Long 
Distance Phone Rates Comparison - ABTolls

July 23, 2014

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Bundled / Unlimited / Block Calling Plans
If you have not yet read ABTolls.com's disclaimer information, please do so before continuing.

Consumer Warning: The average consumer may not save money switching to Unlimited bundled Local and Long Distance service plans. Actual costs which include taxes and provider fees may range from $10 - $20 more than the advertised monthly fee shown. All consumers should contact providers to determine the additional fees and taxes associated with any phone service plan. Never be afraid to ask and inform yourself!
The telephone companies are finding new and confusing ways to offer us long distance. Promotions claim to offer large blocks of free minutes or even free unlimited long distance calling. At first glance, many of these seem too good to be true. Well, guess what? They may be if you are not an extremely high volume user with very specific calling patterns. In general, these plans only serve the needs of high volume callers or callers with very specific calling habits. For the rest of us, we are likely to be financing the salaries of the individuals who come up with these gimicks. The following is an explanation of the types of plans out there and how you can determine if you can save money using them.

Compare Bundled / Unlimited Calling Plans
    Get Smart! Here are the basic pieces of information you should have accessible in order to make an informed consumer choice.
      Local Phone Bill - What's your average monthly bill? Do you have special calling features (call waiting, caller ID, etc)? Do you have voicemail?
      Long Distance Phone Bill - What's your average monthly bill? How many minutes do you usually spend making long distance calls? This number is usually somewhere on your bill, but may be hard to find. The FCC says the average American makes less than 2 hours worth of calls - that's 120 minutes.
      Monthly Fee - Find out what the monthly fee is for the plan. Ask what the additional fees and taxes are. These could easily add $10-$20 to your bill each month.
      In-State vs. State-To-State Service - Ask if the "free/unlimited" minutes are good for both in-state (intrastate) and state-to-state (interstate) calls. If not, find out what the in-state rates are for your state. These can often be quite a bit higher than the advertised state-to-state rates.

    What They're Offering (These are examples only! They are not actual plans available to consumers)
      Block Plans - 500 "Free" Long Distance Minutes For $12.95/month
      Bundled Services - Local Phone Service With "Free" Unlimited Long Distance For One Monthly Fee

    Bundled Calling/Service Plans
    Newest on the market, these bundled service plans offer you combined local and long distance telephone service for one monthly fee. Some plans include "free" unlimited long distance, "free" dial-up internet access, and other perks.

      Advantages:
      If you are a high volume long distance caller (you make a lot of long distance calls - and we mean a lot) or you have many calling features, you could save money
      That's it!

      Disadvantages:
      Monthly fees are often higher than local phone bills combined with discount long distance service. (Click here to get rates from discount providers)
      You are somewhat bound to the one provider. If you decide to change your local service provider or your long distance provider, you lose all the benefits and may have to pay costly switching fees (especially for changing your local service provider)

      Things To Look Out For:
      Ask about the fees and taxes. These added costs could raise the monthly bill by $10-$20
      Check to make sure that both In-State and State-To-State long distance calls are covered.
      Is voice mail included? If not this could add another monthly expense on top of the advertised price.
      Do you travel or have months when you make fewer calls from your home. You're still paying the set fee plus taxes and fees whether you use the plan or not.

    Quickly Determine If Bundled Plans Are Right For You

      1. Add your local bill and your long distance bill together. If the total is LESS than the monthly fee for the bundled plan, keep with the status quo. You'd just be giving your money away if you switched.

      2. Use the chart below to get a rough idea if a plan might save you money. Not including voice mail, determine how many calling features you want to have. Calling features include items such as Call Waiting; Caller ID; 3-Way Calling; Repeat Dialing; Call Forwarding; Call Block; Call Return; 900/976 Restriction; Anonymous Call Rejection. Determine how many minutes worth of long distance calls you make. Find the range that contains your number of total minutes in the left-hand column and then read accross to the right based on how many calling features you want. Yes means you may want to look into switching (please see notes above about all the pros and cons). No means the plan is not likely to be your least expensive option.
      Calling Features
      Monthly Usage In Minutes
      0
      1
      2
      3
      4+
      0 - 200
      (most consumers)
      NO
      NO
      NO
      NO
      YES
      200 - 400
      NO
      NO
      NO
      YES
      YES
      400 - 600
      NO
      NO
      YES
      YES
      YES
      Over 600
      YES
      YES
      YES
      YES
      YES

      If you're a YES, click here for more on the pros and cons.

      If you're a NO, click here for tools to help you save money on your long distance bill.

    We recommend that you try using the customized rate comparison tools to see how these plans match up with others

    Compare Bundled / Unlimited Calling Plans

    Block Plans
    Block plans generally offer a set number of "free" minutes per month for a monthly fee. If you go over your set number of "free" minutes, the company charges you a per-minute rate on those extra minutes. You can think of these plans as pre-paid plans. You are essentially buying a set number of minutes up front for each month and then paying for any extra usage (usually at a higher than average cost).

      Advantages:
      In some cases (but not all) the cost per-minute is lower than the industry average, (if you use exactly the number of minutes in the plan to the areas included in the block).
      That's it!

      Disadvantages:
      If you do not use all your minutes, the actual cost of the minutes you used can skyrocket. If you use more than your set number of minutes, you are usually charged a per-minute rate that is much higher than the industry average.

      Things To Look Out For:
      High per minute rates on usage that exceeds the number of allocated minutes.
      Check to make sure that both In-State and State-To-State long distance calls are covered.
      If you consistently (month after month) talk on the phone for the number of minutes that are offered in the plan (or come within 20% over or under), it may save you money.

    We recommend that you try using the customized rate comparison tools to see how these plans match up with others


    Unlimited Long Distance Calling
    Pretty straight forward. You pay one fee and you can make as many long distance calls as you want.

      Advantages:
      If you are a high volume long distance caller (you make a lot of long distance calls - and we mean a lot), you could save money
      That's it!

      Disadvantages:
      Monthly fees are often higher than discount long distance service would be based on your average usage per month. (Click here to get rates from discount providers)

      Things To Look Out For:
      Ask about the fees and taxes. These added costs could raise the monthly bill by $5-$10
      Check to make sure that both In-State and State-To-State long distance calls are covered.
      Do you travel or have months when you make fewer calls from your home. You're still paying the set fee plus taxes and fees whether you use the plan or not.



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