Long Distance Services

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Once upon a time, long distance services were fairly simple. I am not exaggerating. I recall, if dimly, when long distance telephone meant one thing and one thing only. It meant AT&T. To paint a more complete picture, John F. Kennedy was president, letters cost a nickel, and both zip codes and bar codes were conspicuous by their absence.

With the break-up of the Bell monopoly in 1984, however, long distance services became more complicated than a question of national or international rates. One began to have choices. After a time, mobile and cellular phone technology arrived. Long distance services grew even more complex. Choices proliferated. The way to make the most of them is to analyze your telephone usage and buy service--whether land line or wireless or both--to accommodate it.

Options with Long Distance Services

Chances are good that your local telephone service is not particularly local. It is instead regional. It might be Verizon, which seems to cover all but about 12 states. It might be MCI. It might be AT&T. It might be a small company. There are many possibilities. The market is, since 1984, open. The point is that your local telephone service usually offers long distance as well.

The two are often bundled to include unlimited long distance within the contiguous 48 states. These packages frequently include options for DSL Internet connections and sometimes wireless service as well. Popular service features--some free, some for a monthly fee--include voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, three-way calling, distinctive fax ring, call intercept, redial, and speed dialing.


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