Flat rate

A flat rate is a special tariff model, in which certain services are paid for at a set fee, regardless of the amount they are used. This tariff model is often used with telecommunications services, such as telephone calls or Internet access. In contrast to tariff models that are volume or time dependent, a flat rate is not one where the fee payable is calculated according to the actual usage of the service. Originally used mainly in the telecommunications market, today flat rates are available for many kinds of services or products.

The various flat-rate tariffs of telecommunications providers

The flat rate for phone calls can be limited to different types of use. While some flat rates include phone calls to all national networks, others may be restricted to calls within the fixed-line network or within certain mobile networks. Flat rates for unlimited international calls to certain countries or regions are also available.

A flat rate for Internet access includes the Internet connection itself and the transfer of an unlimited volume of data. It is now common for some network providers to protect themselves against intensive use by reducing the maximum speed of data transfer for the remainder of the month once a certain monthly data volume has been exceeded. Even though, in this case, they are not offering a truly flat rate, the tariffs are still advertised as being exactly that. While these volume-limited flat rates are rather still rare with DSL or cable network connections, this tariff model is predominant with mobile phone networks.

When using Voice-over-IP telephony it is important to be aware that various tariff models exist and that billing will be affected accordingly. As VoIP calls are transmitted over the Internet, users must be mindful that in addition to the cost of the phone calls, the Internet usage and data traffic volumes are also billed for. Therefore, in order to ensure that calls are not billed through two different tariffs, VoIP users are advised to opt for a flat rate Internet connection that has no volume limit. In this situation VoIP usage is only charged for on the applicable VoIP tariff.

Further information

Voice over IP

What is Voice over IP (VoIP)?
Voice over IP (VoIP) is the most common method for making phone calls over the internet. This is in contrast to traditional telephony, where communication is over the…

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