A friend of mine sent me this story found over at Yahoo! News called Widow Rented Rotary Phone for 42 Years. In this sad but true story, it seems Ester Strogen was paying up to $29.10 per month to rent two of those built like a tank rotary phones for years totaling up to $14,000. The calculation was done by her family which ended the relationship. What's up next, the Strogen family figures out that Ester is not on a promotional discount plan and is instead paying one of the highest LD rates in the US by being on basic schedule?
As I recall, my grandparents were also paying to lease two rotary phones which I quickly ended over protests by my grandparents; these protests were echoed by Ester at the end of the article when she says "I'd like to have my rotary back". You know what, you get what you pay for. Sure the lease phone option is a ripoff (BTW - it is managed by Lucent), but so are a lot of things in life. The bills are there, you have to read them, right?
It is just one of the pricing tactics that I'm sure the New, New, New, Gee I'm Telling You It Is New AT&T is still employing. That's right the secret of the basic schedule. Just as people (most likely Seniors) are paying to lease their phones, the same sort of people can't be bothered to look at their phone rates. And, AT&T knows who they are and guess what? They won't go out of their way to tell these people. Why should they when they are supplementing people that are on a calling plan. The basic schedule folks are paying a $3.95 monthly charge plus 39 cents (that's right) per minute peak, 33.5 offpeak and 10 cents on weekends (gee what a bargain).
That's what a lack of competition will do for you. I still have AT&T for LD, but only because my local carrier Embarq (the company with the worst brand name) would charge me extra because I have two lines and coupled with DSL I can't sign up for bad sound quality via VOIP. Don't believe me? When was the last time you received any phone call, email, direct mail from AT&T telling you about some new service or promotion. They are just happy to let you sit there and pay your bill every month. Just like all of the other people on basic schedule or still renting rotary phones.