Long distance calls

Long distance calls

Making long distance calls inside the US can be expensive. Some phone companies charge more for state to state (interstate) calls than local toll (intrastate) calls, while others may offer “free long distance calls” but the subscription is offered at a surcharged rate. As more and more US citizens relocate to other parts of the country, the need for an affordable way to stay in touch is therefore greater than ever.

Long Distance Carriers Rates

The main US based phone operators tend to have several options/packages available for domestic long distance calls. You would therefore be well advised to research your options and go for something that suits the frequency of your calling needs.  By choosing a plan that takes into account the number of minutes you average per month, you can help keep costs down.

AT&T -- For an additional monthly surcharge of $5 you can call long distance for 7 cents per minute.  Alternatively, for those who call more frequently, there is a subscription for $25 that allows unlimited calls. The first plan would cover 285 minutes of long distance per month by the time it hit $25; for excess minutes, the second plan is better.

MCI -- For $13.99 per month you have access to 200 minutes of long distance calling, with 5 cents per minute thereafter.  Otherwise there is a $6.99 monthly subscription allowing for calls at 4 cents per minute.  There is a minimum usage fee of $10 though – as ever be aware of the small print before entering an agreement.

Sprint -- The Nickel plan is $8.95 per month plus 5 cents per minute - that’s $18.95 per month for 200 minutes. Sprint does have bundled plans with wireless service that will lower residential long distance rates from a landline, but you have to have a cell phone plan with Sprint to qualify.

Alternatives to Traditional Long Distance Carriers

Phone cards -- If you only make a few long distance phone calls a month, and don’t want the hassle of an extra bill, a phone card can allow calling in the US for somewhere around 2 to 5 cents per minute, plus connection fees, card reload fees, and rounding to the nearest 1, 3 or 5 minutes.  As ever, calling cards can have various downsides and hidden fees, so checking out the fine print as well as online reviews is strongly advised.

Rebtel -- Long distance calls in the contiguous 48 states can be made for just 1.5 cents per minute, with no monthly fees or hidden charges. An added benefit to Rebtel is that calls can be made from landlines as well as normal cell and smartphones. You can even use Rebtel to call the US from outside the country, using easy to access phone codes for the state you are calling so the call goes through like a local call.

Look back through your records and make a generous estimate of how many minutes you spend on long distance calls each month. Then select the long distance calling plan that fits your usage patterns. The right service can create substantial yearly savings.