OT: Long Distance, phone card

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I come begging advice.
Have only a little land-line here in the midwest US. Used to dial 10-10-xxx for long distance, then the vendor disappeared and I got really strange billings.
Tried AT&T (the local monopoly). Was told I could get $2/mo, 15 cents/min. but they billed Gawd-Knows-What even before I used it, so I had to cancel.
Can anyone suggest a long distance vendor with reasonable rates for US calls and not requiring a credit card? I've got CC's, but I don't give my numbers to any but the most reliable vendors (i.e. local utilities). About all I'm ever likely to call is in the 48 US states (from my land- line at home).
Are phone cards any good for such usage? I looked at some comparisons on a couple sites, couldn't much make any sense of it.
Thx, Will
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On Sat, 19 Mar 2011 22:31:53 -0600, Wilfred Xavier Pickles

Google Voice
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wrote:

Google Voice will also allow you to make long distance calls from any phone in the area code your Google Voice number is in.
And my favorite part. It is free.
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Wilfred Xavier Pickles wrote:
[snip]
I normally use my cell phone for long distance.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us
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On 3/20/2011 12:31 AM, Wilfred Xavier Pickles wrote:

Reconsider your worry about registering your credit card. Your greatest risk is a low paid human copying down your number and 3 digit security code at a store or restaurant, not the hacking of a company's computer. Besides, you can get your card replaced within 48 hrs and if you notify the bank as soon as you realize the number has been compromised, you won't end up being liable for any of the fraudulent charges (or no more than $50 max, depending upon the bank's policy and the specific circumstances).
That said, for reasonable rates at relatively low usage from your home land line, I like BigRedWire (www.bigredwire.com). You will have to register a CC# with them, but I've had an account with them for about 3 years and have had excellent service. Once you are signed up, the service is completely transparent. You dial only 10 digits. The sound quality is excellent. You are billed monthly, automatically to your CC, and get an e-mail with a link that let's you see the itemized charges. When I signed up, they even paid the $10 or $20 fee Verizon charged me to switch long distance carriers.
If you want to save even more, Google Talk is entirely free and unlimited for domestic calls and works perfectly with even the slowest (1184 Kbps) broadband DSL service. I know; that's what I have. Get a google mail account, download and install the software, and connect a microphone to your mic input on your sound card. I use my speakers and have no problem with echos or feedback. Might not work well on dial-up if you don't have broadband, but since it is free, you could always try anyway.
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or drop the landline and go all cell. theres a variety of packages Net 10 has a 50 buck a month unlimited phone text picture and internet access.
the only added cost s sales tax, none of those endless fees with contract phonme companies, you can take your number port it, and go back to landline if you want or another carrier.
landline companies are bleeding customers, landline is obsolete
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Many of us are sticking with landlines for various reasons. First, it is reliable in any weather. I don't recall it ever going out and it does not have to be charged. Second, it is a "family" number. No reason to give a different number for husband and wife. If I was to get a call on my cell while away from home, it is not easily transferred to my wife or anyone else in the house. It is clear and comfortable to talk on. Even the best cell phone don't always give the same clarity as a landline and the phone is not as readily cradles in the ear.
Then there is 911. They will know the address and location if we need emergency assistance. I understand cells have gotten better, but not as precise as a hard wired phone.
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"All those (reasons) and many more!"
I've had the landline # for 25+ years. Certain folks know where to reach me and the # is listed.
I'm retired and I -live- at home and that is where folks can ring me if they want.
I presently pay about $9/mo for the LL. I don't need any $50+/mo. contracts with a derelict utility company.
There is a cultural aspect. There are alleged people walking down the street with a celly-phony in they ear that think if you -don't- have a celly-phony in your ear then you ain't human. I don't wanna be identified with them.
Hell, there was a gal just up the street killed by a stray bullet from an alleged gang/drug clash a couple days ago. Nice gal, I knew her brother. I can't say for sure, but I'd give ya 3-1 odds that she could've at least avoided the fatal head-shot if she had been concentrating on her driving instead of futzing around with her cell.
I know there are intelligent and civilized folks using cells, but I don't want to be associated with the cell usage I've seen since retirement. The folks that really, really, *really* need a cell and can't live without it are ... (you guessed it) ... dope dealers.
Forgive me, I got carried away, Will
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On Sun, 20 Mar 2011 22:07:18 -0600, Wilfred Xavier Pickles

You are kidding right?
3-1 odds that someone without a cell phone is more likely to avoid a bullet to the head than someone using one? How much money are you willing to cover?
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Years ago, when I had a copper landline here in Jersey with Verizon for only local calls, it cost me ~$25/mo, and if I called beyond the quirkily drawn borders of the local area, it was really expensive. I had a separate company serving up long distance. I had DSL at I don't remember/mo, and Cablevision basic cable for $85/mo. I now have nationwide LD (plus more places I don't use), internet at 25/20 Mbps and FiOS TV. Altogether ~ $145/mo (~$110 before all the taxes and fees for STB's). Taking inflation into account, less money for better service. Yes, the FiOS phone line goes out after a few hours, but that's what we have cell phones for. Years ago during hurricane Floyd, the whole copper-based network was out for a few days due to flooding of a central office around Rochelle Park, NJ.
--
Best regards
Han
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:
[snip]

