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Home > Business > Guide to Voip
guide to voip

The Guide to VoIP Internet Phone Service for Small Businesses

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What you don’t know about internet based phone services could hurt your business. You could end up paying too much, dealing with unnecessary infrastructure hassle and losing out on the features that can help your business operate effectively.

But this is an easy problem to fix. With this introduction to internet-based business telephone service, you’ll learn the essentials about what VoIP is, how different business phones compare and how to use VoIP to get a business advantage.

Get started with VoIP 101, a lesson in internet-based phone service.

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guide to voip infographic 2

What are your business phone service options?

Your business has three main categories of phone service to choose from:

Landline phone service is a traditional phone system where calls are transmitted over copper phone lines. Typically businesses also use an on-site PBX switch so employees each have an extension and calls can be transferred between those extensions.

Mobile phone service provides wireless connectivity via cell phones. While wireless phone service dominates personal phone lines, businesses find that using mobile phone plans for work can mean losing out on professional features, scalability tools and interconnection between staff.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is an internet based phone service. Even though telephone calls are transmitted over the internet, the behind the scenes technology still gives users the ability to make or receive phone calls from any other phone number. Voice over IP can give businesses similar functionality to a landline PBX with call transfer, call hold and extension dialing. Plus, with VoIP, users can access their work phone from any internet connection by using either a connected desk phone or a smartphone app.

How does the cost of VoIP compare?

As you may expect, both landline and mobile phone services can be very costly. For a business with several employees, the cost of phone service can add up quickly, and this overhead can make it more difficult to expand.

How much should your business expect to pay for phone service each year? Here are the average annual phone costs per user:

  • Landline PBX: $800 – $1,000
  • Mobile Phone Service: $720 – $960
  • VoIP: $300 – $480
  • VoIP from Ooma: Just $239 per year

The clear winner on price is Ooma Office business phone system. Its monthly cost is just $19.95 per user for unlimited local and long-distance calling in the U.S., plus unlimited calling with Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Ooma Office users can save up to 76 percent compared to a landline business phone. In running the calculations, we found a business with 15 employees could spend at least $11,000 less per year by using Ooma Office. It’s also less expensive than many other VoIP providers, and the calling plan has no contracts!

The savings are so impressive that 85 percent of new Ooma customers say their decision was driven by its low price. As Adam Henley from Axis Flight Systems puts it, “It sounds like I spent tons of money on a phone system.”

Use the Ooma Savings Calculator to see how much your small business could save on phone service.

How does VoIP affect workplace connectivity?

The type of business phone system you use can also affect how employees can communicate. Here’s how the phone systems compare:

Landline

Traditional business phones usually limit employees to making and receiving calls when they’re at their desk. This can mean employees easily become disconnected, whether they’re just down the hall at a meeting or traveling for a sales trip.

Mobile

If you go cell phone-only, businesses have two options on how to manage work calls. They could use a work-issued cell phone, meaning employees will carry around two devices to maintain workplace connectivity. This inevitably adds a level of chaos to communications. There can be instructions for which phone number to use when. Plus with multiple voicemail boxes to check, important messages could get lost in the shuffle.

The other option is for employees to use a personal cell phone for work tasks. This means work calls and personal calls would be jumbled together, and a personal phone number would be handed out to clients or listed on a website. This option can also add a level of risk for your business. If a client regularly connects with an employee via their personal phone number, that client may be lost if the employee leaves your company.

VoIP

Ooma Office helps you solve the connectivity issues of landline and mobile phone service. Workers have anywhere access. They can seamlessly go from using their desk phones when they’re in the office to using the Ooma Office mobile app when they’re away from their desks. No matter what device they’re using, the same calling features and connectivity tools are available.

Anywhere access can be a game-changer. You can make your business calls even if you’re stuck at the airport. You can give employees the freedom to work from home without the risk they’ll be out of the loop. You can even fully integrate remote workers into your staff so that, for example, an incoming call to your HQ in Indianapolis can be transferred to a technician who lives in Dallas.

