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CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > TV, Home Theater & Audio > Long Distance Phone Calls

Long Distance Phone Calls Cost

How Much Do Long Distance Phone Calls Cost?

low costState-to-State: 2.5 to 10 cents a minuteaverage costUnlimited Nationwide: $10-$25 a month high costInternational: 5 cents to $1.40+ a minute
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Increased competition has seen the cost of long distance phone calls drop in recent years. Most cell phone plans include free long distance, as do VOIP Internet Phone Services. The important thing to remember when selecting a long distance phone service for a landline is that both brand name carriers and small, less established companies use the same phone lines within the US, so the quality is invariably the same.

Typical costs:

  • For state-to-state calls within the US, expect to pay 2.5 to 10 cents per minute. Some carriers charge a monthly fee or require a monthly minimum usage and most round call times up to the nearest minute. One of the least expensive plans is the Easy2.5 plan from ECG[1] , which offers interstate long distance calling for 2.5 cents per minute, charged at 6 second intervals and is available with most local carriers.
  • Due to the way states tax phone calls, long distance calls within a state are more expensive than those from state to state. Expect to pay 3.5 to 10 cents a minute or more for intrastate calls, depending on the state. ECG's[2] , for example, offers in-state calling rates of 3.9 cents within California or 9.8 cents within Florida. Calls are calculated at 6 second increments and the monthly charge is 59 cents.
  • Many local carriers also offer long distance service, in many cases unlimited nationwide calls for one monthly fee ranging from $10 to $25. For example, subscribers to the Embarq Unlimited Home Phone Service can pay $15 per month for unlimited long distance calling within the US.
  • International long distance phone rates vary greatly depending on the country and whether it's a landline or cell phone being called. Unlike nationwide calls, the quality of the calls can also vary greatly. Expect to pay 5 cents to $1.40 or more per minute. Taking the Easy2.5 plan from ECG[3] as an example, international calls to UK landlines cost 5 cents per minute while calls to UK cell phones cost 30 cents per minute.
  • Using calling cards offers both pros and cons for making long distance phone calls. On the downside, it involves dialing more digits and remembering a pin number. It is convenient for travel, though, enabling users to access the same low rates from any phone. Some prepaid cards offer very low rates but beware of expiration dates or those issued by carriers who could be out of business before the balance on the card has been used. Expect to pay calling card rates of 5 to 10 cents a minute. Pioneer Telephone[4] offers calling cards with state to state rates of 5.9 cents per minute, plus a surcharge of 69 cents if used from a payphone.
  • International calling cards can be used to dial overseas from either a home landline or from a cell phone. Many can also be used when traveling to call back to the US from other countries. Rates vary according to the country. Using an AT&T prepaid phone card[5] , for example, calls to UK landlines cost 11 cents per minute while calls to UK cell phones cost 29 cents per minute.
Related articles: Internet Phone Service, Cell Phone, Cell Phone Plan, Internet Access

What should be included:
  • All long distance phone calls should provide good quality reception and reliable, uninterrupted service.
Additional costs:
  • Per-minute rates do not always give an accurate picture, especially with large providers, which tend to tack on extra fees. SaveOnPhone[6] provides a list of fees commonly found on a long-distance phone bill.
  • Some lower-cost plans charge extra for paper billing.
Shopping for long distance phone calls:
  • Compare rates at[7] .
  • When selecting a long distance carrier, examine previous phone bills to get a clear idea of how many calls are made in state, out-of-state and internationally. MyRatePlan[8] offers a search engine to help determine the best plan based on home location and usage patterns.
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