I’ll warn you up front this is mostly a rant, but if you use AT&T calling cards, you’ll want to pay attention. Back in 2005 I couldn’t believe that the FCC would approve the merger of AT&T and SBC, but they did. Then, just recently, they approved the merger of AT&T and Bell South. Uh, is it just me or does anyone remember the reason why we had all of the “Baby Bell” companies to begin with? It hasn’t been that long, really. It’s because they were a monopoly and they got away with whatever they wanted!
I do not carry any long distance on my land line. It’s a big rip-off. I either use my cell phone, or a prepaid phone card that I get at Sam’s Club. AT 3.4 cents/minute, it beats most long distance plans out there.
But, last weekend, it was brought to my attention that AT&T has “modified” their pricing for their phone cards. For my intra-state calls (in MI), they are tripling their rates… and I’m lucky! In some states, they are increasing 8 times!
For calls that begin and end within the same state, minutes will be deducted at the following rates per minute of talk time: 1 minute: DC, IL, IN, MA, RI, USVI; 3 minutes: AL, CA, CT, DE, GA, HI, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PR, SC, TN, UT, WI, WV; 5 minutes: CO, FL, IA, ID, MN, NC, NH, OK, PA, TX, VA, WA, WY; and 8 minutes: AK, AR, AZ, MO, MT, ND, NM, SD, VT.
I find this quite interesting now that AT&T no longer competes with Ameritec/SBC with long distance phone service. Coincidence? I doubt it. It may seem like a small thing, but I sure this is just one of many small “perks” that (once again) having a phone monopoly brings. (Do you really think they’ll keep their promise on net neutrality?
So, I’ve got a couple alternatives. It looks like MCI has a calling card that will get me 3 cents/minute. I’m also seriously looking at using Skype more frequently. Through the end of January 2007, they’ve got a really good deal. You can get an entire year of SypeOut (PC to phone) calling for only $14.95. So maybe I’ll be using that until AT&T decides to start “accidentally” dropping my VOIP packets. Grrrr.