In some ways, VoIP was a technology that arrived before the world was ready for it. VoIP services first appeared when many of us were still accessing the web via dial-up or on slow broadband connections, so the early use of the technology never really lived up to expectations.
In recent years, however, the availability of fast, affordable fibre internet connections together with a range of portable connected devices including smartphones and tablets, has meant that its time has come and demand for VoIP wholesale carrier services has taken off in a big way. It’s now possible to make calls at low cost to almost anywhere in the world, provided that you have an internet connection. You can, therefore, bypass the costly international roaming charges of your mobile provider by having a VoIP app on your smartphone.
The advantages of this for businesses that rely heavily on voice communication are huge, but it’s important to understand how the wholesale carrier market works for VoIP and what advantages it has to offer.
The VoIP wholesale carrier space
In most countries, only a small number of major players deliver international calls. In the past this has been something of an oligarchy, leaving you at the mercy of their charging scales. With the rise of VoIP technology, however, there are now a number of VoIP wholesale carrier providers that effectively act as middlemen between the customer and international call providers, allowing them to offer lower rates. The technology means that they can constantly reroute traffic to take advantage of the most favourable rates between any two given locations.
Part of the reason for the growth in the popularity of wholesale carriers is that more and more businesses are now seeing the advantage s of VoIP in terms of cost savings and flexibility. This is particularly true for those reliant on mobile devices. Making calls over conventional mobile networks is costly, so using VoIP apps on mobile devices offers significant call cost savings for businesses.
Calls to overseas numbers have, historically, proved to be a revenue generator for mobile providers because they have been able to charge roaming fees. Although international initiatives from the ITCU and elsewhere have done much to equalise these and cut costs to the consumer, international calling can still be expensive. This is another key benefit of VoIP, leading to substantial reductions in the cost of calling overseas.
This applies particularly if you are needing to call numbers in less regulated markets. These include Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Local market conditions and the state of local technology can make roaming rates for these countries unpredictable. This is, in part, because mobile networks in these regions are still developing and operators will be seeking to recoup infrastructure costs through roaming charges.
If your business involves trading in these regions, then the advantages of VoIP are even greater than in other areas. The cost savings can be substantial.
The power of voice
While there have been a host of new communication methods adopted by business, including email and instant messaging, voice remains a key business tool. That means there is still likely to be significant potential for growth in the VoIP market over the next few years.
With VoIP now offering convenience and call quality to match traditional providers, there has been a significant shift towards the newer technology. Indeed even major telecoms players are now looking towards switching off their old PSTN networks in favour of VoIP.
VoIP also has other advantages. For example the ability to easily reroute calls to staff when they are out of the office and to allow people to make calls from a business number, even if they are on a personal, BYOD, mobile device.
For businesses still looking to make the switch, technologies such as SIP trunking can reduce the costs and risk of transition by allowing existing PABX equipment and handsets to be used to access VoIP services.
The scalability of VoIP is a major advantage too. If you need to increase your call capacity as your business expands – or to cope with seasonal spikes in demand – then you can do so without the need for additional investment in hardware. Indeed, you might choose to run your phone system entirely from the cloud and do away with the inconvenience and cost of on-site hardware. You can still have the benefits of features such as inbound direct dialling, automatic re-routing, voicemail, automated menu systems and all of the things you would expect from a sophisticated PABX.
VoIP frees you from being tied to geographical numbers too. This means that you can give customers in different parts of the country, or world, a local number to call, even though all of these may be routed to one central location for ease of management.