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

Re: Holiday Observances Phone Rates (was Re: Kennedy)
2 Dec 2005 09:05:01 -0800

Anthony Bellanga wrote:

> 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)

IIRC, the above three-tiered rate structure began in the 1970s when
discounts for dialed-direct service was introduced. Prior to that
time I believe there were only two rate periods, day and
evening/weekend, the minimum charge was 3 minutes, and
station-to-station calls were all the same price whether dialed
yourself or had operator assistance (payphone, collect, 3rd party
bill, time& charges, credit card, 3 min notify, busy verify).
Person-to-person remained higher.

In those days it was typical for a large business to get T&C for all
toll calls, and the PBX operator had to place them. Some businesses
mandated person-to-person for all calls. Person calls didn't start
charging until the specific requested party answered the phone. In a
business, this could mean a wait of a few minutes while a secretary
paged the desired the person, so it could made sense.

You could also make a person-to-person collect call, which meant the
receiver had to pay the higher rate.

In those days "long distance calling" was serious business and usually
got attention.

The new structure was a big change. They added a "night" class which
was originally after midnight (I don't think it originally included
weekends). The evening and night rates had deeper discounts, but you
had to dial direct. (If you did not have DDD in your area or had
trouble placing the call, you still got the discount). Pay phones
didn't get the discount. The minimum time was also now 1 minute. I
remember waiting up till midnight to make use of the deep discount.
Later on it was moved earlier to 11pm and weekends were added and the
discounts were even better. I know definitely Sunday evenings were at
the cheapest rate, it was later on that they bumped Sunday evenings to
"evening" rate because so many people made toll calls at that time.

I believe around that time inward (800) and outward WATS lines

As time went on rates dropped for DDD calls but went up for operator
handled calls, either station or person. I believe oper calls paid
the full initial charge but got an offpeak discount, if appropriate,
on additional minutes. If you had trouble and needed oper assistance,
too bad, you bad the higher rate.

> 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.

I believe originally holiday rates were the lowest weekend rates, then
went up to evening rates, about the same time Sunday evening went from
"weekend" to "evening".

> 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.

Yes and no. Basically it all became a single number -- one rate per
minute any time for any DDD call. But you might have to pay a monthly
carrying charge on top of toll calls. For people calling in the day
time to very distant places this was a big savings. For people
calling during weekends to short distant places it was a big INCREASE.
For people using pay phones or traditional calling cards it was a HUGE

> ... 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.

Again, yes and no. At home I now have unlimited national. It doesn't
really save me any money; I was getting killed on short haul toll
calls and regional service. Under the pre-divesture rate structures
I'd be paying a lot less.

The "homework" is EXTREMELY TEDIOUS. (Shouting intentional). It is
greedy price gouging, pure and simple.

Generally, convenience stores (ie 7-11, Wawa) charge more than
supermarkets for many products. One canned item is $1.29 at the
supermarket and $1.89 at the convenience store. But a toll call from
home might be 35c a minute while at a payphone will be $10.00 a

That's utterly absurb and gouging.

When my mother was taken to the emergency room (no cell phones
allowed!), I used my calling card on the pay phone with my LD carrier
to notify family, and I was billed $20.00 for each call. Sorry, but
under the circumstances I didn't have time or inclination to worry
about pre-paid calling cards, using the right LD carrier code, etc.
When I got the bill I complained loudly and took the charges off.
Most people probably just pay them.

In the convenience store or supermarket the price of every item is
clearly marked on the shelf. Indeed, many consumer advocates want
prices marked right on the item itself like in the old days. Yet
there are NO rate cards on a pay telephone and today you can't call
the operator and get the rate in advance like the old days. Why
aren't the telephone carriers required to be as clear about their toll
charges are as stores are about their products? I know immediately up
front what my convenience store will charge me. I don't know about
public toll calls. That sucks.

I don't mind paying a premium for making a calling card or cash toll
call from a public phone, but I resent being gouged.

I resent needing to spend my free time doing all this "tedious
homework". The rate structures are very fluid and it's a constant
battle to keep up. Big banks are no better, always changing the
service fees on your account.

Government regulation had a lot of flaws, but companies are taking
advtg of the lack of regualation and intentionally terribly confusing
fee schedules to cheat the public.

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