- VoIP for Business: Why It Makes Sense
- What is VoIP?
- Benefits of VoIP
- Call quality
- Simplified equipment
- Ease of use
- Remote connectivity
- Advanced features
- Is VoIP right for you?
- Mobile VoIP
- How Does Mobile VoIP Work?
- Page Contents
- Accessing Mobile VoIP
- Benefits of Mobile VoIP
- Benefits for Businesses
- Mobile VoIP Providers that works with any Mobile VoIP App
- Mobile VoIP Apps
- Mobile VoIP Apps for iPhone and Android:
- Android-only Mobile VoIP Apps
- Windows Mobile VoIP Apps
- Mobile VoIP SDKs
- Mobile VoIP Extensions
- Mobile VoIP Phones
- Small Business VoIP Phone Systems in 2020 | Frontier Business
- What are VoIP Phone Systems?
- What is an IP phone line?
- What are IP calls?
- What is a VoIP phone number used for?
- Advantages of VoIP
- Disadvantages of VoIP
- Is a Business VoIP Phone System Right for You?
- How much does business VoIP cost?
- What type of business VoIP phones can I buy?
- The Top VoIP Phone Systems
- Why You Should Be Using Softphones Instead of Desk Phones at Your Business
- Softphones: Phone Apps on Computers and Mobile Devices
- 1. Take Your Business Phone Wherever You Go
- 2. Keep Personal Cell Numbers Private
- 3. Work Efficiently with User-Friendly Enhancements
- 4. Host Video Calls and Video Conferences
- 5. Present a Clean and Streamlined Office
- Case Study: iGlobal Stores
- Softphones: The Future of Business Phones
VoIP for Business: Why It Makes Sense
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems make good sense for small businesses. In fact, recent research finds that more than one-third of all businesses are now using a VoIP phone system, with the vast majority of those being businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
“With VoIP, voice data is sent [via an Internet connection] in digital form rather than plugging into a traditional phone jack you would over the public switched telephone network (PSTN),” Tina Liu, senior product marketing manager for 8×8, told Business News Daily.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is internet-based phone service. Rather than transmitting voice conversations through traditional phone lines, the conversations are digitized and routed through internet lines.
First introduced commercially in the 1990s, VoIP technology has improved significantly since then, and so has its popularity. In the early days, users complained that the sound quality wasn't as good on VoIP as it was on a landline, but those issues aren't a concern today.
Editor's note: Looking for a VoIP phone system for your business? If you're looking for more information, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, Ring Central, provide you with information for free:
Computer software records your voice and then codes it into a digital signal, which is then sent over the internet. All of this happens instantaneously.
Benefits of VoIP
There are several reasons why more businesses are switching to VoIP phone systems, which don't necessarily revolve around cost.
VoIP systems now take advantage of advanced high-definition codecs that have vastly improved the voice quality, making modern VoIP networks sound even better than landline networks, said Matt McGinnis, associate vice president of product marketing for VoIP provider RingCentral.
In addition to better sound quality, the cloud is also making VoIP a more viable option for small businesses. Rather than having to run special wiring and install special equipment, companies that choose a cloud-hosted VoIP phone solution don't need to purchase any equipment or employ an IT staff to install and maintain it.
“Cloud VoIP systems dispense with most of the upfront hardware and software and only require a broadband connection to activate,” McGinnis said. “This reduces the amount of capital expenditure needed and makes it easy to turn up and deploy.”
The advancement of VoIP technology and its relatively low cost make VoIP an ideal choice for small businesses, but businesses should still do their homework before committing.
Ease of use
Lisa Chu, owner of the children's formal clothing company BlackNBianco, said that she s that her VoIP system has eliminated all of the complicated tech support that her landline required.
“When the landline goes down, diagnosing and fixing the issues are never easy or quick, leaving me and my employees extremely frustrated,” Chu said. “VoIP is very user-friendly, and having the proper network, we have yet to encounter any significant issues that hinder our ability to communicate with our customers.”
Using a cloud-based solution also makes it simple to add phone lines when new employees are hired, said Tyler Yost, director of strategy at the marketing company Blue Corona. He said his company has grown numerous times over the past five years, and each time, it was a simple process to add phone lines.
