For most people, a telephone is a telephone. Regardless as to the technology behind it, whether a public switching telephone network or an IP network, provided that it makes the call, it’s a phone.
There is nothing wrong with this sort of thinking, but it leaves some people wondering what the point of VoIP technology really is. After all, they can, apparently, make phone calls without it. The truth is that many people in many situations have used VoIP without realising it at all, often through wholesale voice termination, such as that provided by IDT. But what is wholesale voice termination, and when would most people have used it?
Wholesale Voice Termination
Voice termination in telephony refers to the act of connecting a call. You place a call on whichever network and at the other end, the same or a different carrier terminates the call at the destination. This end-to- end termination is provided by one or a number of carriers, broken up into different tiers, depending on their size. Tier 1 represents the largest carriers, with Tier 3 being small specialist carriers.
Instead of operating a network, wholesalers buy time on a wide variety of networks, repackaging the minutes to provide them to smaller entities. Wholesale voice termination providers buy in such bulk that they can get the best possible prices from carriers, allowing them to resell the minutes at extremely competitive prices to businesses or individuals.
Have You Been Using Wholesale Termination All Along?
If a business you work for uses VoIP, there is a good chance that you have used wholesale voice termination minutes, which may well have been provided by IDT. Many businesses opt for wholesale solutions instead of a traditional telephony provider, as this allows them to pay competitive rates based precisely upon the service they use. This is far more attractive than traditional approach wherein they pay a fixed price per month, possibly with penalty charges for exceeding pre-contracted call time.
Even if your place of work doesn’t use VoIP, there is a good chance you have used some wholesale minutes through a very different means: a phone card. Many prepaid phone cards (especially the increasingly popular cheap long distance cards where you dial a number prior to placing your call) offer low rates by connecting you to a VoIP network and then placing your call using their wholesale minutes.
This allows you to pay your local rate plus their minutes rate, which is routinely far below the ‘traditional’ telephone long distance rate. This means that everyone, except perhaps the traditional PSTN providers, wins.
So even without realising it, there is a very good chance that you have used wholesale voice termination at some point. The fact that you couldn’t tell at any point is a testament to VoIP technology and the efficacy of the wholesale providers. Gone are the days of VoIP producing low quality calls with noticeable delays. While wholesalers may never end up providing VoIP services to individuals, there is no doubt that they will continue to thrive in providing enterprise solutions.