TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cellular Exchange Rate Center?

Cellular Exchange Rate Center?
11 May 2007 10:16:43 -0700

In the other discussion about exchanges, there was mention of the
portability of cellular numbers and that one could own a number far
from the place it was issued.

I believe cell phone users (who aren't on a plan) are charged by where
they are located at the moment as opposed to where their number is

However, the real issue is for those who call cell phones from land
lines. I believe there the rate center associated with the number
still applies regardless of where the phone itself happens to
physically be.

In other words, imagine I'm in NYC and you're in NYC. But, your cell
phone has a L.A. number. I call you from my house and I'm billed for
a call to L.A., right? The equipment might find you in NYC, but it
still considers it a call to L.A. because of the number.

One thing that bothers me is that callers today are often charged for
a toll call or extra time even if the call isn't completed. In the
old days the Bell System was strict about supervision and trained
business customers to avoid keeping customers on hold too long* and
certainly never disconnect anyone.

But today if you call a cell phone and nothing happens, you still get
billed. Cell phone users pay for time from SEND to END, not for when
a phone is actually answered. In other words, if you call someone and
they take a while to answer the phone, you pay for that time.

Nowadays many people (including me) have unlimited bundled service
deals. But a lot of people don't, especially cell phone users during
peak times. Calls from pay phones obviously cost money and the meter
is running. Many people still have a la carte long distance.

* Bell advised never to answer a phone and put the person on hold as
so many people do now, rather, they said to let it ring and only
answer when you were ready. This way, the caller wasn't billed
unnecessarily for hold time. [Of course, we're told that the old Bell
System was an evil monopoly and never ever acted in the customer's
interest, so I must be mistaken about their free extensive customer
training programs.]

[public replies, please]

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Bell _did_ say that for a long time,
but eventually it got to be so abusive with the radio call-in talk show
hosts (20-30 minutes of ringing in lieu of caller having to wait on
hold to talk on the air) that Bell started disconnecting calls after
about two minutes of ringing with a recorded intercept message saying
'party is not available' or sometimes simply switching the caller to
a fast busy signal (as in 'take a hint, they are not answering'). One
of the worst offenders on that is Larry King, of CNN fame. Mr. King
always told his callers, "let it ring, we will answer when we are
ready to have you on the air". After AT&T started disconnecting
callers after about two minutes, King started getting many complaints
from his callers about this. Of course, King was giving an 800 number
to call him on, and I suspect he was trying to save money on _his_
phone bill, not the callers.

Anyway, deluged with caller complaints -- I mean, if you had waited
for King on (the essence of) hold for thirty minutes only to get
abruptly disconnected by AT&T and have to dial back in and go to the
end of the line (where you had originally been before you gradually
worked your way up the queue) wouldn't you have been sore also? Also,
one of the 'Bible discussion programs' on Family Radio also used an
800 number for his callers and told them the same thing, "let it
continue ringing until we answer it" had the same problems with
crabby, angry callers who were cut off.

King's answer to his callers was to encourage them to reach him using
'Sprint or MCI; they do not cut you off like that; we will give them
your business'. And King switched his 800 line to one from Sprint, I
think. AT&T's response: "Good! Good! Let Sprint/MCI have all the
busy circuits with no revenue on them; we do not need it! We want
money on our circuits, not just dead time." PAT]

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