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Covista Communications long distance
long distance rates

TelCompare.Com Review

Covista Communications was one of the first (and only) long distance providers to introduce a legitimate 3.9 per minute state-to-state long distance rate. Many consumers wonder what the "catch" is with this offer? Well, here's the "catch", if you want to call it that...

Covista is able to make a profit on this program for a variety of reasons, but the biggest factor by far is the fact that they only accept customers from "Regional Bell" areas. So, you may only subscribe to the service if you currently use Pacific Bell, SBC, Ameritech, BellSouth, USWest/Qwest, or some parts of Verizon as your local phone company. The majority of Americans still use these companies for local service, but those who don't will have to find a different long distance carrier than Covista.

The reason behind this move is the fact that some local phone companies charge higher fees than others to connect the calls of long distance carriers. Regional Bells charge the least, by far. By limiting their customer base to areas where access charges are the lowest, the company is able to sell at 3.9 and still make a profit.

Among the other reasons that Covista is able to offer such low rates is the fact that they do not offer "casual calling", sometimes known as dial-around service. This, coupled with the fact that they run credit checks on all new accounts, keeps their fraud rate among the lowest in the industry. Less fraud means lower operating costs.

The company also does NOT use inbound/outbound telemarketers for soliciting business or taking orders. All orders must arrive via the Internet, by fax, or by mail. This cuts down on operating expenses enormously. The downside is that you will have to confine any pre-sales inquiries to email, as they only provide their toll-free customer service number to existing customers. New customers are emailed the number immediately upon enrollment via the Internet.

Covista has been around for quite some time, formerly being known as US WATS and Capsule. CoVista is a large, publicly-traded company (NASDAQ: CVST), and has an excellent reputation.

Our own customer's experiences with the company have been a bit mixed since its initial launch 1989. Covista has come a long way in recent years though. This has included expanding and improving their fiberoptic network, reducing rates, and improving customer service. Right now, their network is flawless, their rates among the best in the industry, and their customer service is more than adequate for both residential and large commercial accounts. They are a fine choice for any consumer that spends around $20 or more each month on long distance service.

Covista acts as both a carrier and as a reseller, depending upon the customer's location and other factors. New Covista customers may be provisioned to one of several PIC/CIC codes or networks. These include the networks of Global Crossing (1010444), CoVista (1010081), and the former US WATS (1010200) network. You can NOT order Covista's service through your local phone company, since what code you will be assigned depends upon a variety of factors, mainly which area of the country you live in. Covista sends all orders directly to the local phone company themselves, after you enroll and your application is processed. Covista generally processes orders within two business days.

We should add that Covista's toll-free, inbound service is among the lowest-priced you will find anywhere. If you are looking to switch your business' outbound and inbound long distance service, Covista has a rate that is tough to beat.

So, what is the downside to Covista? Well, you can't use them at all if you do not have a Regional Bell as your local phone company. Also, those who bill less than $20 per month, or do not wish to use their credit card-based auto-pay feature, will likely get hit each month for a $1.99 service charge. If you do not wish to pay your bill automatically via credit card each month, or do not spend at least $20 on long distance service, you may want to take a look at a different program that carries no monthly minimums or service charges.

Covista is a lot like some of the discount airlines that have started to appear in recent years. The fares are cheaper than the big airlines, but you still get to the same airport you would have been arriving at anyway. You may not get a free bag of peanuts or an in-flight movie by choosing Covista Communications as your long distance provider, but you will likely save a lot of money over carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, or MCI.

- William Van Hefner

long distance rates

Outbound Long Distance

Interstate Rate: 3.9 per minute
Billing Increments: Straight 6-second billing increments on all domestic calls 06/06. International calls are billed in 6 second increments with a 30 second minimum per call 30/06
Monthly Minimum: None
Monthly Service Charges: No monthly fee if you sign up for AUTOPAY billing option or if your total bill (less taxes) for all lines and services is over $20 each month. $1.99 billing fee is charged when your bill is under $20 for all non-Autopay customers
Service Class: Business or residential
Billing Method: Via U.S. Mail and/or online billing
Payment: Check, money order by mail. AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa ONLY through the Direct Bill Plus and Autopay options (online billing)
Payment Methods: Mail, Internet
Pre-Paid Service?: No
Geographic Availability: Regional Bell territories of Continental U.S. only (Pac Bell, USWest/Qwest, Ameritech, BellSouth, SBC, some Verizon territories)
Accounting Codes: Not Available
Security Codes: Not Available
International Rates: Click Here
Non CONUS Calls: AK, HI 15/min, USVI, PR 14/min
Directory Assistance: 65 per call
Pays Switching Fees?: For commercial accounts only
PIC/CIC Code: Varies by region
Business PICC Fees: $4.31/mo. per business line
Intralata Rates: Regional service is available at Intrastate rates listed below



Inbound Toll-Free

Interstate Rate: 3.9 per minute
Intrastate Rate: Same Intrastate rates as for outbound service (above)
Billing Increments: Straight 6-second billing increments 06/06
Monthly Minimum: None
Monthly Service Charge: None
Set-Up Fees: $2 per number setup fee for residential customers only
Service Class: Business or Residential
Payphone Surcharge: 35 per call
Stand Alone Service Available?: No
Ordering Procedure: Click Here
Transfer Existing Number: Download RESPORG Here

Calling Cards

Domestic Rate: 10 per minute
Billing Increments: Six seconds, with 30 second minimum per call 30/06
Per Call Surcharge: None
Other Fees: $2 one-time setup charge per card
Stand-Alone Card Available?: No
Payphone Surcharge: 35 per call
International Termination: No
International Origination: No
International Rates: N/A

Ordering Info

Online Orders: Click Here
Fax, Mail Orders: Not Available
Telephone Orders: Not Available
Toll-Free RESPORG Form: Click Here


General Info

Classification: Carrier, reseller
Toll-Free Customer Service: 8 a.m. EST to 8 p.m. EST M-F
Operator Assistance: Available 24/7
Underlying Carriers: Global Crossing (1010444), US WATS (1010200), CoVista (1010081)
Year Established: 1989
Company Structure: Corporation. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Covista Communications, a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: CVST)
CEO: John Leach, President, CEO - CoVista Communications, Inc.
Mailing Address:
Covista Communications
Two Greenwood Sq., Ste. 275
3331 Street Rd.
Bensalem, PA 19020

Questions?


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The Fine Print

Rates quoted are only available using online sign up. We can NOT sign-up new customers via telephone. It is NOT possible to "self-PIC" yourself to this service through your local telephone company without first signing up for an account.

Service is ONLY available to customers in Regional Bell Territories. These include customers of Pacific Bell, SBC, Ameritech, USWest/Qwest, BellSouth, Nevada Bell, former territories of Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and NJ Bell portions of Verizon. Service is NOT available to customers in most areas served by Verizon (old GTE, Contel territories), Sprint United, AT&T local, Cox, RCN, or any competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), UNE-P providers (Talk America, Z-Tel, etc.) or local resellers. Check order form for current location availability.


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