2004 Residential Telephone Rate Survey

 

Table of Contents

Please note that you are prohibited from using CA's name or any reference to its surveys in advertising or for any other commercial purpose.

Basic long distance rates up 55% since 2000
Phone deregulation’s promise of lower rates not fulfilled

MInterstate long distance basic rates at the nation’s largest long distance carriers have increased by more than 55% since 2000. The five carriers whose basic rates were analyzed by Consumer Action (CA) for its 2004 Residential Telephone Rate Survey are AT&T, MCI, SBC Long Distance, Sprint and Verizon.

Basic (or default) rates are the rates paid by customers not on a calling plan. CA has tracked long distance basic rates charged by major phone companies for close to two decades.

The federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened local telephone service to competition. Most experts predicted that competition would result in lower rates for consumers, but CA’s findings disprove this theory, at least for people who are not on a calling plan.

“Consumers were supposed to be the winners of deregulation,” said CA Executive Director Ken McEldowney. “Instead we find that consumers are paying 55% more now than in 2000 for the same calls. I’d say we lost, not won.”

Savvy consumers with access to the Internet can shop around to find long distance plans that drastically undercut basic rates. But phone users who do not subscribe to a calling plan are paying very high rates every time they place a long distance call from their homes.

Calling basket increases

CA has tracked a long distance calling basket of 126 minutes of basic rate calls in all rate periods for close to two decades. The totals for all five companies has jumped from $109.83 in 2000, when SBC and Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) started to compete in the long distance market, to $170.86 today.

In 2000 AT&T charged $27.93 for the calls; it now charges $33.14 when a new basic rate monthly fee of $3.95 is factored in.

MCI charged $28.56 in 2000 and now charges $40.70, including its own basic rate monthly fee of $5. (MCI implemented a monthly fee for basic rate customers in 2002.) Sprint in 2000 charged $29.40 in contrast to $39.90 today.

While basic rates at the five companies have jumped sharply, the rates charged by SBC and Verizon remain significantly lower than those of AT&T, MCI and Sprint. SBC’s cost to carry the calling basket has increased from $11.34 in 2000 to $25.60, while Verizon’s rates have gone from $12.60 to $31.50 for the same calls.
(See chart showing basic rates from the five companies.)

Calling card calls

Calling card basic rates have jumped considerably in one year for AT&T, MCI and SBC Long Distance. CA compared the cost of a 10-minute weekday, daytime interstate calling card call using each company’s own card and access number. Among the five carriers, Sprint and Verizon kept the cost steady. Sprint charges $10.15 for the call and Verizon, $5.

The largest per cent increase was found at SBC, which increased the cost of the call 40% in one year, from $4.25 to $5.95. MCI is charging 25% more (from $11.40 to $14.25) and AT&T’s rate has jumped 12%, from $10.15 to $11.40.

Collect calls

Using the same 10-minute weekday, daytime interstate call, CA compared the least expensive way to make a collect call offered by each company. Among four of the five carriers, the cost of the call increased from 7.7% (AT&T) to 32.53% (SBC Long Distance) in one year. Verizon is charging the same $12.35 for the call while the higher prices are $13.89 for AT&T, $14.80 for MCI (up 14.8%), $13.85 for SBC and $14.89 for Sprint (up 15.5%).

Directory assistance

Directory assistance rates are at the same high levels they were at last year, with the exception of SBC, which increased its rate of $1.40 per call to $1.50 for in-state information requests and $2.49 for look-ups in another state. (See directory assistance chart.)

Calling plans

CA looked at 47 state-to-state long distance calling plans from 22 carriers. (See all interstate long distance calling plans.) Of the calling plans surveyed, 23 (or 48%) had monthly fees, 19 (or 40%) had no fees and 5 (or 11%) had monthly minimum spending requirements.

“In contrast to rising basic rates, calling plans offer great bargains for consumers,” said CA Editorial Director Linda Sherry, who conducted the survey. “The major companies have few options without monthly fees, but there are plenty of carriers who have long distance calling plans with low rates and no fees.”

Sherry noted that CA compiles a chart of the lowest per-minute plan rates to assist consumers in shopping for long distance service. Appearing on pages 4 and 5, this year’s chart lists rates from 2.5¢ (SBC Value Plus 500) to 10¢ per minute (AT&T One Rate 10¢ Plan, Cox Communication’s Long Distance Standard Plan and Excel’s Dime Deal 2000).

This year’s survey found monthly fees ranging from 75¢ (Big Zoo) to $40 (Sprint’s 1000 AnyTime plan). Minimum spending requirements ranged from $5 (AT&T One Rate 10¢ Plan, AT&T 5¢ Nights, AT&T eWeekends Plan) to $10 (Qwest 6¢ Plan).

Local-long distance bundles are not ‘one size fits all’

This year Consumer Action (CA) found carriers offering an unprecedented number of local-long distance bundles. A bundle is a package of services including local and long distance service, optional calling features such as caller ID and call waiting and unlimited local calls. Depending on the plan, unlimited local toll calls and long distance calls also may be included.

CA looked at 17 local-long distance bundles available from eight companies and found that monthly fees range from the $11.99 that MCI charges in some places for its bare-bones Neighborhood Standard local plan to the $64.95 charged by AT&T for the One Rate Advantage plan in some states.

CA Editorial Director Linda Sherry, who conducted the survey, warns that “these service packages are definitely not one size fits all. Heavy phone users may save money, but even if you need every product and the unlimited calls the plans offer, and that’s a big if, in most cases you’ll save only a few bucks a month.”

CA also found that “unlimited” calls may be limited. If you think you can surf the Internet all day on a dial-up modem you may find that the carrier’s rules forbid it. MCI’s The Neighborhood plan, for instance, does not allow continuous dial-up usage. CA found this in the fine print: “If after signing up for The Neighborhood you are on the Internet for significant periods of time (and you have not signed up for high- speed Internet service), you may be assessed an additional monthly charge for Internet/data use, be disconnected, or be moved to a different product.”
For the first time, a cable company—Cox Communications—is included in CA’s survey. Cox is providing digital phone service and local-long distance bundles in some communities nationwide, including San Diego and Orange County, CA; Connecticut and Rhode Island; Las Vegas, NV and parts of Virginia. (For more information, visit Cox on the Internet at www.cox.com.)



