TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Holiday Observances Phone Rates (was Re: Kennedy)

Re: Holiday Observances Phone Rates (was Re: Kennedy)

Anthony Bellanga (
Thu, 01 Dec 2005 02:23:14 -0700

PAT: DO NOT DISPLAY my email address whatsoever anywhere in this post!

Seth Breidbart <> wrote:

> Lisa Hancock <> wrote:

>> Some years ago they passed a Monday holiday law, switching the
>> date of a number of national holidays so they would always be
>> on a Monday, creating a three day weekend. That includes
>> Martin Luther King Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day,
>> and Columbus Day. Veteran's Day, Independence Day, Christmas,
>> and New Years remain observed on their actual day. Thanksgiving
>> and Labor Day were already on day of week.

> The Monday Holiday Law predates Martin Luther King Day.

>> Roughly speaking, workers have seen a gradual cutback in the
>> number of holidays they get a day off from work. There were
>> always the big 5 that everyone got off (except critical personnel):
>> (1) NY, (2) Memorial, (3) Independence, (4) Labor, (5) Thanksgiving,
>> and (6) Christmas.

> For a large value of 5.

>> Over time, some employers began to give off Washington's birthday,
>> King's birthday and Veteran's Day in addition. More generous
>> employers threw in Columbus Day and Good Friday.

>> Historically, if a major holiday fell on the weekend, the nearest
>> Monday or Friday would be given off.

>> Nowadays employers seem a lot tighter and grant only the major day
>> off. Many retailers are open on holidays, even Thanksgiving,
>> Christmas, and New Years, and expect people to work.

I guess it depends on who you work for or what type of business or
work you do. And aren't there certain labor laws requiring time and a
half or similar for (non-union) employees who have to work on certain
declared *National* (not "just" Federal) Holidays such as
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Independence Day, and maybe Labor
Day? (the original "big five", which does not include Memorial Day,
Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, Presidents' Day (which was originally
known as George Washington's Birthday), and in more recent years mlk

>> The phone company would grant weekend rate reductions on certain
>> major holidays. However, when a day was celebrated on an alternate
>> day (such as everything being closed on Monday July 5 in
>> celebration of Independence Day instead of on Sunday 7/4), the
>> phone company did not give discounts on the alternate day, weekday
>> rates were charged which could be steep.

Telephone rate structures have never been fixed in stone. And remember
that there are different rate strctures depending on the location
(jurisdiction) of the calling and called parties (intra-state vs.
inter-state, and if intra-state, which state; US-to-Canada, US-to-
Alaska/Hawaii/Puerto Rico/etc; US-to-International outside of Canada,
etc). "Holiday" rate structures (as well as Evening, Night, Weekend
discounts) could vary as to the nature of the Holiday, and the start
and stop time of the discounted period could vary depending on the
jurisdiction of the call. And things were not always consistant if
you were accepting a collect call (the rate period was determined at
the time of the party *placing* the call, NOT the time of the person
*receiving* the call even though the latter is PAYING for the call,
similarly on 3rd Party billing, the rate period is determined not by
the time of that 3rd person accepting the billing, but by the time
of the person *placing* the call), or coin paid calls (mostly
obsolete or totally morphed now a days since AT&T no longer handles
coin sent paid traffic and the local Bells have been squeezed out by
COCOTs), or person to person billing, time-and-charges quotes, etc.

There could be significant inconsistancies as to how rate periods
and Holiday rates applied to calls that weren't completely dialed as
1+ DDD by the customer with no operator assistance, from a regular
residential or business line.

And Bell or Telco was always filing new tariffs with state and
federal regulators modifying this or that. What I remember is the
structure as it applied roughly from the mid-1970s through the
mid-1990s, approximately twenty years. And this is the AT&T US
Interstate Plan for calls originating form the Continental US.
By the mid-1980s, it also included calls TO such points as Alaska,
Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, and also included
calls originating from those non-CONUS points if they were TO points
within CONUS (but not necessarily to another non-CONUS point except
for calls between Alaska and Hawaii which eventually became known
as basic interstate). Most other carriers also copied the time
periods that AT&T had filed for as well, in the post-divestiture
period. However, with the 1996 Telecom Law, things began to change
dramatically for all carriers including AT&T, MCI, Sprint.