“We click two buttons on the interface online, the phone arrives a few days later, we plug it into an Ethernet port and we're off and running,” Yost said.
One of the biggest advantages of VoIP, especially for businesses with employees who work remotely or in multiple locations, is that it allows employees to bring their business phone line with them anywhere they go.
Most VoIP providers have a mobile app that can be set up to ring when a customer or client calls an employee's business line.
Additionally, these apps allow employees to use their business line to make outgoing calls from their mobile phones.
Elizabeth Becker, a client partner for the Florida-based IT staffing firm Protech, said she s that their VoIP system allows for employees to be location-independent.
“VoIP systems allow for business as usual, no matter where your employees may be physically sitting,” Becker said. “By having a VoIP system, it's easier to give a little flexibility to employees while still staying connected.”
Cost is another reason businesses are making the switch to VoIP. Most VoIP providers charge a monthly per-user fee, rather than a fee how many minutes everyone in the company spends on the phone. In fact, there are VoIP providers that allow free access to their services.
Free providers typically offer fewer features than paid services, but it highlights how low the cost of VoIP can get.
That, along with not having to spend exorbitant amounts of money on special equipment — as well as on an IT staff to keep it up and running — can be a significant cost savings for many small businesses.
Some cloud-based solutions are as cheap as $10 to $25 per user, per month.
“A major advantage of VoIP and Internet telephony is that it avoids the tolls charged by ordinary telephone service,” Liu said. “In addition, all of your business phone service, IM/Presence, mobility, videoconferencing service and calling charges including local, long distance and toll free can be consolidated with one VoIP provider.”
VoIP can match traditional calling features holding, transferring, call forwarding, caller ID and more. Further, with VoIP, features call recording are much easier. The call is already digitized, so adding a feature to record the digital file is extremely easy.
VoIP services can offer business tool integration. This allows your calls to integrate with other communication services chat and email. These features can organize communication by party and time, meaning you can seamlessly review a conversation that took place across multiple media.
VoIP also provides more powerful conferencing features, such as video integration, which is something every business should ensure they can access.
Is VoIP right for you?
Determining if a VoIP phone system makes sense for a small business all depends on the quality of its network and its needs, said Chris Sherwood, an Oregon-based phone system consultant.
“Most importantly, you want to ensure they have enough upload bandwidth for the amount of phone calls they expect to have running concurrently,” Sherwood said, commenting on what he looks at when deciding if VoIP is a good option.
In addition, businesses also have to factor in whether they have enough bandwidth to handle the other traffic on the network, and whether or not their firewall and router can prioritize VoIP traffic over regular Internet traffic, Sherwood said.
If the network can support it, then VoIP is ly a good option for many businesses.
“For businesses where VoIP does makes sense, there are many benefits, including [a] reduction in costs in terms of both maintenance and monthly recurring usage, ease of use and enhanced features that you would previously only find in an enterprise-level PBX,” Sherwood said.
Voicemail, virtual receptionists, call forwarding, call recording, on-hold music, voicemail-to-email, conference calling, video conferring, instant messaging, call screening, missed alerts and call logs are among the many features offered by most VoIP providers.
If you think VoIP phone systems are right for your business, check out our recommendations of the best VoIP phone systems, as well as a comprehensive list of VoIP providers.
If you are interested in learning more about what to look for in a business phone system, check out our phone system buyer's guide. If you know what you want, we would encourage you to read about what we recommend as the best phone systems for a range of business types.
Mobile VoIP is an efficient, low-cost way to communicate using your cell phone and the services provided by your home or business VoIP provider.
How Does Mobile VoIP Work?
Mobile VoIP works with a cell phone’s 3G, 4G, GSM, or another Internet service to send voice calls as digital signals over the Internet using voice over IP technology. Mobile VoIP phones can also take advantage of WiFi hotspots to eliminate the calling costs of a cellular voice or data plan.
By using VoIP, mobile VoIP phone users — especially smartphone users — can benefit from lower costs when calling, texting, or other common smartphone activities. Digital data transmission using VoIP is also typically faster, as the data is spread out over multiple packets, each taking the fastest route to its intended destination.
Using a mobile VoIP phone with WiFi hotspot access can also reduce a mobile VoIP phone user’s costs by sidestepping the carrier’s expensive 3G service altogether.