It can be challenging to compare the plans on a national basis as the rates vary widely by state and even municipality. CA took a look at how much an SBC customer based in San Francisco and a Verizon customer based in Washington, DC, would save by purchasing a local-long distance bundle. (See charts.)

In San Francisco, SBC customers can buy the company’s All Distance Connections plan for $48.95. This includes voice mail, caller ID, call waiting and three-way calling, with unlimited local, local toll, in-state and interstate calls. CA added up the cost of the calling features, an unlimited local toll plan and 500 minutes of long distance (more than eight hours of interstate chat) per month for a total of $54.22.

In Washington, DC, Verizon markets its similar Freedom bundle for $49.95. The sum of its parts (with unlimited local calls and 300 minutes of long distance) add up to $59.23.

“The examples show that very heavy phone users and feature junkies would save money,” noted Sherry. “The average long distance customer uses about 200 minutes per month. If you’re an average phone user, you probably don’t want all those features or the endless phone time, so you can put together a more reasonably priced package on your own.”

Cell phone users may have even less reason to purchase one of the local-long distance bundles. If you use a cell phone for most of your calls and your plan has unrestricted toll and long distance minutes, a landline bundle might not make sense.

When comparing bundles, remember that advertised prices don’t include taxes and fees of 15% or more and that your new carrier may charge a month ahead. If so, your first bill with the new provider could be a whopper with two months of charges.

If you are considering a bundle, do the math, advises CA. Add up the features you want and see if the bundle is really such a value.

If your package includes a DSL high-speed Internet connection, you may be asked to lock in to a contract of a year or more or face stiff early termination fees. These fees are charged even if you have to move and the same company does not offer service at your new location. Even if you stay at the same place, it may not be possible to switch local phone companies and keep your DSL with the old company without triggering a termination fee.

(In some states, local phone companies are requred to offer DSL even if the customer chooses another phone company to provide local service. Call your local public service commission to see if such a law exists in your state.)

“Don’t be sold on a plan when you don’t need one,” advises Sherry, noting that local flat rate or measured service is priced very reasonably in many areas.

Carriers are aggressively marketing their local-long distance bundles. MCI’s Neighborhood service has signed up three million customers, accounting for more than half of its consumer revenue. AT&T now gets about a quarter of its consumer revenue from its local-long distance bundles.

“These plans are profit centers for carriers and they are pushing them like crazy,” Sherry said.

Interstate 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.
Calls are billed in six-second increments. Stand-alone billing only. Calls to or from Alaska and in-state calls within Alaska are billed at 20¢ per minute. Calls to or from Hawaii and all in-state calls within Hawaii are billed at 15¢ per minute. All Calling Card calls are 25¢ per minute.

A T & T

(800) 222-0300
www.att.com

Calling plan:

Unlimited Plus

Unlimited Plan

One Rate 5¢

One Rate 10¢ Plan

5¢ Nights

AT&T 5¢ eWeekends Plan

Type:

Unlimted plan

Unlimted plan

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

Two-rate plan

Online plan

Monthly fee:

$29.95

$19.95

$2.95

None. $5 minimum monthly usage requirement.

None. $5 minimum monthly usage requirement.

None. $5 minimum monthly usage requirement.

Rate periods included:

All

All

All

All

Peak(7 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Off-Peak (7 p.m.-7 a.m.)

Weekends (12 a.m. Saturday-11:59 p.m. Sunday) and weekdays.

Plan description:

Includes unlimited calls. (In-state Alaska calls are billed at an additional 14¢ per minute.) For an additional $5 monthly fee unlimited calls to Canada are included, as well as discounted rates to other countries. Call 800-227-9806.

Includes unlimited state-to-state, in-state, and local toll calls to other AT&T customers; calls to non-AT&T customers are 7¢ per minute. You must be subscribed to AT&T local toll service for your local toll calls to qualify for unlimited calls.

Calls are 5¢ per minute.

Calls are 10¢ per minute.

Peak calls are 10¢ per minute; off-peak calls, 5¢ per minute.

Calls are 5¢ per minute for all weekend and 9¢ per minute on weekdays.

BIG ZOO

Toll Free Number : None
www.bigzoo.com

Calling plan:

BigZooLong Distance Service

Type:

Online prepaid one-rate plan

Monthly fee:

75¢

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Calls in the continental U.S. are 2.9¢ (local access); 3.9¢ (toll-free access). (Calls to Hawaii and Alaska are 16.3¢ per minute. Calls cannot be placed from Hawaii or Alaska.) You sign up on the company’s web site (http://www.bigzoo.com) and pay using a credit or debit card. Phone time can be purchased in $10, $25 or $50 amounts. Payphone calls are subject to a 55¢ charge. You can view all of your calling activity by signing in to your account on Big Zoo’s web site. Big Zoo PINs expire six months from the date of purchase or last recharge, whichever is more recent. Note: The rates shown below are for toll-free access. In many cases, using a local access number will result in lower rates. Some of the international rates show below have been rounded to the nearest 1/10th of a cent.
Australia: 4.4¢ for most continental calls (to a cell phone, 21.9¢)
Brazil: 7.5¢-10.5¢ depending on locale (to a cell phone, 21.5¢)
Canada: 3.4¢
England: 3.9¢ (to a cell phone, 22.9¢)
Mexico (Mexico City): 5.9¢
Taiwan: 4.5¢ (to a cell phone, 11.9¢)


C O X   C O M M U N I C A T I O N S

(888) 222-7743
www.cox.com/telephone
(Cox Communications offers digital local and long distance phone service in some parts of AZ, CA, NE, NV, OK, RI, CT, KS, LA and VA. In order to qualify for the company’s long distance services, customers must be Cox local phone customers.)


Calling plan:

Long Distance Standard Plan

US Savings

US 250 Plan

US 500 Plan

Type:

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

Bucket of minutes plan

Bucket of minutes plan

Monthly fee:

None

$3.95

$15

$25

Rate periods included:

All

All

All

All

Plan description:

Calls are 10¢ per minute (in-state and state-to-state).

Calls are 7¢ per minute (in-state and state-to-state).

Includes 250 minutes of in-state or state-to-state long distance. After the 250 minutes are used, the rate is 7¢ per minute.

