Phone Companies See Their Future In Flat-Rate Plans

from the not-so-bad dept

As ISPs are struggling to shift away from flat-rate pricing to tiered or metered pricing, long distance companies are moving in the opposite direction. Starting with MCI, who introduced the Neighborhood unlimited calling plan last year, most long distance providers are now getting around to offering some sort of flat-rate calling plan. I’ve been using the Neighborhood since soon after it launched, and while it’s had some glitches, it is really nice to never worry about additional fees or what time to make long distance calls. The one annoying thing (that I’m sure all the phone companies do) is that the various “fees and surcharges” seem to inch up every month.

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Comments on “Phone Companies See Their Future In Flat-Rate Plans”

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Murrel (user link) says:


I’m not sure who is surprised or why – but almost 10 years ago Jack Rickard predicted the move to flat rate pricing. In his role as editor and publisher of then little known Boardwatch Magazine he also did the math that established the $20/month Internet flat fee that propelled over 6000 independent ISPs to start the flood of Internet usage. He also predicted the rise of CLEC when he annouced that anyone with a truck could be a phone company. Much of this of course has snince been countered by the incumbant telcos lobbying successes in both the FCC and the state governments.

But neither should we be now surprised at ISPs seeking new ways to generate revenue. The successes of the imbedded local exchange carriers have left ISPs with little other choice as the ILECs are pricing their services below the ISP costs. The only way out is to develop special services and features that still can’t be provided by the cookie cutter commodity telco services.

But such is progress in the 21st century.


Mike (profile) says:

Re: Can you share the glitches?

I’ve recently signed up for “The Neighborhood” and have some concerns about severing my relationship with the incumbent local telephone provider. What glitches have you experienced with your new service?

Nothing too bad. The first bill had a $10 “second line” charge for no reason that took some yelling to get removed. The voicemail set up was a little clunky – though, they’ve now switched to a second (also clunky) voicemail system. It has lots of nice features, but it was clearly designed by someone who had no intention of ever using it. They need a user interface designer badly.

The biggest “glitch” was just on the timing of the switchover. They had promised it at one point, and it just happened at another time, and I couldn’t access my voicemail until I called them up, and they admitted the change came too fast (before they had sent me the startup info).

Also, I wouldn’t worry too much about losing touch with th elocal phone company. If my experience is any indicator, you will start hearing from them just about everyday, trying to get you back.

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