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Frequently Asked Questions

On this page we answer most frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions please forward them to us (see form at the bottom of this page).

What is the difference between Calling Cards, Access Codes, and Direct Calling?
There are different types of long distance services available on Canadian market. In general, they could be classified as follows:

  • Calling Cards - local or toll free telephone number has to be dialed first. After the call is answered by switch, the Card number and PIN number have to be entered, and then the long distance number to call. Calling cards are usually prepaid, and come in different nominations ($5 - $50).

  • Other "call switch first" - similar to calling cards, but usually don't require the Card number and PIN number entry. Instead, the Caller ID is used to identify the customer. The Caller ID must be configured on the switch first, to allow long distance calling.

  • Access Codes - sometime called "Casual Calling". Seven digit code has to be entered just before the long distance number to call. This service is faster than the previous two, because there is no waiting for switch to answer the call after the access code entry. It allows to have telephone lines registered with one long distance company, but make "casual" long distance calling using other company (with lower rates).

  • Direct Calling - this is the fastest and most convenient type, it is also called "Equal Access" or "1+ Dialing". No additional codes or numbers have to be dialed, just the long distance number to call (1+ in North America, 011+ for overseas countries). This service requires the most advanced switch technologies, and is usually offered by bigger long distance companies. It requires that telephone lines are registered with (or "switched to") the long distance company providing the service. Direct Calling is preferred by most customers.

Low Rates Telecom provides Direct Calling service for convenience and speed, and Access Code service for those who don't want to switch their long distance companies.

How to compare Low Rates Telecom rates with other long distance companies?
There are a lot of long distance companies in Canada, all offering different types of services, and quite often it is very difficult to compare their rates. Most "not so advertised" features are included only in their "fine print". Here are some guidelines you can use in evaluating different offers:

  • Select the type of service you are interested in (see above), and make sure the rates you compare from different companies apply for the same type of service. Low Rates Telecom: Direct Calling and Access Code.

  • Sometimes the advertised rates are very low, but there are connection fees (for example $1-$2 extra per call), first minute surplus fees (for example first minute is 50% higher), monthly maintenance fees (to keep your account active), or monthly service fees (if your bill is below certain value). Low Rates Telecom: no additional fees, you only pay for long distance minutes you used.

  • Some companies offer a lower rates for voice calls, and higher rates for faxes (with only lower rates advertised). Faxes could not be sent using voice rates, probably because of the reduced quality of voice channels, not suitable for fax data transmission. Low Rates Telecom: same rates for voice and fax calls, same high quality for voice and fax data.

  • Some companies offer lower rates on evenings and during weekends, and higher rates during regular business hours (with only lower rates advertised). Low Rates Telecom: same rates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Some companies bill in full minute increments, and others in 6 seconds (with 1 min. or 30 sec. minimum). While 6 sec. incremental billing is in general better than 1 min., the real cost depends on the base rate and the average call duration (the longer the call, it is better to have rather lower base rate than the lower increments). Low Rates Telecom: low base rates, full minute billing.

  • Sometimes the advertised rates are low, but they apply only after signing a long term contact. Low Rates Telecom: no long term contracts to sign, cancel at any time if not satisfied.

Lot of other factors can be used in comparing long distance companies, including other services offered, community presence, etc.

How long does it take to switch my lines to Low Rates Telecom?
It usually takes about 1-2 business days to activate your lines on Access Code service, and 3-5 business days on Direct Calling.

Is there any fee, setup or activation charges to switch my lines to Low Rates Telecom?
No, there is no fee, setup or activation charges.

I want to use your Access Code service. Do I need to switch my lines to Low Rates Telecom?
No, you don't need to switch your lines to us, they will stay registered with your current long distance company (your current long distance company will not even see that you are using our services). You only have to provide your telephone numbers to us, so we can properly configure our Access Code service to accept your calls.

Why rates to international cellphones could be higher?
There are designated special numbers in some countries, which cost more to call. Most of them are mobile (cellphone) numbers, where caller (not recipient) pays for the airtime. List of all cellphone and other special numbers for each country can be provided.

Is Low Rates Telecom related to My Free Telecom, linked from this Web site?
Low Rates Telecom and My Free Telecom are both divisions of VSOFT Inc. My Free Telecom provides free long distance services within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and Low Rates Telecom offers competitive, low rate long distance services to destinations not covered by My Free Telecom. By offering free long distance services to as many locations as we can only afford, we can save you even more on your long distance calls.

Additional questions

If you have any additional questions, please forward them to us. You can also contact us by phone or fax.

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