Written by LISA BELKINOCT
1984 this is a digital version of an article from The Times Print Archive, before it starts online in 1996.
To keep these articles as they appear initially, the Times will not change, edit, or update them.
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Across the country, telephone customers face a choice:
More and more long-distance telephone companies will provide their main long-distance telephone service.
This is a decision to save money for them.
But this is also a confusing question. When A. T. &T.
On January, the court stripped seven regional telephone companies and ruled that all companies should be allowed to provide the convenience of previously allowing only A call. T. &T.
Customers across the country feel the impact of this ruling in stages.
They will be able to use any one of the long lists
Just dial "1" and then the area code and number, and you can get away from the operator.
Authorized plan called "long distance equal access", customer must choose which of several long distance plans
Long Distance Telephone Company-
There are dozens in New York alone.
Will be their main long term
Those who do not choose the operator will be assigned an operator by the local telephone company.
On Exchanges 732, 791, 587, 406, 437, 618, 676, and in New York City and much of New York, distance equal access has come into effect and New Jersey and Connecticut will be converted into the program next year.
The ad "people are very confused about all of this," said Robert cruhoffer, president of Consumer Checkbook, a Washington-based consumer organization that recently released a complete book called "reducing the cost of the phone.
"Advertising" they know that by choosing the right company for their needs, they may save a lot of money, "Mr.
"But the whole problem is too confusing, they often give up and do nothing.
"Every company has its own version, trying to sell it to consumers," Li L said . "
Selwyn, president, Economics and Technology
Boston Consulting's focus on the telecom industry.
"It's not easy for individual consumers to sort out all the information and make choices.
"In many ways, the plan will make it easier for consumers to use telephone services.
Equal access means that all companies are able to provide the same dial-up and transmission quality as. T. &T.
When using another carrier, customers who do not have equal access must now dial up to 14 additional numbers.
The choice of the main service is not permanent.
Customers can switch at any time for $5 per phone line.
Similarly, choosing a company instead of another does not limit all calls from customers to the company.
You may still be using other companies, but you have to call 5-
In addition to the area code and numbers, there are digital codes.
Three months before equal access has an impact on your individual, your local telephone company will need to inform you of the effective date and the operator who will provide services to your area.
Choose a long term within one month after the introduction of equal access
Free or after, in most cases, A remote company is assigned. T. &T.
Therefore, it is time for consumers to start paying attention to the services provided by. T. &T.
And its competitors.
"Although we may all remember the old telephone system very much, the deregulation is left behind," said Angelo J . "
Aponte, commissioner of consumer affairs in New York City, announced yesterday at a public forum the publication of a booklet produced by the agency "shortening long-distance chaos ".
The audience's question was answered by the representative of Allnet in the United States. T. &T.
GTE Sprint, ITT World Communications, MCI, R. C. I.
SBS skyline, TV, United States of AmericaS.
Telephone and Western Union.
These companies, as well as Argo communications and Telesphere, have provided equal access to the West Street area of Manhattan, which has been transformed into equal access. 1.
The ads, he said, "warn the emptor, the buyer to be careful and never be more real than that ". Aponte said.
"We all have to learn a whole new set of consumer skills right now.
Although prices may be the main consideration, they are not the only one, he said.
Factors such as transmission quality, whether the company charges for busy signals and unanswered calls, and whether there is customer assistance 24 hours a day are other variables to consider.
The company is stepping up advertising efforts in the New York area, but advertising alone cannot provide consumers with enough information to make informed choices. A. T. &T.
For example, emphasizing that it provides long-term
Remote directory help, but even customers who do not select A can. T. &T.
You can call those operators.
MCI advertising said it recently canceled the monthly fee, but no advertising said it recently increased the monthly fee.
There are many advertisements though. T. &T.
The company's competitors contain charts with sample phones and prices, and the price you need to know is not the best deal the company thinks.
Find out the price of the phone you are most likely to make.
Once you make a choice, it doesn't mean your decision is over.
"Customers can benefit from the choices he makes today," said Dr.
Selwyn said, "but he has to keep track of the situation.
Just because an airline is 20% cheaper today doesn't mean they have to stay that way.
If they don't, it's time to switch again. '' A. T. &T.