For instance, with a cellular carrier’s monthly data plan, callers can easily exceed bandwidth maximums, incurring overage charges.
Tapping into WiFi hotspots with mobile VoIP software reduces that risk and extends the lifespan of the monthly data allotment.
A mobile VoIP phone service can eliminate the need for a basic voice plan, as well as optional (and costly) text add-ons.
With a mobile VoIP phone, cell phone users can enjoy more flexibility in calling times than a cellular voice plan provides, with fewer restrictions.
VoIP mobile phone service means that a mobile VoIP user can make unlimited inexpensive or free calls using voice over IP technology at any time.
Mobile VoIP users don’t need to worry about the limitations associated with cell phone calling plans, such as:
- Anytime minutes
- Night or weekend minutes
- Rollover minutes
- Roaming charges
- Incoming call charges
- Messaging limits
- Mobile-to-mobile calling (check with your mobile VoIP provider, some do treat in-network calls differently)
Mobile VoIP phone users can also take advantage of the additional, integrated features a mobile VoIP app supports. This includes high-bandwidth activities such as group chat and video chat. Accessing these functions without mobile VoIP software (by fring or Talkonaut, for instance), typically requires a separate app, and using it could impact or exceed monthly text and bandwidth maximums.
Accessing Mobile VoIP
Cell phone users can use mobile VoIP service on their phone with the addition of mobile VoIP software. These are apps offered by VoIP phone service providers customers may already be using at home or at work, such as Vonage or 3CX, or standalone mobile VoIP apps such as Skype, Vyke, or Truphone.
Some services, such as Truphone, also offer an entire mobile VoIP network by combining a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card and an app together. (The SIM card contains all the information needed to identify network subscribers.) One functions where the other doesn’t, depending on the circumstance, to offer a comprehensive mobile VoIP network service.
To use this kind of mobile VoIP function, along with other similar services, you need an unlocked handset. Most mobile VoIP apps, however, piggyback onto your existing data plan and do not require unlocking.
Benefits of Mobile VoIP
Mobile VoIP phone users can benefit from voice over IP services to lower their monthly phone bills. Some cell phone users will take advantage of mobile VoIP phone service to eliminate their voice plans. Using mobile VoIP can result in a simple, data-plan-only relationship with your cell phone carrier. Choosing a data-only plan can result in significant savings.
Benefits for Businesses
Mobile VoIP phones are increasingly popular not only with individuals but also with businesses looking to streamline their operations and lower their overhead. Businesses with personnel on the road with company-issued cell phones find mobile VoIP service to be a cost-effective solution.
Mobile VoIP phones can be used by individuals or by businesses to improve the quality, efficiency, and cost of their overall communications. Businesses and individuals save money on international calls when using mobile VoIP phones. Country-to-country calls are billed at inexpensive local area rates, and the business traveler or tourist isn’t slammed with roaming charges.
Using a mobile VoIP app or mobile VoIP service can also add greater functionality to your cell phone. Mobile VoIP apps can also add new and useful features such as group chat, video chat, or 4-way calling.
These features can be useful tools in business communications. VoIP smartphone apps, such as those included with 3CX, allow employees to answer calls to their office extension from there mobile phone wherever they are.
This is a great advantage for traveling or remote employees.
Mobile VoIP Providers that works with any Mobile VoIP App
These mobile VoIP providers work with VoIP apps on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android:
Mobile VoIP Apps
The number of apps that you can use to transform your mobile phone into a VoIP mobile phone is astronomical, and growing every day. There are apps (some used in conjunction with a SIM card) for every major smartphone OS — even Blackberry.
Other mobile VoIP apps work with more traditional “dumbphones,” although they may not offer the more robust features available with smartphone mobile VoIP apps (such as video chat).
Many VoIP apps are available for free download online, such as from the Android Market or the software producer’s website, or from the iTunes store. Others are available for a small, one-time fee.
These are just some of the mobile VoIP apps that work with the two major smartphones.
Mobile VoIP Apps for iPhone and Android:
- (Full list of Apple iPhone VOIP and Android VOIP apps)
- 3CX Apps for iOS and Android
- iTel Mobile Dialer
- Skylar Brotecs Technologies is releasing Next Generation Highly Secured Smart SIP Soft-Phone for iOS and Android. FREE version Skylar Lite is available.
