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Learn / Blog

How VoIP Calls Are Charged

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|  4 min
IDT
In this article

One of the many attractions of using a VoIP solution is the substantial cost reductions it can deliver on communications, particularly for businesses. Commercial enterprises can benefit from significant savings in the costs of telephony, particularly if the business is trading internationally. There are many other perks that come with a VoIP service too, including lack of hardware to maintain, easy scaling to match demand and functionality such as video conferencing or adding dedicated lines for important clients. 

The importance of voice termination

The savings that come from using VoIP are found in a number of sources. These include obviating the need to buy a lot of expensive equipment or pay for engineers to install or maintain it; no hidden charges or service fees; and the general ease of managing a VoIP platform from a website. 

However, to get the best savings it is important to use a VoIP provider such as IDT which offers competitive voice termination rates. If a business is calling developing countries frequently and the calls are terminating at landlines or mobile handsets, then the telecoms providers in that country tend to see this as a way of raising revenues. A VoIP provider with an extensive global network will have arrangements with telecoms providers all over the world so there are never any nasty surprises, regardless as to which country or what kind of number you may be calling. 

How it works

Traditional calls over landlines require physical networks to make their connections. These are expensive and require maintenance. VoIP, however, takes advantage of an existing data network – the internet. In the majority of cases, the client’s internet connection is already paid for, so calls made from one user of the internet to another user will not have an associated incremental cost. 

A large number of VoIP calls are thus free because they are simply an exchange of data through connections that already exist and are paid for. If calls terminate in a landline or mobile, then changes may apply, but they will still be far lower than conventional landline connections and with a VoIP provider that offers competitive rates, these changes will be fairly minimal. 

Businesses versus consumers

VoIP charges for domestic consumers and businesses can be slightly different. A VoIP service to a suburban household may not require the varied features and security provisions that a VoIP system for a large corporate organisation might need. 

With a corporate package, some of the charges may relate to services such as video conferencing or dedicated customer lines, which are not features the average domestic household would require. 

One model for domestic VoIP bills consists of a general plan which includes a charge for providing the service, together with a charge that relates to a certain number of calling minutes for that month. If that total is exceeded, then there may be additional charges related to those extra minutes, which may be determined by when the calls are made, and to what kind of numbers. Another common form of plan for VoIP is one in which there can be unlimited minutes for domestic calls to nominated numbers or to preselected countries. This can be a useful plan for those who frequently call relatives who reside in another nation. 

Another method of charging involves setting out a standard cost for consumers using the system and the associated equipment but with no charges relating to the calls made as they are covered by the monthly charge. 

For businesses, there are generally two types of payment plans: a charge for an unlimited number of calls, or a system where clients pay as they go. The latter may suit enterprises with a low volume of calls each month, whereas a company that operates call centres or has salespeople constantly calling customers may be better suited to an unlimited call plan. 

Some VoIP providers may offer a system wherein the charge is calculated based on the number of people using it. This may be a good option for a small business employing five people but is less attractive for a larger company where hundreds are on staff. 

Other types of plans tend to relate to tiered features. Using the most basic tier with limited features may be a lot cheaper than selected the top tier in which an array of messaging, security, video and data options are included. Again it depends to some extent on what kind of business is using the service. Some businesses fully exploit all of the features VoIP can offer, whereas others simply need to make calls. 

Why not contact the expert team here at IDT for further information on plans and options or to discuss your current and planned communication requirements. 

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