Don's Home Technology Telecom Long Distance Contact

Long Distance Telephone Calls

Under Construction

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 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.

Calls fall in three categories:
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.
2. Local Toll Calls - Calls outside the Local Calling Area but within your LATA (Regional Calling Area).
3. Long Distance - Calls outside your LATA. Sometimes broken down into inter-state and intra-state. These calls have been connected through an InterExchange Carrier.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 added more competition by allowing Long Distance companies and other carriers to compete with the Local companies for Local Toll (IntraLATA) Calls.

Your local company may also be allowed to provide Long Distance service soon.

You must specify a Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier (PIC), which was the Long Distance company you wanted to use when you placed an InterLATA call. You could bypass this company by dialing 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 telephone bill. See the New Jersey 1010 List here and the 10-10 Phone Rates Page.

Some IXCs liese 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.

You can now also specify a Local Presubscribed Intraexchange Carrier in place of Bell Atlantic for your Local Toll Calls.

The bottom line is you can have anywhere from a minimum of two (Local and Long Distance) telephone companies to four or more (Local, Local Toll, Long Distance, DSL) companies. See Fundamentals of Regional Toll Calling at Bell Atlantic and Local Toll Calling at MCI.

Long Distance (Interexchange Carrier) Carrier Access Codes / PIC Codes
List at Davis-Company.

Other Long distance info (Area Codes, ...)
List of sites with Phone Rate Comparisons & Guideshn at Go2Net
Slams, Crams, and Other Scams at the FCC.
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
Telecom Page at
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 Interexchange Carrier - Long Distance