Long distance is now a commodity

Companies that built their own telecommunications networks such as Sprint and MCI began to win market share from AT&T. Hundreds of longdistance resellers also entered the foray. Long Distance Discount Savers was one such company. Later known as LDDS and then as WorldCom, this tiny Mississippi company soon became one of the most dominant telecommunications providers in the world in less than a decade. The 100-year dominant reign of AT&T was definitely over.

Residential and business customers now have more choices than ever for their long-distance service. Over the years, customers have left AT&T for a variety of reasons. Some prefer the more personal service smaller carriers offer. Some left because they think calls may be clearer on another carrier’s network. However, most left AT&T because they have found lower prices elsewhere.

Most industry insiders agree with the statement “long distance is now a commodity.” What they are really saying is that the service the end user receives does not vary from carrier to carrier. The sound quality of a longdistance phone call is so clear now that end users rarely experience any problems when making a long-distance call.

The core issues that separate one long-distance provider from another in today’s marketplace are advanced features, customer service, pricing, billing, and technical support. These are the issues that heavily influence telecom managers and corporate controllers today when negotiating new service with a long-distance provider.

Businesspeople in charge of managing their telecommunications services are under pressure from within their organization to ensure three things:

- Secure customized long-distance service that meets the specific needs of the organization.

- Choose a carrier that will not allow any service outages.

- Secure the lowest pricing available in the industry.

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