to-date software. Why doesn't AT&T post rates as text on its site, or as downloads in the much more common PDF format?"

Sprint

Rates, Terms and Conditions
http://www.sprint.com/ratesandconditions/

The site offers easy access to rate and plan information via a link at the bottom of its home page. You must download rate information in PDF format. We downloaded a document purporting to reveal recent changes in service, only to find when the document was open that Sprint had "none to report."

MCI

Service Agreement and Rate Schedule
http://www.mci.com/mci_service_agreement/

The link to rate and calling plan information is fairly easy to find at the bottom of the company's home page. Calling plan information is very thorough. The company's service agreement can be downloaded in its entirety as a PDF file.

SBC

"Product Reference & Pricing Guide"
http://www.att.com/gen/public-affairs?pid=3181

SBC's pricing information is presented in a lengthy document that can be downloaded as a PDF only in sections. Many of the quoted rates were for plans footnoted as being no longer available.

This was the least consumer friendly disclosure," said Sherry. "It was filled with jargon and nowhere did it plainly state the basic rates for consumers who are not on a calling plan."

Verizon

About Verizon Long Distance: Regulatory Information and Postings
http://www.verizonldregulatory.com/

"Verizon offers good descriptions of its calling plans, but I don't think anyone short of a telecommunications attorney could understand its regulatory information section," said Sherry.

Although long distance carriers no longer have to file tariffs, the FCC still regulates the companies and will continue to accept consumer complaints about them. You can contact the FCC by phone at (888) 225-5322 or via its web site (www.fcc.gov/cib).

Consumer Action's Interstate Long Distance Rates Survey 2001

How to use this survey

This chart shows the lowest per-minute rates on interstate calls from 19 phone companies, during the Daytime (Peak) and Evening, Night & Weekend (Off-Peak) rate periods. (See plan descriptions for complete information on each plan, carrier contact numbers and web site addresses.)

Calling plans with no monthly fee or minimum usage requirement are grouped in the first section of the chart. Plans with monthly fees or minimums are grouped separately, as are plans that require customers to set up service through the companies' web sites and/or require automatic billing to a credit or debit card. This year we've added a category for prepaid and "bucket of minutes" plans, for which you pay in advance for long distance minutes.

Most carriers offer more than one calling plan. The rates quoted are connected to the specific calling plans listed. Use the chart and listings only as a guide—rates and calling plans can change at any time. Direct comments or questions to Linda Sherry at 415-777-9635.

Asterisks

* The fee is waived or reduced with online credit card billing or if a specified monthly spending level is reached.

