Telephone calls made outside the local calling area of a specified location are offered by a long distance phone service company. In general, it is safe to say any call made outside of your own area code – be it another city, state, or even country – will qualify as a long distance call and carry the associated charges.
Local calls generally cost less than long distance calls. The fees for long distance calls are not the same everywhere in the country and can vary depending on the service provider you are using, as well as the plan you have signed up for. In general, the most expensive calls are international calls (placed to foreign countries), but the fees vary greatly, depending on the call destination and service provider.
There are two different designations for non-local calls in the US. Regular long distance calls are designated interstate long distance calls, or inter-LATA interstate long distance calls. However, there is another type of long distance phone call, known as inter-LATA intrastate long distance calls. These are calls to numbers outside of the consumer’s local LATA, but within the caller’s state. Despite being a long distance call, these calling areas are not necessarily serviced by the same operator, depending on the service providers in the area and various service plans..
For larger LATAs, there is another classification which is known as local long distance or regional calling. This refers to calls that are made within a customer’s LATA but are outside the area covered by their local calling plan.
Often you’ll find that a local long-distance or regional call can be more expensive and actually have a higher per-minute rate than an interstate long-distance call. This is due to differences between service providers and the plans offered.
International calls are also classified as long distance calls and these are usually the most expensive call that can be placed. Nonetheless, there are many long distance providers in the US, and they are all competing with each other for business, which often leads to affordable rates and special deals for new customers.