Includes 500 minutes of in-state and state-to-state long distance. After the 500 minutes are used, the rate is 5¢ per minute.

ECG

(800) 254-4060
www.ecglongdistance.com

Calling plan:

Residential Plan

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls are 3.5¢ per minute. In-state rates vary. Automatically includes discounted international rates:
Australia: 5.7¢ (to a cell phone, 33¢)
Brazil: 7¢-10¢ (to a cell phone, 27¢)
Canada: 7.5¢
England: 5¢ (to a cell phone, 30.5¢)
Mexico: 17¢
Taiwan: 9.3¢ (Taipei: 7.2¢) (to a cell phone, 19.6¢)

EVERDIAL

(800) 263-6690
www.everdial.net

Calling plan:

Everdial 1

Type:

Online one-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Calls in the continental U.S. are 4.9¢ per minute. Includes a calling card with a domestic rate of 9.9¢ per minute (50¢ connection fee; 35¢ payphone fee). Automatically includes discounted international rates:
Australia: 8.9¢ (to a cell phone, 37¢)
Brazil: 21.9¢ (to a cell phone, 34.9¢)
Canada: 7.9¢
England: 6.8¢ (to a cell phone, 43¢)
Mexico (Mexico City): 24.9¢ (to a cell phone, 26.9¢)
Taiwan: 14.9¢ (Taipei 12.9¢) (to a cell phone, 25¢)


E X C E L   C O M M U N I C A T I O N S

(800) 875-9235
www.excel.com
At no extra charge, long distance customers can request that their local toll/intralata calls be carried by Excel. These calls are billed at the company’s in-state long distance rates, which vary by state and range from 5¢ per minute in California to 15¢ in North Dakota.


Calling plan:

Nickel Nation

Dime Deal 2000

Simply More

Type:

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

$5

$3.75

$4.50

Rate periods included:

All

All

All

Plan description:

All state-to-state and in-state calls are 5¢ a minute with a 5-minute minimum for completed calls. Calls to Canada also are 5¢ per minute.

All calls are 10¢ a minute.

All calls are 7¢ per minute. Plan also offers 15¢ per-minute, calling card and personal 800 number rates.

EXPRESS TEL /
TEL AMERICA

(800) 571-7777
(800) 748-4000
www.expresstel.com
www.telamerica.com
Available only in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.


Calling plan:

Ninefold

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls within the contiguous 48 states are 9¢ a minute. (Calls to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada are 15¢ per minute.) Six-second billing 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/exactrate/

Calling plan:

Exact Rate

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

$1.99 (automatic billing, with a credit card); $3.99 (paper bill).

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls are 7¢ per minute. The plan comes with automatic low international rates. For an additional monthly fee of $2.99, the rates are further discounted. The following international rates compare default rates with the special calling plan rates:
Australia: 25¢/17¢
Brazil: 43¢/40¢
England: 10¢/9¢
Taiwan: 40¢/20¢

GTC TELECOM

(800) 486-4030
www.gtctelecom.com

Calling plan:

2.9¢ Residential Plan

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None (Credit card payment with online statement); $1.95 (Payment by check with paper statement.)

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls are 2.9¢ per minute, with the exception of calls to Alaska and Hawaii, 15¢ per minute. In-state and local toll calls are billed at the in-state rate, which varies by state. GTC Telecom does not offer service to Hawaii and Alaska residents. The plan comes with automatic low international rates. For an additional monthly fee of $3, the rates are further discounted. Sample comparison of default rates/calling plan rates:
Australia: 22¢/15¢
Brazil: 52¢/29¢
Canada: 12¢/9¢England: 13¢/10¢
Taiwan: 56¢/17¢


IDT

(888) 802-0082
(800) 254-1718
www.idt.net

Calling plan:

IDT Long Distance

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

$3.95

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls are 5¢ per minute. Domestic calls billed in six-second increments. Rate applies only to calls made from the contiguous 48 states (calls to Alaska are 14.9¢, Hawaii 16.2¢ and Puerto Rico, 6.9¢).

MCI

(800) 444-3333
www.mci.com

Calling plan:

Nationwide

Nationwide 200

One Net Savings

Nationwide Unlimited Evenings

Type:

One-rate plan

Bucket of minutes plan

Two-rate online plan

Unlimited plan

Monthly fee:

$2.95

$9.95

None. $6 monthly minimum usage requirement.

$17.95

Rate periods included:

All

All

Peak (Weekdays) and Off-Peak (Saturdays and Sundays).

Daytimes (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Evenings (all other times).

Plan description:

Calls are 5¢ per minute. For a higher monthly fee ($5.95) the 5¢ per-minute rate can be extended to cover all state-to-state and in-state long distance and local toll calls.

The plan includes 200 minutes of state-to-state calls each month. (If all 200 minutes are used, calls are 5¢ per minute.) Additional state-to-state calls are 7¢ per minute.

Calls are 5¢ a minute on weekends and 9¢ a minute on weekdays. Automatic credit card billing and online statements are required.

Unlimited evening (7 p.m.-7 a.m.) calls are included. Calls placed at all other times are 5¢ per minute.

NET2PHONE

www.net2phone.com

Calling plan:

PC2Phone

Type:

Prepaid, one-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls in the U.S. are 2¢ per minute, billed in one-minute increments. You can call any regular phone in the world from your personal computer (PC). Net2Phone CommCenter software can be downloaded from the Internet (www.net2phone.com) and is available for most PCs using Windows 95 or more recent with a sound card, speakers and a microphone. The company recommends using a hands-free PC-compatible phone headset for added performance and privacy while making calls. For international rates, check the web site.