** Available only in certain states. (See plan descriptions.)

*** Weekend rate only—not good for weekday evenings and nights.

**** First five minutes of each PC-to-Phone call are free.

Carrier Daytime calls
  Calling plan Per Minute Fee / Minimum
  --- Plans without fees or minimums ---
Adelphia Long Distance None / None
ExpressTel/TelAmerica** Residential Plus 11.5¢ None / None
Incomnet I Plus 8.9¢ None / None
MCI-Worldcom 12¢ Anytime 12¢ None / None
SBC** SBC Long Dsitance 10¢ None / None
Verizon** Timeless 10¢ None / None
  --- Plans with monthly minimums ---
Pac-WestTelecom** One Rate Plan 7.9¢ None / $5
Qwest** 6¢ Calling None / $10
  --- Plans with monthly fees ---
AT&T One Rate 7¢ $3.95 / None
Excel Simply More
Global Crossing Exact Rate $3.99 / None
GTC Telecom 5¢ Plan II $1.95* / None
IDT 5¢ Long Distance $3.95 / None
Incomnet I Gold 4.9¢ $5.95 / None
Matrix Telecom Matrix Value 7.9¢ $3.64 / None
MCI-WorldCom 7¢ Anytime $3.95* / None
Opex ValuePlus 4.5 4.5¢ $2* / None
Qwest** 5¢ Lead $5.95* / None
SBC** Domestic Saver $4.95 / None
Sprint Nickel Anytime $8.95 / None
Verizon** Best Times $4.75 / None
Working Assets 7¢ Round-the-Clock $4.95 / None
  - Plans that require online sign-up and/or credit card billing -
AT&T 5¢ e Weekends None / $5
GE Long Distance GE Residential Long Distance 5.9¢ None / None
MCI-Worldcom One Net Savings 9¢*** None / None
Verizon** e-Values None / None
  ------------- Prepaid & "buckets of minutes" plans -------------
MCI-Worldcom Select 200 4.9¢ - 7¢ $9.95* / None
Net2Phone PC-to-Phone**** 0¢ - 2¢ None / None
Net2Phone Phone-to-Phone 3.9¢ - 7.9¢ None / None
Qwest** 10-for-10 1.6¢ - 7¢*** $10 / None
SBC Block of Time 500 4.9¢ $24.95 / None
Sprint Sprint Sense 1000 $40 / None
Verizon** SmartTouch** None / None
Carrier Evening, Night & Weekend calls
  Calling plan Per Minute Fee / Minimum
  --- Plans without fees or minimums ---
Adelphia Long Distance None / None
ExpressTel/TelAmerica** Residential Plus 11.5¢ None / None
Incomnet I Plus 8.9¢ None / None
MCI-Worldcom 12¢ Anytime 12¢ None / None
SBC** SBC Long Dsitance 10¢ None / None
Verizon** Timeless 10¢ None / None
  --- Plans with monthly minimums ---
Pac-WestTelecom** One Rate Plan 7.9¢ None / $5
Qwest** 6¢ Calling None / $10
  --- Plans with monthly fees ---
AT&T One Rate Weekends 5¢*** $4.95 / None
Excel Three Penny Plan $5.95 / None
Global Crossing Exact Rate $3.99* / None
GTC Telecom 5¢ Plan II $1.95* / None
IDT 5¢ Long Distance $3.95 / None
Incomnet I Gold 4.9¢ $5.95 / None
Matrix Telecom Matrix Value 7.9¢ $3.64 / None
MCI-WorldCom 7¢ Anytime $3.95* / None
Opex ValuePlus 4.5 4.5¢ $2* / None
Qwest** 5¢ Lead $5.95* / None
SBC** Domestic Saver $4.95 / None
Sprint Nickel Nights $5.95 / None
Verizon** Best Times $4.75 / None
Working Assets 5¢ Evenings/Weekends $4.95 / None
  - Plans that require online sign-up and/or credit card billing -
AT&T 5¢ e Weekends None / $5
GE Long Distance GE Residential Long Distance 5.9¢ None / None
MCI-Worldcom One Net Savings 5¢*** None / None
Verizon** e-Values None / None
  ------------- Prepaid & "buckets of minutes" plans -------------
MCI-Worldcom Select 200 4.9¢ - 7¢ $9.95* / None
Net2Phone PC-to-Phone**** 0¢ - 2¢ None / None
Net2Phone Phone-to-Phone 3.9¢ - 7.9¢ None / None
Qwest** 10-for-10 1.6¢*** $10 / None
SBC Block of Time 500 4.9¢ $24.95 / None
Sprint 1000 Nights $20 / None
Verizon** SmartTouch** None / None
Neither CA's surveys nor its interpretation of survey results may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purposes. This survey was conducted by Linda Sherry and Sarah Hinds of the CA staff during July and August 2001. © Consumer Action 2001

State-to-state Calling Plans


ADELPHIA (888) 374-8444 • www.adelphia.com


Calling plan : Adelphia Long Distance

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 8¢ per minute.

A T & T (800) 222-0300 (888) 928-8932 (online plan)• www.att.com


Calling plan : One Rate 7¢

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $3.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7¢ per minute.

Calling plan : One Rate Weekends

  • Type : Two-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : Peak (Mon-Fri) and Off-Peak (weekends)
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 7¢ per minute and off-peak, 5¢

Calling plan : 5¢ e Weekends

  • Type : Two-rate, online plan
  • Monthly fee : None. $5 monthly minimum usage requirement.
  • Rate periods included : Peak (Mon-Fri) and Off-Peak (weekends)
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 9¢ per minute and off-peak, 5¢. Plan may be combined with One Rate International Plan for an additional monthly fee of $2. Online billing required (payment is automatically billed to a credit or debit card).

EXCEL COMMUNICATIONS (800) 875-9235 • www.excel.com


Calling plan : Dime Deal 2000

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $3.75
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : All calls are 10¢ a minute.

Calling plan : Simply More

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.50
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 7¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Three Penny Plus

  • Type : Two-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $5.95
  • Rate periods included : Peak (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Off-Peak (all other times).
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 10¢ per minute and off-peak, 3¢.

