If you’re new to VoIP phone systems and looking for an easy place to start, you’ve come to the right place! We work with business of all shapes and sizes to get started with VoIP. Even beginners can set up an entire business phone system without prior experience or training.
Here are answers to five of the most frequently asked questions we get from small businesses looking into VoIP phone systems.
1. Can I keep my existing phone numbers?
In most cases you own your phone numbers and can port it away from your existing carrier. By law, carriers cannot hold your phone number hostage. You can check your number portability with us by writing to email@example.com, and then submit your porting request to Telzio to initiate the transfer process. It can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week for a number to transfer depending on when the old carrier releases it, and Telzio will email you with the porting date of when your number will be transferred. It’s important not to cancel phone service with your old provider until after this porting date.
2. Can I use the phones I already have?
In order to use VoIP service, you’ll need phones that connect to the internet, such as IP phones (for your desk), softphones (on your computer), or our free mobile app. Your old analog phones will not work with VoIP, unless you use an ATA adapter, which is usually not recommended. Popular brands of IP phones include Cisco, Yealink, Grandstream, and Polycom.
Most VoIP providers sell pre-configured phones, but you should check with the VoIP provider (not the phone manufacturer) that they don’t lock the phones or you’ll have to buy new phones (or attempt to unlock them) if you ever switch VoIP providers.
You can buy pre-configured IP phones from Telzio that arrive ready for calling with your extension already programmed into the phone, and your phones are never locked in.
To configure your own IP phones, check our step-by-step support guides for popular models like the Cisco SPA 303, or one of our top-selling small business IP phones, the Yealink T46S. If it looks too complicated, we can ship them to your office preconfigured.
3. Can I forward calls to my cell phone?
You can use the Telzio mobile app to make and receive calls on your cell phone. The mobile app works using your data or wifi connection and keeps your business line separate from your personal line. It’s easy to distinguish which calls are coming through Telzio versus your personal number, and you don’t need to keep the app open for calls to come through. You can also set up backup routing so calls get forwarded to your personal cellular number if you have no internet connection. With the mobile app you can forward calls to people anywhere, and customize settings like hold music, call screening, call recording and caller ID.
4. Is my Internet connection fast enough for VoIP?
Most internet connections can handle VoIP phone systems today, unless it’s an old dial-up modem. A two-way VoIP phone call would theoretically use around 128 kb/s, and most standard broadband connections are around 3 mbit (3000 kb/s) and up. This means a typical small businesses should have sufficient Internet speed to use VoIP.
You can take a speed test at www.speedtest.net to see how fast your connection is. The best way to find out if your internet is fast enough for a VoIP system is to sign up for a free trial and make test calls yourself. If you have VoIP call quality issues, don’t be too quick to assume that a VoIP phone system isn’t plausible. The first thing you should ask your IT person is about configuring the Quality of Service (QoS) setting on your router to prioritize VoIP traffic.
For VoIP call quality issues, first try to configure the Quality of Service setting on your router to prioritize VoIP traffic.
5. What is the cost for VoIP service?
VoIP service varies among providers when it comes to setup costs, monthly price, cost to scale, contracts, and ease-of-use. All these elements will factor into your ongoing costs. You should find out how many users and minutes you need to find the best pricing, and test out different systems to see who offers the most flexibility when it comes to adding features and users. If your business plans to grow and hire employees, or needs to update a greeting now and again, an easy-to-use interface and flexible plans will save you plenty of pain and dollars.
First you have to consider what you’re getting with your phone system before you can evaluate where the cost value is with different providers.
- Phone numbers
- Calling capabilities (voice)
- Texting (SMS)
- Extensions / Users
- Features (menus, queues, call recording, voicemail, fax, etc.)
- Desk phones
Most VoIP providers charge a fee for each person or device you need connected to your phone system. Each of these employees will need a user, which usually costs around $30/mo per user. Telzio offers a much more economical pricing model for small businesses by including all your users for free, so you only pay for the usage (minutes/texts) you need.
Be careful about VoIP providers that offer “unlimited” calling plans. Unlimited can mean that you’re allowed unlimited calling, but there are only a certain number of minutes included for free before overages kick in. Once you clarify what’s actually included, you can do a quick calculation to see if paying a fee per user is more cost effective than paying for a plan where all your users share minutes. You can find out how many minutes your company uses on your phone statements or by calling your provider.
You should also make sure the features you need are included with your plan. Some VoIP providers charge extra to use features like call recording. With Telzio, all the features are included with every plan, which are easy to manage through our self-service website. Anytime you need to edit a setting or add a new user, you can do it with a few clicks without calling a technician.
Have more questions about VoIP phone systems for your small business? Write us on the chat or send us a note!
Jennifer is part of the content marketing team at Telzio, providing insight and tips on how Telzio can be used to optimize business communications and customer service.