- Skype (also Symbian)
- Mobile VoIP Dialer for iPhone and Android
- fring (also Symbian)
- Connect do your SIP service without using voip
- BBee (iPhone and Android)
- Vyke (also Symbian, Blackberry)
- netTALK (also Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows)
- Optima Dialer
- Optima Free Dialer
- A2Billing SIP Dialer
- Skuku (also Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows)
- Talkonaut (also Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows)
- Pindo (iOS, Android)
- Raketu (also Blackberry and Windows)
- Voxofon (also Blackberry and Windows)
- MO-Call (also Blackberry and Windows)
- Nimbuzz (also Blackberry and Windows)
- Vippie Mobile (also Blackberry and Windows)
- Tango (also Windows)
- Sipmobile – Secure communications (TLS,SRTP), Support for Opus, SILK, VP8 codecs, Push notifications for longer battery life, click here Picture sharing.
Android-only Mobile VoIP Apps
- Best Mobile Dialer for Android
- iTel Mobile Dialer
- SECUMOBI – Made in Sweden. Encrypted VOIP for private groups and secure International conference calls communication solutions. Hardware based MicroSD encryption VOIP solutions for mobile Android calls and text chat messaging. SECUMOBI is the only encrypted hardware communication solution with best voice over IP quality ECC 384 and AES 256. Also available for Nokia Symbian 9.3 , E52 and E72. Certified by FIPS and IAL 7
- Skylar – Next Generation Highly Secured Smart SIP Soft-Phone for Android.
Windows Mobile VoIP Apps
- Mobile VoIP Dialer for Windows
- SECUMOBI – Made in Sweden. Encrypted VOIP for private groups and secure International conference calls communication solutions. Hardware based MicroSD encryption VOIP solutions for mobile or desktop Windows calls and text chat messaging. SECUMOBI is the only encrypted hardware communication solution with best voice over IP quality ECC 384 and AES 256. Also available for Nokia Symbian 9.3 , E52 and E72. Certified by FIPS and IAL 7
- VoipCall v0.1
- iTel Mobile Dialer
- WNM Live (also iPhone)
Check with these apps to ensure your mobile phone’s OS is supported. Additionally, there is mobile VOIP software for all sorts of Internet-connected phone models (even if they aren’t smartphones).
Nimbuzz, for instance, supports hundreds of phones. Barablu also supports a wide variety of phone makes and models. Check with the mobile softphone maker to find out more.
Remember to review the terms of the mobile VoIP provider’s ‘free calling’ feature.
Some mobile VoIP services, including Skype and Viber, support free in-network US and international long distance only; regular cell phone rates apply for out-of-network calls.
Also, be aware that some mobile VoIP softphone makers, such as Talkatone, explicitly state that their service is not intended for time-sensitive, critical phone calls to emergency services.
Mobile VoIP SDKs
- Sinch – SDKs for iOS, Android, JaaScript, and backend APIs to add Mobile VoIP into apps
Mobile VoIP Extensions
Many home and business VoIP service providers, such as Vonage or Nextiva, also offer service extensions to accommodate their customers’ cell phones. In most cases, this extra feature is free and offers the same plan details. (Unlimited calling at home translates to unlimited calling on your VoIP mobile phone.)
Some of the VoIP service providers offering mobile VoIP extensions (used solely in conjunction with their regular residential- or business-based subscription service) are:
- Phone Power
- Fathom Voice
For many VoIP service customers, using their home- or business-based VoIP service on their mobile phone just means downloading a mobile VoIP softphone app. With a mobile VoIP phone integrated with their home- or business-based VoIP calling plan, mobile VoIP users can enjoy the same low rates wherever they go.
Vonage, Vocalocity, ITP and 3CX offer apps for Android and iPhone. RingCentral offers apps for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Phone Power and ViaTalk currently have an iPhone app only. Business-focused 8×8 produces an app that works with many major smartphone makes and models, including Blackberry and Treo.
Some voice over IP service providers, such as Vonage, have made things even simpler: You can register an office or mobile phone with the VoIP provider. The added phone does not even have to be a phone with an Internet connection. To make calls at the lower VoIP calling rate using that phone, you simply dial an access number first.