EXPRESS TEL (800) 571-7777 • www.expresstel.com
TEL AMERICA (800) 748-4000 • www.telamerica.com
(Serves Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah residents only)


Calling plan : Residential Plus

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 11.5¢ per minute with the exception of calls to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, which are 19¢. Company bills in six-second increments.

GE RESIDENTIAL LONG DISTANCE (866) 789-8668 • www.gephonehome.com


Calling plan : GE Residential Long Distance

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 5.9¢ per minute. All customers must agree to receive a stand-alone statement (you cannot be billed on your local phone company's bill) and to use automatic credit card billing.

GLOBAL CROSSING (800) 482-4848 • net.globalcrossing.com/exac


Calling plan : ExactRate

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $3.99 ($1.99 with automatic credit card billing
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7¢ per minute.

GTC TELECOM (800) 486-4030 • www.gtctelecom.com


Calling plan : Residential 5¢ Plan

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $1.95 (The monthly fee is waived with automatic billing to a credit card.)
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 5¢ per minute. (Calls to Alaska and Hawaii are not included.)

IDT (888) 802-0082 • www.idt.net


Calling plan : IDT Long Distance

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $3.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 5¢ per minute. (Calls to Alaska are 14.9¢ per minute, Hawaii, 16.2¢, and Puerto Rico, 14.9¢).

INCOMNET (800) 569-4682 • www.incomnet.com


Calling plan : I Plus

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 8.9¢ per minute. (For a $3 monthly fee, a discounted international calling plan is included.)

Calling plan : I Gold

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $5.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 4.9¢ per minute. (Calls are billed in six second increments after the first 30 seconds.)

Calling plan : I Preferred

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 5.9¢ per minute.

MATRIX TELECOM (800) 282-0242 • www.matrixtele.com


Calling plan : Matrix Value

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $3.64
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7.9¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Matrix Silver

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $2.36
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : This is the Matrix basic rate plan. Calls are 9.9¢ per minute. Discounted international rates are included. Examples: Canada, 19¢ per minute; England, 19¢; Sydney, Australia, 29¢.

MCI (800) 444-3333 • www.mci.com
(MCI will reduce monthly fees by $1 for calling plan customers who agree to online billing, with the exception of its One Net plans.)


Calling plan : Select 200

  • Type : One-rate, bucket of minutes plan
  • Monthly fee : $9.95
  • Rate periods included : Weekdays (7 a.m.-7 p.m.); Evenings (7 p.m.-7 a.m.); Weekends (12 a.m. Saturday to 12 p.m. Sunday).
  • Plan description : Plan includes 200 minutes in the rate period of the customer's choice: those calls work out to 4.9¢ per minute if they are all used. Calls are 7¢ per minute beyond 200 minutes or in the rate periods you did not select.

Calling plan : 12¢ Anytime

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 12¢ per minute.

Calling plan : 7¢ Anytime

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $3.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7¢ per minute. For an additional fee of $3 per month, an international discount plan with two rate periods is available.

Calling plan : One Net Savings

  • Type : Two-rate, online plan
  • Monthly fee : None.
  • Rate periods included : Peak (Mondays-Fridays) and Off-Peak (weekends).
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 9¢ per minute and Off-Peak, 5¢. Online billing required (your payment is automatically billed to a credit or debit card).

NET2PHONE (800) 265-7267 • www.net2phone.com


Calling plan : PC-to-Phone

  • Type : Prepaid, one-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : To use this service, you must fund an online account using a credit or debit card or by sending a check or money order in advance. All calls placed from your personal computer are free for the first five minutes, and 2¢ per minute thereafter. For international rates, see website.

Calling plan : Phone-to-Phone Domestic

  • Type : Prepaid plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : To use this service, you must fund an online account using a credit or debit card or by sending a check or money order in advance. Calls can be placed from any phone to another phone using your account number and PIN—the cost ranges from 3.9¢ per minute (for areas where a Net2Phone local access number is available) to 7.9¢. For international rates, see website.

OPEX (888) 577-7266 • www.opexld.com
(Service not available to residents of Alaska or Hawaii.)


Calling plan : Value Plus 4.5

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $2. Fee is waived if customer meets a $20 monthly minimum usage requirement.
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 4.5¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Value Plus 4.9

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : >$2. Fee is waived if customer meets a $20 monthly minimum usage requirement.
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 4.9¢ per minute. After an initial 18-second minimum, this plan is billed in six-second increments.

