“I’m thinking of going to a VoIP phone system because I want to make
free phone calls.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, this is a comment that we here at CSM hear very frequently. VoIP phone systems or VoIP phone lines have become so common in the marketplace that there is not only broad acceptance among the buying public, but there is also a large amount of confusion on exactly what VoIP is and how it can affect their phone system costs.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a term which as defined is “voice being delivered with data packets.” It is simply a way for voice to get from “A” to “B.” In practical use, it can be broadly be divided into two categories:
- VoIP Phone Service
- VoIP Phone System
A organization does not necessarily utilize VoIP phone service when they have a VoIP phone system. You can but often than not this is not the case. A VoIP phone system can use VoIP lines (SIP trunks), copper lines, or T-1/ PRI (like you may be using now). Simply put, VoIP phone service is the actual phone “lines” and VoIP phone system is the hardware.
That being said, we can look into this type of service, but even then, the idea that you no longer have to pay for long distance is not really applicable. You may, it just depends on the VoIP phone service provider. The confusion comes from the fact that residential VoIP phone service nearly always includes free LD (such as Magic Jack).
CSM offers a suite of products which are, for the most part, VoIP based. Our ShoreTel, Avaya, Grandstream, and PhoneSuite VoiceWare products are VoIP phone systems. Each of these systems are Premise Based VoIP where an appliance resides at the office or in a secure data center and takes care of call control and in some cases features such as voice mail. CSM also works with Linq SIP to provide a robust hosted VoIP phone system which offers great flexibility and exciting possibilities.
So can VoIP save your company money? In the end, the answer is a resounding “maybe!” Several factors come into play. VoIP phone service is generally available in two options:
- Metered- where you pay a small amount for each phone call
- Unlimited- where your business pays a set cost for all calls
Depending on your organizations call volume either option may work best. For a standard company who makes mostly local calls and only a small amount of long distance, metered plans are often the best choice as you will only be paying for the service that you actually use. However, many companies like to have a set cost that they know they will incur, in this case, unlimited plans do offer a comfort as there will be no additional charges for large call volumes.
I think that in most cases, businesses can save money by going VoIP. An average phone bill for a business with 20 phones is around $650 per month, and a comparable service using VoIP would probably run around $375. These are just examples, of course, and we have seen firms save more than this, and then sometimes less.
Contact CSM today to learn more about VoIP, how we can reuse your existing equipment, or what features are available with a new phone system.