Four Things to Avoid with Your Monthly Phone Bill

Canyon Telecom knows business communications and business telecom in Phoenix, AZ! We are here to save you money and help your business systems run more efficiently.

Monthly telephone and internet billings are a significant expense.  Unfortunately, because the services are usually under contract and the billings seem to be designed in such a way that only a telecom specialist can decipher them, they are often passed along for payment without a second thought.  Here are four things you should avoid if you are to minimize the cost your monthly carrier services.

Don’t commit to a long term contract

Since the Green decision in the 1980’s court decision breaking up the “Bell” system, prices of telecom services including lines and long distance charges have been dropping. In the past 20 years the cost of a common digital telephone service has gone from over $2,200 a month to less than $400.  In this environment, why would you want to commit to a long term fixed price contract?  Complex business services are costly to deploy and it is appropriate for carriers to look to a term contract to recover those costs, but keeping the term of the contract short is in your best interest.  You will often be quoted a 36 month contract. Ask if they have a shorter term.  Often they do and the cost difference is not significant.

Calendar the day your contract expires

All of us are busy enough to with our day-to-day lives that reviewing the monthly telephone billing is not a priority. However a careful review when a contract renewal comes up can often generate significant savings, even if you remain with the current carrier.  Products and services change rapidly and newer services are often better and more cost effective.  We recently worked with two customers. One had a “cloud” based telephone service and the other had traditional telephones. In both cases, we were able to find enough savings in the carrier services to entirely pay for the cost of deploying badly needed new technology.  The customer ended up with better service and saved money in the process. We can’t always produce these kind of results, but it is rare if we don’t identify significant savings.

Don’t ignore the “junk” fees when evaluating the cost of services

In consulting with a client about a recent billing for telephone lines and internet, the customer suggested to me they were paying only $15 a month per telephone line.  Sure enough the charge for a “Flat rated business line” was only $15 a month. But after you added the “Office package” ($8), the E911 Tax, the Access Recovery Fee, Network Interface Fee, Federal Universal Services Fund, Telecommunications Fund for the Deaf, State and Local Taxes the cost was over $40 a line.  On top of that there were long distance charges. While some of these fees are government imposed, so they don’t change from carrier to carrier, others are at the discretion of the carrier and any analysis must include careful consideration of all fees and charges when comparing options.  In the case of this customer, deploying a different type of line saved them more than half the monthly bill AND improved their services.

Don’t assume you need all those lines

Most organizations install telephone lines based on an estimate of their needs.  They may grow and add services but seldom pause to consider what they have and if it is still useful. A great example of this is when businesses moved from dial up internet to broadband. Organizations often had dozens of lines dedicated to dial up internet, yet when the conversion was made to broad band the telephone lines were ignored, costing the company $400-500 a year per line for something they were not using.

In recent years, the way we communicate with each other has changed and changed dramatically.  Email, instant messaging, text messaging and the like now substitute for letters and telephone calls.  Many organizations may find they have more telephone lines than they need.  While $40 a month doesn’t seem like much but it is almost $500 a year and $1,500 over a typical 36 month telecommunications services contract, so it is worth considering. We often suggest to our customer to idle a line or two and see if anyone notices (business signals not being able to call out etc)

 

Finally, one “Do”. Do ask an expert to assist you in evaluating your network services bill.  We offer a no cost no obligation review of your billing.  You might be surprised at the pot of gold we find at the end of that rainbow.

 

If you have questions, give us a call, (602) 331-7200.