Pac-West Telecomm (877) 799-9000 • www.pacwest.com
(Serves California and Nevada residents only.)


Calling plan : Pac-West Long Distance

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None. $5 monthly minimum usage requirement.
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7.9¢ with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, which are 13.9¢ per minute.)
    In order to establish service with Pac-West, customers must submit to a credit check. The company offers a calling card with a 19.5¢ per minute rate with no per-call connection charge. (A 30¢-per-call surcharge applies to calls placed at payphones.)

QWEST (800) 860-0088 • www.qwest.com
(Does not serve customers in AZ, CO, IA, ID, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, OR, SD, UT, WA and WY.)


Calling plan : 5¢ Lead

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $5.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 5¢ per minute. The monthly fee is $3.95 for online billing (you review your statement on the Internet and your payment is automatically billed to a credit or debit card).

Calling plan : 6¢ Calling

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None. $10 monthly minimum usage requirement.
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 6¢ per minute.

Calling plan : 10-for-10

  • Type : Two-rate plan, bucket of minutes plan
  • Monthly fee : $10
  • Rate periods included : Peak (Mondays-Fridays) and Off-Peak (weekends, 12 p.m. Saturday-12 p.m. Sunday)
  • Plan description : Includes 10 hours of Off-Peak calls, which works out to 1.6¢ per minute if you use all the minutes. Peak calls and calls over the allotment are 7¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Qwest Rollback

  • Type : Two-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95. (The monthly fee is reduced $1 each month, until it reaches and remains at 95¢.)
  • Rate periods included : Peak (Mondays-Fridays) and Off-Peak (weekends, 12 p.m. Saturday-12 p.m. Sunday)
  • Plan description : Peak (Mondays-Fridays) and Off-Peak (weekends, 12 p.m. Saturday-12 p.m. Sunday)

SBC (800) 237-1984 • sbc.com
(Serves Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas residents only.)


Calling plan : Domestic Saver

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7¢ per minute. (A discounted international calling plan can be added to any SBC long distance plan for an additional monthly fee of $2.95. Examples: Mexico Zone 1, 15¢ per minute; Zone 2, 34¢; Canada, 6¢; Philippines, 26¢ and United Kingdom, 9¢.)

Calling plan : Southwestern Bell Long Distance

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 10¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Block of Time: 500

  • Type : One-rate, bucket of minutes plan
  • Monthly fee : $24.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Includes 500 minutes of calls; if all minutes are used, the rate works out to 4.9¢ per minute. After that, the rate is 7¢ per minute.

SPRINT (800) 746-3767 • www.sprint.com


Calling plan : Sprint Nickel Nights

  • Type : Two-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $5.95
  • Rate periods included : Peak (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Off-Peak (all other times).
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 5¢ per minute and Off-Peak, 10¢. Note: Sprint's Nickel Nights Anywhere plan (monthly fee may be higher) includes all in-state calls at the same rates. The plan's in-state rates vary for California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. Off-peak hours for Anywhere plan begin at 5 p.m. in California and Hawaii.

Calling plan : Sprint 1000 Nights

  • Type : One-rate plan, bucket of minutes plan
  • Monthly fee : $20
  • Rate periods included : Peak (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Off-Peak (all other times).
  • Plan description : Includes 1,000 minutes (16+ hours) of Off-Peak calls per month. Using all the time results in a rate of 2¢ per minute. Peak calls and additional Off- Peak calls are 10¢ per minute. Note: Sprint offers this plan to include in-state calls (monthly fee may be higher). In-state rates for California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey vary.

Calling plan : Sprint Nickel Anytime

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $8.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 5¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Sprint 7¢ Anytime

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $5.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : All calls are 7¢ per minute

Calling plan : Sprint Sense Anytime

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 10¢ per minute.

Calling plan : Sprint Sense 500 (or 1000) Anytime

  • Type : One-rate, bucket of minutes plan
  • Monthly fee : $25 for 500 minutes (5¢ per minute if you use all the minutes); $40 for 1,000 minutes (4¢ per minute).
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Customers have a choice of the 500 or 1000 Anytime plans. All calls over the allotment are 10¢ per minute.

VERIZON (800) 483-3000 • www.verizonld.com
(Available in all states except AK, CT, DC, ME, MD, NJ, PA, RI, VA, VT and WV.)


Calling plan : Timeless

  • Type : One-rate
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 10¢ per minute.

