In this article, we will help your business understand VoIP, its requirements and its costs. We’ll also explain the different elements of VoIP, the costs associated with them and how you can use VoIP to get the best deal possible for your business communications.
The telecoms industry is awash with people flogging ‘VoIP’. VoIP has been thrust into many business owners face’s by telecom companies and salespeople, all promising cheap (sometimes even free) phone systems.
We all know that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. VoIP can (and most likely will) reduce your businesses telecom expenses, however, it is important to understand the real costs involved when upgrading to VoIP.
There are a few things that we have to talk about before we can discuss the costs of VoIP. For a full VoIP telephone system, a company requires two things:
These VoIP phone systems are also called ‘hosted phone systems’, ‘cloud PBXs’ or ‘hosted voice’ - but they all mean the same thing.
Traditionally, a businesses uses a PBX; or ‘box-on-the-wall’ as it’s often known. However, a VoIP telephone system removes the requirement for a PBX and instead uses the cloud. Rather than multiple telephone lines all connecting to your PBX, your telephone lines run ‘on-top’ of your businesses broadband connection.
As you can see from this diagram, with VoIP your broadband connection is used for both data and voice traffic. Many businesses are used to the traditional telephone system, where you lease expensive on-site hardware and pay maintenance, installation, running and call costs. But VoIP is different. There are a few different costs involved in upgrading to a VoIP system, so we’ll run through them now…
Most VoIP phone systems use a ‘licence based’ approach. This means that your business pays on a per-user basis. Somewhat like a subscription service, your business can add more users to your telephone system by just adding more licences. It also allows you to accurately predict and control your running costs.
Whilst the actual cost of a VoIP phone system varies depending on your provider, they are all often much lower cost than the PBX alternative. We can’t speak for other providers, but our packages start at just £10pm for our basic licence.
Each licence has a different feature set, with more features available with the essential and everything licence.
The cost of VoIP is flexible because you can mix and match these licences. For example, if your business had 10 users, you could have:
By individually picking licences on a per-user basis, you can specifically control your costs, helping you budget your cashflow. It also means that you aren’t paying over the odds for features that each user won’t need.
If you find that a user needs more features, you can just upgrade their licence - no big system upgrade or installation costs. I can’t speak for other VoIP providers, but our customers are all billed directly by us, with simple and intuitive itemised call bills every month to help you keep on top of everything.
Unlike a telephone system, you don’t need to worry about those costly upgrades, or stress about telephony if you’ve got a new employee. Just give us a call and our team can sort you out with a new licence no problem. We can even courier a desk phone to you by the next working day should you require it.
We also have an in-house support team, who are ready to answer any enquires about your VoIP system. They’re all highly trained in all aspects of telephony and can aid with technical questions. You’ll also be given your own account manager, as your point of contact in case you have any questions, or want to make changes to your solution.
One of the biggest benefits of a VoIP phone system is its flexibility. Our VoIP packages can be uniquely tailored to your business using bolt-ons. These bolt-ons can be simply and easily added on to build your system to your exact specification.
These bolt-ons are all designed to keep your costs as low as possible. By adding unique bolt-ons to each licence, you can custom build your telephone system to meet your specification.
One cost to consider when upgrading to VoIP is the cost of hardware. Hardware being the physical desk phone, computer, mobile or tablet, that your employees are using to make their calls. With our VoIP systems, you get a free desk phone with the essential and everything licence. But some staff may wish to have the mobile or desktop app (or both) instead, as this may suit them better. That's the great thing about VoIP - it's totally up to you.
Another cost of VoIP that your business might have to consider is the installation cost. The good thing is that VoIP requires minimal (if any) professional installation. Most of the time, VoIP is just ‘plug and play’.
Using CAT5 cabling, you can plug your desk phone right in, no hassle. However, if your premises doesn’t have CAT5, then this may be an extra cost to consider when upgrading to a VoIP phone system.
More good news for those considering a move to VoIP - it does not need maintenance. Traditional, on-premise systems do require some form of maintenance (most commonly provided in the form of a maintenance contract). VoIP does not.
Because VoIP telephone systems use the cloud, there is little on-site maintenance required. Any tweaks can be all done through your online portal, from number management to hunt groups and wallboards.
Upgrading to a VoIP phone system does require a good broadband connection. This is because VoIP uses your broadband for both voice and data traffic, as a posed to just data. As a guide, we would recommend a bare minimum download speed of 28Mbps.
If your business has slow broadband, you should upgrade to fibre before taking on a VoIP system. Whilst most businesses already have the minimum required speed, it is something to consider while you’re looking to upgrade. Please excuse the shameless plug, but we offer our customers a complete connectivity solution, with both fibre and VoIP all with in-house support and a dedicated account manager.
We wouldn’t be able to talk about VoIP without the obvious question, and it’s a question that we get asked regularly - are VoIP calls free?
The answer: It depends.
In some instances, VoIP calls are free. However, in other situations, VoIP calls are not free; but are still very low cost. It’s a common misconception that VoIP is totally free for everyone, all the time.
Free VoIP services.
There are many free VoIP services available to consumers, these include:
However, these free VoIP services are not designed for business use.
We’re a telecoms company, so we sell VoIP telephone systems to businesses all the time. These aforementioned commercial VoIP platforms are free to use, but don’t have the feature set that businesses require. So, if you’re a business, should expect your telephony cost to be dramatically reduced by VoIP. The reduced maintenance, installation and minimal hardware all help to drastically lower your running costs and overheads.
With our VoIP phone system, you also get an included 5,000 minutes per licence - helping further reduce your costs by removing those dreaded airtime charges. Just a little something for you, from us.
In short - yes. As if all of those cost benefits weren’t enough already, also consider that a VoIP phone system prevents your telephony from being disrupted during the ISDN switch off in 2025. It also helps get your business ready for the move to a digital Britain.
If you’re interested in upgrading to a VoIP telephone system, you can give us a call on 01934 882200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org