With this flexible approach to connectivity, your business can maintain a high degree of professionalism. You may see fewer incoming calls go to voicemail since employees won’t need to be at their desks in order to answer. You can also avoid the confusion of multiple phone numbers.

Which type of phone service is easiest to use?

The longer you spend installing your phone system and figuring out how to use it, the less time you’ll have to make business calls. Not only does an easy-to-use phone service make life better, but it’s also a good business decision. Here’s how the three phone types compare on ease of use:

Landline phones are hardwired. This can mean that to add a new employee, you’ll have to add a new phone jack next to a wall outlet. Plus, to change your office configuration, you could have to update your wall jacks or run very long wires along the wall, both of which can be a hassle. Moreover, if your business uses landline phone service, your provider would likely be a traditional telecom provider. These companies are commonly making headlines for having the worst customer service and being some of the most hated companies in the country.

Mobile phone service can be easy enough to deploy. However, your customers would bear the brunt of the inconvenience during everyday use. Instead of being transferred within your business, they would have to hang up and dial another number. Not only does this add complication, but you could lose out on sales if there isn’t follow-through.

VoIP is often an easy-to-deploy solution. Internet service is widely available, so you probably already have the infrastructure in place for internet-connected desk phones and for using the mobile app with Wi-Fi.

In particular, Ooma VoIP is known for plug-and-play installation, simple configuration and straightforward administration. Plus, users have the hardware flexibility to use either IP phones or analog phones.

In their review of Ooma Office, the editors of PC Magazine said: “Easy to set up and manage for those with limited telecommunications experience. Easy to use. Good online documentation. 24×7 support.”

What VoIP phone features are available?

IP plans commonly include the VoIP phone features you have to pay extra for with other plans. In combination with lower per-user phone costs, this means businesses using VoIP systems can get more while paying less.

The features included with Ooma Office are particularly notable — professional calling tools, free add-ons and high-tech features all let you customize your business internet phone service to suit your needs. Included is a free toll-free number, virtual receptionist to automate call routing, conference bridge, call blocking, voicemail audio to email, a main business number, a unique phone number for each user, electronic fax, ring groups and so much more.

Choosing the best VoIP

For the past eight years, Ooma Office has been named the #1 VoIP service in PC Magazine’s Business Choice Awards. It beats the competition on overall satisfaction, reliability, call quality, setup, management and likelihood to recommend.

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Learn more about how Ooma’s small business phone system can help you

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Business Phone Plans

All three Ooma Office plans begin with more than 50 essential business phone features that empower you to connect seamlessly with customers and co-workers. If your business requires advanced communication features, get more with Ooma Office Pro and Ooma Office Pro Plus.

All Ooma plans come with:
Real time customer support
Fast internet calling
Easy phone management
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Ooma 2602 IP Phone Product Image
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Ooma 2602

2-line phone with 5-way
voice conferencing.
BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE

https://office.ooma.com/signupv3?source=ooma&country=US&cart_skus=3397:1;3392:1;69:1&num_users=1&offer=2X2602
$59.99
Save: $60
Ooma 2603 IP Phone Product Image
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Ooma 2603P

Features advanced HD audio, noise reduction, 5-way conferencing.
BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE

https://office.ooma.com/signupv3?source=ooma&country=US&cart_skus=3429:1;3424:1;69:1&num_users=1&offer=2X2603
$79.99
Save: $80
Ooma T34W Wifi IP Phone Product Image
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Yealink T34W

Features high-performance Wi-Fi & HD audio, supports USB headsets, 5-way conferencing.

https://office.ooma.com/signupv3?source=ooma&country=US&cart_skus=4870:1&num_users=1&offer=NXT34W
$119.99
Ooma T31W Wifi IP Phone Product Image
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Yealink T31W

Features flexible Wi-Fi comms with smart noise filter, 5-way conferencing.

https://office.ooma.com/signupv3?source=ooma&country=US&cart_skus=4852:1&num_users=1&offer=NXT31W
$79.99
Ooma 2670W Phone Product Image
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Ooma 2670W

Features superior sound, multi-line, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen, 12 lines.