Calling plan : SmartTouch

  • Type : Prepaid one-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Customers must register and purchase long distance services in advance in any amount using a credit/debit card. Interstate calls are debited from the balance at 8¢ per minute. Per-minute rate includes all surcharges, fees and taxes. (This plan is available only in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.)

Calling plan : e-Values

  • Type : Two-rate, online plan
  • Monthly fee : None
  • Rate periods included : Peak (Mondays-Fridays) and Off-Peak (Weekends).
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 9¢ per minute and Off-Peak, 5¢. Must sign up for this plan on the company's website.

Calling plan : Best Times

  • Type : Two-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : Peak (8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays) and Off-Peak (all other times).
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 7¢ per minute and Off-Peak, 5¢.

WORKING ASSETS (800) 788-0898 • www.workingassets.com


Calling plan : 7 Cents Round the Clock Plus

  • Type : One-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : All
  • Plan description : Calls are 7¢ per minute. For an additional monthly fee of $2, an international discount plan is included. Sample international rates: Canada, 7¢ per minute; United Kingdom, 10¢; Mexico (Band 1), 14¢; (Band 2), 35¢; Taiwan, 17¢. Note: At press time, new customers were receiving 60 minutes of free long distance calls each month for six months.

Calling plan : 5¢ Evenings and Weekends

  • Type : Two-rate plan
  • Monthly fee : $4.95
  • Rate periods included : Peak (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Off-Peak (all other times).
  • Plan description : Peak calls are 10¢ per minute and Off-Peak, 5¢.

International Calling Plans

For carriers' phone numbers and web site addresses, see "State-to-state calling plans"

Carriers Discounted rates for countries
Adelphia Adelphia automatically gives all subscribers its lowest rates. (For sample rates, see the chart below.) Adelphia users do not have to sign up for an international calling plan or pay a monthly fee to get these rates. --
AT&T AT&T's One Rate International Savings Plan, with a monthly fee of $4.95 per month, offers flat rates that are effective 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on direct-dialed calls from home. Australia: 15¢
Brazil: 25¢
Canada: 7¢
England: 9¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 29¢
Taiwan: 15¢
Excel Communications Excel's optional international calling plan, WorldRate One, has a $3 monthly fee. These are the discounted rates for six countries: Australia: 17¢
Brazil: 30¢
Canada: 7¢
England: 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 36¢
Taiwan: 15¢
Express Tel/TelAmerica
(Serves Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah residents only.)
The company bills all residential callers at its "Super International" rates. (For sample calls, see chart in the next section.) --
GE Residential Long Distance GE Long Distance automatically gives all subscribers its lowest long distance rates. (For sample rates, see the chart below.) GE Long Distance users do not have to sign up for an international calling plan --
Global Crossing Global Crossing's Standard International Plan, offering reduced rates, is available to all subscribers to the Exact Rate domestic plan for no additional fee. Its Optional International Plan has a $2.99 monthly fee and lower rates. Standard International Plan:
Australia: 25¢
Brazil: 43¢
Canada: 10¢
England: 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): No answer
Taiwan: 40¢

