And You Thought YOUR Phone Bill Was High!

Product: Bell Telephone long distance
Date: ca 1952

Think your cell phone rates are high? Or that long distance costs too much? Then thank your lucky stars you don’t live in 1952. Back then, Bell Telephone was trying to convince people to make long distance calls by touting these “low” per-minute rates:

Pittsburgh to Cleveland $.45
Boston to Philadelphia $.70
Atlanta to Cincinnati $.85
Dallas to Denver $1.10
San Marino to New York $2.00
 

old-fashioned telephone

And these were the off-peak rates for calls made after 6pm or on Sundays! To put those rates in perspective, I ran them through an inflation calculator to see what you’d pay for the same calls in 2011 dollars. Here are the staggering results:

Pittsburgh to Cleveland $3.63
Boston to Philadelphia $5.73
Atlanta to Cincinnati $6.95
Dallas to Denver $9.00
San Marino to New York $16.36
 

Can you imagine paying $16 per minute? I don’t think I’d be making too many calls to the grandkids at those rates.


1950s Bell Telephone ad

Click to view full ad.

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Comments

One Response to “And You Thought YOUR Phone Bill Was High!”

  1. Debbie Rodgers on March 23rd, 2011 4:45 pm

    Rates were like this in up until the 1970s. I remember as a young married knowing that it was unthinkable to phone long distance except in case of dire emergency.
    It’s not just e-mail that’s just the way we communicate.

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