My mom has saved every issue of National Geographic since she started receiving the publication in the 60’s. I like to grab one randomly and page through it. What I find most interesting are the ads in the beginning and end of the magazine.
The last time I was at my mom’s house I picked up a National Geographic from September 1982. The first ad in the magazine was from Bell System (AT&T) and it boasted “Call Europe $1.42 per minute.” Additional long distant minutes were only 80 cents.
These were “Economy Rates” that required you to call after 6pm and before 7am. Of course, if you were in New York and waited until 6pm to call Paris, because of the time difference, the recipient would most likely be asleep in bed.
How Technology Has Changed
Standard rates (from 7am to 1pm) to France were $2.37 for the first minute and $1.33 for each additional minute. “Discount” rates (1pm to 6pm) were $1.78 for the first minute and $1.00 for each additional minute.
There is no mention of increments of minutes; everything seemed to be billed at full minute increments.
You had to have International calling capability and not require the assistance of an operator to achieve those rates.
Today, for no extra fee, a business can obtain a long distance rate to France of four cents per minute without any major revenue commitment. And the calls would be billed in 30/6 second increments, which means for the first 30 seconds and then in 6 second increments afterwards.
If you made a 30-minute call to Paris, France at 2pm, here are your totals:
• With Bell Systems in1982 – $30.78.
• Today with TW Telecom – $1.20.
So it cost $29.58 more to make a 30-minute call to France in 1982 than it would to make the same call today. If that doesn’t seem bad enough, don’t forget inflation. Using an inflation calculator. $30.78 in 1982 would equal $72.00 today.
This is just one example of how the cost of telecom has come down over the years. The cost of an Internet T1 is less than a third of what they were in the nineties. I sold a 10 Mbps fiber Internet connection in 2002 that cost $2000 a month. I spoke with a customer just recently that had a 25 Mbps, bi-directional Fios Internet connection from Verizon for $159.99 a month.
This is why it’s important to review the cost of your business telecommunication services on a regular basis. Every customer, without exception, that was against going through a bill review or audit, turned out to be paying hundreds of dollars more per month than what they should have been paying.
Bill reviews and savings doesn’t always require changing companies. Telecom agencies can shop your services with multiple providers or look for less expensive options with your current carrier.
Times are tight and businesses need to find ways to save. Working with a telecom agent won’t require much of your time but could save you thousands of dollars.