The debate over the system access fee being a government fee that was simply passed through to the government or another channel for the carrier to simply increase their revenue is as old as cell phones. However, the powers that be (you and me) have finally won the battle with many carriers in having plans that no longer encompass a system access fee, or have we?
At first glance that may be the way that it looks, but as many things go when it comes to telecom expense management, not everything is as it seems or for that matter is so cut and dry. Carol from our Analysis team explains; Clients would have to change to one of the new plans in order to see this charge dropped from billing. In most cases, a comparable new plan is only slightly more expensive (less than the former encompassing the SAF charge), but has increased OOB (out of bucket) and LD (long distance) charges.
This may be a good option if a user never uses minutes above their plan, and does not typically use long distance. However, it does not take much usage above the plan allotment for charges to escalate above what their costs would be on the old plan.
Example: A unit uses 230 minutes with 32 minutes of Long Distance calling:
On an existing 200 minute plan
- cost is $25
- $.30/minute for Out of Bucket usage (x 30 minutes)
- $.30/minute for Long Distance usage (x 32 minutes)
- $7.70 in SAF/911 charges
- Total monthly cost $51.30
On a new 200 minute plan
- cost is $30
- $.35/minute for Out of Bucket usage (x 30 minutes)
- $.40/minute for Long Distance usage (x 32 minutes)
- no SAF/911 charges
- Total monthly cost $53.30
The $8-10 you might save in SAF’s could actually increase other charges, and therefore overall total monthly cost
The moral to the story is really quite simple. Before switching onto one of these new plans with no System Access Fee charges, do a detailed cost analysis encompassing 3 to even 6 month average usage, and then determine if it is the right move. This is critical before making any plan changes at any time and should be a component of your telecom expense management process. However it is especially key when the deal seems to good to be true.
We’d love to hear from you and if you have made the switch to plans without a SAF charge. Has it worked out in your favor? Let us know in the comments below.