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Thread: Inexpensive AT&T home phone plans?

  1. #1
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    Question Inexpensive AT&T home phone plans?

    This may not be the best place to ask this, since I'm talking about home phone and not wireless.

    My senior parents have been paying $52/month - plus taxes which bumps it up to over $70 - for AT&T home phone for I don't know how long. They've always been AT&T customers for their entire lives. They signed up for a $40 unlimited plan in 2009, but apparently at some point it went up to $52; plus back then they were placing more calls than they do now. I went to the AT&T store to ask about lower cost plans and the rep said they only have two options: $25 for 250 minutes/mo or $35 unlimited. Both are all-distance. According to the rep the 250 minutes are cumulative for both calls placed and calls received. I don't know whether or not 250 minutes would be enough, because we rarely make any phone calls (worked out to well over $1/min last month) but since incoming calls weren't listed on the bill and have always been unlimited there's been no track to keep.

    My question is, is there a lower cost option than $35/mo which offers unlimited phone calls received? Money is getting extremely tight nowadays.

    Tooling around the AT&T website it would appear there's an option for local service @ around $20 which gives unlimited calls placed & received, and then one could add $5/mo for the opportunity to place long distance calls for 7 cents/min. But it doesn't say anything about long distance calls received, just placed; and that's basically the same as $25/mo anyway before we even make any long distance calls.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by JB8; 01-22-2012 at 11:23 PM. Reason: because I want to - I'm a serial tweaker

  2. #2
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    You might try calling and see if you get anything different by calling vs at the store. I had received $40/month for everything (local, LD, unlimited) a couple of years ago plus a $5/month credit bringing it down to $35/month. They've increased it by $2 since then. Of course, by the time they add taxes/fees, I've been paying around $53.20/month,

    Today, I started the process to port my land land to an extra line on my family plan. It will cost $10/month plus taxes/fees. I figure we'll keep it for about 6 months with appropriate voice message, then cancel that line completely.

  3. #3
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    If you receive a call and its long distance, its not long distance for you, only the person who calls you. For you, its just counted as regular incoming minutes. My parents have the roughly $20/mo unlimited local calling from AT&T and they can receive long distance calls without charge.

  4. #4
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    How refreshing: A discussion about landline service! This is probably the only place on HoFo to discuss this.

    I've been an AT&T customer for a long time. Still have a landline, and I have the cheapest local service they provide (except for what might still be called LifeLine service, for very low income folks). It's called Call Plan 50, and gives you 50 outbound local calls (no measured minutes) for $16.25 (used to be $15). All told, once all taxes and surcharges are figured, it costs me $25.26 per month. For Long Distance I use either Google Voice (using one of my 50 paid for calls to access GV) or a Rite Aid/Verizon calling card, which when purchased on sale gives you a rate of $0.02 per minute (these cards may be going away, at least Verizon isn't selling them directly anymore).

    This is in Michigan. When I lived in Chicago, landline with SBC (which became AT&T), their setup was totally different. They offered measured or unmeasured service, and I believe I had measured, which gave me the cheapest monthly bill. IIRC this meant that I could call numbers within a certain local zone for "free"; calls in a further out zone for X amount (flat-rated); and calls to numbers even further out for even more (this being all per call). Anything further away but within a certain zone was a local-toll call, then you got into long distance.

    Point being it is different based on the state you live in. They pretty much still have the same Michigan Bell, Illinois Bell, etc., divisions Ma Bell always had, with rates based on what they established through communications agreements with the state involved, which explains the difference (this doesn't include areas where the original Regional Bell company went in a different direction and didn't end up back in AT&T - i.e. Verizon, Frontier, Qwest, etc.). So you'll have to check with "the phone company" directly to see what the cheapest "product" is. They may have Call Plan 50 in their locale. But you can bet AT&T will try to bundle in unlimited long distance, as well as anything else under the sun (DSL, wireless, TV, whatever). And they may have U-Verse in their location as well, which is a whole 'nutha pricing structure.

    That's bizarre regarding the counting of minutes for local calls. But the cheapest thing is bottom tier local service and use a calling card (800 number thing) for LD. You only pay for what you use. No restrictions on incoming calls.

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