Reviewers say Pioneer, one of the oldest long-distance companies for those living in Baby Bell territory (about 85 percent of the United States), 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. 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. As for international calls, reviews say Telna (*Est. 4.8 cents per minute) is usually cheaper (though it varies by what country you're calling). For those who live outside Baby Bell coverage areas, reviews recommend Total Call International (*Est. 3.9 cents per minute) .
SaveOnPhone.com is the best long-distance company reviewer, because it evaluates pricing and customer service for about 350 plans. Pioneer ranks very well there, and at similar sites, such as PhoneDog.com, TollChaser.com, LongDistanceSmart.com and Dial-Abroad.org.
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
The real benefit of PhoneDog.com, which collects information on a wide array of phone services and companies, is its user reviews. Nearly 100 users give Pioneer very high average scores overall, with very few complaints. The editors of the site also rate Pioneer highly, especially for customer service.
Review: Pioneer 2.7 Rate Buster, Editors of and contributors to PhoneDog.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
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
5. My Rate Plan
This website takes your state and required number of long-distance minutes and shows you the best plan for your needs. However, Pioneer is one of only two companies (along with ECG) whose plans they display.
Review: Discount Long Distance, Editors of MyRatePlan.com
Rated solely on cost, TCI 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