In telecommunications, a long distance call is a telephone call made outside a certain area, usually characterized by an area code outside of a local call area (known in the United States as a Local Access and Transport Area or LATA). Long-distance calls usually carry long-distance charges which, within certain nations, vary between phone companies and are the subject of much competition.International calls are calls made between different countries, and usually carry much higher charges. These calls are charged to the calling party if the called party declines a collect call.

There are lot of confusions in regard to the terms InterLATA, IntraLATA, Interstate and Intrastate calling . The following is a clear explanation of these terms.

What is a LATA?

LATA stands for Local Transport and Access Area. A LATA is a contiguous geographic area. LATA is your local calling area.

Therefore intraLATA means the same thing – your local calling area (inside a particular LATA). A LATA can cover an entire state so all the state will be considered intraLATA, and all calls within that state will be considered local calls (usually for small states). Most states have several LATAs.

InterLATA refers to calls between 2 LATAs. These can be 2 LATAs located in the same state, or 2 LATAs located in 2 different states. Therefore long distance calls.

Interstate calls are calls between two states. These calls can also be considered interLATA because they are calls between 2 LATAs.

Intrastate calls are calls within the same state. This term is rather confusing because calls within the same state can be either interLATA or intraLATA.

Call Center

A call center is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, product services, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, live chat, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact center.

A call centre is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centres, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration (CTI).

Most major businesses use call centres to interact with their customers. Examples include utility companies, mail order catalog retailers, and customer support for computer hardware and software. Some businesses even service internal functions through call centres. Examples of this include help desks, retail financial support, and sales support.

A contact centre, also known as customer interaction center is a central point of any organization from which all customer contacts are managed. Through contact centers, valuable information about company are routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered. It is generally a part of company’s customer relationship management (CRM). Today, customers contact companies by calling, emailing, chatting online, visiting websites, faxing, and even instant messaging.