How to Get a VoIP Number
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a different type of phone service that can save you money on voice calls and other forms of communication. A VoIP phone service provider can help you get a VoIP number if you sign up for a VoIP service plan. These plans are usually significantly cheaper than cell phone service or plain old telephone service (POTS), so you can reduce your costs and access more features and functionality for less money.
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)—Using the Internet, VoIP sends phone signals and can handle voice calls and other forms of communication.
With VoIP, you can do things with your phone that you may not have believed where possible. These features are also cheaper and more accessible, making VoIP plans a real bargain for many small businesses, individual households and others who want a highly effective means of communication that is affordable and efficient. Many VoIP plans include features such as phone queue functionality, voicemail-to-email transcription, call bridging, advanced call recording and other features. You can get virtual extensions, too, enabling you to have multiple phone lines all through the same equipment with little to no added cost. It is amazing what VoIP can do.
In this article, we will help you understand VoIP, how it works and how you can get started with a VoIP plan that works best for your personal or business calls. We will talk a little about what you should look for in a plan, what features are available and how to choose a phone service plan for your needs. By the end of the article, you should know a little bit about how to shop for a plan and how you can benefit the most from VoIP. Elsewhere on our site, we feature information that can help you compare services and make decisions about plans, pricing and VoIP features offered by different vendors.
- What is VoIP and How Does It Work?
- Getting a VoIP Number and Beginning to Use It
- VoIP Advantages: How You Can Use It
VoIP is relatively easy to get started with and your vendor can help you get going if you decide to switch services. Many VoIP devices are plug-and-play, making it easier to start if you are not tech-savvy or if you want to get VoIP technology implemented quickly without a lot of hassle or fuss. By following the tips in this article, you will be well on your way.
1. What is VoIP and How Does It Work?
Unlike traditional phone service, VoIP works by using the Internet to transmit calls. You get your service delivered differently. Because it uses the Internet, VoIP routes calls efficiently and directs them along the most efficient possible routes, packaging call data for the Internet. Besides phone calls, VoIP also offers other forms of communication such as text messaging and chat. You can build a business communications system with it or use it for personal calls.
Traditional phone service, sometimes called plain old telephone service (POTS), has significant limitations. POTS infrastructure is typically copper wiring that must travel long distances. International service may mean crossing a wire network that traveled underneath oceans. This type of infrastructure is very expensive and the costs must be covered entirely by subscription fees. Many public phone networks are funded by these charges, causing phone service for landline and cell phones to be enormously expensive. Wire networks and cell phone towers can be difficult to maintain and very costly.
In contrast, VoIP service is relatively inexpensive to maintain and so VoIP providers can keep costs low for subscribers. This makes VoIP subscription a smart choice for small businesses, individuals and others looking to save on their phone bills.
2. Getting a VoIP Number and Beginning to Use It
To get a VoIP number, all you need to do is sign up for a VoIP plan with a vendor. Inexpensive basic plans may cost around $50 a year to significantly more, depending on the features you need and the minutes you plan to use. Some plans are unlimited, while others provide a specific number of minutes per month or over a specific period of time. Many plans offer international calls, although these minutes can be more expensive than domestic minutes.
With your VoIP plan, you have some options for different numbers:
- Area Code—Usually, you can pick any area code. Unlike POTS service, with VoIP you are not tied down to your regional area code. This can be an advantage for businesses that plan to serve specific regions and need an area code that matches local phone numbers. You can also pick your existing area code and have a phone number that fits the location of your headquarters.
- Toll Free Number—You can get a toll free number, too, although this may cost extra. If you receive a large number of calls to your business and want to offer toll free calling to your callers, this service might be right for you.
- Virtual Extensions—You can add extensions or other phone numbers to your VoIP service, with some plans offering unlimited extensions. These can help you provide a different phone number for everyone in the office. It can also help you create numbers for different departments, too. Your entire business can have phone numbers directing calls to different phones or even the same phone. This can help your business project a professional image to others or even appear larger than it otherwise is.
3. VoIP Advantages: How You Can Use It
With VoIP, you can gain access to powerful tools for your business or for your personal phone calls. VoIP service is significantly cheaper and offers services such as virtual phone numbers, advanced call routing, call recording and bridging features and more. You can have your calls transferred to other phones with Find Me/Follow Me features, sending calls to different phones until someone answers. You can also have phone calls sent to different types of equipment, for instance if you choose to use softphones and IP phones alongside smartphones and analog telephones. The phones you use can vary tremendously and all be under one plan.
What You Can Do with VoIP:
- Build a Call Center—Need a call center on a budget? You can set up call queue features to route incoming calls to the appropriate departments or agents who can answer. You can organize it so calls are automatically responded to with a menu of options, automated receptionists can answer your calls with recorded information or callers can be automatically routed to the correct destination.
- Choose Your Features—Some features, such as conference call bridging, can be enormously expensive without VoIP service. With VoIP, you can probably do a lot more than you normally would be able to.
- Save on International Calls—Minutes with VoIP service are much cheaper, and international calls are significantly cheaper through a VoIP vendor than they would be with traditional phone service. If you make a lot of international calls, this can be a very important feature.
- Work Remotely—Because of how portable VoIP is, you can take VoIP with you anywhere you go as long as you have an Internet connection. You can answer calls on the road and listen to voicemail. You can even access the full list of features offered by your plan.