What is "Casual Access" Long Distance?
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"Casual Access" simply means that the caller is accessing the long distance network without using the PIC (Primary Interexchange Carrier - see How Long Distance Works) for the phone line. Instead, the caller accesses the long distance network "casually", by dialing extra digits which instruct the local phone company which long distance network to which to send the call.
Casual Access calling can be an effective way to reduce costs. You might casually access a carrier for certain international calls which are less expensive than with your primary carrier. Or, you might want to take advantage of a special promotion offered by one of the "Big Three", and you realize that to do so, you must remain PIC'd to the carrier offering the promotion (none of the Big Three will honor promotional deals or rates unless your line is PIC'd to them) - so you PIC your line to that carrier and dial most of your normal calls casually with a lower cost carrier.
Casual Access is performed by one of three different dialing methods:
This type of dialing involves dialing a seven digit code prior to the normally dialed digits. It is also known (incorrectly) as "10-10-XXX" dialing. Dialing in this manner causes the local phone providers central office switch to send the call to the long distance carrier for whom the "XXXX" digit sequence is also the PIC code of that carrier. This is done irrespective of the identity of the PIC permanently set on the line from which the call is made.
Examples of this dialing sequence
for domestic calls utilizing the "Big Three" are;
CAUTION - do NOT use the 101-XXX dialing method unless you have an account already set up with the carrier in question, or else the calls made in this fashion may be billed to you at atrociously high rates.
Tollfree Access Dialing
This type of dialing involves dialing a tollfree (1-800, 1-888, 1-877, or 1-866) number, followed by the destination number. The caller will need to have established an account with providers using this access method. The tollfree number dialed will get access to the switching facility of the tollfree access provider. If the customer has included the line number from which they are calling as part of their account with the provider, the switching facility will normally "know" the caller's identity from the phone number from which the call has been placed, thereby eliminating the need for the custome to enter an identifying PIN. After the tollfree number rings in to the switch, the customer is normally prompted to then dial the destination number. If the customer calls from a "non-registered" line number, the provider's switch will normally add a prompt for entry of an identifying PIN. This is the method used for most calling card access systems.
Local Number Access Dialing
This type of dialing works exactly like the Tollfree Access method, the only difference being that the telephone number dialed is a standard phone number, either a local or a long distance toll call for the caller.