There Are Many Options and Plans To Choose From

Many of us can probably remember when long distance rates were expensive, so long distance phone calls were only made for special occasions or during an emergency. All that has changed now! In today's hi-tech world, there are more options available for cheap long distance phone service, including free long distance, unlimited long distance, and cheap long distance using long distance calling cards. Now you can talk to friends and family who live far away just by pushing a few buttons on your telephone, and cheaply, too. No need to wait for a special occasion or emergency situation to talk to someone far away. Come along with us as we explore your options and help you decide which long distance plans are right for you.

Start With Your Phone Carrier

If you are a cell phone user, you may already have free long distance with your cell phone plan. Be sure to check your contract if you don't already know. Here are a few of the major cell phone carriers who offer free long distance:

  • T-Mobile: Offers free long distance and roaming on several plans, including their MyFaves plans.
  • Cingular offers several versions of their Nation plans with free long distance and roaming.
  • Verizon's Wireless America Choice includes free long distance with all these plans.

If you are not a cell phone user, or if you want to use long distance on your land line, many long distance services offer some good rates, too.

  • If you're an AT&T customer, you have several long distance plans to choose from, including Unlimited Plus, which gives you unlimited long distance calls to anyone in the US, at anytime, for $29.95 a month. Other variations include One-Rate 7cents plus, where calls are $.07 a minute, with a $3.95 monthly fee; One-Rate 10 cents plus has no monthly fee, and calls are $.10 a minute. There's also a variation where day calls are $.10 a minute, but night rates are at $.05 a minute. Online billing is required on this last plan, however.
  • BellSouth serves customers all over the United States and in some other countries as well. Their best long distance rates include a couple of plans through Pioneer with no minimum usage fee, and rates from 2.7 to 3.5 cents a minute.
  • Comcast can give you unlimited local and long distance calling for just $39.95 per month. If you sign up for cable Internet and TV services, you can get the bundle for $33 per month for each service. If you're also looking for a cable provider and high speed Internet service as well, this may be the way to go.
Additionally, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocal) services such as Vonage can cut your long distance costs as well. You'll see a separate article on this type of phone service, just check the index under Cell Phones-Communications.

Long Distance Cards

Another option for cheap long distance is the Long Distance Calling Card. They are especially useful for International long distance, which is not offered by all cell phone plans. Here are a few choices to consider:

Smart Card Phone Cards are available for $5 and $10, and the minutes available are based on the country you are calling to. For example, based on the $5 card, if you called exclusively to Canada, this card would be good for 93 minutes. Calls to France would give you 111 minutes on a $5.00 card. These cards are good for domestic as well as international calls.
Sprint offers calling cards in a variety of denominations, good for domestic and international calls. While their web site did not list rates, we bought ours at Costco originally for $20, for 480 minutes. This comes out to about $.04 a minute.

Long Distance phone cards can also be purchased at your local convenience store, or at Costco, Sam's Club, Target, Walmart, etc., as well as online.

Parting Words

Long distance phone service is so much cheaper than it used to be, and there are a variety of ways to get it. Look at your options and weigh them carefully, then decide which of the above plans are best for you and your pocketbook.

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