As many have answered above, phone services are a pure profit center for hotels. I'm amazed at how my hotel company has not lowered their charges for phone calls. It appears that phones in hotel rooms are in danger of being obsolete as most people traveling today have cell phones.
There are some hotel brands that offer free local calls. That is just a brand standard and not a promotional thing. Of course those hotels are not frequented too often by the business traveler. As WindowSeat mentioned above, many hotels (mine included) offer a package that includes unlimited web acess and local calls (noon-noon) at a pretty nominal rate ($9.95/day the last I checked).
There was a time that we were charging for toll-free calls!! The first 20 minutes were free, then you accrued a charge after that. That was quickly, and rightfully, protested by our guests and discontinued. Also, a few years ago when there was a power shortage in California, hotels were charging an energy surcharge...EVEN IF
THEY WEREN'T LOCATED IN
CALIFORNIA! Once again, that charge was quickly abandoned.
The only thing we have to fear is the sky falling on our heads. -Asterix