Long Distance Telephone Calls
Calls fall in five categories:
See International Calling for call to and within other countries.
- 1. Local Calls
- - Free with flat rate service or message units for measured service.
Your Local Calling Area is usually
listed in the front your phone book by exchanage.
You may be able to extend this with special extended local area plans.
See: Calling Area Tools - Local Exchange Finder SAS - Find Out What Calls Are Included Your Local Plan at verizon.com
- 2. Local Toll Calls
- - Calls outside the Local Calling Area but
within your LATA (Regional Calling Area) (see below). (5-8¢/min.)
- 3. In-State Long Distance
- - Calls outside your LATA.(3.5-14¢/min)
- 4. Inter-State Long Distance Calls
- - Calls to other states. (4-7¢/min)
- 4. International Calls
- - Calls to other countries.
In the past 1 and 2 were handled by your local phone company (e.g. Verizon, SBC, ...)
while 3 and 4 are connected through an InterExchange Carrier (AT&T, MCI, ...).
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed
Local and Long Distance companies to compete for all calls. This competition was
generally not implemented until 2001-2003.
Most Popular Long Distance Companies (based on references in Web pages)
(1) Price rank is based on average (CA, NJ, WY) price including service fees and per minute rates
based on 100 min. of inter-state and 10 min. or intra-state. Your actual bill may include other charges (see below).
Average rates for CA, NJ and WY, - Other Fees were the same. Total cost varied by less than 40¢ between states.
Source: Most data from SaveOnPhone.com
Companies used to have different rates in the evenings and weekends, but most have eliminated that now and have
the same rate all the time.
(2) Other Fees includes the Monthly Service Fee and Federal Universal Service Fee (USF), but there may be other charges.
In-State rates were higher in New Jersey than in Calif.. Inter-State rates were generally the same.
You can calculate total cost based on your usage at: SaveOnPhone
Note: This calculation for MCI produced a rate of 7¢/min. plus $4.64 in other fees for a total of $12.64 in New Jersey.
I called MCI and the lowest price they offered me was 5¢/min plus a $2.95/mo. service fee.
My actual MCI bill included the following:
Comparison Chart at: ConsumerSearch and SaveOnPhone.com
|Service Fee ||$2.95
|Federal Universal Service Fee ||$1.20 || ||(They charge about 10% where FCC only requires 7.25%)
|Instate Access Recovery Fee ||$1.35
|Billing Option Fee ||$2.50 || ||(Get bill on Verizon Statement)
|Total Other Fees || ||$8.00
|Federal Tax ||$ .94
|State & Local Tax ||$2.02
|Fed., State & Local Surcharges ||.65
|Total Taxes and Surcharges || ||$ 3.61
|Phone Calls || ||$6.00
|Total Bill: || ||$17.61
LATA - Regional Calling Areas
When AT&T divested the Local Telephone Operating Companies, Bell Atlantic, Pacific Bell, etc. in 1984, the concept of long distance calling was changed to allow for competition in the Long Distance market.
Instead of Area Codes determining what was a Long Distance call, a new geographic area called a Local Access Transport Area (LATA) was established. (Some telephone companies call them Regional Calling Areas.) (See: LATA map at robotics.net
Calls within these areas (IntraLATA calls) were carried by your
Local Telephone Company e.g. Bell Atlantic and calls between
these areas (InterLATA calls) had to go through a Long Distance
Company, also called Interexchange Carriers (IXC) such as
AT&T, MCI or Sprint.
LATAs were roughly equivalent to the Census Bureau's
Metropolitan Stastical Areas (MSA).
There is no standard relation between Area Codes and LATAs.
For example in 1995 New Jersey had 2 area codes and 1 LATA in North Jersey and
1 area code and 2 LATAs in South Jersey. They have since added several
area codes but the LATAs/Regional Calling Areas have not changed.
In the past you had to specify a Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier (PIC), which
was the Long Distance company you wanted to use when you placed an
InterLATA call. Now you can have local service without a Interexchange Carrier. You
can use a Calling Card with an 1-800 access number or a 101 (or 1010) dial-around service for Long Distance.
These require you dial an 800 number and enter a 4-10 digit PIN or dial a
Carrier Access Code (was 10-xxx now 101-xxxx)* also called a
"dial-around" calling plan. Most of these worked even
though you had not signed up with them in advance. Your local telephone
company was required to give them your billing address or if they had
an billing arrangement with them include the charges on your local
- Dial-around (1010) Plans (4-10¢/min.)
- Calling Cards (3-15¢/miin.)
Some IXCs lease networks from other carriers. e.g. IDT leises network space from Global Crossing, Frontier and Allnet in certain areas; your bill will come from IDT but you are actually served by the other companies.
IXCs pay an access charge to LECs. Independ companies are allowed by the FCC to charge a slightly higher access charge, so your long distance rates may be up to 1¢/min. higher in these areas.
* Note: The original dial-around plans used 10 plus a 3 digit code
for each carrier. As carriers expanded they needed a 4 digit code.
To distinguish between local numbers, regural long distance and
internationl dialing these were preceded with "101". The original
carriers just added a "0" in front of their old codes and to make
it easy to remember advertised it as 10-10-xxx.
The bottom line is you can have anywhere from one to four or more (Local, Local Toll, Long
Distance, Calling Card, DSL) telephone companies.
Local Toll Calling at MCI.
Long Distance (Interexchange Carrier) Carrier Access Codes / PIC Codes
List at Davis-Company.
List of sites with Phone Rate Comparisons & Guideshn at Go2Net
Consumer Alerts and Factsheets at the FCC.
Long Distance Phone Service at Consumer Search
10-10 Phone Rates.
A Bell Tolls - Long Distance Telephone and Telecommunications Clearinghouse
Long Distance Rates from M. Wengler
Dial-Around Service Page at Yahoo.
Rates at lcpi.com
Telecom Page at teleconnekt.com
CIC - Carrier Identification Codes e.g. 0321
CAC - Carrier Access Code e.g. 101-0321
DSL - Digital Subscriber Line (e.g. Bell Atlantic's Infospeed DSL)
LEC - Local Exchange Carrier (e.g. Verizon, SBC, Independent Telco...)
ILEC - Incumbent LEC. Primary LEC before competition. (e.g. Verizon,
SBC, Independent Telco., ...)
CLEC - Competitive LEC. A second LEC which has their own switches and
competes with the ILEC. They usually lease the wires going to your
house from the ILEC.
LATA - Local Access Transport Area
LPIC - Local Presubscribed Intraexchange Carrier - Local Toll
LSP (Local Service Provider)
NPA - Numbering Plan Areas (Same as Area Code)
PIC - Presubscribed/Primary Interexchange Carrier - Long Distance Company
PICC - Primary Interexchange Carrier Charge (also called Carrier Line Charge,
Federal Line Charge or Instate Access Recovery Fee )
- This fee goes to the local service provider to cover part of the
cost of providing telephone service to a customer.
USF - Universal Service Fund (7.25% - 11.5%)
-FCC mandated charge to support modern telecommunications services for
schools, libraries, low-income consumers, rural health care providers,
and high cost service in rural and isolated areas.
See also: TeleBright Glossary