VoIP is one of the latest technologies creating a buzz…
VoIP Service for International Calls
One of the biggest reasons for switching to VoIP – for both enterprises and individuals – is the cost savings. Consumer VoIP often has a limited feature set compared to enterprise hosted services and comes with comparably lower prices as well. While many organizations come to appreciate the myriad technical and business features offered by VoIP, the first inducement to switch over from the PSTN is likely to be the cost differential.
This is particularly the case with VoIP service for international calls. There are many reasons for the cheaper pricing of VoIP, some of which are related to the technology itself while others are due to the competitive nature of the market at present. Hosted VoIP can save your organization significant amounts in various areas such as:
- Calls within the organization are often free. This means employees can keep in touch and talk for however long is necessary for working productively
- Many providers offer unlimited local calls for a fixed monthly price. These prices are often lower than those charged by traditional phone operators
- International calls are much cheaper as a majority of the call travels over the Internet rather than the PSTN circuits. It reduces the amount of termination fees that has to be paid to the local PSTN operator in any country by the vendor and the savings are passed on to clients
- Lower initial investment since the business phone service and the PBX features are delivered over the Internet. The organization does not have to invest in hardware, other than purchasing desk phones
- No service contracts or maintenance agreements as there is no equipment for the organization to maintain, repair or replace. VoIP vendors operate in a contract free environment for the most part
Various Types of Calling Plans for VoIP Service
If you have ever compared hosted VoIP pricing plans, you will know that the quoted price often doesn’t tell the whole story. It is not just a matter of selecting the vendor that offers the cheapest prices but the best value generally depends on what is included for the price and how that price is calculated. It means that even if two vendors offer identical prices, your total monthly bill can vary substantially depending on other variables.
Pay as you Go vs Minutes’ Bundles
There are basically two types of calling plans for hosted VoIP services. One is the pay as you go option which may be called by different names by various providers. What it means is that the vendor will charge a fixed monthly price (depending on the number of users) and calls will be charged at a certain rate. So apart from the fixed cost, the variable cost will increase or decrease according to the number of calls made in the month.
The other type of plan is minutes’ bundle plans which are often called “unlimited plans” due to a huge number of minutes available within the plan. In this case individual calls are not metered and charged separately. Rather the company has to pay a fixed price per user which includes all the calls that will be made during the course of a month or a certain number of minutes (which often works out cheaper than pay as you go if you consistently max out your minutes).
Another variation in billing plans depends on whether or not all the features offered by the service are included. Some vendors such as VoIPstudio make no distinction between so-called ‘basic’ or ‘advanced’ features and they are all included in any plan. Others will charge extra for certain premium features separately, regardless of how the calls are billed.
Types of Billing Practices
The other major difference is if per second billing is supported. VoIPstudio uses per second billing to ensure that clients are not charged for any excess even if it is only a few seconds at a time. Imagine if you are charged for 3 full minutes even though the call only lasted 2 minutes 20 seconds!Even if you are only charged 10 seconds extra for a call, it can easily cost you hundreds of dollars extra per year depending on call volume.
International Calling on Hosted VoIP
The way international calls are handled will differ from provider to provider. When it comes to bundled minutes, VoIPstudio has separate plans for domestic and international calling. The domestic plan includes about 2000 minutes per user to one selected country which comes in handy for businesses that routinely need to interact with partners or vendors there.
The international plan on the other hand provides 2000 minutes per user for all chosen countries from a preset list. This is suitable for organizations that make calls to clients or partners in different nations.
This is not always the way billing works for international calls by all vendors. Some offer very expensive plans that include unlimited international calling. While it may sound like a good idea, few companies will ever make enough calls on a regular basis to justify it. Others will offer a veritable feast of options with every possible combination – pay as you go with selected features, pay as you go with all features, unlimited domestic calling with only few features etc. each for different prices.
As you can quickly see, it simply becomes confusing and incomprehensible pretty quickly. Choosing the right plan for your company shouldn’t take longer than setting up the entire business phone system!
Nowadays most companies have to deal with international entities regularly and voice is certainly a big part of business communication. So selecting the right international plan can make a crucial difference to your monthly phone bill.
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