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CallSense Long Distance Resources

Long Distance Calling Glossary

Definitions

Airline Distance Mileage

Within the telecommunications industry, airline distance mileage refers to the estimated number of miles between two phone numbers. Within CallSense® software, we refer to this as call distance.

The primary purpose of the Online Planet Call Distance Calculator is to enable you to calculate the estimated number of miles between two phone numbers: the call distance.  You can also use it to calculate the estimated number of miles between two locations, or to get a good estimate of how many frequent flyer miles you may earn from your airline travel.

Billing Area

This refers to what state your phone service is associated with for calling plan selection purposes. For example, if your residence is in North Carolina then your billing area is North Carolina.

Billing Increment

Billing increment refers to how the phone company determines how much time they will bill you for a specific call. Most phone companies charge in 1 minute billing increments, where you actual call time is rounded up to the next minute. Meaning, if you use the phone for 35 seconds, they will bill you for one minute; or if you used the phone for 5 minutes and 8 seconds, they will bill you for 6 minutes. Also, when they say the first 20 minutes are for $0.99 and each additional minute is at $0.10 per minute then the billing increments are the following.

  • An initial increment of 20 minutes, meaning they will round anything less than 20 minutes up to 20 minutes – for example, if you use the phone for 30 seconds (the answering machine picked up), they will round your call time up to 20 minutes. For any calls up to 20 minutes, you pay $0.99 – you either use the time up to 20 minutes, or lose it.

  • If the call goes beyond 20 minutes then the billing increment changes to 1 minute increments, and so any calls over 20 minutes will be rounded up to the next minute. For example, a call that is 23 minutes and 18 seconds will be billed as 24 minutes. A 24 minute call would cost $0.99 for the first 20 minutes and $0.10 for the four minutes over 20 minutes; the total call cost is $0.99 + $0.40 = $1.39.

Call Distance

Refers to the estimated call distance in miles between the phone you are calling-from and the phone you are calling-to. This estimate is used by the phone companies to select per minute rates for calling plans that have mileage-based rates.

The primary purpose of the Online Planet Call Distance Calculator is to enable you to calculate the estimated number of miles between two phone numbers: the call distance. You can also use it to calculate the estimated number of miles between two locations, or to get a good estimate of how many frequent flyer miles you may earn from your airline travel.

Calling Plan

Within CallSense, "Calling Plan", "Plan", "Rate Plan", and "Service Package" all mean the same thing.

Dial Around Numbers

Dial around received its name because when you use one of these dial around numbers you are dialing around your current long distance provider and calling plan.

Direct Dialed

Calls made from your phone by directly dialing the phone number are called direct-dialed calls.

Domestic Calling Plan

A domestic calling plan is one that offers rates for calls within the country your residential phone is in. For example, if your residential phone is in North Carolina then a domestic calling plan provides domestic rates for calls within the United States: state-to-state, in-state long distance, local toll...

International Calling Plan

An international calling plan is one that offers international rates for calls from the country your residential phone is in to other countries. For example, if your residential phone is in North Carolina then an international calling plan provides international rates for calls to Canada, Mexico, England, Japan, China...

LATA

You can think of a LATA as an arbitrary region within your state. Most states have more than one LATA. When you make a call between LATAs within the same state, it is referred to as In-State Long Distance.

LATAs refer to phone-company-defined geographic areas within the United States. The actual LATA boundaries were defined when AT&T was broken up in the 1980s. Traditionally, local service phone companies handled and billed phone calls that were between phones within a single LATA, and long distance phone companies handled and billed calls that were between LATAs.

Local Reseller

Within CallSense software you will find references to "Local Reseller". What a Local Reseller is a business that purchases a product from one company and resells it to their customers. For example, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint sell their prepaid calling cards to stores such as 7-Eleven, and then 7-Eleven sells the prepaid cards they purchased from AT&T to their customers. In this example, 7-Eleven is a local reseller of AT&T's prepaid phone cards.

Online Planet Call Distance Calculator

Online Planet Call Distance Calculator can be used to calculate the call distance for calls within the United States, and for calls from the United States to Canada.

Call distance typically refers to the estimated miles between two points if you were to draw a straight line between them.

Estimated call distance is just a good guess at how many miles there are between two phone numbers. Unfortunately, how the estimated call distance miles is calculated tends to vary by phone company.

Online Planet Call Distance Calculator computes the estimated call distance using two different formulas. We recommend using the Standard value, and only suggest using the Alternative value if you are using AT&T or Verizon. Both of these calculated values may vary from how a specific phone company computes estimated call distance miles for a call, but generally they should be good estimates.

When you use Online Planet Call Savings Calculator, it automatically calculates the estimated call distance miles for each phone company, and so you do not have to think about this when you use that product.

When you use Online Planet True Costs Billboard, you need to specify the estimated call distance for domestic calls, and sometimes for calls from the United States to Canada.

