In-State vs. International Long Distance Rates

Most people lump all long distance calls together, assuming they carry the same costs and connection requirements. But that is not the case. There is a big difference between an in-state call, a state-to-state call and an international call, and the costs can vary widely. Having the right long distance plan on your home phone can save you a substantial amount of money. Let’s look at the differences between these types of calls so you can have an idea of what to look for in choosing your long distance plan.

Defining The Types of Calls

In-state long distance calls are those that happen within the borders of your state. There are also state-to-state calls, which, as the name implies, is a call from one state to another in the United States. International calls cross the borders of the country, and they require an entirely different kind of connection. If you live in the United States and you plan on regularly placing calls to specific countries, you need to look at the international long distance rates to those particular areas for the long distance plan you are considering.

Why International Long Distance Rates Are Higher

If you want to know why international long distance rates are higher than in-state or state-to-state long distance rates, the answer is fairly obvious. They are more complicated to establish. Each country has rules and regulations about the calls coming in and going out of its borders. You essentially have to pay a higher price to overcome those requirements and connect with your point of contact.

Another way to think of it is to look at your phone as a shipping company, transferring information from one place to another. You would pay more to ship a car internationally than you would nationally. The same goes for calls. You have to compensate the phone companies for providing the wires, satellites, staff members and power to allow your call to go through to some other location in the world.

How to Save Money with Long Distance Calls

Just because international connection rates are higher than in-state ones doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to talk to someone overseas. In fact, there are some simple steps you can take to save money on all the long distance calls you make. Start by figuring out which kinds of calls you are going to make most often: international, state-to-state or in-state. You need to find a plan that offers the lowest rates for the calls you are most likely to make because that will create the least expensive bill.

Once you know what kind of phone plan to look for, you need to compare the costs from different phone providers. It’s not enough just to look at published per-minute rates. You have to also consider the connection fees, monthly fees and billing increments. Some phone companies have hidden charges that could increase your bill if you are not careful. That is why it is important to read all of the terms of your phone contract before signing up with a specific provider. It could make a big difference in the money you pay.

If you know you are going to make a lot of in-state or state-to-state calls, you may want to find a phone plan with unlimited minutes. This will have a higher monthly cost than other phone plans, but you will not be charged by the minute. Of course, you may want to figure out how many minutes you can get out of your current plan and see if your expected usage will be greater than that. In some cases, unlimited will be the more cost efficient plan.

Of course, you could limit the amount of time you spend on the phone, but that defeats the purpose of having a long distance calling plan. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your conversations just to save a buck or two. Thoroughly research the phone companies available to you, and select the most cost effective plan for your needs.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.