ONESUITE

(866)4-1SUITE
www.onesuite.com

Calling plan:

OneSuite

Type:

Prepaid, one-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Calls are 2.9¢ per minute for toll-free access and 2.5¢ for local access. Customers sign up for an account on OneSuite’s web site, choose any amount of long-distance credit, pay for it with a credit or debit card and use OneSuite’s toll-free access number and your personal identification number (PIN) to place calls. The service can be used from any phone. Pay phone calls are subject to a 55¢ per call charge. The company offers a service called ZipDial, which recognizes your home phone (or any other number you register) when you dial in, so you do not have to enter the PIN number to place calls. Calls placed using the company’s local access numbers are 2.5¢ per minute. International rates are automatic. Sample international rates:
Australia: 4.5¢ (toll-free access)/2.9¢ (local access number); 22¢/19¢ (to a cell phone)
Brazil: 11.5¢ (toll-free access)/10¢ (local access number); 25¢/23.5¢ (to a cell phone)
Canada: 3.5¢ (toll-free access)/2.5¢ (local access number)
England: 3.9¢ (toll-free access)/2.5¢ (local access number); 23¢/19¢ (to a cell phone)
Mexico (Mexico City): 13¢
Taiwan: 4.5¢ (toll-free access)/3.5¢ (local access number); Taipei: 5¢/3.5¢; 11.9¢/9¢ (to a cell phone)


OPEX

(888) 577-7266
www.opexld.com

Calling plan:

Value Plus

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None, with online billing. With paper bill, $1.99.

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

State-to-state calls in the 48 contiguous states are 3.9¢ per minute. (Calls to HI, AK, PR, and U.S. VI are 23¢ per minute.) Calls are billed in one-minute increments with a one-minute minimum charge. International rates are automatic. Sample international rates:
Australia: 6¢ (to a cell phone, 29¢)
Brazil: 5.9¢-13.9¢ depending on location (to a cell phone, 32¢)
Canada: 6¢
England: 6¢ (to a cell phone, 61¢)
Mexico (Mexico City): 6.5¢ (to a cell phone, 33¢)
Taiwan: 6¢ (to a cell phone, 17¢)



Q W E S T

(800) 860-2255
www.qwest.com

Calling plan:

5¢ Long Distance

Rollback

6¢ Plan

Type:

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

$5.95 (paper bills) or $3.95 (online billing)

95¢-$4.95*

None. $10 monthly minimum usage requirement.

Rate periods included:

All

Two, weekends and weekdays

All

Plan description:

Calls are 5¢ per minute.

Calls are 5¢ per minute on weekends and 7¢ on weekdays.

*Each month the monthly fee is reduced by a dollar until it reaches 95¢.

Calls are 6¢ per minute. (Customers who use fewer than 2 hours and 45 minutes of state-to-state long distance per month will pay a higher effective per-minute rate.)

S B C

Plans with “promotional” in the name are temporary offers available to customers who use SBC as their local phone company.)

(800) 248-9850
www.sbc.com

Calling plan:

National Connections II

Value Plus 60, 200 or 500 Promotion

Value Plus Flat Rate Promotion

Just Call 3¢

Type:

Unlimited plan

Bucket of minutes plan

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

$30*

$2, $5 or $10

None

$3

Rate periods included:

All

All

All

All

Plan description:

Includes all in-state and state-to-state long distance calls. Available in AR, CA, MO, NV, OH, OK, TX and WI. (*If customers subscribe to certain SBC local phone services, this plan is available for $20.)

Includes 60, 200 or 500 minutes of state-to-state or local toll calls per month. Additional calls are 5¢ per minute.

Calls are 5¢ per minute.

Calls are 3¢ per minute.




S P R I N T

Sprint offers additional long distance calling plans that are bundled with wireless calling plans or Internet service. See the company’s web site for details.

(800) 746-3767
www.sprint.com

Calling plan:

7¢ AnyTime Online

Nickel AnyTime

500 AnyTime, 1000 AnyTime

Type:

One-rate plan

One-rate plan

Bucket of minutes plan

Monthly fee:

$5.95*

$8.95

$25 or $40

Rate periods included:

All

All

All

Plan description:

Calls are 7¢ per minute.

*The monthly fee is reduced to $3.95 if the following conditions are met: sign up online, use only online customer service and stay with Sprint for at least 12 months. (A $15 early termination fee will be charged if customers switch long distance carriers before 12 months is up.)

Calls are 5¢ per minute.

Plans include either 500 minutes (5¢ per minute if you use all the minutes) or 1,000 minutes (4¢ per minute) of state-to-state long distance per month. Additional calls are 10¢ per minute. The monthly fee is billed one month in advance.

V E R I Z O N

Verizon does not offer long distance service to residents of Alaska. Not all long distance plans listed are available in every state served by Verizon.

(800) 483-3000
www.verizonld.com

Calling plan:

SmartTouch

eValues

Five Cents Plan

TalkTime 30, 60, 300, 500 or 1000

State Saver

Type:

Prepaid calling plan

Two-rate plan

One-rate plan

One-rate bucket of minutes plan

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

None

None

$5.95

$3, $5, $21, $30 or $39.95
$4.95

Rate periods included:

All

Peak (weekdays) and Off-Peak (all other times).

All

All

All

Plan description:

Calling time is charged to a credit or debit card in advance. Calls are 8¢ per minute. A minimum charge of $5 is required. (Not available in every state.)

Peak calls are 10¢ per minute and Off-Peak, 5¢. Must sign up online.

Calls are 5¢ per minute.

Packages offer 60 minutes for $3 (10¢ per minute for additional calls); 300 minutes for $21 (8¢ per minute for additional calls); 500 minutes for $30 (6¢ per minute for additional calls) or 1,000 minutes for $39.95 (5¢ per minute for additional calls).

In-state rates vary by state (most state rates are in the 5¢-7¢ per minute range). State-to-state calls are 9¢ per minute.

W O R K I N G   A S S E T S

(800) 788-0898
www.workingassets.com

Calling plan:

7¢ Offer

Type:

One-rate plan

Monthly fee:

$3.95

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

All calls are 7¢ per minute. The company donates 1% of your monthly charges to non-profit organizations that customers help to choose. Offer also includes 12 monthly coupons redeemable for free ice cream. Credits new customers $5 for the switch fee charged by the local phone company.

ZONE LD

(866) 333-9663
www.zoneld.com

Calling plan:

Rate Smasher

Type:

One-rate online plan

Monthly fee:

None with online billing and automatic credit card or debit card payment; $2.95 for customers who wish to pay by check.*

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Calls are 4¢ per minute. Rates are good only for calls within the contiguous 48 states. Credit card billing is required. *A $1 network access charge is applied monthly to all residential accounts. International calls have a surcharge of 95¢ per call.
Australia: 16¢ (to a cell phone, 74¢)
Brazil: 28¢ depending on location (to a cell phone, $1.10)
Canada: 13¢
England: 10¢ (to a cell phone, 74¢)
Mexico (Mexico City): 23.6¢
Taiwan: 17¢ (to a cell phone, 74¢)


Basic Long Distance Rates

2000

2004

This chart compares basic long distance rates—the default rates paid by customers who are not on a calling plan—among five major carriers in 2000 and 2004. As of Jan. 1, 2004, AT&T announced that its weekend basic rates dropped from 18.5¢ per minute to 5¢ per minute.

