Where do I start?
Look over your phone bills to see what long distance rates you're paying and how long typical calls last. Are you paying a fee each month to get those rates? How many total minutes per month to frequent call destinations? Compare your calling patterns to the terms offered by several phone plans.
If you make toll calls inside your state, always check the rate for instate calls. Some plans advertise a low interstate or "state-to-state" rate, but charge more for instate calls.
Are 10-10 long distance rates better than regular long distance rates?
They definitely can be the best deal. For example, can you get regular long distance rates under 5 cents per minute for both interstate and instate? How about international rates as low as 4 cents per minute? However, check the details covered in the next two questions to make sure which type of 1010 code is the best deal for YOUR NEEDS:
What about long distance like 1010220 that bills a minimum charge per call?
Be careful when calling a number that's likely to have an answering machine pick up, or when the person you're calling may not be there, but someone else will answer the phone. We recommend using a phone plan that has a low, one minute minimum rate. Once you've contacted a real person, you can always call back using the plan with a cheaper 10 minute minimum. If you are calling a country whose phone system has frequent disconnects, it may be best to avoid using a plan that bills more than a one minute minimum. Also be careful with plans like 1010228, 1010297, 1010345, 1010457, 1010719 and 1010987, which have per-call connect fees (from 39¢ to as much as 99¢ or more per call).
Millions of people got stuck with a 99-cent bill for a call that lasted one-minute or less with 1010220! However, one 1010 code charges as little as a 3¢ minimum per call (Based on 5.5¢ a minute with only a 30-second minimum billing per call). See the State-to-State rates page to compare U.S. rates or the International Rates pages for calls abroad.
If a phone plan has a lower rate per minute and a monthly fee, how do I compare it to plans without a service fee?
This advice applies to any type of phone plan: If you primarily call one state or one country, look at how much you save per minute with the lower rate. Multiply the savings by the number of minutes you expect to call each month. For example, if the difference is 5¢ per minute and you call three hours per month: 180 minutes x 5¢ = $9 difference. With a monthly fee of $4, you still come out ahead by $5 ( $9 minus $4 equals $5 savings). If you frequently call a number of places with different rates, figure out the savings for each type of call separately. Then add all the savings together and compare to the monthly fee.
Depending on the company, unless you start near the beginning of the month you could get billed a full fee for a partial month. If that's a concern, ask them if they bill on a calendar month or a cycle from the day you start. Then ask if they prorate fees for partial months. When not prorated, you would be billed a full fee that month.
Should I use more than one phone plan?
The great thing about dial around plans listed on this site is you don't have to choose one plan! One or two low rate dial around plans may be all you need. For some advice on dropping your pre-subscribed long distance carrier click to our 10-10 Q&A page and read item #14.
When a dial around plan increases rates or decreases customer service, you can start using another plan instantly without paying a fee to switch.
Click here for Dial-1 plans & other types of Long Distance