Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Local long distance

Posted by urufish on July 20, 2007

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I dont know if the title expression really exists in English.  I’ve used it for many years to distinguish between calling places close to you and calling far away.  Uruguay is a small country, by everyone’s standards.  From a Canadian’s standard, it’s a postage stamp.  To my way of thinking, calling anywhere in Uruguay is ‘local long distance’. 

Antel’s interpreation of long distance is similar to most telco’s the world over.  They arbitrarily decide where people will accept being charged for LD and that’s where they draw lines to charge you extra.  I am nowhere near an expert on this, having lived for 20+ years in Piriapolis and reviewing my wife’s phone bills for the 4 months a year she spent there.  I recall that calling Montevideo and Maldonado were toll calls.  Makes sense.  I mean what wouldn’t be a toll call from Piriapolis?  Punta Fria?  Bella Vista? 

Well, as of June 1st, 2007, as a result of the federal government’s wish that all Uruguayans everywhere in the country should be one happy family, local long distance charges were abolished.  You can now call anywhere in the Republica Oriental del Uruguay toll free. 

I didn’t say free, I said toll free.  You have always had to pay pulsos/computos.  These are ‘minutes’ of usage.  You pay a very low monthly fee, around U$S10 for basic service.   You pay no more if everyone calls you.  But if you call someone else, you pay a small minute charge.  The good news is that you no longer pay LD charges on top of this.  To recover the money lost from LD, the government approved a slight increase in this pulso/computo fee.  I didn’t see a difference on my phone bill. 

I wonder if there are other countries that have national toll free calling from traditional ILEC’s, (like SBC, Qwest, Verizon).  We all know that it’s offered for a premium monthly fee from the new flock of VoIP providers… but they’re freeloading (one man’s view) on the internet access you pay for on top of your phone.  And it’s a premium monthly fee. 

Of course, the US and Canada are bigger countries, with more wire and more facilities.  But there are more people with more disposable income.  I’d say we were even. 

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7 Responses to “Local long distance”

  1. Larry Parker said

    Yes, local long distance is a valid term in English. I remember being very confused when my phone company first explained this to me. It was not long distance in the sense of calling very far (e.g. across the country), but if I called across my state (Georgia) out of my local calling area it was called local long distance.

    That was several years ago, and now I just have one price no matter where or when I call in the domestic United States.

    -LP

  2. urufish said

    Appreciate that info Larry… Another question.. curious. Is your one price USA an offering from your local telco, and if so, do you pay a premium for that service? Or is it from a CLEC, your telco’s competition or a VoIP provider?

  3. Futurexpat said

    Spent some time working for SBC (which, by the way, stood for Satan’s Bell Company.) Local long distance is a common concept in the industry. Here in the Chicago area you can easily be charged more to call from the suburbs into the city than to call from those same suburbs to Indiana, which is a greater distance but is an interstate, rather than an intrastate call.

  4. urufish said

    Never heard Satans Bellco before but I was aquainted with Qwest’s Qworst.

  5. Margarita said

    Well, Urufish, that’s great news, especially for businesses in Uruguay. We are based in Punta del Este, but with a lot of business in Montevideo (suppliers, accountant, customs broker, some customers, etc.) so our long distance bill used to run into the thousands of USD, with virtually no international calls.

    Then we switched to a plan where one of the cellcos offered Montevideo calls at a local rate. I never quite understood it, and apparently it was still outrageously expensive, because at some point, in order to “deter” calls, my mother abolished the system and switched to Antel calling cards, in the belief that if we had to dial all the codes, and run out to buy new cards, employees would think twice about making a call, and would make them count. I felt like we were in the Soviet Union or something. We couldn’t make any international calls from the store because the card would be eaten up in 5 seconds. And if a client happened to ask to make a quick call to Buenos Aires (we HAVE to be able to say yes) it was very embarrassing to say “here’s the card”.

    Glad to hear all this must have come to an end.

    Also, glad to know that my aunt won’t be calling my mother to catch up for hours on Sundays, the previously toll free day in the week.

  6. juan del plata said

    i once moved to a farm in the countryside and was 1/2 mile over the line and all my calls into the city were local long distance – what a rip! i paid much more to call local long distance than could be reasonable.
    juan

  7. Larry Parker said

    Unlimited long distance is from my local telephone company, but it comes at a price (about $25 USD extra per month).

    -LP

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