There are a few choices to consider when looking for a long distance plan. First, decide what method of calling you will need to use primarily.
Voice Over Internet Protocol, commonly referred to as VoIP, is a digital binary service that allows you to make calls over the internet by accessing a modem. This service is great for people who do a lot of long distance calling. Fees are extremely low, averaging between $5 and $15 per month. The downsides to VoIP are very few, but obviously you need to have a computer, as well as high speed internet. Your call quality will only be as good as your internet connection. If you are looking for a low cost, convenient alternative, VoIP can suit your needs.
If you prefer to use more traditional calling methods, calling cards are another option that allows you to pay for the amount of long distance calling you wish to do. You simply dial the 800 number on the card prior to the long distance number you wish to reach. Many calling card companies have very low rates, some less than one cent per minute.
Dial Around Service
Another lesser known method of long distance calling is a service known as Dial Around. Dial Around companies provide you with, as the name suggests, a method of dialing around your current provider to reach your destination long distance provider. Though it sounds somewhat confusing, it is actually quite simple. You first dial the company's number, usually composed of seven digits (usually something like 10-10-220 or 10-10-321) and then you dial the destination number. Just as with calling cards, your own service provider only charges you for the call made to the Dial Around company. While these services were at the height of their popularity in the 1990's, they have lost popularity due to generally having higher fees than other alternatives such as calling cards and VOIP.
If you have cable television and internet, many companies offer discounted rates for long distance calling. Some even offer a very low rate in order to get new customers to sign up; however, make sure that you know the terms of the agreement regarding what the rates will be after your introductory price is over.