RT Cunningham


Long Distance Phone Calls - Alternatives to Phone Company Rates

long distance For some people, long distance phone calls have never been an issue. They’ve never used a landline, and they only call people far away through their cell phone apps.

Some people still use landlines. Many companies can’t seem to do business without them. Even so, the era of landlines will soon be over.

Long Distance by Voice Over IP Services

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a landline or a cell phone. If you call long distance numbers with either of them, you’re going to pay for them in one way or another. If you use voice over IP services (VoIP), it’s more than likely you’ll pay nothing at all. With VoIP, phone numbers aren’t even involved.

Some VoIP services can connect to landlines. You have to use a regular phone number, provided by those services. I’m familiar with magicJack and Skype but not any others. Using landlines involves extra fees with VoIP services.

The key is, if you need to call a long distance phone number, you’re going to pay one way or another. Everything eats up cell phone minutes, unless you have unlimited calls (and you’re paying way too much for it).

Long Distance Alternatives

When Facebook came out with the Facebook Messenger app, people started using that app instead of others. I’m using it because that’s what my children and their families use. Josie (my wife) talks to our children as often as several times a week. Josie’s relatives in the Philippines all use Facebook Messenger as well.

I already mentioned magicJack and Skype as alternatives. Wikipedia has a list of VoIP companies and instant messaging services.

My cell phone company, Sun Cellular, gives me Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Viber over data for free, and not the stripped down version of Facebook either. I don’t need Wi-Fi or data services to use them but I can’t follow a story from Facebook to the web without one or the other.

I’m wary of putting all my eggs into one basket and that’s why our cell phones also have Skype on them. I have Facebook Messenger and Skype accessible on my laptop as well. If Facebook goes down, Facebook Messenger will go down. I like having a backup service available when something like that happens.

When No Alternative to Long Distance Exists

Some businesses and government entities are stuck in the past. They continue to use landlines knowing full well that more people are using cell phones than landlines these days. At one time, it seemed like most Americans had at least one landline in their homes. It’s not like that anymore.

Most cell phone services in the United States can call long distance numbers as easily as local numbers and the just count against the monthly minutes. Their monthly bills are way higher than mine. I pay a whopping 300 pesos per month here in the Philippines, which is about $6 USD, per phone.

To call a landline, I have to buy a “load”. It doesn’t have to be much, 60 pesos or a little over a dollar, but I don’t like going through the effort. To call a landline in the United States, I’ll have to use a Skype paid service (it’s like $3 USD a month) unless it’s a toll-free call.

Thinking about alternatives to long distance calls which can cost me money makes my head hurt. I’ll be happy when landlines no longer exist.

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By RT Cunningham
January 13, 2018
Cell Phones