Mobile VoIP Phones
As mobile VoIP usage increases and more people make the switch to VoIP technology and lower monthly phone bills, innovative new services continue to arrive on the scene. One of the most recent developments is something called VoWiFi, or VoIP WiFi — VoIP using WiFi hotspots only.
VoWiFi, wireless VoIP, has inspired some cell phone makers (including Google, which produces the Android) to create hybrid handsets or WiFi cell phones: Truly mobile VoIP phones support cellular networks and VoIP simultaneously.
Mobile VoIP phones designed to operate on a mixed or blended network do not need softphones installed. The functionality is built-in, so no VoIP mobile app is required.
The default network protocol when using a dedicated mobile VoIP phone will be VoIP using WiFi. However, whenever WiFi coverage is lacking or weak, the VoIP mobile phone will switch over to a cellular signal.
The objective of the dual-mode mobile VoIP phone is to keep the caller from noticing the signal switch — no dropped calls or other interruptions. With sporadic WiFi hotspot access, especially when the caller is moving, a smooth transition between signal types (and sustained call coverage) is critical.
Cell phone makers such as Nokia, Motorola and Google have already been producing dual-mode VoIP mobile phones.
New carriers such as Republic Wireless, with its LG mobile VoIP phone, are now offering low-cost, unlimited monthly data plans: Republic Wireless offers a Hybrid Calling plan with a $199 setup fee for an LG Optimus phone and one month of free calling, and $19/month unlimited use after that.
With a VoIP mobile phone, unlimited use means every function is included: Calling, texting, emailing, browsing (including high-bandwidth media), and chatting.
Small Business VoIP Phone Systems in 2020 | Frontier Business
This is the second chapter of The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Phone Systems, designed to help you make an educated decision on a phone system for your company.
The previous chapter discussed multi-line phone systems. The next chapters will teach you about PBX phone systems and Cloud phone systems.
This chapter will give you the information you need to learn whether a VoIP service will benefit your business.
What are VoIP Phone Systems?
Voice over IP (VoIP), also known as voice over internet protocol, refers to a phone system that transmits voice and media over internet protocol (IP) networks instead of a traditional phone connection.
VoIP technology works by channeling voice into data packets, transferring the data packets through an IP network, and turning them back into voice at the end of the connection. The back-and-forth transmission of these data packets makes conversation with your customers and colleagues possible.
A business VoIP phone system is composed of software used to manage phone numbers, features, clients, hardware, equipment (i.e. phones), and, most importantly, network connections.
This set up is similar to host PBX, sometimes called IP PBX, but business VoIP solutions include additional communications capabilities.
Additional components can include location-tracking software for enhanced 911 (E911) and management systems to collect statistics for voice-quality management. All of these components work together to unify communication.
VoIP eliminates the use of traditional circuit-switched telephone networks, reducing infrastructure costs for your small business. They provide versatility traditional phone systems cannot, though they do require more purchasing consideration and are subject to normal internet issues.
The following sections will guide you through common questions, pros and cons, and a look at whether your company would benefit from a VoIP business solution.
What is an IP phone line?
An IP phone line is a type of phone communication system that transmits your voice over the internet using IP telephony technology instead of a traditional phone connection. Skype and Google Voice are examples of IP phone line services.
What are IP calls?
VoIP calls encapsulate voice into data packets and transmit them across internet networks. The data packets reassemble once they reach the other end of the connection, allowing a conversation to take place.
IP calls are also capable of transmitting multimedia across internet protocol (IP) networks, enabling the user to send text or video conference. Many medium-sized businesses use this feature to engage in a meeting via video chat or send files to co-workers.
What is a VoIP phone number used for?
A VoIP phone number is similar to traditional phone numbers; it’s a series of digits used to make and receive calls by connecting two people who want to talk.
One of the main differences between VoIP phone numbers and traditional phone numbers has to do with area codes.
With a VoIP line, you can actually choose the area code you want your number to have. It’s important to note, though, that not all your customers will have VoIP phone numbers—many may still use traditional landlines. It’s best to purchase a phone number with a local area code, as this ensures your customers can place local calls to reach you.
