Terms to know in talking long-distance

July 28, 2002

Following are common terms related to long-distance telephone service:

  • 800 Number Monthly Fee. Fixed monthly fee that some long-distance companies charge to have a personal 800 number.

  • Billing Increment. Tells how the long-distance company rounds your calls for billing purposes. If a call is 10 minutes and 13 seconds, a company with six-second increments will round to 10 minutes and 18 seconds. A company with a one-minute billing increment would bill the same call for 11 minutes.

  • Bundling. A marketing strategy that combines a variety of telephone and related services on a single bill, often at a discount over individually purchased services.

  • Cramming. Illegal practice of billing a customer for services never requested.

  • Facilities-Based Carrier. Telecom company that owns facilities and such equipment as poles, wires, cables and transmission facilities used to provide service.

  • InterLATA Toll Service. LATA - Local Access and Transport Area - refers to a geographic region that has more than one telephone company providing its services. An interLATA toll service is the connection between two local exchange carriers in different regions. This is the same as long-distance service.

  • IntraLATA Rates. Also known as "local toll" or "local long-distance" rates, these rates are for calls that are often within your area code but still require you to dial "1" and the area code before the number.

  • Less Than Minimum Penalty. Amount added to your long-distance bill if the monthly minimum dollar amount is not reached.

  • Off-Peak In-state/Out-of-state Rate. Rate for calls made between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Off-Peak Rate also applies to calls made any time during the weekend.

  • Peak In-state/Out-of-state Rate. Rate for calls made between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  • Regional Bell Operating Company. One of the original seven local telephone companies created as part of the breakup of AT&T.

  • Slamming. Illegal act of switching a retail customer's long-distance and/or local telecommunications service provider without the customer's permission and/or knowledge.


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