Money In The Bank (guest blog)

Somewhat unusually for the average American family, three of our five kids live overseas – and of course my wife wants to talk to each of them at least once each week. In the bad old days – i.e. earlier this year before we switched to VoIP – that could get pricey, so we were sparing in our calls. Indeed one of the reasons I chose as my carrier was the fact that there was no extra charge for calls to landlines in at least eight countries – including where our kids are – plus what looked like low rates to cell phones. And our kids (okay, I’m really talking about adults in their 20s and 30s, but to me they’re my kids) live on cell phones.

Now the plan I had on our old carrier (Qwest, for those who are interested) was one that cost us $3 per month plus 15 cents per minute, to either landlines or cell phones. That’s an old grandfathered plan, and the current plan costs $4 per month, plus 17 cents per minute to cell phones and 9 cents to landline. In contrast, charges nothing above the regular fee per month, a fraction under 12 cents a minute to cell phones and, as I mentioned, zero extra to landlines.

But just how much did I really, save, I wondered. Rates and such are kinda esoteric – the proof is when you count up your remaining pennies at the end of the month. Figuring that out takes some work, but I just had to find out, so I took the time to analyze my most recent bill. That bill showed 27 calls trying to reach the kids, of which 16 were successful, over the course of a month. The total cost: $12.21.

Revving up the spreadsheet, it was simple enough to discover that I would have paid $24.45 with my old non-VoIP carrier, or almost exactly double. Qwest’s current plan would have cost me a slight bit more, at $25.05. And pity the poor person who didn’t agree to pay an upfront monthly fee for international calling, but suddenly does need to make an international call. At Qwest’s “standard” rate the exact same calls would have resulted in a bill for a whopping $282.84. My gosh, even my cell phone international rates would have only added up to about $140 for the same calls.

Talk about a no-brainer. My new long distance bill is like money in the bank, to the tune of hundreds of dollars a year. Gee…maybe I should call the kids now and tell them how much I’m saving by calling them!

Stuart Zipper is the past Senior Editor of TelecomWeb news break.