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Pioneer

Est. 2.7 cents per minute
Reviewed
June 2013
by ConsumerSearch
pioneer telephone

Pros
  • Competitive per-minute pricing
  • Variety of plans
  • Discount for calling other Pioneer customers
Cons
  • Not available in all areas
  • Extra charge for paper billing
  • Billing by the minute

Bottom Line

Pioneer (Est. 2.7 cents per minute) is one of the oldest long-distance companies for those living in much of the United States, and it competes well with ECG, the top-rated long-distance company. While Pioneer has a low 2.7-cent state-to-state rate, reviewers point to the company's one-minute billing increments as its major drawback -- in other words, a call lasting one minute and one second gets billed at two minutes.

Plans and Pricing

One-minute increments not liked. Pioneer is mentioned frequently in reviews of long-distance services. However, our most reliable reviewers rated ECG higher than Pioneer. These reviewers don't like that Pioneer bills in 60-second increments, which means that if you make a 10-second call, you are billed for a full minute. Pioneer does offer a plan with six-second increments, but the charge is 3.25 cents per minute rather than 2.7 cents. On the other hand, calls between Pioneer customers are a mere 1.9 cents a minute. Paper billing is an extra $2 per month, though this is waived for bills over $20.

Customer Service

Average customer support. As with ECG, your location must be served by a current or former Baby Bell company (like Verizon or AT&T), so about 15 percent of the country won't be able to access Pioneer. Customer service is available by toll-free phone Monday to Friday, or anytime by email or fax.

Our Sources

1. SaveOnPhone.com

SaveOnPhone.com says it monitors about 350 long-distance plans as the basis for this top 10 list. Pioneer ranks second, based on cost, customer service and the company's special rates for calls between Pioneer subscribers.

Review: Long-Distance Phone Service Comparison, Editors of SaveOnPhone.com, Not dated

2. TollChaser.com

The prices in the TollChaser.com rankings chart include the universal service fund fees that increase the advertised rates, giving a more accurate picture of the user's actual cost. The chart ranks Pioneer's Rate Buster plan second and its Talk Cents plan seventh.

Review: Continental State-to-State Long Distance Phone Rate Comparison, Editors of TollChaser.com, Not dated

3. Dial-Abroad.org

Phone professional Andy Gray maintains this website dedicated to cheap phone services, including long-distance, VoIP and toll-free number providers. Comparison charts are provided. Pioneer gets an Editor's Choice designation for its good overall rates and customer service.

Review: Long Distance Comparison and Reviews, Andy Gray, Not dated

4. Calling-Plans.com

Rated solely on cost, Pioneer comes in at first in Calling-Plans.com's list of long-distance phone providers.

Review: Cheap Long Distance Phone Plans, Editors of Calling-Plans.com, Not dated

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