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Long Distance | The Right Plan for You

Find Long Distance That's Right For Your Needs

There are hundreds of long distance providers out there, and no two are exactly alike. Even the "Big Three" long distance companies in the U.S. - AT&T, Sprint and MCI/WorldCom - have different technologies, rates and fee structures for their customers. Before you look for long distance for your business, you need to understand your typical long distance calling patterns. Once you know how you use your long distance service, you can find the right provider for your business.

1. When Do You Call?

Fact
Long distance providers tier their rates differently. Some offer the same rate, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Others offer cheaper rates during "off-peak" hours. Still others have three sets of rates - daytime, evening and weekend rates.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Is my usage always during the daytime, or "business hours?" Do I make calls during the week only?
Evaluate
If your usage is during business hours on business days, look for carriers that offer the same low rate 24/7. If your usage is typically during "off-peak" hours, a carrier with variable pricing might save you money.

2. Where Do You Call?

Fact
Some long distance providers are national, meaning they can serve your business no matter where in the continental U.S. it is located. Other long distance providers are regionally-based. Often times, the regionally-based carriers can offer you better rates than the national ones can.

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Questions to Ask Yourself
Are all of my long distance needs in the same region, or do I have multiple locations I need to think about? Do I typically call in-state, out-of-state, or a mixture?
Evaluate
If your business is located in one place, a smaller, regional provider may be the best bet for your long distance needs. If you typically make "local long distance" calls, a smaller, regional carrier may be cheaper than a national one. If you have multiple locations across the U.S. that you call often, some long distance providers will offer you cheaper rates when calling those locations if they are all with that same provider.

3. Do You Make International Calls?

Fact
Not all long distance providers have the same international rates. Some providers specialize in international regions, such as Asia or Europe.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Do I make international calls? If I make international calls, what countries do I typically call?
Evaluate
If you make a regular amount of international calls to the same region, choosing a long distance provider that specializes in that region will save you money on those international calls.

4. Do You Have Special Features?

Fact
Some long distance providers have more capabilities than others to provide your business with special features.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Do I have one or more toll-free 800-numbers? Do my employees use calling cards? Do I have any other "special" long distance needs, such as account codes?
Evaluate
If you have special long distance needs, be sure your new provider is capable of handling them.

5. Do You Have Other Telecommunications Needs?

Fact
Many long distance providers also offer other telecommunications services, such as local phone service, internet service and wireless service. Usually, buying all of these services in a "bundle" from one long distance provider will save you money.
Questions to Ask Yourself
What are the total telecommunications needs of my business? Am I using a different provider for every telecom service? How much am I spending?
Evaluate
Look at your total spend, and compare it to what you would spend if you were getting all of those services from one company.


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