Telecom On The Cheap

Small businesses can cut 20% off their long-distance bills by often using lesser-known carriers, concludes an analysis by Business Consumer Guide. "Second-tier companies aren't spending billions on marketing, so they can offer lower rates," says editor Mie-Yun Lee, who evaluated 40 companies. For someone making 1,000 minutes of long-distance calls a month at peak periods, for example, LDDS is cheapest (table). No matter what service you choose, don't commit to a contract lasting more than a year, because telecommunications reform has opened the long-distance door to local Bells and other competition. The $25 report is available by calling 800 938-0088.

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