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By: Raymond Klesc
Getting to know and understand your own calling habits, or patterns, can pay handsome dividends when selecting your telephone carriers. Do you make a lot of lang distance or international calls? Do you make most of your telephone calls during the day or night? Do you make your long distance calls throughout the week or wait for the weekend?

Knowing the answer to these questions, and following a few simple rules which we will share with you, will help you to get the best value from your carrier and your calling plan. So where do you start? Read on and we'll try to shed a little light on what you need to be aware of when selecting your long distance carrier or other telecommunications providers.

1. Ask if there are any special promotions:
Don't be afraid to ask your long distance provider if they have any special promotions available. Many times they have unadvertised specials available for the asking. You can also ask other providers if they have any special switching promotions or benefits available.

2. Buyer beware - read the fine print:
All providers have special restrictions and offerings regarding their calling plans. Many times these restrictions or offerings will be different between their various offerings. Make sure that you read and understand these restrictions and offerings before you accept. If you don't understand something in the fine print then be sure to ask. Reputable providers will answer all of your questions simply and directly so you will understand. If a provider fails to give you clear answers then move on to someone else.

3. Watch out for the added charges:
The per minute cost is not the only way providers make money. Check to see if there are monthly minimum charges or per-call charges in addition to the per-minute rates. For instance, if a provider charges a $5 minimum and you only make one 10-minute phone call, you will be charged for the $5 minimum - that's $0.50 per minute!

4. Comparison rates in advertising can be misleading:
You should be aware that some advertising showing comparison rates, such as 50% off normal rates, may be misleading because the "normal" rates may not be the lowest rate available from that provider. Itís the same as getting a 50% discount from a hotel's rack rate (normal room rate). In this case the "rack rate" is their full 100% price that they seldom, if ever, get from customers.

5. Check out the providerís web site:
The provider should have detailed information concerning their calling plans, options and promotions on their web site. You might also be able to find support facilities, live help, FAQ's or more as well.

6. Strategic partner tie-ins and other promotions:
Some providers make strategic alliances with other companies in order to cross promote their products and services. Some providers make frequent miles from airlines available when using their services. You may also be able to find promotional tie-ins between credit card companies, hotels and more.

7. Check and double-check:
Get in the habit of regularly reviewing your monthly telephone bill. Even the best providers make mistakes and if you suspect that you have been charged in error then call your provider and ask for an explanation.

8. Commit your "10-10" codes to memory:
If you use a 10-10 service, then you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the specifics of their plan. They all have restrictions that define their service and abiding by these will save you money. I have a terrible memory so I make a little cheat sheet for each service I use that I carry with me. It's saved me on several occasions.

9. Time for wireless?:
There are many wireless plans from many different wireless providers available in the market today. This industry has matured vary rapidly and many of these plans may fit your calling needs quite nicely.

10. Limited or few long distance calls:
If your long distance calling is vary limited then you may want to consider not enrolling with a long distance provider. In this case it may be better to simply select a 10-10 dialaround service or use a long distance calling card instead. Make sure you select a carrier or card with no monthly fee and low per-minute rates. If you select one of these options make sure to call your local service provider and tell them that you do not want to have a long distance carrier.

Following these simple rules will ensure that you get the best value for your money.

About the Author

About Global Value Connect:
Global Value Connect ( http://www.globalvalueconnect.com ) has been providing the best value in telecommunication products and services for the home or office since 1995. If you want to cut your telephone bill in half register today for our free eBook entitled "Telephone Bill Saving Tips for Home and Office" and is available at: http://www.globalvalueconnect.com/Saving_Tips.htm

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