Online Planet Call Savings Calculator

Online Planet Call Savings Calculator enables you to compare calling plans based on the calls from your long distance phone bill, expected future phone calls, and what-if phone calls. It enables you to

  • enter the long distance phone calls from your most recent phone bill, and see true costs calling plan comparisons for all of your long distance phone calls

  • compare calling plans for specific calls

  • get additional calling plan and phone company contact information

We created CallSense software to help you automate the process of knowing when you are getting the best deal. Using Online Planet Call Savings Calculator, you can now enter and store your calls on your computer's private hard drive, which maintains your privacy, and the CallSense software will compare your actual calls with the currently selected calling plans and tell you how much it would cost for given calling plans, dial around numbers, and prepaid phone cards.

Online Planet True Costs Billboard Meter

True Costs Billboard has two modes of operation: as a meter or as a time calculator. The meter is called True Costs Billboard Meter, and the time calculator is called True Costs Billboard Time Calculator.

True Costs Billboard Meter enables you to

  • see how calling plans compare for an in-progress call while you are on the phone. This is the ultimate calling plan comparison billboard, within seconds you will know how calling plans compare.

  • know how much a call is costing you while you are still on the phone

  • know when the next minute is going to start so that you can minimize, or get better value out of, partial minutes: speak longer or hang-up sooner

  • get additional calling plan and phone company contact information

True Costs Billboard Time Calculator enables you to

  • know the least expensive way to make each call: use your calling plan or use a dial around number. It can show you whether or not a dial around number or prepaid phone card is less expensive than your calling plan for a specific call before you make the call.

  • know how much a call is going to cost you before you call

  • do what-if calls to know the best day and time-of-day to make a call with your calling plan, with an alternative calling plan, dial around number, or prepaid phone card

  • get additional calling plan and phone company contact information

Payphone Surcharge

When you use a payphone and do not directly deposit money into it, you typically will be charged a payphone surcharge. The payphone surcharge goes to the owner of the phone, which may be a big phone company, or may be a privately owned phone. Today, most payphone surcharges are around $0.50 per call.

Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge (PICC)

The Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge (PICC) is a federally mandated fee that the long distance phone companies had to pay the local phone companies for being your long distance company. This fee is now charged by your local phone company.

When you sign up for a long distance carrier for your phone, that long distance phone company is associated with your phone when you make any long distance calls without using a dial around number, calling card, or prepaid card. Tying a long distance phone company to your phone is referred to within the telecommunications industry as "presubscribed".

Rate

The "cost per unit" of a service.

Example: $0.05 per minute for state-to-state calling

Here, the rate is "$0.05 per minute" and the service is state-to-state calling.

Rated

Within CallSense software, if a call has been rated it means that a call's rating (cost) has been successfully calculated.

Rate Period

Within CallSense software, we refer to calling plans that have multiple rates that are based on the time-of-the-day as having rate periods.

For example, a calling plan could have Peak rates from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM from Monday through Friday, and Off-Peak rates for all other times during the week. Here, Peak and Off-Peak are rate periods.

Rating

Within CallSense software, a rating refers to the cost of a specific call.

This is a common word used by the phone companies.

Recurring Charge

A recurring charge is one that appears on every phone bill regardless of whether or not you made any calls.

This is also known as a monthly charge.

For example, if a calling plan cost $5.95 per month then that particular charge is a recurring charge.

Service Type

Within CallSense, service type refers to one of the following:

state-to-state Calls that cross U.S. state boundaries.

These calls are also known as interstate calls

in-state long distance Calls within a state, but outside the caller's LATA.

When you make a call between LATAs within the same state, it is referred to as in-state long distance. For example, calling Los Angeles from Silicon Valley is an in-state long distance call.

in-state local toll Calls within your LATA and within your state, but outside of your local calling area.

These calls are also known as local toll, regional, or local long distance calls.

in-state local area Calls within a state and within the caller's local area. This local area is defined by your local phone company. Traditionally these calls have been exclusively handled by your local phone company.
interstate local area Calls that cross U.S. state boundaries and are within the caller's local area. This local area is defined by your local phone company.
international

Calls between countries.

True Costs

"True Costs" means calculating all costs that vary by phone company and calling plan; by calculating and comparing these costs, CallSense enables you to see true cost comparisons.  CallSense includes the following in its "True Costs" calculations for each billing period and for the True Costs total (for all billing periods that the specified calls fall within).

  • call charges

  • call minimum charges

  • call discounts

  • call surcharges

  • service package billing period recurring charges

  • service package billing period discounts

  • service package minimum billing period charges

  • Universal Service Fund charge

  • and much more...

Prepaid Phone Cards

The true costs totals for prepaid phone cards include taxes that are not included in the true costs totals for calling plans or dial around numbers. Consequently, if you find a calling plan or dial around number that has a True Costs value that is identical to a prepaid phone card, you can safely assume that the prepaid phone card is actually less expensive because it includes taxes.

AccountPoint™ Technology

To accurately calculate True Costs, CallSense uses Online Planet's state-of-the-art AccountPoint™ technology to accurately simulate the the billing and account management systems used by the long distance phone companies. AccountPoint is the most advanced calling plan comparison software ever created for personal use, and the first software that can perform true cost comparisons of residential long distance calling plans.

Visit Online Planet's AccountPoint™ web site for more information.

http://www.accountpoint.com

Universal Service Fund (USF)

The U.S. Government created the Universal Service Fund (USF) to help offset the costs of providing phone service to everyone in America (universal service). Almost every residential household is charged a fee that used to fund the USF.



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