Home > Consumer > Long Distance Carrier

Choosing a Long Distance Carrier:

Today consumers have many choices when it comes to their telephone service. Not only are there a variety of different long distance carriers to choose from, but each carrier also has a number of different calling plans that it offers. Choosing a long distance carrier in today’s market can be a daunting task for many consumers.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a long distance carrier:

  • Check for termination penalties or term requirements.
  • Read the fine print on your calling plan and read your monthly phone bills.
  • Know your own calling patterns. Where do you call? What time of day do you make your calls? How long are your calls?
  • Ask your current carrier if it has a less expensive plan based on your calling habits and about any current promotions that may be available.
  • Ask about charges for state and federal programs. Not all companies charge the same amounts for federal programs.
  • Look into 10-10 dial around plans or prepaid calling cards and see if they cost less than your presubscribed long distance service.

There are many online resources for consumers that provide helpful comparisons of long distance phone plans. Here are some links to some websites you may find informative.

Dial Around Services

While some carriers offer pre-subscribed long distance calling plans, others offer what are known as dial around plans. With a dial around plan, consumers dial an access code (the 10-10 numbers) when placing their calls. Depending on where you call and when you make your calls, dial around plans may be a good option. Be a smart shopper though if you plan to use dial around. Consumer oriented websites and publications can help. Before using a dial around company, ask about the per minute rates and any flat monthly charges that may apply. Also make sure to ask whether there are any charges for federal or state programs along with any federal and state taxes. Keep in mind that you can use a dial around plan even if you are pre-subscribed to another long distance carrier.

The “No PIC” option

With the wide number of dial around services and pre-paid calling cards available, choosing not to have a long distance carrier may be the most affordable option for long distance service for some customers. This is commonly referred to as “No PIC”. PIC stands for primary interexchange carrier or, more simply, the long distance carrier that you have selected to provide your long distance service. If you choose to have no PIC, you will not be able to make long distance calls without using a dial around service or a pre-paid calling card. However, for some customers, this may be the most affordable option for long distance phone service. Before choosing the “no PIC” option, compare the price per minute or price per call for the dial around plan or the pre-paid calling card to what you would pay to a presubscribed long distance carrier. Compare any monthly fees, surcharges and taxes that you would pay for each. If you decide that the “no-PIC” option is the best one for you, just call your local phone company and ask them to drop your current long distance carrier. Then make sure to contact your long distance carrier and cancel your service.


An Official Web Site for New Hampshire Government