The phone number isn’t necessarily tied to a specific device (i.e. office phone), meaning calls can be made and answered from various devices and various locations. The flexibility of a VoIP phone number gives you the opportunity to connect with your colleagues and customers from your desk phone, desktop, home office phone, laptop, etc.
With mobile VoIP service, you can also forward your business phone number to your mobile phone.
Where do I get VoIP phone service?
When you think of phone service, most people think of big phone companies and carriers, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and so on. But advancements in internet telephony technology have created other viable options.
You can use your high-speed internet access and VoIP services to set up your business phone service for less money than paying for multiple phone lines. Plus, you get more features than traditional phone lines or PBX.
You can set up your own, or you can go with a business VoIP phone system that’s already proven.
Business VoIP providers RingCentral Office, OpenScape Voice, Ooma Office, Vonage and Frontier Communications are popular options—Frontier offers the highly ranked Mitel business VoIP phone system.
This article compares business VoIP providers and cloud PBX services in North America. A good place to start when choosing a service provider is checking service availability in your area.
Advantages of VoIP
Business VoIP phone systems may benefit you by being flexible and scalable. Additionally, your small business will often see cost savings with VoIP.
- Cost-Effectiveness—a VoIP service transmits via the internet, a commodity your business ly has in place currently. Additional IP phone lines are more affordable than traditional phone lines. Long distance and international calls are generally cheaper as well – as much as 40% for local calls. If you have mulitiple offices, calls between this locations connected on your VoIP network will not incur toll or long-distance charges.
- Portability—You can connect to your VoIP number using any high-speed internet connection, meaning you can communicate with your customers from anywhere.
- Scalability—Additional lines are affordable and simple to set up, making it easy to keep up with your growing business.
- Multimedia Application—Video and text are also transmittable via IP phone lines, permitting you to engage in video chat or to send files.
- Simple Installation—Installing a VoIP phone system may not require cabling your office beyond the existing internet network, making installation quick and easy.
- Modern Features—Many enhanced features that would usually cost extra with traditional phone systems are supported and included with VoIP. Examples include Bluetooth support, conferencing, and call recording.
- Cloud-Based Hosting—a VoIP service provides businesses with the opportunity to move their phone management to the Cloud. Small businesses choose Cloud-based VoIP to take advantage of potential savings and the provider’s expertise – VoIP can slash costs by up to 90% for companies getting started.
Disadvantages of VoIP
Business VoIP phone systems require reliable internet connections and hardware. Additionally, they are less reliable in regards to power outages, emergencies, and security threats.
- Internet Dependence—Fast, reliable internet is needed to use VoIP. If your internet is disrupted even temporarily, your phone call could drop.
- Computer Issues—With VoIP, all phone calls are subject to the limitations of normal computer issues. Due to bandwidth requirements, some calls may lag, delay, or disappear. You’ll want to ensure you have adequate bandwidth when installing a VoIP system for the first time.
- Power Outages—Power outages affect your internet, leaving your business without access to a phone system. However, you can opt for automatic failover routing to send your calls to your cellphone number in times of power outages.
- Emergency Tracking—VoIP systems are harder for emergency services to trace because lines aren’t tied to specific devices. Fortunately, location tracking software can help solve this issue.
- Security—VoIP phone systems are susceptible to hacking, worms, and viruses, so you may need to take extra steps to protect your system.
- Equipment—Specific hardware is necessary, including IP phones or adapters to allow the system to transmit over an internet network.
- Decreased Sound Quality—Due to packet loss, VoIP sound quality may not be as clear as traditional phone lines. This phenomenon has been mitigated as VoIP telephony has matured over the past decade.
Is a Business VoIP Phone System Right for You?
For small- and mid-sized businesses looking to set up unified communications systems, a VoIP solution is a great option. VoIP business phone systems are typically more affordable than PBX solutions. If you go with a hosted VoIP setup, where the hardware is off-site and everything operates through the cloud, you can also save space and maintenance costs.
A VoIP phone system for small business, Frontier AnyWare, also offers advanced capabilities, bringing features such as three-way calling, auto attendant, and mobile phone twinning together into a true unified communications solution. Add a mobile app and the ability to choose your own toll-free numbers, and your small business will be ready to play in the big leagues.
