VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a technology that allows you to make phone calls using an internet connection instead of your regular fixed-line phone service. It is also referred to as Voice over IP, broadband phone, or internet phone service and can be used with a phone system, stand-alone desktop phone, or even as an app on your mobile or personal computer.
The only requirement for VoIP is a reliable internet connection and a partner who knows what they are doing!
Go ahead and make the transition to VoIP – it’s cheaper, easy to set up and implement, and it is for everyone!
Cheaper Line Rentals
Cut the cord (and the fee that comes with it), because with VoIP you use your internet line to make and receive calls for your business. Plus, it’s normal to get services like caller ID, hunting facility, and voicemail for FREE!
Flexible Calling Packages
Most VoIP providers have competitive calling plans – from low per second fees, to bundled minutes and even unlimited calling plans! Most businesses stand to save a whopping 45% on their bills, based on standard Telkom rates!
Portability & Location Independence
With Voice over IP, your number goes where you go – as long as you have access to an internet connection, you could be online making and receiving calls! And VoIP is awesome for remote workers too!
So many ways to connect
VoIP is or everyone! Whether you use an old(er) phone system, a hosted PBX, a VoIP desk phone, a mobile app or PC Softphone, VoIP makes communicating from anywhere, possible – from whatever device you have available!
Fail-over & Backup
Since there are no physical phone lines, your VoIP provider should be able to automatically redirect calls to any external number (like your mobile phone or another branch office) should there be any disruption at your physical office premises.
VoIP truly paves the way for innovation. The technology is moving so rapidly and the eco-system is expanding to allow for integration and information exchange between other non-telephony applications. Plus, delivering new solutions like remote working is a reality!
The buck needs to stop somewhere – and in our market, just because someone is selling you something, doesn’t mean that they own the network and are a licensed network operator.
Understand that if you’re dealing with an aent, it is usually not on their terms, but rather on the terms of the company who owns and operates the network.
Remember, VoIP quality is not regulated and therefore you can’t hold anyone to task on terms that you agree to.
Before you sign up with a new provider, make sure that you look at your current contracts, for example, a traditional ISDN PRI line was usually signed on a 36 month term – the last thing you want to do is sign a new contract just to discover that you’re going to sit with double the costs!
Under the current regulations, not all numbers can be ported. You may only port geographic numbers such as 010, 011, 021, 031, etc.
If your business uses non-geographic numbers like 087, 0800, 0860, etc. then you may be forced to keep your existing lines so that these numbers remain in service.
Great, so you’re moving away from traditional fixed lines over to VoIP… Well, you need an internet line to run VoIP, and as with most businesses, that internet line is shared for other uses such as internet, email and so on.
You’re going to need to to carefully plan how to set up your Internet line so that Voice takes priority over other traffic, as well as that you increase your line speed and data allowance so that voice can run optimally.
If you are in the business where you need to frequently change your caller ID, it may be best to play open cards with your provider and tell them what you need to do and why – they will then tell you what they can and can’t do under the current regulations.
Breaching the rules will put the phone operator at risk, and your business will sit with penalties.
Very few VoIP Providers will take any responsibility beyond the device which they deliver – that could be within their network, or a device which they implement onsite.
What that means is that it will become your responsibility to ensure that your Network has adequate security and protection to avoid any hacking occurrences which has cost businesses hundreds of thousands of Rands over just a few hours which they are forced to pay!
When you engage with your Provider, be sure to make a note of all the functionality you currently use – within your business, and from your current phone providers. This is imperative to understand whether there will be any gaps as you migrate to VoIP, for example, VoIP doesn’t play nice with older fax machines, alarm systems or credit card machines.
There are a many moving parts (and points of failure) with VoIP.
Be clear on what service uptime your business demands, and what environmental issues you have experienced in the past (such as cable theft, power outages, etc.) so that you can build the right solution for your needs.
VoIP is reliant on the internet – but we also know that sometimes the internet can be unforgiving.
Work with your provider to understand what you can control and what you can’t – and when there are issues within the provider network, what Service Level agreement is in place to restore services.
It is an unfortunate reality, but VoIP systems and networks are ideal targets for fraudsters – and in most cases, it is customer systems which are hacked, leaving them to foot the bill with the network provider.
Security, monitoring and anti-fraud processes are imperative to understand from your VoIP provider.
Dialing Emergency Services may be an issue – although not very common, Providers must ensure that they open their network or systems for emergency calling.
Beyond that, E.911 is a standard used by Emergency Services where they are able to detect your location and patch you through to a local Emergency Services Unit or Operator, however, since there is location independency with VoIP, you may very well not get effective services as you would on traditional fixed line networks.
A clear and concise work from home strategy is vital – consider your choice in devices solved!
Work with your chosen provider to understand all the FIXED and VARIABLE costs involved in receiving the service for your business.
Fixed Costs – are usually made up of line rentals, subscriptions, hardware and service level agreements.
Variable Costs – are made up from usage-based services or ad hoc services, including any out-of-bundle charges.
Ask what costs there are at the different stages of your partnership too.
Start-up Costs – these could be costs related to any service activation, installation and provisioning, training and hardware required for the service.
Note: If there are no setup or hardware costs, make sure that you understand whether you are liable for any of these costs at any stage of the partnership.
Subscription Costs – these are the anticipated costs for use of the services. Be sure to understand what other costs may come into play and ensure that you agree to those costs upfront.
Conclusion and Exit Costs – at the end of the agreement term, ask what happens. Is there a cancellation notice period, is there an automatic renewal? What happens to the hardware, and are there any fees for removal of the equipment or infrastructure?
Having clarity and complete transparency on all costs will help you to do an apples for apples comparison between providers, and ensure that you don’t sit with any unexpected surprises.
We are committed to helping you to make an educated buying decision, and find the best telecoms partner for your business.
Having operated in the industry for over 20 years, we have the expertise and contacts to help you in your journey to telecoms success.