Getting the most out of your long distance phone company these days can be tricky. It helps to have a very good idea of exactly where you call, preferably over several months, at what times, and for how long.
Knowing your long distance phone call breakdown can help when choosing from among dozens of options for long distance phone service. The key is to buy at the right rate, whether by the minute or flat, for your long distance telephone usage.
Here are some of the key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for and comparing business long distance service and carriers:
1. The number of lines that your business has now, or will need in the future. This will dictate the type of service (and equipment) you need, the service packages available and the different vendors serving your needs.
2. The calling features that you will want included in your long distance plan, such as call transfer, voice mail, international and others.
3. Specific long distance carriers you want to include in your search and review who may have plans or deals you've read or heard about such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, BellSouth or others.
4. Different pricing packages that fit your business budget, whether it's under $50 per month, $100 to $500, or much larger.
Long distance phone service for metrosMost local phone providers will happily cover your long distance service up to and including towns pretty far away -- yet in your general area -- as part what is is called "local long distance" phone service.
Consider a separate long-haul long distance serviceIn some cases, it can be worthwhile to take the very cheapest local phone service and then buy long distance phone service from long distance providers for a per-minute rate or an all-you-can-eat flat monthly long distance service fee.
long distance providers.
Long distance telephone need not be a standard fixed-line phone providerIncreasingly, long distance service is available as a feature from your cable TV provider or as a third-party long distance service added on to your existing Internet connection. If you have high-speed Web or cable, you're an installation away from sometimes cheaper alternatives to long distance carriers.
Long distance carriers compete more than everTaken a look at your cellular plan lately? Chances are very high that you have "free" national long distance service as part of your basic package. The wireless carriers have stopped charging for domestic long distance service and even for roaming to push users toward them and away from fixed-line for long distance service.
Long distance providers can sometimes lock you inIt's called a PIC freeze, for "preferred interexchange carrier." Long distance carriers will often lock you line into their long distance service to keep it from being switched illegally by a competitor, a practice known as "slamming." A PIC freeze is a good thing as long as you realize it is being done and your long distance provider is reasonably fast at releasing your line should you change long distance carriers.
Federal Communications Commission.
- It can be a chore, but absolutely step one is looking at your old long distance phone service bills. You will find patterns -- like multiple calls to a single number, or calls mostly at night -- that will figure heavily into your choices among new long distance providers.
- If you are trying to price long distance service for a small business, it will help to know who makes what calls to where. Most long distance providers will give you a code for each employee to enter before connecting a long distance call. That kind of tracking from long distance carriers will help with budgets.
- A hugely popular alternative is long distance service calling cards and "dial around" long distance service. These can be very cheap, but sometimes they are tricky to use (lots of codes!) and, obviously, no customer service. Go this route only if it's for personal long distance telephone calls and if you call the same foreign numbers often.