https://office.ooma.com/signupv3?source=ooma&country=US&cart_skus=3504:1&num_users=1&offer=NX2670W
$199.99
Save: $50

Subtotals

Hardware: $0.00
One-time activation fee: $49.95
Due today (plus taxes) : $49.95
Your monthly fee, for users: $
Recommended

Essentials

$19.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
  • Essentials includes:
  • 50+ Standard Features
  • Unlimited Calling in US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Mobile App
  • 50+ Standard Features, and the features you’re interested in:
  • Also
Most Popular

Pro

$24.95

Per User / Per Month
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  • Everything in Essentials
  • Desktop App
  • Text Messaging
    up to 250 per month Need more messages? Contact Sales for complementary quote. 877-353-5185
  • Videoconferencing
    (up to 25 participants)
  • Call Recording
  • Everything in Essentials, and the features you’re interested in:
  • Also
  • And More!
Best Value

Pro Plus

$29.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
  • Everything in Pro
  • CRM Integration
  • Text Messaging
    up to 1000 per month Need more messages? Contact Sales for complementary quote. 877-353-5185
  • Videoconferencing
    (up to 100 participants)
  • Team Chat
  • Hot Desking
  • Call Queuing
  • Everything in Pro, and the features you’re interested in:
  • Also
  • And More!
Most Popular Best Value

Essentials

$19.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary

Pro

$24.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary

Pro Plus

$29.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
50+ Standard Features
Virtual receptionist
Ring groups
Music on hold
One Toll-free Number
Digital Fax
Mobile App
Email Audio Attachments
Desktop App
Videoconferencing
Call Recording
Enhanced Call Blocking
Voicemail transcription
Caller Info Match
Dynamic Caller ID
Google and Office 365 Integrations
Call Analytics
Call Queuing
Salesforce Integration
Hot Desking
Find Me, Follow Me
Included

Essentials

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Call Management Features
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Call Park
  • Desktop App (without calling)
  • Ring Groups
  • Music on Hold
  • Transfer Music
  • Extension Dialing
  • Extension Monitoring
  • Call Forwarding
  • Virtual Extensions
  • Voicemail
  • Call Transfer
  • Flexible Numbering
  • Company Directory
  • Call Logs
  • One Conference Bridge per User
  • Forward Calls During Device Outages
  • Virtual Fax
  • Distinctive Ringtones
  • 3-Way Calling
  • 3-Digit Extensions
  • 7-Digit Dialing
  • Call Blocking
  • Intercom
  • Overhead Paging Support
  • Paging Groups
  • IP Phone Paging
Setup
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  • Analog Fax Machine Support
Mobility Features
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Calling Features
  • Unlimited Calling in U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico
  • Low international rates
  • 911 Service
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Pro

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  • Text Messaging (up to 250 per month) Need more messages? Contact Sales for complementary quote. 877-353-5185
  • Everything in Essentials
  • Desktop App
  • Text Messaging
  • Videoconferencing (up to 25 participants)
  • Call Recording
  • Enhanced Call Blocking
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Caller Info Match
  • Dynamic Caller ID
  • Microsoft Office 365 and Google Integration
  • Contact Us Website Widget
  • Analytics
  • Analytics User Leaderboard

Pro Plus

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  • Everything in Pro
  • Advanced Text Messaging
  • Call Queues
  • CRM Integration
  • Videoconferencing (up to 100 participants)
  • Ooma Meetings Recording
  • Team Chat
  • Advanced Call Management
  • Hot Desking
  • Find Me, Follow Me
  • Digital Call Deflection
  • Call Screening
  • Auto Dialer

What features are you interested in?