Day Rate Mondays - Fridays Saturdays Sundays
AT&T 29.5¢ 35¢ 14.5¢ 14.5¢
MCI 30¢ 30¢ 22¢ 30¢ 10¢ 20¢
SBC 27¢ 17¢ 17¢
Sprint 30¢ 40¢ 10¢ 20¢ 10¢ 10¢
Verizon* 10¢ 25¢ 10¢ 25¢ 10¢ 25¢

Evening/
Night
         
AT&T 22.5¢ 29.5¢ 14.5¢ 14.5¢
MCI 22¢ 30¢ 22¢ 30¢ 20¢
SBC 17¢ 17¢ 10¢ 17¢
Sprint 10¢ 40¢ 10¢ 20¢ 10¢ 10¢
Verizon* 10¢ 25¢ 10¢ 25¢ 10¢ 25¢
*Bell Atlantic default long distance rates are given for 2000. Verizon was formed by a merger between Bell Atlantic and GTE in mid-2000.


Directory A$$istance
This chart details the cost from six major phone companies for calling information by dialing Area Code+555+1212.

AT&T
$1.99
Cox
$0.46
MCI
$2.49
SBC
$1.50/$2.49*
Sprint
$2.49
Verizon
$1.25
* In-state vs. interstate

Interstate Long Distance Rates Survey 2004

How to use this survey

This chart shows the lowest per-minute rates on interstate calls from 21 phone companies, during the Daytime (Peak) and Evening, Night & Weekend (Off-Peak) rate periods. (See plan descriptions in the Interstate Calling Plans for complete information on each plan, carrier contact numbers and web site addresses.)

Calling plans are broken into the following categories: plans with no monthly fees or minimum usage requirements; plans with monthly fees or minimums; plans that require customers to set up service online and require automatic billing to a credit or debit card; “bucket of minutes” plans which give you a set number of minutes for one monthly fee; prepaid plans, for which you pay in advance for long distance minutes, and “unlimited” plans which allow you to place as many calls as you wish during the month at no additional charge.

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.

Key to symbols used on the chart

* Lower rate applies if local access number is used instead of toll-free access.
# With online billing, there is a monthly fee.
** Includes toll calls are included.
*** Unlimited calls to AT&T customers are included; 7¢ per minute to others.
### Unlimited evening calls included in monthly price.

Company Daytime calls Evening, Night & Weekend calls
  Calling plan Per Minute Fee / Minimum Calling plan Per Minute Fee / Minimum
  -------------------- Plans without fees or minimums --------------------
Adelphia Long Distance None / None Long Distance None / None
Cox LD Standard Plan 10¢ None / None LD Standard Plan 10¢ None / None
ECG Residential Plan 3.5¢ None / None Residential Plan 3.5¢ None / None
Everdial Everdial 1 4.9¢ None / None Everdial 1 4.9¢ None / None
ExpressTel/ TelAmerica Ninefold
None / None Ninefold
None / None
SBC Value Plus Flat Rate None / None Value Plus
Flat Rate
None / None
  -------------------- Plans with monthly minimums --------------------
AT&T 5¢ Nights 10¢ None / $5 5¢ Nights None / $5
Qwest 6¢ Plan None / $10 6¢ Plan None / $10
  -------------------- Plans with monthly fees --------------------
AT&T One Rate 5¢ Plus $2.95 / None One Rate5¢ Plus $2.95 / None
Cox US Savings $3.95 / None US Savings $3.95 / None
Excel Nickel Nation $5/5 min. per-call minimum Nickel Nation $5/5 min. per-call minimum
Global Crossing Exact Rate $3.99 / None Exact Rate $3.99 / None
IDT IDT Long Distance $3.95 / None IDT Long Distance $3.95 / None
MCI Nationwide $2.95 / None Nationwide $2.95 / None
Qwest 5¢ Long Distance $5.95 / None 5¢ Long Distance $5.95 / None
SBC Just call 3¢ $3 / None Just call 3¢ $3 / None
Sprint Nickel Anytime $8.95 / None Nickel Anytime $8.95 / None
Verizon Five Cents Plan $5.95 / None Five Cents Plan $5.95 / None
Working Assets 7¢ Offer $3.95 / None 7¢ Offer $3.95 / None
  -------- Plans that require online sign-up and/or credit card billing --------
AT&T 5¢ eWeekends None / $5 5¢ eWeekends None / $5
GE Long Distance Residential Long Distance 5.9¢ None / None Residential Long Distance 5.9¢ None / None
GTC Telecom Residential 2.9¢ Plan 2.9¢ None / None Residential 2.9¢ Plan
2.9¢ None / None
MCI One Net Savings
None / $6 One Net Savings
None / $6
Opex Value Plus 3.9¢ #None / None Value Plus 5.9¢ #None / None
Verizon eValues 10¢ None / None eValues None / None
ZoneLD Rate Smasher
4.5¢ None / None Rate Smasher
4.5¢ None /None
  ---------------------------- "Buckets of minutes" plans ----------------------
Cox US 500 $25 / None US 500 $25 / None
Qwest **200 Plan 7.4¢ $14.95 / None **200 Plan 7.4¢ $14.95/ None
SBC Value Plus 500 $10 / None 500 Block of Time
$10 / None
Sprint 1000 Anytime $40 / None 1000 Anytime $40 / None
Verizon TalkTime 1000 3.9¢ $39.95 / None TalkTime 1000 3.9¢ $39.95 / None
  --------------------------------- "Unlimited" plans ---------------------------------
AT&T Unlimited Plan ***Zero/7¢ $19.95 / None Unlimited Plan ***Zero/7¢ $19.95 / None
MCI Nationwide Unlimited Evenings ###5¢ $17.95/None Nationwide Unlimited Evenings ###Zero $17.95/None
  -------------------------------------- Prepaid plans --------------------------------
Big Zoo Long Distance Service *2.9¢-3.9¢ None / $10 minimum charge Long Distance Service
*2.9¢-3.9¢ None / $10 minimum charge
Net2Phone PC2Phone None / $25 minimum charge PC2Phone None / $25 minimum charge
OneSuite OneSuite Long Distance
*2.5¢-2.9¢ None / $10 minimum charge OneSuite Long Distance
*2.5¢-2.9¢ None / $10 minimum charge
Verizon Smart Touch None / $5 minimum charge Smart Touch None / $5 minimum charge
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 of Consumer Action between Dec. 12 and Jan. 2, 2004. © Consumer Action 2004

