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Old 02-09-08, 06:10 AM   #1
rideon7
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OT: Do I even need long-distance phone service?

MCI is my long-distance service provider and has been for years. However, I never use the service because my wife and I use pre-paid phone cards for long-distance. It's much cheaper. That, anyway, is what the wife tells me and she's much smarter about these things than I am.

A couple of days ago, I received a postcard from MCI saying that, effective March 8 of this year, they are imposing a $5.99 per month minimum monthly charge (plus "applicable taxes, fees and surcharges"), and are also adding "an additional amount for the difference between your usage charges and the $5.99 monthly minimum, so that your monthly plan charges are equal to the $5.99 monthly minimum charge."

Until now, MCI has actually paid us 1 cent per month for using online "paperless" billing, for a hefty "profit" of 12 cents per year. Now they have apparently decided they are tired of not making any money off of us and are imposing this arbitrary charge. Simply because they think they can.

Question: Is there any technological or legally mandated reason I even need long-distance phone service? In other words, can I cut it off entirely and still have local service? Note that my wife and I do not do "bundling" of cable TV, internet, and long distance phone service. We do not have cable TV. We currently pay for high-speed internet and local phone service with one company (Charter) and have the long-distance service account with MCI which, as I said, we never use.

Oh, almost forgot to mention. The phone number MCI provided on its notification card guarantees that one is put on hold for LOOOONG periods. Sort of like being put in a room and having to listen to "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" for all eternity.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-09-08, 06:13 AM   #2
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www.gethuman.com

its a big list of customer service numbers that go straight to a real person.

Cancel the long distance. You dont need it.
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Old 02-09-08, 06:15 AM   #3
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rideon7,

I have not had long distance phone service for several years. I have used pre paid long distance phone cards for those calls. Hope this information helps you out.
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Old 02-09-08, 06:33 AM   #4
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Since you have a plan B (pre paid cards) that you are already comfortable with then don't give MCI the satisfaction.
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Old 02-09-08, 06:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rideon7 View Post
Question: Is there any technological or legally mandated reason I even need long-distance phone service?
We went for several years with no long distance carrier. We just accessed some long distance carrier individually for each long distance call. Then, when we bundeled our telephone, DSL, and Dish television service together, long distance service came with it and the total cost to us was still lower.

Your question included the possibility of a legally mandated reason. At the time that I set up our telephone service with no long distance carrier we were moving and wanted to retain our old telephone number. We were given instructions on how to accomplish that which we followed. When the new phone service was installed, however, we were told that we did it wrong and the error couldn't be corrected because the old phone number "belonged" to the old phone company and had been reassigned.

I'm not sure anybody knows for sure. It seems to me that the telephone companies have an incomprehensible network of rules that they say are all legally mandated. I've come to the conclusion that it depends on the particular person that you happen to draw.
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Old 02-09-08, 08:07 AM   #6
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Find a different provider that doesn't charge unless you use it.
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Old 02-09-08, 09:50 AM   #7
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I'm with everyone else -- drop it if you don't use it.

We're giving serious consideration to dropping our land line and using cell phones exclusively, since our long distance calls are free.

Most phone services have such a confusing array of services charges that you wonder if they did that on purpose, to confuse average folks into paying for options they neither need nor want but can't separate from what they do need.
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Old 02-09-08, 10:20 AM   #8
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Many of the younger generation do without phones in their homes, particularly if they have a wi-fi internet connection.
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Old 02-09-08, 11:45 AM   #9
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I would drop the phone line entirely, presuming that your cellular phone can meet all your needs and has reliable reception at your home. Conventional phone lines are taxed so badly these days... my supposed rate for a conventional line (that my wife is required to have for her work) is $14.99 per month but the actual bill is $23.70 per month. That's 58% taxes/fees without using any long distance!

The down side is that if you call 911 from your cellular phone instead of the conventional line, the 911 operator won't immediately know your address, depending on whether or not this service is available in your locale.

Another option is Vonage... it's about $18/month for 500 long-distance minutes. Incoming, toll-free, and local calls are unlimited. If you go above 500 minutes, it's about 3 cents per minute.

Last edited by sestivers; 02-09-08 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 02-09-08, 01:12 PM   #10
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This sounds like a great idea! Will I be able to receive L/D calls on my local phone? As I rarely call L/D, I'm thinking I have wasted gargantuan bundles of money over the years.
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Old 02-09-08, 04:08 PM   #11
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I say get rid of the long distance service...the only difference that I believe you will notice is that you will have $5.99 more in your bank account every month...take the wife out for a double latte every month or save up for the entire year and buy a new set of tires or seatpost...by the way, I did this 2 years ago and have not had one problem/issue arise as a result...go for it and don't look back...
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Old 02-09-08, 07:07 PM   #12
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I cancelled the MCI long-distance service this afternoon. Used the link Hobartlemagne provided and was actually talking with a real person within a minute (thanks, H!). After a long spiel about them not wanting to lose my business blah blah blah, a transfer to an automated program to confirm the cancellation, including a recorded litany about how I could suffer unforeseen telephone provider service difficulties, I pressed the 1 button on my touch-tone phone and MCI was terminated. I even filed a complaint about their billing practices with my state's fair trade commission.

Coincidentally, yesterday I canceled a credit card because, even though I paid off the balance last month, I was charged $10.00 this month for a "credit reversal" fee.