VoIP may not be the best option for your small business if you don’t have a reliable internet connection. Regular power outages in your area and the need for extreme security are also concerns you should consider before purchasing.
On the other hand, business VoIP may be the best option if you need portability and flexibility. Plans for growing your business and the need for modern, enhanced features are also reasons to consider purchasing VoIP.
How much does business VoIP cost?
Business VoIP pricing is as flexible as the VoIP phone system itself. Pricing varies your current system and your company’s needs.
Often, VoIP service providers offer discounts on pricing when you bundle business VoIP service with other solutions, high-speed internet connection or long distance phone services. When you consider these types of phone bundles, be sure to look into activation fees or other costs. And see if you sign a year contract, you can lower your price.
What type of business VoIP phones can I buy?
An analog telephone adaptor (ATA), which connects your traditional phone to a VoIP network, starts at around $35. High-quality IP phones start at around $100. Business voice over IP (VoIP) phones range from entry-level phones to sophisticated IP phones and devices with cordless handsets, conference units, and attendant consoles.
The Top VoIP Phone Systems
There are a ton of handsets on the market that work with small business VoIP solutions. To help you narrow the field and choose the right phone for your business, we’ve put together an overview of three top VoIP phones. Check out these VoIP phone systems for small business reviews and see which one is right for your business.
This desk unit offers tons of customizability, so you can set it up exactly you want and match it to your workflow. Unfortunately, customizability sometimes comes at the expense of ease of use, and some users have found the phone to be a little too much. This IP phone is perfect for telephone power users and businesses that need a high degree of customization.
The Avaya 9611G is a very popular office phone system for small businesses. While the display is on the small side, it makes up for it by being full color and highly legible.
The unit looks attractive on the desk with its textured black top and contrasting white buttons. And the price is a little more affordable for bulk orders, making it perfect for smaller businesses.
Call quality is also excellent.
Some businesses need a cost-effective phone for basic users rather than a more expensive option with extraneous features. If that sounds your organization, then the Mitel 5320 IP Phone is ideal for you. It’s simple to set up and use with contextual buttons, a large display, and eight programmable buttons.
You can configure functions on an individual or system-wide level. There’s even a desktop tool for easy user management. Heavy talkers will appreciate clear audio, a full-duplex speakerphone, and headset compatibility.
Overall, this is an excellent option for companies that need a hassle-free phone everyone can use.
If you’re looking to save costs, you can lease equipment from your business VoIP provider. With a lease, you can add business VoIP phones as you need them without the upfront cost of buying the handsets. Depending on the features you choose, a high-end business VoIP phone can run $350 or more.
Frontier has years of experience and strong partnerships with the industry’s leading business VoIP equipment manufacturers.
Along with our dependable business VoIP solution, we also provide customer service and tech support that are locally based and available 24/7 every day of the year.
With Frontier, you can count on our reliability from day one. Learn more about Frontier Business VoIP service.
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Why You Should Be Using Softphones Instead of Desk Phones at Your Business
Remote working has been on the rise in recent years: a Gallup survey conducted in 2017 reported that “43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely,” a four percentage point increase since 2012.
What tools are available to support this new way of working? After all, a physical desk phone that sits in the office won't help an employee who is offsite for the day.
In place of desk phones, give your employees a softphone. These software apps bring all of the functionality of a telephone onto a computer or mobile device. They'll help your mobile employees stay connected to the office no matter where they are working.
Softphones: Phone Apps on Computers and Mobile Devices
Softphones are essentially software-based phones. They mimic desk phones by presenting a phone interface on the computer, complete with a dialpad and call handling features (such as Mute, Hold, and Transfer).
But since they operate on a computer, they are much more powerful than desk phones. Softphones additionally offer video calling and conferencing, visual voicemail management, chat and SMS capabilities, and more.
Softphones are available for all different devices and platforms. There are desktop applications that run on Mac and Windows computers, laptops, and tablets, web-based versions that are accessible in the browser, and mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
FireRTC is a free online phone app that you can use to make and receive calls
Today's Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and cloud phone system providers also offer proprietary versions of softphones as part of their service platforms; for example, OnSIP provides our customers with free desktop and mobile apps. Furthermore, you can buy third-party softphone apps that will work with a variety of services.
