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Voice Termination and Origin – What’s the Difference?

|  4 min
In this article

Termination and call origination are both vital elements of a rounded telecommunication system. But what exactly are they, and how do they differ?


Essentially, origination is the name given to incoming calling. It sounds as though it should be the opposite because you are not, as the user, originating the call. It is so-called because it refers to the handling of the original call and then its delivery to you by a service provider. Because your phone number is held by your provider, they handle the incoming call and then route it on to you. You will need an allocated phone number in order to receive origination service.

When it comes to choosing an origination provider, it’s worth considering the following:


Although price is clearly a factor, it should not be the main one. The real measure is value. There are so many service providers nowadays that there shouldn’t be a huge difference in price anyway. You want to pick the provider that offers the best service overall at a reasonable cost. Value is almost a ratio of service quality divided by cost. You want to opt for a VoIP provider such as IDT, we give the best quality calls, good customer service and reliability. So, before you sign on the dotted line, assess the quality of the calls, listen to the audio, and check the equipment is suitable.


These will vary from provider to provider, however you will want to ensure that some core functions are included. E911 is essential for safety reasons, whilst Caller-ID Name (CNAM) storage/lookup are both very important for businesses as they have been shown to help improve answer rates and encourage customer loyalty. Toll-free numbers aren’t offered by all providers but do have the advantage of making it simpler/cheaper for customers to get in touch.


You’ll want to opt for an origination provider that enables you to create backup routing so that in the event of your primary system going offline (for whatever reason), calls will still get through, and it will seem like business as usual to your customers.


You don’t want to have to worry about the level of access or control you have over your account services/options. Make sure that the option you pick gives you the level and type of control that you need. Find out how exactly calls are delivered to you, and if there are ways that you can route/manage calls.


You want your package to be easily adjustable to suit your needs. For example, you want to be able to add or drop numbers using just a few clicks.

Voice termination

This is the act of delivering the outbound call to the number dialled. Unlike origination, you don’t have to have a phone number in order to terminate (send) calls.

When it comes to choosing a termination provider, the following should be considered:


Again, value for money should be the number one consideration, and again prices should not differ that significantly due to the competitive nature of the market. Your termination provider pays for a service and re-bills you with a mark-up. The quality of the carriers that your provider uses to route calls from outside its own network has a significant impact on the audio quality of your calls.


You want to be sure that your provider has a number of reliable routes available so that if their main option fails, the call won’t be lost and can still come through on a backup route.


The risk of outbound toll fraud should not be underestimated. Therefore you should opt for a provider that is able to offer comprehensive security including customisable restrictions, IP authentication, rate and destination restrictions.

Despite both elements using a phone/receiver, making and receiving telephone calls are actually two distinct unconnected services. Because of this, your VoIP origination provider does not have to be your VoIP termination provider.

Advantages of using a single provider

The main reason for going with a single provider for all your VOIP needs is the ease of billing and ‘joined-up’ account management. A single voice termination provider may also mean more standardised equipment and procedures than you would get if opting for two separate providers.

Advantages of using different providers for each

The main upside of using multiple providers is to deal with possible redundancy. When systems go down, it is often either the termination or origination that goes off-line, as opposed to both at once. Having multiple providers configured means that if your primary connection fails, you can switch/swap out quickly. Single providers rarely, if ever, have a worldwide infrastructure. This means that having one for origin and one for termination may make sense in some circumstances.

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