Do I need a dedicated long distance telephone service?

That is a dedicated one like AT&T, SBC, etc.

The thing is, we pay a runty little company for long distance, but for the past few months, my wife´s been using one of those dial 5 numbers, then 1, then the number services for the few intra- and interstate calls we make. But even so, we still get billed $5 and change/month for Runty Dumpty´s willingness to stand by and do essentially nothing (to my knowledge) to earn it.

So, my question is, have any of you Dopers discontinued your standard Long Distance service completely and without incident? Or have you gotten flak from your local telephone company to the effect: “You must have a dedicated long distance provider and it might as well be us!”?

The last two lines I had (one in NJ, and the one here in VA) had no long distance service provider. I rarely make long-distance calls; besides which I found I could typically do better with 10-10 dialthrough numbers anyway. Most of these charge some sort of per-call connection fee (typically 25-25 cents), so if you make a lot of relatively short LD calls, these may not be for you. Some also do charge a monthly fee, typically less than $1, but many do not. Despite what the phone company rep tells you, you do not have to have LD service on your line.

Thank you very much, Q.E.D.

I think we´ll do just fine without a long distance provider.

Another option on the long distance calling is a prepaid calling card. You can get these fairly cheap, and no long distance service is requied. I’ve used one instead of having long distance for the past few years and it works fine. The added bonus is that they work at pay phones too.

I got mine at (shudder) Wal-Mart. I think there is a small extra charge when you buy the card, but from then on you can add minutes at $.05 each. If you use it from your home phone there is no charge, but there is a sharge of (I think) 5 minutes per pay-phone call.

No flak from the phone company at all. When I set up the numbers (I’m doing the college thing and move every so often - trying to find a decent apartment) they ask if I want to use their long distance. I say no, they say ok and that’s that.

I dumped my long-distance carrier years ago and have never regretted it. I use a 10-10 number on the rare occasions when I want to make a call outside of my LATA. You will still get charged an interstate access fee on your local phone bill though.

Antiochus,

Be careful. You’re certainly free not to have a designated LD carrier on your line. In telco-speak, that’s a no-PIC line. Works great and saves you the monthly connect fee or service minimum fee many LD carriers charge.

However, if someone does make a LD call from that phone by dialing 1-areacode-phonenumber, your local telco will put the call through using one of the bigname carriers, probably AT&T, and charge you well over $1.00 per minute for the privilege. The big LD companies all have an extra-special-for-you ultra-gouging rate they use for carrying non-PIC calls.

The highest no-PIC tariff I’ve seen this year is over $4.00 per minute for interstate calls within the US. Imagine your surprise when that bill comes in. So whatever you do, don’t forget to dial 1010xxx before every call. You can wipe out a year’s savings in one long chat with your Mom.

Not necessarily. When I had the PIC line in NJ, if I tried to direct-dial a LD call, it would not go through. My local carrier there was Verizon. Like many things of this nature, this varies considerably from provider to provider, and even from region to region with the same provider. Nevertheless, you make a valid point. One should definitely ask when placing the service order!

If you cut the landline completely, you could get one of those national plans with no roaming (as long as you are in the service area, of course) or long distance. I got myself one of those as I wanted to be able to use my cell phone both at home in New Mexico and at school in Pennsylvania. Of course, whether or not you want to completely eliminate the landline and whether or not it is a good idea are other questions.

Instead of screwing around with 10-10 numbers, you can get a long distance carrier that charges 2.75 cents per minute, with no monthly fee, and no monthly minimum. Check out www.saveonphone.com. Why do it the hard way, with 10-10 numbers or calling cards?

I’ve lived in my current apartment for seven years. I have never had a longdistance provider. As the OP said, the basic monthly fee is more than I make in long distance calls.

If somebody tries to make a longdistance call from my place, they get a recorded message that they must first dial a long distance code. I’ve never just been connected and charged some unbelievably high rate. I was surprised that a friend I thought was a local call was longdistance, and that a friend I thought was long distance was local.

I use Verizon for local calls and have not recieved any hassle from them or any other company for not having a long distance provider.