Long Distance Service FAQs – 2

Long Distance Service FAQs – 2

Go to Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

WHAT IS A RESELLER? (How to buy Sprint more cost effectively than buying it from Sprint. How to buy WorldCom more cost effectively than buying it from WorldCom. Really? Yes!!)
Resellers are companies that buy massive blocks of time from the major carriers, at a discount, then resell the minutes at a very competitive CPM. They get a big discount and mark it up a little. It is similar to how Costco, Home Depot and Sam’s Club price their service. By buying through a Reseller you can often obtain greatly discounted rates. Because resellers typically buy long distance services from major, facilities-based carriers, the resold long distance services are the same quality and reliability these carriers offer their customers.

I GET A DIME A MINUTE FROM SPRINT, I’M OK.
The Sprint dime a minute plan was great, except that it is only from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Not much business is conducted at these hours and for residential use, it is 10 p.m. on the East Coast when someone from the West Coast calls to save money. Also, note that it is typically 20-25 cents per minute from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beware that there are some “dime a minute” plans (non-Sprint), 24 hours a day, which is good; except they charge a 3 minute minimum. Call and get an answering machine, talk for 30 seconds and you are charged for 3 minutes. If you get low rates at one time, typically there are high rates at other times to offset this. It is like squeezing a balloon, just shifts the costs to another period-you get lower evening costs, but higher day costs.

I AM ALREADY ON A 6.9 OR 7.9 CPM PLAN, I’M OK. AREN’T I? (Better read the fine print!)
Typically the 6.9 or 7.9 CPM Reseller plans are very good, except you need to read the fine print; which are the instate rates. Verify intrastate rates, which frequently are higher. Intrastate rates vary widely (!!!!) by state. Please note that with many carriers, it is cheaper to call across the country, than across the state. It doesn’t make sense, but that is the way it is. For instance in California, you can achieve a 4.9 or 5.9 interstate rate, but with an intrastate rate from 4.9 to 12.9 CPM. In Maine, 90% of the carriers offer instate rates of 35 cents or more.

I’VE GOT LEAST COST ROUTING PROGRAMMED IN OUR PHONE SYSTEM; I KNOW I HAVE THE MOST COST EFFICIENT PLAN!
The only thing programmed is the belief that Least Cost Routing (LCR) is the correct thing to do. LCR doesn’t always work, even if it was programmed correctly! Least Cost Routing (LCR) only works when you put the actual least cost plan in. If you are spending 8 CPM on your local Bell long distance and you LCR to your long distance carrier at 5.9 cents, you are certainly saving money, provided that the 5.9 cents is actually the least cost price.

HOW CAN I CUT MY LONG DISTANCE PHONE BILL BY 3-10% WITHOUT CHANGING CARRIERS?
Many carriers allow you to install account codes, so when each employee calls they have to enter a 3-4 digit number to allow the call to go through. At the end of the month you receive a report showing who used the phone and how much they utilized. Once employees know this, the calls to “grandma back East” virtually disappear. Many companies report a 3-10% decrease in long distance charges, upon implementation. Some users, attorneys or architects, use account codes to track usage, monitor for abuse and/or track project costs.

HOW CAN I PREVENT SLAMMING? (Just what is slamming?)
Slamming is when your phone lines are switched to another carrier without your permission. It is illegal to slam. To test your lines for which carrier services each specific line, dial 1 700 555 4141. This will tell you, for that one specific line you called from, who the carrier is. You must repeat this for each line. Once you are sure you have the carrier, then call your local Bell company and ask for a “PIC freeze.” The PIC (Primary Interexchange Code) is the 5 digit code the local Bell attaches to each call you make so they know who to bill. For instance, Sprint’s code is 1010333, WilTel’s code is 1010555. By placing a “PIC freeze” on the line, the PIC code can not be changed without VERBAL authorization from the user! Also, you can add a password to prevent an agent from calling and saying it is you.

HOW DO I GET AN EASY TO REMEMBER NUMBER FOR MY HOME OR BUSINESS, i.e., 747-1000 or 944-6200?
How? Just ask! When ordering a new phone line, the Bell company will typically say, “Which number would you like of the following three choices? 944-5478, 944-7894 or 943-2390.” You may choose the last one because of the zero. However, if you ask for a number ending in 100 or 1000’s, they have an entire database that is accessible. Please note that typically there is a one-time small fee for their efforts to do this for you. In California, for example, if you asked for an easy to remember number for a residential line the one-time fee is about $20, if it is for a business line the one-time fee is about $40. (Yes, same effort and same number-but business costs more.) You can also get easy to remember 800 toll free numbers.

WHERE CAN I FIND DEFINITIONS FOR LONG DISTANCE TERMS?
See our long distance glossary

Go to Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1