Optional International Plan:
Australia: 17¢
Brazil: 40¢
Canada: 10¢
England: 9¢
Mexico (Mexico City): No answer
Taiwan: 20¢
GTC Telecom GTC Telecom's lowest international rates are available through its optional International Calling Plan, with a $3 monthly fee. Australia: 15¢
Brazil: 29¢
Canada: 9¢
England: 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 25¢
Taiwan: 17¢
IDT IDT's optional international calling plan, World Saver, has a $2 monthly fee. Australia: 8¢
Brazil: 20¢
Canada: 5¢ (This rate is for all customers, not just WorldSaver subscribers.)
England: 7¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 19¢
Taiwan: 12¢
Incomnet Incomnet's optional I-Plus International plan has a $3 monthly fee. Australia: 17¢
Brazil: 33¢
Canada: 10¢
England: 9¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 25¢ (no discount)
Taiwan: 23¢
Matrix Telecom Matrix Telecom automatically gives all subscribers its lowest long distance rates. (For sample rates, see the chart in the next section.) Matrix Telecom users do not have to sign up for an additional international calling plan. --
MCI-WorldCom MCI's optional International Weekends Plan, with a $2 monthly fee, features one rate on weekdays and a lower rate on weekends (listed first) Australia: 9¢ or 17¢
Brazil: 25¢ or 38¢
Canada: 5¢ or 7¢
England: 9¢ or 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 25¢ or 39¢
Taiwan: 15¢ or 33¢
MCI-WorldCom MCI International Plus offers discounted international rates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for $9.95 per month: Australia: 25¢
Brazil: 25¢
Canada: 10¢
England: 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 25¢
Taiwan: 15¢
Net2Phone Net2Phone's PC-to-Phone service allows U.S. residents to call countries all over the globe for only the price of the call (no monthly fee). Net2Phone users do not have to sign up for an international calling plan. However, the service can only be used on personal computers, not Macs. To place calls, users must download the company's software and fund their account in advance using a credit or debit card, or by sending a check or money order. (For sample rates, see the chart in the next section. For some countries a range of rates is given—this is because different rates apply depending on which city you are calling.) --
OPEX
(Service not available to residents of Alaska or Hawaii.)
OPEX automatically gives all subscribers its lowest long distance rates. (For sample rates, see the chart in the next section.) OPEX users do not have to sign up for an additional international calling plan. --
Pac-West Telecomm
(Serves California and Nevada residents only.)
Pac-West Telecomm automatically gives all subscribers its lowest long distance rates. (For sample rates, see the chart in the next section.) Users do not have to sign up for an additional international calling plan. --
Qwest Communications
(Does not serve customers in AZ, CO, ID, IA, MN, MT, NE, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WA or WY.)
Qwest's optional Q.world international calling plan has a monthly fee of $3. Australia: 9¢
Brazil: 27¢
Canada: 9¢
England: 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 35¢
Taiwan: 17¢
SBC Long Distance
(Serves Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas residents only.)
SBC's optional International Saving plan is available for an addditional monthly fee of $2.95. Australia: 16¢
Brazil: 26¢
Canada: 6¢
England: 9¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 34¢
Taiwan: 16¢
Sprint Sprint offers an optional international plan, Sprint Global Savings, for a monthly fee of $7.95. The company will discount the monthly fee by $3 if your bill totals more than $50. Australia: 15¢
Brazil: 25¢
Canada: 7¢
England: 9¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 29¢
Taiwan: 15¢
Verizon
(All states except AK, DC, CT, MD, ME, NJ, PA, RI, VA, VT and WV.)
Verizon offers an optional International Savings Plan for a monthly fee of $3. Australia: 15¢
Brazil: 27¢
Canada: 7¢
England: 9¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 33¢
Taiwan: 13¢
Working Assets Working Assets has an option called the 24 Hour International Discount Plan with a monthly fee of $2-$3, depending on the domestic plan chosen by the customer. Australia: 17¢
Brazil: 27¢
Canada: 7¢
England: 10¢
Mexico (Mexico City): 35¢
Taiwan: 17¢

Big savings on international calls

Consumer Action (CA) found that using a low-rate carrier or an international calling plan can save you 94% or more on international calls.

Many of the 19 carriers surveyed for the Long Distance Rates Survey have extremely high basic rates for customers who don't choose an optional international calling plan. On the other hand, some newer, smaller competitors offer their best international rates to subscribers automatically—no special sign-up for a discount calling plan is necessary.

In the previous section, CA highlights the international calling plans available from surveyed carriers. The chart below compares the 19 carriers' lowest Off Peak (economy) per-minute rates for six sample counties: Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Mexico (Mexico City) and Taiwan.

A calling plan is essential

CA found that customers of the Big Three—AT&T, MCI-WorldCom and Sprint—who place even one or two calls overseas each month should contact the company and enroll in an internationalcalling plan. The savings offered by the plans are dramatic—from 78% to 94% off the Big Three's economy rates depending on the country you are calling. (See "International calling plan savings" chart.)

The impact of monthly fees is not as severe on international calling plans as it is on state-to-state plans. "Even when you consider that most international plans have monthly fees, Big Three customers still save," points out CA surveyor Linda Sherry. "On one 10-minute Off Peak call to Australia, AT&T customers using its One Rate International Plan would save $16.30—that pays for the monthly fee of $4.95 after only one call. Since AT&T's international calling plan has the same rates all the time, the savings on a Peak period call would be even greater."

Computer calls win out

Across the board, the lowest standard international rates were for Net2Phone's PC-to-phone calls. However, to use the service, you must have an IBM- compatible personal computer—not a Mac—and download software from the company's web site. In addition, you must pay for the calls in advance by funding your account.