Recommended

Essentials

$19.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
  • Essentials includes:
  • 50+ Standard Features
  • Unlimited Calling in US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Mobile App
  • 50+ Standard Features, and the features you’re interested in:
  • Also
Most Popular

Pro

$24.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
  • Everything in Essentials
  • Desktop App
  • Text Messaging
    up to 250 per month Need more messages? Contact Sales for complementary quote. 877-353-5185
  • Videoconferencing
    (up to 25 participants)
  • Call Recording
  • Everything in Essentials, and the features you’re interested in:
  • Also
  • And More!
Best Value

Pro Plus

$29.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
  • Everything in Pro
  • CRM Integration
  • Text Messaging
    up to 1000 per month Need more messages? Contact Sales for complementary quote. 877-353-5185
  • Videoconferencing
    (up to 100 participants)
  • Team Chat
  • Hot Desking
  • Call Queuing
  • Everything in Pro, and the features you’re interested in:
  • Also
  • And More!
Most Popular Best Value

Essentials

$19.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary

Pro

$24.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary

Pro Plus

$29.95

Per User / Per Month
No Contract Necessary
50+ Standard Features
Virtual receptionist
Ring groups
Music on hold
One Toll-free Number
Digital Fax
Mobile App
Email Audio Attachments
Desktop App
Videoconferencing
Call Recording
Enhanced Call Blocking
Voicemail transcription
Caller Info Match
Dynamic Caller ID
Google and Office 365 Integrations
Call Analytics
Call Queuing
Salesforce Integration
Hot Desking
Find Me, Follow Me
Included
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Ooma Office Essentials Ooma Office Pro Ooma Office Pro Plus
Subscription Plans
Price per User /Per Month (No Contract Necessary)

$19.95

$24.95

$29.95

Key Calling Features
Unlimited Calling in U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico
Low International Rates
911 Service
FREE Number Transfer
One FREE Toll-Free Number 500 minutes of inbound calls per month 500 minutes of inbound calls per month 500 minutes of inbound calls per month
Main Company Number
One Direct-Dial Number Per User
Easy Installation
Administration and Support
User Management Portal
Multi-site Admin and Management
Bulk CSV Upload for IP Phones
24×7 Customer Support
Call Management Features
Virtual Receptionist
Virtual Receptionist with Unique Greetings, Menus and Actions
Analog Fax Machine Support
Call Park
Call Park for Desktop App
Music On Hold
Transfer Music
Extension Dialing
Extension Monitoring
Call Forwarding
Virtual Extensions
Voicemail
Call Transfer
Flexible Numbering
Company Directory
Call Logs
One Conference Bridge per User
Forward Calls During Device Outages
Virtual Fax
Distinctive Ringtones
3-Way Calling
3-Digit Extensions
7-Digit Dialing
Call Blocking
Intercom
Overhead Paging
Paging Groups
IP Phone Paging
Enhanced Call Blocking
Voicemail Transcription
Call Recording
Dynamic Caller ID
Hot Desking
Find Me, Follow Me
Shared Voicemail Boxes
Call Screening
Mobility Features
Desktop App for Windows Yes (without calling)
Desktop App for Mac Yes (without calling)
Desktop App for Google Chrome Yes (without calling)
Mobile App for iOS
Mobile App for Android
Simultaneous Ring
Voicemail-to-Email Audio Files
Extension Dialing to App
Call Transfer from App
Call Flip
Virtual Fax
Team Collaboration
Conference Calling Up to 10 participants Up to 25 participants Up to 100 participants
Videoconferencing Up to 25 participants Up to 100 participants
Microsoft Office 365 Calendar Integration
Google Calendar Integration
Simultaneous Screen Sharing
Videoconferencing Recording
Online Whiteboarding
Team Chat
Team Presence
Text Messaging
Text Messaging 250 messages per month 1,000 messages per month
Bulk SMS Packages Call us at 866-343-7929 for Quote Call us at 866-343-7929 for Quote
Scheduled Messages
Messaging Templates
One-to-Many Messaging
Customer Engagement
Ring Groups
Caller Info Match
Call Queuing
Contact Us Website Widget
Online Bookings
Digital Call Deflection
Auto Dialer
Integrations
Salesforce
Microsoft Dynamics
Zoho
Freshdesk
NexHealth
Clio
AgencyZoom
HubSpot
Square
Jobber
Analytics
Call Analytics
Call Leaderboards
Message Analytics
Fax Analytics