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If you make a lot of long distance calls, an unlimited plan provides the most secure option for you. There are no nasty surprises when your phone bill comes every month, and the savings over measured rates can be significant.
The lowest cost option outside of PC-phone dialing is choosing one of the many VoIP providers who offer unlimited nationwide calling for a low flat rate. Vonage, AT&T Callvantage, Verizon BroadWing, SunRocket, MyPhoneCall.com and Packet8 all offer unlimited plans with varying prices.
If unwavering call quality is important to you, the next best choice is a Digital VoIP carrier that offers service through a managed broadband network. These services often include a full-features package and can be bundled with cable or Internet services for more savings. Carrier choices here include Comcast, RCN and Time Warner Cable. Most services run between $30 and $45 per month in this category.
If you just don't trust VoIP in any form, you will be happy to learn that traditional services have responded to competition from VoIP and digital services by cutting their rates and offering competitive long distance packages as well. Traditional services are still a bit higher, but have come down significantly over the past several years. AT&T and Verizon are two carriers that offer traditional service for unlimited nationwide calling at competitive rates.