Must apply to the Federal Communications Commission for a change in rates;
Rates for other companies are not regulated.
The rates and additional features offered by different companies changed so quickly that the brochure introduced by Commissioner Aponte at the beginning of yesterday's forum was out of date at the beginning.
A representative from GTE Sprint announced that the company has recently changed discounts on a large number of calls and will soon provide directory help services and instant credit for the wrong number, with nothing included in the brochure.
Ads have questions to ask when choosing a long time
Telephone service: Q.
What companies do I have in my area? A.
Not all services come from all telephone exchanges.
The smallest can only be used by customers in one or two cities.
The largest service in hundreds of regions, such as GTE Sprint, has about 357 locations and MCI has about 370 locations.
Some are currently oversubscribed in some areas and no longer accept any customers.
In addition, most services except A before equal access. T. &T.
Can only be used by touch
Phone or Palm phone
Size converter for about $25. Q.
If I subscribe, can I make long distance calls anywhere? A.
Almost all companies allow customers to make phone calls anywhere in the continental United States, and some can also make phone calls to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
No one is currently calling a foreign country except Canada.
However, if you use a service call to a location far from the company's nearest receiving station, the call must be completed by a facility leased from another company.
Extra fee for "Off-"net'' -
Outside the network-
You often get a call.
Check if there is such a double service
Tiered pricing system and determine if the exchange you most often call is on-net or off-net calls. Q.
Can I use the system at any time? A.
Most companies follow the example of. T. &T.
, There are different prices during the day, evening and weekend.
Some companies are only allowed to make phone calls at certain times. Q.
Is there an initial cost for these long-term expenses?
What about the installation fee, monthly minimum charge, subfee or registration fee? A.
Most companies do not charge for services now, but there are still some companies that charge registration fees.
Similarly, some plans charge monthly fees regardless of usage (
Generally in the range of $5 or $10)
Some plans require you to pay minimum usage per month, no matter how many calls you make (
These prices are usually around $15 but up to $35). Q.
I did a lot.
Can I get a discount? A.
In those companies that offer discounts, some companies apply discounts to the entire bill if they exceed a certain amount per month, while others will only apply to parts that exceed the minimum limit.
Some companies call to change the discount according to the time of the day.
Discounts often help customers who charge large bills, as the discounts get bigger as the number of calls increases.
For example, ITT does not offer a discount on the first $15 call, but provides a 2% discount on the next $60 call, according to the consumer checkbook, the discount for the next $ 5% is 125, A bill discount of more than $ 10% is 200. AdvertisementQ.
Do I have to pay the local information unit every time I make a long distance call? A.
Currently, in order to use any service other than. T. &T.
, You must call the local access number before calling long-distance call.
SBS Skyline is the only company that offers a fee for all customers
Free access number.
Other companies such as Allnet and GTE Sprint offer paid services
Provide free numbers for customers in some cities they serve.
Other customers must pay for these phones like any local phone.
In the New York area, most callers are charged every time they make a local call, which adds at least 10 cents to each long distance call
Long distance calls, including calls that are not answered by a busy signal or by an unanswered person.
The cost can be much higher if local calls are timed.
After equal access, the customer does not need to call the local access number. Q.
Will no one charge me for answering the phone? A.
Companies have different ways to calculate the length of the call, many of which are not based on the time when the call is actually answered or whether or not.
Some people use audio detection, which senses sound changes when answering a phone call --
But devices are often fooled by noise from callers, or, more often, by recording that numbers are no longer used.
The result may be the cost of you not making a phone call.
Another method called "response supervision" involves timing calls from the caller's completion of dialing.
Then subtract a certain number of seconds from the length of each call, but if the caller makes the phone ring for a long time, the device usually charges.
Some companies subtract more each time they call than others. Q.
How will my phone be timed? A.
Most people do not measure the exact length of each call.
Instead, their device estimates the actual length of the call and then rounds the number to a full-time unit.
Some companies will go to the next minute, others will go to the next 10 seconds, that is, 6 seconds, so the cost will be different. Q.
If you have any questions, can you find customer service at any time? A.
Not all companies have 24-
Number of hours for customers with service problems.
Of those who do this, only some will automatically credit you to the poor. quality call.
Otherwise, most companies ask you to keep track of these calls, subtract them from your monthly bill, and attach an explanation. Q.
