The High Cost of Unlimited Calling



  • Ever look at "unlimited long distance" plans and think "wow, what a deal?" It's not. Not very often, at least.

    What is the longest month? 44640 minutes
    What is a normal SIP cost per minute charge? $.01 / minute (one cent)

    If you were on the phone, every minute, of every day, only making outgoing, long distance calls and nothing else, ever (zero incoming calls, zero toll free, zero breaks) the maximum that you could pay is $446.60. That's a lot.

    But let's be realistic, in most cases we never do this, even call centers don't do this.

    In a more normal scenario, a line can only be used forty hours a week max, and that's just the working hours. So that alone reduces the theoretical maximum minutes to call and cost down to.... 10,080 minutes and $100.80 in call charges.

    Still a lot. Few people are on outbound calls for 20% or more of all working hours. That is actually extremely hard to maintain. To do it realistically you need several people sharing a single line and taking turns. This might work in a very large call center, but is extremely hard in anything smaller. Even five people sharing a single phone line would struggle to be able to work with a line like this and to stay productive while waiting their turn on the phone.

    Unlimited calling lines are typically around $20/mo or more. Often these are forcibly tied to a DID to make them less useful than a pool of lines would be. Carriers understand how to make money,

    A $20 all you can call deal might sound good, but except for extreme circumstances, it is not. A typical single concurrency line will normally cost more like $5 - $15 per month, not $20.



  • A lot of so called "unlimited use" calling plans are also capped, soft or hard, or have fair use rules which will cut you off should you actually make any attempt to have the plan not be a waste of money. There are exceptions to this unethical (and probably illegal) practice, but for the most part, unlimited plans are literally a scam promising value based solely on extremely intensive outgoing long distance call usage and then punish anyone who attempts to use the plans for the only purpose that they exist for.



  • There's also the idea that you can have unlimited concurrent calls and just pay per minute of use while you pay a certain fee for each DID you keep per month. As you said, there is a cap to this "unlimited" number of concurrent calls that gets applied (at least from what I have seen from certain providers).

    Sometimes all you can eat is all someone says you can eat.



  • Very true. It's actually next to impossible to get a contract without a so-called flatrate here. On the other hand, they are so damn cheap that nobody cares. In my case, it's just 35 EUR all inclusive: decent Internet, landline calls with 2 lines (faked ISDN), Cable TV.

    So basically no one cares here. But I totally agree with you that most people just don't need unlimited calls at all.



  • @NetworkNerd said in The High Cost of Unlimited Calling:

    There's also the idea that you can have unlimited concurrent calls and just pay per minute of use while you pay a certain fee for each DID you keep per month. As you said, there is a cap to this "unlimited" number of concurrent calls that gets applied (at least from what I have seen from certain providers).

    Sometimes all you can eat is all someone says you can eat.

    That's surprising that someone would cap that since normally those are charge per minute and the goal of unlimited concurrency is to encourage you to use as much as possible.



  • @scottalanmiller stay out of my presentation



  • @scottalanmiller said in The High Cost of Unlimited Calling:

    @NetworkNerd said in The High Cost of Unlimited Calling:

    There's also the idea that you can have unlimited concurrent calls and just pay per minute of use while you pay a certain fee for each DID you keep per month. As you said, there is a cap to this "unlimited" number of concurrent calls that gets applied (at least from what I have seen from certain providers).

    Sometimes all you can eat is all someone says you can eat.

    That's surprising that someone would cap that since normally those are charge per minute and the goal of unlimited concurrency is to encourage you to use as much as possible.

    I'm not sure what he is taking about. All the pay per minute SIP trunk vendors I have used have no hard cap on this.

    Some like VoIP.ms do put in a soft cap but will raise it to whatever you want.

    Their reasoning is to prevent fraud



  • @JaredBusch said in The High Cost of Unlimited Calling:

    @scottalanmiller said in The High Cost of Unlimited Calling:

    @NetworkNerd said in The High Cost of Unlimited Calling:

    There's also the idea that you can have unlimited concurrent calls and just pay per minute of use while you pay a certain fee for each DID you keep per month. As you said, there is a cap to this "unlimited" number of concurrent calls that gets applied (at least from what I have seen from certain providers).

    Sometimes all you can eat is all someone says you can eat.

    That's surprising that someone would cap that since normally those are charge per minute and the goal of unlimited concurrency is to encourage you to use as much as possible.

    I'm not sure what he is taking about. All the pay per minute SIP trunk vendors I have used have no hard cap on this.

    Some like VoIP.ms do put in a soft cap but will raise it to whatever you want.

    Their reasoning is to prevent fraud

    That I would understand, you don't want someone able to charge tens of thousands of minutes of usage per minute if you didn't know what you were doing. Lots of risk there.


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