Tale of two bundles, two cities

Carrier : SBC San Francisco, CA
A la carte All Distance Connections
Flat rate local phone service : $10.99 Flat rate local phone service : Included
Caller ID : $6.17 Caller ID : Included
Call waiting : $3.23 Call waiting : Included
Three-way calling: $3.23 Three-way calling: Included
Message Center Voice Mail: $7.95 Message Center Voice Mail: Included
*Local Toll Plan: $12.95 Local Toll : Included
**SBC Value Plus 500: $10.00 Long Distance: Included
       
Total: $54.22 Total: $48.95
       
* Saver Plus local toll calling plan provides 180 minutes of local toll calls per month for $12.95.
**500 minutes (about 8.5 hours) per month of local toll, in-state and state-to-state long distance.


Carrier : Verizon Washington, DC
A la carte Verizon Freedom
Flat rate local phone service : $12.78 Flat rate local phone service : Included
Voice Mail: $4.50 Voice Mail: Included
Caller ID : $7.50 Caller ID : Included
Call waiting : $5.45 Call waiting : Included
Three-way calling: $4.50 Three-way calling: Included
Speed dialing: $1.50 Speed dialing: Included
Local Toll : N/A* Local Toll : Included
Talk Time 300**: $21 Long Distance : Included
       
Total: $59.23 Total: $49.95
       
* No standalone local toll calling plan is available in DC; however, most of the extended metropolitan area and many suburbs are included in the local calling area.
**300 minutes (about 8.5 hours) per month of interstate long distance.

Phone features offer privacy and convenience for a price

Optional phone services—some people can’t live without them while others consider them a waste of money. The special features offered by local phone companies offer privacy and convenience for a price and often come bundled with local and long distance. Prices for these features range from $1.50 to $7.95 per month depending on where you live and which company you do business with.

Caller ID: If your phone is equipped with a caller ID display device, this service allows you to see the number or name (or both) of the calling party if the caller has not blocked the number.

Anonymous call rejection: Rejects incoming calls from callers whose number is not identified on caller ID. (You do not need a caller ID device to use this service, however it may be free of charge with caller ID service.) If callers with blocked numbers wish to get through, they must unblock their numbers when calling.

Privacy management: A call screening service that works with caller ID to intercept unidentified incoming calls and ask callers to identify themselves in order to complete the call. Then the service relays a message to you about who is calling.

Call screening: Allows you to block calls to your line placed from certain phone numbers.

Call waiting: Alerts you to another call while you are on the phone by making a clicking noise on the line. You can toggle to the other call by pressing a specific key on your dialing pad. For an additional fee, you may be able to view the number and name of the person calling on your caller ID device while you are on the phone.

Voice mail: Like an answering machine, this service allows callers to leave a message, which you can hear later by calling a number to retrieve your messages. If you use a voice mail service, change your password frequently and create passwords that outsiders are unlikely to guess. There have been many cases of third party billing international toll fraud via voice mail access and phone companies often consider the phone customer liable for the cost of any fraudulent calls.

Call forwarding: Allows you to forward calls to another number when your line is busy or when you are away from home. Some companies offer options on the service for an additional fee that allow you to forward calls after a designated number of rings, dial in remotely to direct calls to another number and forward calls from certain numbers but not others.

Call return: Places a call to the number used by the last person who called you.

Repeat dialing: Repeatedly redials a busy phone number until it becomes available.

Speed calling: Allows you to program one-button shortcuts for a specific number of frequently dialed numbers. The more numbers that the system allows you to store, the more you’ll pay for the service.

Call blocking: You may be able to restrict access to certain numbers, such as pay-per-use numbers (area code 900 or prefix 976) or long distance calls. Depending on the service, there may be a fee.

Priority ringing: Allows you to choose a distinctive ring for certain callers so that you will know when those people are calling you.

Three-way calling: Enables you to make conference calls by connecting to two other numbers at the same time.

Some features, such as call return, repeat dialing and three-way calling, can be used on a pay-per-use basis. This means that you are charged only when you use the feature. This may require that you dial a series of numbers to begin the call, such as *69 for call return or *66 for repeat dialing.

Take your cell phone number to go

In late 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed rules requiring wireless local number portability. This means that you can keep your phone number when you switch mobile phone providers.

You can keep (or “port”) your number during a switch only if you remain in the same metropolitan area. If you are moving out of the area, carriers are not required to give you the same number.

The new rules took effect in November in 100 large population metropolitan areas and should be universal by May 24.

You may have to buy a new phone in order to keep your number. Wireless phones from one company are often incompatible with competitors’ systems.

Keeping your cell phone number despite switching carriers can be a convenience. It means that you won’t have to contact family, friends and associates to give them a new number.

The new rules also allow you to switch your landline number to a cell phone, but this might not be an option with every carrier.

Wireless number portability rules will not help you to cancel a current cell phone contract without penalty. If you decide to change carriers, make sure your current cell phone contract is not subject to an early termination fee unless you want to pay an additional $150-$250 for the switch.

While you are responsible for any outstanding balances on the old phone, carriers are not allowed to refuse to transfer a number because a termination fee or outstanding balance has not been paid. Carriers are allowed to charge a fee when you port your number.

Don’t terminate your existing service before switching carriers because you can only move an existing number. Allow your new carrier to handle the transfer. Providing your new carrier with a copy of your cell phone bill will help insure that the transfer goes smoothly.

A switch between wireless carriers could take only a few hours. Moving your landline number to a wireless phone could take a few days. If things don’t go smoothly, contact your new carrier about the problem. If you can’t resolve the problem, you can complain to the FCC by calling 888-CALL-FCC.

Local-Long Distance Bundles

(For company contact information, check your local phone directory or see long distance listings for web site information.)