Can I use the phone service other than my home phone? A. Many long-
Remote services allow you to make calls from many places other than home phones without operator help or service fees, but you have to take additional steps for each such call.
Some companies will provide you with local access numbers and special identification codes used when traveling in all cities they serve.
Other companies have charges
Free number instead of various local access numbers.
Some companies charge an extra monthly fee for the travel feature, others charge a fixed fee for each call, and charge a little more per minute than the number of calls they make from your hometown.
Here are the advertisements in companies that provide long-term services
Remote telephone service in metropolitan area, New York.
Allnet dial-up network service, 800-982-8888.
800-long distance service at & t222-0300.
Argo Communications, 800-431-2746.
Sprint Communications, GTE, 800-521-4949.
800-ITT World Communications526-3000.
800-MCI Communications624-2222. R. C. I.
SBS skyline 800-235-2001.
Telesaver, 212-608-7500. U. S. Tel, 800-527-4105.
Western Union long distance service, 800-526-5303.
The following organizations provide information on the selection of long-distance telephone companies: the metropolitan commercial development agency of New York has developed a free checklist and workbook for consumers. Send a self-
Address, Seal, business-
Size envelope to 257 south of Park Avenue, New York. Y. 10010.
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs has a free brochure that lists the questions consumers should ask when choosing to shop for a long time
Remote telephone operators, and charts comparing services provided by several companies in the New York area.
Write to department 80 Lafayette Street, New YorkY. 10013.
The phone is 212-533-6200.
The New York State Public Service Council also offers free brochures and advice to consumers.
The Commission can be reached at 400 Broome Street, New York. Y. 10013, 212-488-5330 or 800-342-3377.
Perhaps the most comprehensive source is published by the Consumer Checkbook, a non-profit organization in Washington that publishes Consumer guides on various topics. The $6.
95 book contains tips on whether to buy or rent a phone, and how to save on repairs, installations, and local services.
It also includes long-
Including cost comparisons based on actual consumption bills.
Fees, the organization will analyze your long term
Distance the bill and determine which carrier is the cheapest for your call mode.
If the maximum bill for the analysis is $10 or less, the cost is $10, and if the maximum bill for the analysis is $100, the cost is up to $75. 01 to $300.
Consumer Checkbook can reach 806 northwest 15 th Street, 925 suites, Washington, D. C. C. 20005, 202-347-7283.
This is not the "best choice" for a long time"
According to Robert cruhoffer, president of Consumer Checkbook, the distance from the operator.
If there is one, everyone can use the same company, he said.
Instead, he says, each user has a better choice, depending on where you call, when you call during the day, how long these calls tend to last, and perhaps most importantly, how long does it last
Consumer Checkbook developed computer analysis using these and other variables
Remote phone bill, find long-provided savings
Distance companies change as consumer habits change.
The ads between some hypothetical callers and the classes they may choose are as follows: * Caller A lives in Queens and is rarely Longdistance calls.
However, she made a very long phone call, about 15 minutes, and her phone was very long --
The distance bill is usually between $10 and $15.
Although such a customer can save money with an operator other than AT&T, she does not want to use the operator with the lowest monthly fee, because her average bill will be more than most of the lowest bills.
Again, she will do her best at a company that charges more in the first few minutes than every extra minute, as she will save more on longer calls
* California college student Caller B uses long-
He often calls his parents in Stamford, Connecticut.
But the call time is about five minutes.
His bill is about $30 a month.
He will make a better deal with a company that charges the same fee per minute.
Again, he might have the best time in a small or medium place --
Scale operators, which often offer A maximum average discount below. T. &T. rates.
Some of them are up to 40%, according to the Consumer Checkbook survey. * Callers Mr. and Mrs.
C. Living in Long Island, there are three children scattered all over the country.
Travel frequently and call home frequently.
Their phone bill is at least $100 a month.
According to the Consumer Checkbook, many services save them at least $20 a month, but it is better for them to choose a larger company that offers discounts for bulk use and offers travel services.
They might consider using two long ones.
Remote Service, one travel function is good and the other is low price.
A version of this article appears on page C00001, country edition, October 11, 1984, with the title: LONG-
Guide to remote telephone services.