plans and pricing. Phone service providers should be upfront about
the cost per minute and any limitations in terms of the days and times of
making a call.
fees and charges upfront. Beyond the per minute
cost, some companies add a monthly fee and may also charge for paper billing.
customer support. Most long-distance phone service providers offer
phone support as well as email, though the times these are available differ
from one company to another.
Evaluate your needs. Track your current calling patterns for a
month. Keep track of your long-distance calls: how often you call long-distance,
how long your calls last and at what times of which days you place
Consider a flat-rate plan if you make
more than 15 hours or so of long-distance calls per month. For example, AT&T's All Distance Online plan (Est. $44 per
month) includes unlimited local calls, plus in-state and state-to-state
about making long-distance phone calls from your computer or cell phone. VoIP is an
Internet alternative to land-line long-distance phone service. VoIP plans
include both local and long-distance calls, along with lots of extras such as
voicemail and call waiting. Starting at about $25 per month, most VoIP services
are cheaper than traditional bundled local/long-distance plans. Most cell phone
plans include long-distance calling in the monthly bill. See our reports on VoIP and cell phone plans for
aware of the carrier's billing increments. Some companies (such as AT&T and
Pioneer) bill in one-minute increments. If your call lasts one minute and one
second, you're charged for two minutes. This unused time can add up, especially
if you make many short long-distance calls. Programs that bill at six-second
increments, or even one-second intervals, more accurately reflect your actual
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