Increments: The length of your call which relates
to what your per minute rate is, be it based on one minute
billing increments, 6 second increments, etc. If you have
one minute billing increments, a 12 second call will be rounded
up to the full minute.
Telephone Number (BTN): Your main billing phone
Identification Code (CIC): A long distance company's
one-of-a-kind code, mainly used so the local phone provider
knows who your long distance carrier is. Also known as
a PIC Code.
(Central Office Exchange Service): A type of PBX where
the switching happens at the local phone provider instead of
at the location of the customer.
(Competitive Local Exchange Carrier): A phone company
that competes with an (ILEC) Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier,
yet a CLEC can use the infrastructure of an ILEC.
Cramming happens when a company places charges or services on
your phone bill that you did not order or authorize.
Around Number (Casual Access, 10-10-xxx, 10-15-xxx, Etc):
A number used to purposely bypass your local or long distance
phone company. Using a dial around number does not switch
your service and can be used even if you have no primary long
distance carrier. In most cases, you will get the best
phone rate and the best international calling rate by using
a dial around number (other than possibly using a pre-paid phone
Dialing: When a customer is pre-subscribed with a long
distance company and makes a call using 1+ the area code (or
country code) + the telephone number, without operator assistance
or using a dial around number.
Call: Any call that originates (starts) and terminates
(ends) within the United States.
Communications Commission (FCC): Handles state-to-state
communications services, problems, etc.
Optics: Technology based on thin filaments of glass
or other transparent materials used as a method for transmitting
coded light pulses that represent data, images, or sound.
Carrier (IEC): The carrier that provides long
distance service between the Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) and
the Local Access Transport Area (LATA).
Calls: Calls that originate in one country and terminate
in another country.
Calls: (State-to-State) Calls that originate in one
state and terminate in another state.
Calls: (In-State) Calls that originate and terminate
within the same state.
Billing: When a customer receives their invoice directly
from their Local Exchange Carrier (LEC).
of Agency (LOA): A form that the customer signs
that gives permission for a switch of the customers long distance
Exchange Carrier (LEC): Your local phone service
Distance Usage (LDU): The amount of long distance an
end user uses.
Minute Charge: Some calling plans will have,
for example, a 10 minute minimum call length. This means
that even if you talk under 10 minutes you will still be billed
for a 10 minute call.
Monthly Charge: Some calling plans (usually related
to commercial plans) will have a minimum monthly charge.
This means that if your plan has a $50.00 monthly minimum, your
monthly bill will always be at least $50.00 even if you have
a month where you spend only $35.00 for that month.
Usage Charge: If you see a calling plan where
you would pay a small fee if your monthly long distance usage
is under a certain amount, this is a minimum usage charge.
A minimum usage charge differs from a monthly fee.
Fee: Some calling plans will have a monthly fee
(for example, $3.95) and this fee will be charged to the customer
no matter how many calls the customer makes in a month and no
matter how much the customers monthly bill is. A calling
plan with a monthly fee is a bad choice for any consumer that
spends just a few dollars a month on long distance.
Verification Procedure: (Also called Third Party
Verification) One of the things that long distance carriers
will do to cut down on fraud is ask you to verify the order
you placed when you requested long distance service. Some
carriers might require an actual signature from you, but others
will allow you to sign up online or over the phone, then you
must follow their procedure to verify that you want their long
distance service. The procedure varies between carriers,
but usually you will either have to call a toll free number
to verify, send an email to verify, or in some cases the carrier
will contact you to verify your order. If you are asked
to call a toll free number to verify, you must
call from the same phone number that you are requesting long
distance service on.
Surcharge: This is a Federally mandated fee that
a long distance company must pay to the payphone company when
a call is made using a calling card or when a call is made to
a toll free number. This fee varies between carriers but
is usually 35 or 40 cents.
(Private Branch Exchange): A private network used within
a business where users share outside lines. It's less expensive
than each phone having to use a separate external line.
See Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge.
PIC Code: (See
CIC listed above)
Fee: A charge that the Local Exchange Carrier
(LEC) will charge you to switch your long distance.
Most long distance companies will credit the customer for the
PIC fee (normally $5.00).
Freeze: The customer can call their local phone
provider and request that a PIC Freeze be put on their phone
line. This PIC Freeze prevents a long distance carrier
from switching your long distance without your permission (See
Slamming). If you have a PIC Freeze on your line, you
will have to call your local phone provider and request that
the PIC Freeze be removed before you can switch your long distance.
Interexchange Carrier Charge (PICC): This is
a Federally mandated charge that every long distance carrier
must pay to the local phone company on any business
that has 2 or more business lines. You should never pay
a PICC on a residential line, no matter how many lines you have.
The PICC varies between long distance carriers.
A process where a customer selects a long distance phone company
and it is that company they use when they dial 1+. The
long distance company will now be your Primary Interexhange
Slamming is the unauthorized conversion of a customer's long
distance phone service from their current carrier to a new long
distance carrier. Slamming is illegal under Federal Law and
can carry criminal penalties. To make sure you are never slammed,
you can request a PIC Freeze. A PIC Freeze is a customers request
not to allow a change in their long distance service without
the customers permission. ( NOTE: To find out more about
slamming or if you believe you have been slammed, visit the
FCC website here
A dedicated line which has 24 channels that can carry both voice
and data transmission. Each channel supports 64Kbits per second.
If a business needs a dedicated line but only needs to lease,
for example, 15 lines, this is called a Fractional T1.
Call: Any call, subject to charge, to a destination
outside of the local service area of the calling station. Also
referred to as a long distance call.
Service Fund (USF): A charge on certain long distance
services to offset a company's mandatory payment into the Federal
Universal Service Fund. This fund is maintained for the purpose
of subsidizing rural, low income, and health and education telecommunications
customers. The USF is set every three months by the FCC and
applies only to state-to-state and international phone calls.