Many people lately appear to be confused as to what all these new local phone services mean to them. Yes, there are great rates and deals floating all over the place, but there are definitely some issues that need to be cleared up and some questions to be answered. Few even think to ask half the questions to the answers that will be presented here in this article.
New Service Installation
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about many of the local phone services offered out there today. The thought is that these services can be installed into their homes without any current phone service previously installed. The majority of local phone service offerings are “Switched Services”, not for new installations.
A qualifying customer must first have local phone service from a Bell Carrier (SBC) or other qualifying regional carrier in place before going through a discounted provider. The services these other local phone companies provide are “Switched Services” for the sole purpose of switching you from your current provider. They in no way install new services.
If you have DSL this is very important. Switching local phone service while having DSL service can cause automatic cancellation of your DSL triggering cancellation fees and discontinued service. Many switched local phone providers are aware of this and will not switch your service if DSL is present, but some may not check and this can cause quite a few problems.
If planning a switch, contact your DSL provider to see what you may be able to do. There may be different solutions negotiable with your DSL provider to enable the switching of your phone services.
There is a new DSL service that offers DSL without having to have a phone line installed. SpeakEasy offers this service and is a highly ranked DSL provider in the broadband community. This is perfect for broadband phone subscribers.
Past Due Phone Bills
Many consumers now believe with all of these new phone options that they can forget their previous obligations to the last carrier and move forward with a new one. Stop! All switched local phone providers do a check with your last local carrier before providing services. If you even have one month behind on your previous service, you more than likely will be denied. All bills must be paid up and current before you switch.
All local phone providers do a credit check. While it cannot be said entirely everything they check for in your credit, you can be assured that any previous due balance to a long distance carrier will be counted against you.
If you know you have bad credit, you might want to start working on repairing it for yourself. There should be credit repair counseling services in your area that are free of charge. Take advantage of these services, credit checks are only gaining popularity and can only further limit your purchasing power as a consumer.
If you were planning on keeping your old phone number, expect to pay your current local carrier some extra charges before the switch. Costs vary, but if you don’t mind carrying a new phone number then this is nothing to worry about.
One Size Bundled Services
One size doesn’t always fit all, especially if you’re on a budget. Almost every switched local phone provider offers lower cost alternatives to their main bundled packages. So if an unlimited long distance calling plan is too costly for you, there usually are other options that give you a preset amount of monthly minutes at a lower overall package cost.
Do your research, including on your previous bills to see what amount of local and long distance usage you typically use. If it makes sense to buy into a lower package, you can really save as long as you stay within the limits of your calling package.
If your business has more than 5 business lines you will not be able to switch your local phone services. However, check with the carrier to make sure. You may still find an option for your business that works for you.
If you had a PIC, which basically is a lock on your long distance service, you will need to unlock the service for it to be removed for your switched local phone package to be installed.
Hopefully this article has helped you understand what may stand in your way of switching your local phone service. While the opportunity to save and consolidate bills is great, make sure you have taken care of and understand all the above issues and you should have no problem switching to a great new level of service and features.