Fixed Rate Plans Coming To A Home Phone Near You

Are you tired of paying by the minute for your long distance calls and never knowing just how hefty the bill is going to be? Now, there are some new deals in town.

The "all-you-can-call" plans generally include unlimited local and long distance calls. The flat-rate calling packages are an end to geographic calling boundaries, time limits and special rates based on who you call from your home phone. There are many plans out there including, SBC communications in Tyler and Longview who rolled out their new "all distance connections" plan in April. It runs $52.95 a month.

"With the ability for the communication providers to offer bundled packaging, more services in one package, I think it gives us the ability to offer discounted prices for services we have," says Skip Ogle, SBC communications. "You are seeing more and more competitive pricing."

Some customers say they'll save at least half on their phone bills because of these fixed long distance rates.

"I think the biggest appeal to this is you know exactly how to budget for your telephone service and the fact that it is also cheaper is a huge plus," says Cynthia Boles, fixed rate customer.

SBC customers will also be getting additional calling features with the fixed rate package-- including caller i.d. and voice mail, plus two additional services you can choose. Different phone companies, of course, provide different options. To find out if your phone company offers an all inclusive local-long distance plan and for how much, call and ask about their "fixed rate" or "bundled services".

Dana Dixon, reporting