Important aspects to consider when choosing a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider for your home or business include cost-effectiveness, network quality, flexibility and the number of outbound and incoming calls expected.
MyBroadband asked VoIP providers Euphoria Telecom, Switch Telecom, and Vox Telecom for the factors business or home customers should consider before choosing a provider.
Vox Telecom consumer product manager and revenue assurance analyst Lynelle Davids told MyBroadband that customers should consider operator network quality, VoIP solution flexibility, pricing, and the level of support offered.
“If the operator’s VoIP network isn’t robust and resilient, you may experience fluctuating call quality — which is not acceptable with the technology available today,” Davids said.
“Whether a consumer or a business, you need to be reachable wherever you are at any moment in time — your VoIP solution cannot tie you to a physical location.”
“To achieve this, the operator must offer cloud-hosted infrastructure that you can connect to no matter where you are,” she added.
Davids added that it is crucial to select an operator that provides technical support around the clock, and once you have found a provider that ticks all of these boxes, you can look at cost-competitiveness.
“Whether it’s a technical concern or a simple support question, you should be able to contact your Operator around the clock — you need an Operator that is available when you need them,” she said.
Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam said customers looking for VoIP services for home use should look to pay-as-you-use services while, for businesses, there is no one size fits all approach.
“Home users should look at pay-as-you-use services that don’t tie them into high per minute costs or long-term contracts,” he said.
“For businesses, there is no ‘one size fits all’. Every business is different. Your VoIP business telephone solution should support multiple lines, caller ID, call-waiting, voicemail, and conference calls as a basic offering.”
He also provided a list of questions businesses should ask themselves before deciding on a VoIP service, including:
- What volume of calls are you likely to receive?
- Do you need to send specific types of calls (for example, sales or support calls) to different queues?
- Do you make a lot of international calls?
- Do you make many outbound calls?
- Does your team work in one central location or remotely, or is it a mixture of the two?
- Would you need a virtual conferencing solution?
Woollam added that businesses should ask for month-to-month deals, saying that some providers try to tie customers into long-term contracts.
Switch Telecom managing director Shannon Swanepoel told MyBroadband that customers should look for a provider that offers them cost-saving benefits, flexibility, and features that cater to their needs.
“Customers should compare costs of each provider as closely as they possibly can,” she said. “The VoIP provider should be transparent about their call rates and service fees.”
“VoIP subscriptions can range in price, and it’s important to understand how each is billed when doing this comparison.”
“Free on-net calls can often be a red herring; If a customer subscribes to a smaller provider then the amount of times they call someone on the same network could equate to a very small portion of their overall call spend,” Swanepoel added.
Swanepoel said business clients should determine what features they need before looking for a VoIP solution to avoid paying for those they don’t use.
“Clients need to determine what features and functions are on offer, and they shouldn’t be paying extra for standard features,” she said.
“Business customers should also be looking for features that will enhance the way they do business and add value.”