To learn more about how to use them at your business, read about these 5 advantages that softphones have over desk phones.
1. Take Your Business Phone Wherever You Go
Employees who work from home or frequently travel to clients or vendors will be able to take their business phones with them.
From a client's office, hotel room, or even a coffee shop, they can simply boot up their laptops and have their phones ready to go.
Using the softphone, they can answer incoming calls as well as make outgoing calls, just as if they were sitting at their desks using a physical phone.
But softphones are also helpful for staff members who are working in the office. Perhaps a colleague is expecting an important call about a sales deal or contract negotiation, but has an afternoon full of meetings. Instead of missing the call when it comes in, s/he can take a laptop into those meetings and immediately answer the call when it arrives.
Bring a softphone into your meetings so you don't miss the important call that you're expecting
2. Keep Personal Cell Numbers Private
Since softphones connect to a cloud phone system over the Internet, they are simply offsite devices of that phone system.
Employees who are on the road can use them to answer work calls on their smartphones while keeping their personal cell numbers private.
And since the call occurs over the Internet (in other words, over a data connection), employees won't be using up their cell phone plan's calling minutes.
3. Work Efficiently with User-Friendly Enhancements
One of the best aspects of softphones is that they present an interactive user interface. This allows for many shortcuts and enhancements when using the phone, including:
- Drag-and-Drop Call Transfers: Need to transfer a call to a colleague? Don't dial extensions and PIN numbers on your phone. Just click on the call in the softphone interface and drag it over to your colleague's name— it's that easy!
- Visual Voicemail: Instead of taking time to navigate menu prompts, review your voicemail messages in a visual format. Softphones allow you to play your voicemails, delete them, configure voicemail to email, and set other settings right from the user interface.
- Incoming Call Notifications: In addition to ringing tones, softphones will notify you of incoming calls through popup notifications with caller ID info or bouncing/flashing app icons on your computer's dock or taskbar.
Review and delete your voicemails in a softphone interface—no dialing or PIN numbers required!
4. Host Video Calls and Video Conferences
Do your employees have recurring meetings with clients or outside contractors? Softphones will let your employees make video calls right from the app itself. And since many softphones are free or come included with your cloud phone service, you won't need to buy expensive, top-of-the-line videophones.
Some softphones will even allow you to host multi-party video conference calls. Instead of using a pricey third-party platform, use a softphone to hold team or department meetings. You can gather all staff members- including those away from the office- for collaborative and team-building meetings over video.
The OnSIP desktop app offers free multi-party video conferencing that is available in a web browser or via a desktop application
5. Present a Clean and Streamlined Office
Use softphones to declutter your office and present clean workspaces. Desk phones typically come with power adapters and ethernet connections (for IP phones).
By having your employees use softphones, you can remove desk phones and jumbled cords from their desks and give them more space at their workstations.
The softphone will draw its power from the laptop or mobile device's main power supply.
Case Study: iGlobal Stores
Daniel Johnson, the VP of Sales at iGlobal Stores, wanted to replace his staff's desk phones with softphones in order to remove restrictions on his business's growth and flexibility.
With his previous on-premise phone system, remote workers had to use their own home phones to connect to the main office.
He was also forced to give out his personal cell number to clients so he could be reached when he was away from the office.
Deploying OnSIP's own softphone, the OnSIP desktop app, he is able to give his colleagues an easy-to-access communications device that is accessible wherever they are working.
Remote workers can log into the app from their homes and answer incoming sales or support calls, without the need for a physical phone device.
And Daniel doesn't have to give out his cell number anymore because he can answer work calls on his laptop.
“OnSIP has enabled us to give everyone a work phone, which helps lighten the load on our team,” notes Daniel. “For example, more Customer Success team members can now answer the phones without having to physically be in the office. The app gives us a lot more flexibility.”The staff at iGlobal Stores doesn't have phones on their desks because they use the OnSIP desktop app on their computers or laptops
To learn more about how the OnSIP app has benefited his business and his colleagues, read our blog post on iGlobal Stores replacing their business phones with softphones.
Softphones: The Future of Business Phones
In this flexible, mobile, and open space work environment, it's critical that employers provide their employees with technology that helps them remain productive while away from their desks. A softphone is an essential communications tool that can help set your employees up for success.