Bundles at a glance
Company Plan Name Monthly Fee
AT&T One Rate USA $48.95-$59.95
  One Rate Advantage $53.95-$64.95
Cox Connection 60 $24.00-$34.95
  Connection 90 $34.99-$41.95
  Connection 200 $39.99
  Connection Unlimited $48.75-$49.95
IDT America Unlimited $39.95
  America Choice $28.95
Qwest Home Choice $25.99
MCI Neighborhood Complete $49.99-$69.99
  Neighborhood Advantage 200 $29.99-$49.99
  Neighborhood Preferred $18.99-$35.99
  Neighborhood Standard $11.99-$31.99
SBC All Distance Connections $43.95-$49.95
Sprint Complete Sense Unlimited $49.99-$59.99
  Complete Sense 50 $34.99-$44.99
Verizon Unlimited Freedom $49.95-$59.95

AT&T

To find the cost of these plans in your state, visit the company’s “Local Help” site (www.usa.att.com/localhelp/call_plans.html) and select your state.


Calling plan:

One Rate USA

One Rate Advantage

Type:

Local-long distance bundle

Local-long distance bundle

Monthly fee:

$48.95-$59.95 (varies by state)

$53.95-$64.95 (varies by state)

Rate periods included:

All

All

Plan description:

Local service, unlimited local, local toll and long distance calls and a choice of four features, such as call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling and call return, among others.

Local service, unlimited local, local toll and long distance calls and calls to Canada, as well as a choice of four features, such as call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling and call return, among others.

Cox Communications


Plan names:

Connection 60, Connection 90, Connection 200 and Connection Unlimited

Type:

Local-long distance bundles

Monthly fee:

$24.00-$49.95 (Varies by the plan you choose and by state)

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Depending on the bundle, the plans include one or two phone lines, an allotment of long distance minutes or unlimited long distance service and a package of features such as caller ID or call waiting.

IDT


Calling plan:

America Unlimited

America Choice

Type:

Local-long distance bundle

Unlimited plan

Monthly fee:

$39.95

$28.95

Rate periods included:

All

All

Plan description:

All local, local toll (regional) and long distance calls are included. Includes four optional phone services: caller ID, call waiting with caller name display, 3-way calling and speed dial for up to 8 numbers. Available in NY, NJ, PA and MD.

Unlimited local calls. All long distance calls are billed at 5¢ per minute. Includes caller ID and call waiting with caller name display.

Qwest


Plan name:

Qwest Home Choice

Type:

Local-long distance bundles

Monthly fee:

$25.99

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Includes local phone service and three calling features, such as call waiting or caller ID. Subscribers may add a long distance calling plan that bills the first $20 per month of calls at 5¢ per minute. Once you have reached $20 in long distance (400 minutes) per month there is no charge for additional calls.

MCI

(More information can be found online (www.theneighborhood.com) or by calling 877-777-6271.)


Calling plan:

Neighborhood Complete

Neighborhood Advantage 200

Neighborhood Preferred

Type:

Local-long distance bundle

Local-long distance bundle

Local-long distance bundle

Monthly fee:

$49.99-$69.99 (varies by state).

$29.99-$49.99 (varies by state)

$18.99-$35.99 (varies by state)

Rate periods included:

All

All

All

Plan description:

Monthly fee covers all calls (state-to-state, in-state, regional local toll and local) and includes the cost of call waiting, caller ID, speed dial, three-way calling and voice mail. The plan is available in all 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC. A $35 add-on digital line subscriber (DSL) Internet access plan is also available in many areas.

Includes unlimited local phone calls, a 200-minute allowance for local toll, in-state and state-to-state long distance calls and three features: call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling. Non-local calls are 7¢ per minute once the monthly allowance has been used up.

Unlimited local calls are included. Local toll, in-state and state-to-state long distance calls are 7¢ per minute. Features such as caller ID are available for an additional fee.

SBC


Calling plan :

All Distance Connections

Type:

Local-long distance bundles

Monthly fee:

$43.95-$49.95 (varies by state)

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Unlimited local and long distance calls, voice mail and caller ID are included as well as your choice of two calling features, such as three-way calling or priority ringing.

Sprint


Calling plan:

Complete Sense Unlimited

Complete Sense 50

Type:

Local-long distance bundle

Local-long distance bundle

Monthly fee:

$49.99-$59.99 (varies by state)

$34.99-$44.99 (varies by state)

Rate periods included:

All

All

Plan description:

Includes local phone service, a choice of calling features, such as call waiting or caller ID, voice mail and unlimited long distance calls.

Includes local phone service, a choice of calling features such as call waiting or caller ID, and 50 minutes of state-to-state long distance calls (7¢ per minute after the 50 minutes are used up).

Verizon


Plan name:

Unlimited Freedom

Type:

Local-long distance bundles

Monthly fee:

$49.95-$59.95 (varies by state)

Rate periods included:

All

Plan description:

Includes unlimited local, local toll, all U.S. calls and calls to Canada as well as additional features, such as caller ID and call forwarding, among others.


Have your computer call my computer

Source : Net2Phone (www.net2phone.com)

For several years, early adopters with IBM-compatible personal computers have been making free or very cheap long distance and international calls using “voice over Internet protocol” (VOIP). Companies such as Net2Phone and Free World Dialup were pioneers in the market, but now bigger companies—both long distance providers and cable TV outfits—are staking claim to the technology.

VOIP is an emerging technology that inexpensively carries phone calls over Internet-style networks. Internet telephony, or VOIP, allows the human voice to be transmitted over the Internet in real time.

Experts say that VOIP today is as clear as landline phone service and better than some cell phone connections. The service is free for PC-to-PC connections and as low as 2¢ per min-ute for PC-to-phone use. Recently software was released to allow Mac owners running OS X to use Internet telephony.

In December, AT&T announced that it would offer VOIP services to consumers and businesses in most major U.S. cities by the end of next year. Time Warner cable will, over the next year, use the technology to offer flat-rate phone service to most of the 18 million households in its municipal franchise areas.

Benefits and roadblocks

The big companies like VOIP because they can avoid the access fees that local phone firms charge for carrying a call. A few roadblocks, such as concern that VOIP calls evade federal wiretapping laws, will have to be ironed out should the companies want to capture more of the landline market from local phone providers.

