Don’t automatically choose the cheapest plan
Posted in: Long Distance
Are the plans called the cheapest usually the best choice?
Many long distance service plans and alternatives market their offerings on one level only: Low cost. In many cases, the pure cost of calling card rates and services may be the only consideration that is critical to your choice.
But, as with most products and services, you should consider the more indirect factors of the items you’re evaluating to be sure you have purchased the right solution for you. Long distance service is no different than other informed purchases that you make. Along with pure per minute cost, you should also examine:
1010 dial around plans
Does your state support the dial-around services you want? Does your local phone system support the dial-around plans you are considering? Are there locations and situations that do not support dial around numbers, like hospital rooms, cell phones, dorm rooms, and even some business phone systems? If you travel overseas, you will probably be prohibited from using your dial around plan to make calls.
Prepaid calling cards
Check the per minute state-to-state calling rate in light of the number of minutes you load on your card. For example, some calling cards give you a lower per minute rate if you load a larger number of minutes on the card.
Examine any potential surcharges you might face with particular cards based on other circumstances. For instance, calling cards often have a surcharge if you use a pay phone since they must provide some income to the owner of the phone. This extra charge may result in deducting minutes from your card.
Also, see if you can secure even lower rates if you use online calling cards instead of purchasing and reloading at a nearby merchant.
VoIP phone services
While VoIP is a potentially wonderful way to save large sums of money on long distance service, you should learn the limitations of Voice over Internet Protocol systems and technology.
For example, if your business involves downloading software for certain types of equipment you sell, say credit card processing hardware, your VoIP service may be unacceptable as many machines can only communicate via standard analog modem over a landline.
Should you travel often, your standard VoIP service, unlike 1010 dial around plans and prepaid calling cards, may be unavailable during your trips. Some VoIP services offer the option of adding “soft phone” capability, which, when loaded into your laptop computer, allows you to make calls from resorts, hotel rooms, etc.
There is normally an extra charge for this long distance service, so factor this into your monthly cost if you select this option.
Consider all factors
As you can see, the pure per minute effective cost, assuming the voice quality is equal, will often be the overwhelming factor to determine your choice of long distance service. But, you should also examine all surrounding factors of the plans you consider to allow you to get to this bottom line cost.
Your lifestyle, business activities, location(s), and personal preference should also be components of your evaluation.
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