It’s hard to shop smart for something when you don’t know what questions to ask. In long-distance land, there are three major ones. First, “What is your cost per minute?” Second, “What is your billing increment?” Billing increment is crucial if you make lots of calls, and especially lots of short calls. Billing increments for the “big three,” AT&T, Sprint and MCI/WorldCom, are typically one minute. That means if you talk for one minute and one second, you get charged for two minutes. Other companies may have billing increments of only six seconds, which is obviously a better deal. Third question: “What fees will I pay?” Many of the larger companies charge a fixed monthly fee in addition to their rate-per-minute. Depending on what you’re spending, this seemingly small fee could radically change your cost-per-minute.
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