Long Distance Telephone Service
Things to consider when choosing a Long Distance Service Provider...
Do I have to choose a primary long distance carrier?
No, there is no requirement to have a long distance provider.
In fact, with the proliferation of inexpensive pre-paid calling cards and
cell phones, some consumers no longer make long distance calls from their
landline phones at all.
Is it cheaper to use a pre-paid calling card?
It depends on the price of the card and the corresponding number
of minutes as well as how or where you intend to use the card. Some pre-paid
calling cards have rates of a few pennies per minute. A pre-paid calling
card is almost certain to save you money if used at a pay telephone instead
of placing an operator-assisted call.
Does the company charge a flat monthly fee?
If so, how much and do I have to pay if I do not make calls?
There are numerous long distance providers offering
a wide range of calling packages. The key will be selecting the one
best suited to your individual needs. For example, if you seldom make
long distance calls, you may be better off to select a higher per minute
rate with a lower fixed monthly cost. If you make a lot of long distance
calls, you may wish to consider a lower per-minute rate with a higher
fixed monthly cost.
Why are the rates for in-state (intrastate) long
distance calls sometimes higher than rates for interstate (state-to-state) calls?
Intrastate long distance calls are generally more expensive
because the cost of these calls includes not only the long distance (toll)
rate, but also a “connection” fee on a per-call basis. For interstate long
distance service, all customers pay a flat monthly fee. The fee is designed
to recover the cost of the permanent connections between the customer and
the interstate long distance network. (This is usually referred to as
the Federal Subscriber Line Charge and is collected from all customers,
whether or not they make interstate long distance calls.) For intrastate
service, there is no such fixed “connection” fee collected from all
customers. Rather, intrastate long distance users pay the actual cost
of the connection for each call made, which, in effect,
increases the rate.
How will I be notified of rate changes?
For long distance rate changes, Virginia requires public notice.
This could take place in the form of newspaper advertising or direct customer
notification. For interstate rate changes, there is no requirement to inform
customers directly of the change. Ask your provider how it notifies customers
of rate changes.
If I change my long distance service provider, must
I notify my previous carrier?
It’s always a good idea. A call to your previous provider could
prevent the possibility of duplicate billing.
Is there a way for me to determine the identity of my long
Yes, dial 1-700-555-4141 from your home or business telephone.
You will hear an automated message advising you of the long distance
Can I use my preferred long distance carrier when making
a call from a pay telephone?
Yes. In fact, the Virginia State Corporation Commission has rules
in place that enable you to choose the carrier of your choice when calling