For every country CA looked at, the highest standard international economy rates belonged to MCI-WorldCom. Opex, an Illinois-based carrier, had the lowest rates for all but one country, Canada.

Excluding Net2Phone, these are the ranges for international per-minute economy rates found by CA:

  • Australia, from 12¢ (Opex) to $2.69 (MCI-WorldCom).
  • Brazil, from 27¢ (Opex) to $2.89 (MCI-WorldCom).
  • Canada, from 5¢ (IDT) to 89¢ ((MCI-WorldCom).
  • England, from 9¢ (Opex) to $1.75 (MCI-WorldCom).
  • Mexico, from 22¢ (Opex) to $1.99 (MCI-WorldCom).
  • Taiwan, from 15¢ (Opex) to $2.99 (MCI-WorldCom).

Travelers can benefit, too

CA has found that international calling plans can benefit travelers as well. On some plans, you can get much lower rates when calling from other countries to the U.S. "Try calling your long distance carrier before an extended vacation overseas to ask if you can enroll temporarily in an international savings plan," said Sherry. "The larger carriers have special toll-free access numbers you can use overseas that can save you not only money, but time and trouble."

Basic rates for international calls

This chart shows the basic per-minute rate (for callers not on a calling plan) for calls from the U.S. to 6 countries. (The Mexico call is to Mexico City.) All rates are good 24 hours unless otherwise noted.

Carriers Per-minute rates
  Australia Brazil Canada England Mexico Taiwan
Adelphia 25¢ 59¢ 59¢ 59¢ 45¢ 59¢
AT&T* $1.78 $2.30 67¢ $1.35 $1.98 $2.07
Excel* $1.60 $2.07 44¢-64¢ $1.22 $1.15 $1.86
ExpressTel 25¢ 52¢ 16¢ 15¢ 59¢ 44¢
GE 16¢ 36¢ 11¢ 10¢ 38¢ 25¢
Global Crossing* $1.10 $1.08 27¢-70¢ 75¢ 77¢ 98¢
GTC Telecom 22¢ 52¢ 12¢ 13¢ 48¢ 56¢
IDT 27¢ 54¢ 22¢ 37¢ 52¢
Incomnet 25¢ 43¢ 43¢ 10¢ 35¢ 38¢
Matrix 29¢ 79¢ 19¢ 19¢ 69¢ 69¢
MCI $2.69 $2.89 89¢ $1.75 $1.99 $2.99
Net2Phone 3.9¢-4.9¢ 9¢-25¢ 3.9¢ 3.9¢-4.9¢ 6¢-8¢
Opex 12¢ 27¢ 10¢ 15¢
PacWest 11.9¢ 57¢ 8.9¢ 8.9¢ 44.5¢ 18.9¢
Qwest $1.16 $1.50 33¢ 88¢ 98¢ $1.35
SBC* $1.61 $2.08 52¢ $1.22 $1.64 $1.87
Sprint* $1.84 $2.37 64¢ $1.40 $1.31 $2.13
Verizon $1.62 $2.09 47¢ $1.23 $1.07 $1.89
Working Assets* $1.83 $1.64 38¢ 98¢ $1.25 $2.37
*Off Peak Rate—this is the companies' lowest rate and is only available at certain times.

International calling plan savings

This chart shows the percentage of savings that can be achieved by using one of The Big Three carriers' international calling plans instead of paying their standard economy (Off Peak) rates. The monthly fees associated with each calling plan are shown in parentheses.

10-minute call from the U.S. to: Australia Brazil Canada England Mexico Taiwan
AT&T economy rates $17.80 $23.00 $6.70 $13.50 $19.80 $20.70
One Rate International ($4.95) $1.50 $2.50 70¢ 90¢ $2.90 $1.50
Savings (%) 92% 89% 90% 93% 85% 93%
MCI-WorldCom economy rates $26.90 $28.90 $8.90 $17.50 $19.90 $29.90
International Weekends ($2.00)* $1.70 $3.80 70¢ $1.00 $3.90 $3.30
Savings (%) 93% 87% 92% 94% 80% 89%
Sprint economy rates $18.40 $23.70 $6.40 $14.00 $13.10 $21.30
Global Savings ($7.95) $1.50 $2.50 70¢ 90¢ $2.90 $1.50
Savings (%) 92% 89% 89% 94% 78% 93%
* Weekday rate: weekend rate is lower.

© 2001 Consumer Action

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