Ah, a scam a minute.
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Old 02-10-08, 07:23 AM   #13
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I second Vonage. Reliable, and super cheap. Local and North American Long Distance include in monthly payment which totals about $22 in Canada.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:47 PM   #14
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We have a local retailer where I can always buy phone cards for $0.03/minute. Haven't had any other long distance service for years & have no problem receiving toll calls.
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Old 02-10-08, 10:17 PM   #15
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I dropped long distance service for a number of years, and only took it back when I was convalescing. Looking up the prepaid service's number, and my own code just took too many hands. The only downside I can think of is the possibility of not being able to accept a friend or relative's collect call. It could be an emergency.
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Old 02-11-08, 09:03 AM   #16
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I am keeping my long distance because it is cheap and has no service charge. However the best deal is Skype, but I only use it with people who also have it on their computer. The cost is zero and there are no ads. You can also phone from your computer to land lines, but then there is a modest cost.

Skype is crystal clear with high-speed connections, and if you have webcams you can see each other. I regularly do conference calls with my sister in China and my brother in Montreal, and it is completely free.
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Old 02-11-08, 09:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sestivers View Post

The down side is that if you call 911 from your cellular phone instead of the conventional line, the 911 operator won't immediately know your address, depending on whether or not this service is available in your locale.
Leave your wired phone hooked up as you can always call 911 with it so you always can call 911 without needing to worry about the operator not knowing where your calling from.

If your cell phone is not more than about 2 years old it has a GPS receiver chip in it and will report it's location to the emergency services operator. Most cell phones hide this function not making it available to the phones user unless they pay extra for this service.
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Another option is Vonage... it's about $18/month for 500 long-distance minutes. Incoming, toll-free, and local calls are unlimited. If you go above 500 minutes, it's about 3 cents per minute.
There are many other VoIP phone service providers, Vonage is one that advertises a lot. If you have high speed internet there is no reason to have wired phone service. Just sign up with a VoIP service provider. You don't need a computer running VoIP software to have access to VoIP services. Dedicated VoIP phones connect to your RJ45 or WiFi network so thers no need to run your computer all the time or worry about your computer dieing and leaving you without phone service until it's fixed or replaced. You can also purchase a VoIP box that allows connecting your standard wired phone to the network and will function exactly the same as your wired service did. google "Voip service providers" and pick one. There are a few WiFi phones now on the market that work from any WiFi hot spot and not just from your personal network.

You'll read about people having problems with there VoIP service. The trick to having a VoIP service operate as well as a wired phone is using a router with a firewall in the box if your on a cable internet system. Cable internet systems are like the old party line systems of years gone by. The VoIP phone must listen to all the traffic on the cable causing starts, stops, and bumps. The firewall prevents the phone from hearing all that traffic so there are no starts, stops, and bumps. DSL lines do not have this problem as your the only user on the line so a firewall router is not required.

Last edited by n4zou; 02-11-08 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-11-08, 09:26 AM   #18
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We still have a land line with local service. But we use nation-wide wireless for the US and Vonage for the rest of the world.

No long distance (although we still get harassed).
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Old 02-11-08, 12:42 PM   #19
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Land line in the house for the DSL with no long distance service, cell phones from a different provider for the long distance stuff. I suppose that if I need to make a longer long distance call then I'll look into getting set up with Skype (internet long distance calling, not sure how it functionally works though but does come on some of the thumb/flash drives).

The only people who call our land line are solicitors and politicians, and the occasional person who hasn't called in years and who get a rather rude welcoming when the land line is answered.
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Old 06-20-11, 03:19 PM   #20
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Hi everyone, I know this is an older thread, and am hoping to find some long term satisfaction with Vonage or other viop phone system. Smokester- are you still with Vonage? I have been cell phone only for years but have a relative from Brazil with me for grad school and need cheap international calling. Thanks for any replies.
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Old 06-20-11, 03:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
Many of the younger generation do without phones in their homes, particularly if they have a wi-fi internet connection.
I am one of that younger generation . Wife and I moved a couple of years ago, and we just use our cell phones, no land line. We also kept our old cell phone numbers - so the area code doesn't match where we live now, but with unlimited long distance on the cell phone, what difference does it make?
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Old 06-20-11, 04:11 PM   #22
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I'm not one of the younger generation. I'm 66. We ditched our home phone in 2007. I have a cell phone and our old home phone number is my wife's cell phone number. She has more friends who call so that was the logical thing to do.


<edit> You young whipper-snappers stop digging up these old threads. </edit>
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Old 06-20-11, 10:11 PM   #23
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If your Brazil family has a computer and internet connection, just sign up for skype and skype each other using your computers for free. Just buy a cheap headset/microphone that plugs into your soundcard. It works great.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:55 PM   #24
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Many of the younger generation do without phones in their homes, particularly if they have a wi-fi internet connection.
At 59, I'm not of the younger generation ... I think. I haven't had a land line in the house for over a year now. Since Pacific Bell started offering naked DSL, there is no need for a land line. Just the cellular and naked DSL. No cable or satellite either. Roku provides all the television I have time for these days, but I sure do miss The Tennis Channel and watching the grand tours, (Giro, Tour, Vuelta).
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Old 06-21-11, 05:14 AM   #25
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Since we need cell phones for safety reasons, we dropped land-line phone service years ago. No roaming fees so no long distance charges. Also, unlimited minutes to family members as we are all on Verizon.

Verizon has the best rural coverage which we need for trail and road cycling not to mention road assistance as we do a lot of driving in very rural areas. Lucked out too and got good advice on the most sensitive phone to get at the last free upgrade. It made a big difference.

We are forced to have two homes at the present due to the bad housing market, so two land lines would make it difficult for folks to contact us not too mention somewhat archaic. We do have one phone with the same area code as our billing address as it matters to some on-line merchants it appears; at least it did once. We also switched to satellite TV some years back and carry a receiver back and forth between homes.

Nothing like an awesome HD picture stored on a DVR to watch the TDF (starts 2 July). If we couldn't fast forward (really fast) through the thousands of commercials, I don't think I could stand to watch it anymore.

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