Debate has emerged over whether Internet telephone service should be regulated by the government. Consumer Action believes that telephone service must be reliable and universally available and that to insure that it is will require thoughtful government oversight. Vital questions include how to maintain cost-effective universal access, ensure reliability and require that VOIP carriers provide connections to local 911 emergency services and pay their fair share of regulatory fees and surcharges.


Guest Columnist

Traps abound for unwary 10-10 dial-around users

by Rich Sayers

(Sayers is editor of 10-10PhoneRates.com and Phone-bill-alert.com, two free services that help consumers stay up-to-date on phone rates and terms.)

Dial-around “10-10” services can save consumers money—especially on international calls and in states with high intrastate rates. But don’t get burned by rate and fee hikes, billing problems and other traps for the unwary.

Huge rate hike

Users of the popular 10-10-220 service might get a big shock when they realize the rate for a 20-minute call is now $1.74. That’s a 75% increase from the heavily advertised rate of 99¢ for 20 minutes and 7¢ per minute for extra minutes. As of Nov. 1, 2003, 10-10-220 users get 15 minutes for 99¢ and pay 15¢ per additional minute. MCI’s TelecomUSA division, which runs 10-10-220, did not notify users of the change.

Connect fees change

AT&T’s 10-10-345 (promoted via direct mail and ethnic media) increased its connection fees for most international calls starting Nov. 1, 2003. The per-call connection fee went from 30¢ to as much as 99¢. This burns users who make short calls, get answering machines or call areas with frequent disconnections. 10-10-345 users were not notified unless they subscribed to an email alert service.

Low-usage fee

WorldxChange, a discount dial-around company, added a new low usage fee to several of its plans in October. Users of 10-10-629, 101-5335 and 101-6789 who make less than $3 worth of calls each month now get hit with a $2.50 fee. Customers who opt for online billing rather than a paper bill are exempt from this fee. Again, users were not notified.

Billing surprises

Watch your bills carefully. Between May and December more than 100 complaints about 10-10-987 billing problems were received by 10-10PhoneRates.com. Most of the people who complained reported being billed $1.87 per minute on U.S. calls. Others noted being billed up to 90 times the advertised rates on international calls.

MCI blamed the local phone companies for mistakenly routing the calls the wrong way. However, this does not seem to be random routing error because more than 90% of the reported errors were billed by MCI, the company that owns 10-10-987. It’s also alarming that many consumers reported that they were denied rate adjustments or were pressured to switch their long-distance service to MCI in order to get a partial adjustment. Some consumers who were promised refunds are still waiting for them more than three months later.

Advance registration

Resellers such as Everdial do not own 10-10 access codes. They work with companies like Primus that buy phone time wholesale from MCI, Sprint and other companies. Consumers are required to register their phone number with resellers before they are told which 10-10 code to dial. But if people dial the 10-10 access code on a second phone line that was not registered, the calls are billed by the underlying carrier at much higher default rates.

Register all your new phone lines with a reseller before dialing the 10-10 code on those lines. And don’t give out the 10-10 code to others when telling them about this type of dial-around service—they won’t get the discounted rates until they sign up. Provide your referrals with the customer service number or web site address instead.

Grandfathered rates

Some dial around plans continue to bill current customers at older, higher rates. When lower rates are offered to attract new customers, existing users don’t benefit from the lower promotional rates. Visit the 10-10PhoneRates site frequently to stay up to date with lower rates—then you can ask the company to bill you at the new rates.

Web sites with old rates

Some carriers’ web sites carry outdated or erroneous information more often than others. Always double-check rates via the carrier’s toll free customer service line before placing calls. We have found incorrect rates on the 10-10-345.com, VarTec.com and WorldxChange sites.

Some examples:
• A wrong 10-10-811 rate to call Turkey on VarTec.com for 10 months. The per-minute rate for prior users is 46¢, but the site still quotes 25¢. 10-10PhoneRates.com informed VarTec of this error on numerous occasions, but it has not been corrected. We’ve heard from consumers who were burned and who even after complaining have not received rate adjustments.

• The 10-10-345.com site shows a 39¢ connection fee on calls to Germany, but its toll-free customer service line and its ads say the fee to connect calls to Germany is 59¢. An email from 10-10-345 promoted a 5¢ per minute rate to China when the actual rate was 10¢, plus a 99¢ per-call connection fee.

• WorldxChange’s dial-around overview page brags that it has “no monthly fees” although it has a new low-usage fee disclosed only in fine print on another page. Many of the company’s sales agents publish their own web pages that often list outdated rates and fees. Why don’t they just link to the rates on the WorldxChange pages, which are almost always complete and up-to-date?

2004 predictions

It has become common in the industry to charge higher rates on international calls placed to mobile phones. Services such as 10-10-297 and 10-10-987 don’t yet charge more to call mobile phones in Europe, Asia and Latin America but we think it’s likely that they will increase these rates in 2004. Unless users make a lot of short calls so that the 39¢ connect fee boosts the per-minute rates, the companies can’t make a profit on international calls placed to mobile devices.

As more households switch local service away from regional Bell companies, their ability to use traditional dial-around access services will diminish. Most dial-around providers do not have billing arrangements with alternative local service providers. As an alternative, consumers can use toll-free access dial-around services.

Dial-around directory
It’s easy for users of 10-10 services to become confused about the various access codes. For complete information on the fees and conditions of all 10-10 plans listed here, visit the 10-10PhoneRates.com web site. It pays to check frequently, because these companies are not required to—and usually do not—notify users about rate increases or changes in terms.

Name Dialing Code Parent Company
Lucky Dog 10-10-345 AT&T
Everdial (Must be a customer to use the code) Everdial/Primus
10-10-457 Same Excel/VarTec
10-10-297 Same Excel/VarTec
10-10-220 Same TelecomUSA/MCI
10-10-321 Same TelecomUSA/MCI
10-10-987 Same TelecomUSA/MCI
101-6868 10-16-868 PT-1
10-10-719 Same Startec
10-10-811 Same VarTec
Clear Choice 10-10-636 VarTec
Call 4¢ 10-15-335 WorldxChange
10-10-629 Same WorldxChange
Crazy Call 1016789 WorldxChange

Source: 10-10PhoneRates.com (www.10-10phonerates.com)

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