Long Distance FAQ

Things to consider when choosing a Long Distance Service Provider...

No, there is no requirement to have a long distance provider. In fact, with the proliferation of inexpensive pre-paid calling cards and cell phones, some consumers no longer make long distance calls from their landline phones at all.

It depends on the price of the card and the corresponding number of minutes as well as how or where you intend to use the card. Some pre-paid calling cards have rates of a few pennies per minute. A pre-paid calling card is almost certain to save you money if used at a pay telephone instead of placing an operator-assisted call.

There are numerous long distance providers offering a wide range of calling packages. The key will be selecting the one best suited to your individual needs. For example, if you seldom make long distance calls, you may be better off to select a higher per minute rate with a lower fixed monthly cost. If you make a lot of long distance calls, you may wish to consider a lower per-minute rate with a higher fixed monthly cost.

Intrastate long distance calls are generally more expensive because the cost of these calls includes not only the long distance (toll) rate, but also a “connection” fee on a per-call basis. For interstate long distance service, all customers pay a flat monthly fee. The fee is designed to recover the cost of the permanent connections between the customer and the interstate long distance network. (This is usually referred to as the Federal Subscriber Line Charge and is collected from all customers, whether or not they make interstate long distance calls.) For intrastate service, there is no such fixed “connection” fee collected from all customers. Rather, intrastate long distance users pay the actual cost of the connection for each call made, which, in effect, increases the rate.

For long distance rate changes, Virginia requires public notice. This could take place in the form of newspaper advertising or direct customer notification. For interstate rate changes, there is no requirement to inform customers directly of the change. Ask your provider how it notifies customers of rate changes.

It’s always a good idea. A call to your previous provider could prevent the possibility of duplicate billing.

Yes, dial 1-700-555-4141 from your home or business telephone. You will hear an automated message advising you of the long distance provider’s name.

Yes. In fact, the Virginia State Corporation Commission has rules in place that enable you to choose the carrier of your choice when calling from payphones.