Most cell phones seem to have a GPS reciever that works on 911 calls, although you couls be somewhere where it doesn't work.
BTW, I don't understand why they don't make the GPS abailable to the user. It wouldn't cost that much to have the phone read from the GPS and write your location to the existing display.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us
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On 3/21/2011 11:39 AM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

My understanding is that for non-GPS equipped cell phones, 911 services can (and do) obtain a less accurate but still useful idea of where you are calling from via software that triangulates your location from every tower in the vicinity that can lock on to your phone's signal. The one time I had to call 911 with my 6 yr. old Nokia 6030, the operator knew quite accurately where I was without me having to tell her.
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On 3/20/2011 5:27 PM, bob haller wrote:

remember that after the next tornado, hurricane, or extended power failure, when the cell system is on its knees or down completely. Nothing touches copper for uptime numbers, so far.
--
aem sends...

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A year ago last September 17 we had one HELL of a thunderstorm that produced 6" of rain in two hours. At about 1:00am we were both up and standing in our kitchen as nearly non-stop lightning kept the inside of our house lighted. One bolt turned the north windows white and we watched sparks fly from the receptacles in our kitchen. Since a house had burned, due to lightning, a few months earlier I grabbed the cell and dialed 911. The volunteer fire crew was pulling into our driveway within five minutes. Fortunately, the sparks were from a GFI and several of the GFI's in the house were fried. We and the local internet provider had about $1700 worth of damage. But the most fortunate fact was the cell phone I called on, because the storm had taken the local land line system down.
RonB
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And you thought I didn't know about all that???
In case you hadn't noticed, it's become near standard US practice to bill small and invalid charges from any vendor in possession of a customers CC. It's less trouble to pay such than to call customer service, so that kind of abuse is becoming universal.

I looked 'em over. I can live with the nickel/min., but I saw no flat monthly charge.
Do you know? Do they charge one? And, have they ever hit you with small invalid charges??

Requires somewhat costly eqpt. and that I leave my pc powered 24/7. This is not my normal practice.
Thx, Will
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On 3/20/2011 7:51 PM, Wilfred Xavier Pickles wrote:

I dunno about bothering to call the Bank's customer service# to dispute an invalid charge. I've done it about a dozen times over the past decade. Never took more than 5 minutes each time. Never paid a penny on those invalid charges.
Big Red Wire does NOT charge a monthly charge.
If you do not make a lot of long distance calls at unpredictable times, there is no need to keep your PC on all the time to call long distance for free using google voice. Turn on the PC when you plan to call, or call while the PC is already on. It sounds as though you might be thinking that with google voice you use your PC for incoming calls. No. People will call you as usual on your existing land line and/or cell phone, just as they do now.
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I meant calling the vendors. Used to be the CC bill said it had to be over $50 and/or 50 miles from home or similar BS. I check my bill now and it doesn't say that anymore.

I'll give 'em a try.

I wasn't sure.
Many Thanks, Will
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On Mar 19, 11:31pm, Wilfred Xavier Pickles

Do you have cell service in your area? We moved from a metro area to a small rural town in SE Kansas about three years ago. The plan was to build a house and just get by with our cells to save the cost of two phone bills during construction. After three years without land line, we have little reason to return to one. We have a basic 900 minute Verizon plan with 11 friends & family numbers that are free. In-network calls are free. The only time we strained the 900 minute plan was during construction of the house because we were acting as contractor, which required a lot of phone time. Even at that, we were able to manage the friends & family numbers to take on person off temporarily and put a subcontractor on temporarily.
We were originally Altell and when Verizon took over our cell coverage and performance got better. This certainly is not a Verizon commercial because other carriers in various areas are probably as good. My brother-in-law just can't get his head around the fact that we don't have "real" telephones but who cares? When we did have land- lines most of our phones were portable handsets which were laying around under something most of the time. When the phone rings now it is in our pockets.
RonB
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Plain old telephone service (POTS) has become a nightmare. Since so many of them have lost business to cell phones, they've done all sorts of things to screw money out of you while pretending to give you great rates.
Basically, what they are doing is giving you great long distance rates that appear like a killer deal. But, these apply only to direct dial for LONG distance from your home phone. In the meantime, they stick it to you for everthing else. Howzabout $10 fee jes for calling the operator. Howzabout 3x-5x higher rates for zone 2 and 3 calls. Howzabout totally insane rates for assisted calls.
My mom has dementia, so called an operator to help her place some calls. The worst call was about 3 mins long and cost $25!! It wasn't even handled by our provider, but handed off to a sub-contracted service. When I tried to get info from our provider on three calls my mom made, they refused to give me any information. A dozen different support ppl disavowed any knowledge of the mysterious charges exceeding $55 for three short calls on our bill. After I finally figured out what they were, I eventually ran across one support tech who admitted assisted calls were subbed out to whatever provider was available at the time and at whatver rate that particular provider felt like charging. Howzabout $8 min!! Phone cards are the same game. Expect to get hosed.
nb
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On 3/20/2011 9:12 PM, notbob wrote:

If you buy a fly-by-night, no-name phone card, getting hosed is a real possibility. If you purchase a national name brand phone card, what are you talking about?
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