Weekday/Daytime period (the most expensive)
Mon-Fri 08-AM to 05-PM

Weekday/Evening period (the MID-range)
Sun-Fri 05-PM to 11-PM

Night/Weekend period (the lowest rates)
ALL Nights 11-PM to 8-AM
and ALL WEEKEND LONG starting at 11-PM Fri continuing all the way
through (NOTE) 05-PM SUNDAY (when EVENING rates would kick-in)

Until around the early 1980s, a call which started in one rate period
but continued into another rate period would be charged at the rates
of the period that the call originally began. Thus, a call begun at
4:58pm Sun-Fri would be charged at DAY rates until the call was
terminated. However, a call begun at 7:58am Mon-Fri or 4:58pm on
Sunday would be charged at NIGHT/WEEKEND rates until the call was
terminated. I can remember having major troubles with all circuits
busy trying to place interstate toll calls on Sunday afternoons after
4:30pm back in the early 1980s -- everyone else just like me was
trying to get their calls started before 5pm at which time the higher
(mid-range) rates would then kick-in until 11pm when the night/weekend
rates would come back.

In the early 1980s, all of this changed. AT&T began charging the
rate period in effect for whatever minutes the call included. If
you started your call at 4:58pm M-F, you started off paying the
highest Day rate, but once 5pm came about, the charges went down
to evening rate during the call in progress.

Holiday rates were identical to EVENING (mid-range) rates, NOT the
least expensive Night/Weekend period. At least this is how it all was
in the mid-1970s thru mid-1990s period. Of course, if that Holiday
(observed) was on a weekend (until 5pm on a Sunday), you did get your
cheapest weekend rate. (or night rate for that day at any time from
Midnight until 8am or 11pm to Midnight on that Holiday regardless of
which day of week the Holiday observed fell on).

Maw Bell did recognize the Federal "Holiday Observed" or "make-up" for
when a Holiday itself fell on a Sat/Sun. Bell did give you the
mid-range Evening (Holiday) rate on Monday 26 December or Monday 27
December (i.e., Christmas falling on a Sat/Sun), and the like.

AT&T recognized only the "Big Five" Holidays for "Holiday Rates"
(identical to Evening Mid-range rates) for inter-state US calls, i.e.,
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Independence Day, and Labor Day
for the longest. I believe that the US Federal Government or
Presidential Decree/Order, etc. identifies these as "National"

The other four-later-five are "Federal" Holidays which apply to
Federal Government employees although many state/local governments and
some private sectors have also now included as well. AT&T (and
possibly MCI and Sprint) began to include these four-later-five as
well by 1990, for Holiday (Evening) rates. These inlcude Columbus Day,
Veteran's Day, Presidents' Day, and later on mlk day.

Presidents' Day was originally George Washington's Birthday, which
*was* the ONLY Federal Holiday to honor a *specific* individual by
*NAME*. It was "morphed" into Presidents' Day sometime in the 1980s
(IIRC), to honor Lincoln (also with a February Birthday) and "all" of
the presidents of the US. So, after a while, even the Father of Our
Country lost out on the day *specifically* dedicated to him, while at
about the same time this mlk gets a federal holiday by name.

Anyhow, AT&T (and possibly MCI and Sprint) began to observe all ten
national/federal holidays collectively, as "Evening/Holiday" rates, by
about 1990.

But with the 1996 Telecom Law, everything that we had become
comfortable with (especially after having adjusted to the 1984
divestiture) began to change again. AT&T's basic rate structures began
to change significantly, yet at the same time, if you know how to
choose/dial "wisely", you'll find that toll rates overall have
decreased signficantly. And while you might lash-out at Cellular
companies, Long Distance Carriers, and even local telcos, if you do
your homework (and yes, it can be tedious), you can get very good
savings and discount plans on ALL of your telecom services, even
better than it was in the stable "good old days" of Maw Bell in the
1970s and early (pre-divestiture) 1980s.

- Anthony Bellanga

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