How to choose the right VoIP package for your business

Picking the right VoIP package is essential to making sure you receive the most out of your VoIP solution.

Of course, selecting a suitable VoIP service provider is the first step to finding a reliable VoIP solution and VoIP package that aligns with your needs.

Let’s discuss what you need to look out for when selecting a VoIP package for your business.

Table of contents

What is a VoIP package?

A VoIP package is a term to describe a VoIP solution for your business. This can include the internet connection, hardware or software, and other related peripheral products and services as needed to facilitate voice calls.

VoIP packages are tailored around factors including different budgets, the number of extensions you require, usage patterns, connection speed, installation, support services and more.

With these factors in mind, we provide steps to follow to make sure you are choosing a VoIP package that meets your business communication needs.

What is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and refers to transferring voice data over an internet connection. VoIP mitigates the need for analog telephone lines in South Africa Telkom would be the incumbent provider of analog lines that would come to mind for most people. .

The advent of VoIP has offered individuals and businesses many benefits and is the technology that allows voice and video calls to take place on popular applications like Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and more.

Read on to find out more about selecting the right VoIP package for your business.

Steps to help you choose the right VoIP package for your business

Let’s discuss the main factors to consider when picking the right VoIP package for your business.

The type of VoIP package you choose will depend on your needs including aspects such as extensions, concurrent calls, budget, call quality and more.

It will also take into account your network connection and coverage as well as the landscape of your existing phone system and be affected by the phone system (like a Cloud PBX, or on-premise IP system) that you wish to install.

Let’s dive into the specifics below.

1. Evaluate your network connectivity before setting up a VoIP service

Before a VoIP solution is put in place, a business will need to assess the type of internet connectivity it has in place as that will act as the backbone of a VoIP system.

Fibre or LTE are the two most common and widely used types of network connections associated with VoIP systems.

Fibre lines are preferable when setting up a VoIP connection, however, in areas where fibre is not yet available or when time is an important factor, LTE connections can be used (at least a 4G connection required). Often providers can assist with a short term LTE connection as an interim solution, this allows the system to be set up and run while awaiting the physical installation of the fibre on site.

VoIP over Fibre

With VoIP over Fibre, your VoIP system can be integrated into your business relatively easily.

However, you will need to consider your local network speed and how it aligns with your volume of concurrent calls and desired call quality.

In some cases, upgrading your broadband line speed (or a number of lines) may be recommended to improve call quality and account for the needs of your expected number of users.

Utilising a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) may also be recommended to separate voice data from other types of data submitted over your Fibre and LAN cable network. This helps improve call quality, reliability and management of higher volumes of concurrent calls. VLANs are easily created using what is known as managed network switches.

VoIP over LTE

With VoIP over LTE, a strong and reliable 4G coverage needs to be present in your area to facilitate excellent call quality, manage your concurrent call volume, and the number of extensions and ensure that you get the most out of your VoIP solution.

LAN cable

2. Assess your phone system setup and installation fees

VoIP packages can be used across different types of VoIP systems, such as hosted PBX or on-premise PBX systems that are IP VoIP enabled. Set-up fees for VoIP packages may vary depending on the type of phone system you have or plan to set up.

Your VoIP package needs to align with the demands of your phone system and its capabilities, whether it’s an existing or new business phone system.

Cloud-based VoIP PBX systems

With completely cloud based PBX systems calls are managed using a dedicated software solution, and setup fees tend to be quite inexpensive. In this case, the main costs may lie in handsets or peripherals, and the number of extensions you require.

Hybrid VoIP systems

Alternatively, if you are converting an on-premise PBX system and hardware to support VoIP this may require a more custom installation. Depending on the brand of hardware you currently use, you may also need to factor in the cost of license agreements from the hardware provider to allow your phone system to integrate with the VoIP connection. This is often called a SIP trunk license.

Type of network connection

Network connectivity is important, and there might be setup costs to ensure a reliable connection that meets your needs. With a VoIP over Fibre solution this might be routers, network switches, cabling and handsets, and with a VoIP LTE solution this may be the SIM cards and various types of IP phones. These do have ongoing costs but they are typically far cheaper than the traditional analog options previously available to the market.

3. Keep your expected volume of users and concurrent calls in mind

Network speed and reliability need to be considered alongside the number of extensions you plan to use and your usage patterns. This includes looking at the number of concurrent calls and overall call volume to ensure that you receive optimal call quality and reliability.

Calls made using VoIP lines compete for the same bandwidth that your network connection offers. We usually recommend only using up to 4 concurrent extensions per phone line, however, a maximum of 8 extensions can be connected to each line if call volumes are low. A simple rule of thumb is to divide employees using the phone system by 4 to get an estimate of how many “lines” are required.

VoIP packages will typically be based on your usage patterns and the number of extensions a business plans to use. Lite or standard VoIP packages can meet the communication demands of a wide range of businesses. As a bonus, these packages can be easily scaled up or down to match your custom demands.

call center agents

4. Factor in your budget constraints and the way usage is billed

Consider your own budget constraints, and the type of package you can afford and how it aligns with your needs.

Hardware and peripherals

The cost of a VoIP package is significantly influenced by the cost of installing new hardware (from cabling, network switches and routers, to handsets and other peripherals) to support your call management demands.

In some cases, an existing system can be converted into a VoIP-enabled system, which can vary in cost on a case-to-case basis due to factors such as license agreements with phone system suppliers/brands and compatibility. This may make it more cost-effective to purchase a new system or opt for software-based VoIP phones.

Billing for talk time

The basis on which your VoIP provider bills for usage is also important. Some providers may rely on per-minute billing for calls, whereas others offer per-second billing – the latter can provide significant cost savings.

Providers may also bill higher rates for international calls as compared to local calls, however, some VoIP providers do not make this distinction and have packages that include unlimited calling.

5. Assess whether a package has fixed or flexible contract terms

VoIP packages vary and offer different benefits for businesses.

One example of this is the way in which some providers approach contracts associated with their VoIP packages.

Consider the contract term on offer – some providers offer fixed term (12/24 month) contracts whereas other VoIP packages are available on a month-to-month basis. A month-to-month contract provides businesses with greater flexibility and the ability to switch to another provider and package if their expectations aren’t being met.

When including hardware rentals in your VoIP package (such as routers, phones, and other paraphernalia) contracts spanning 12-24 months are common, offering you the benefit of spreading out upfront costs over a longer period to preserve cash flow. While longer-term deals may be desirable as they may bring down initial hardware costs, they can present a few headaches if an excellent level of service isn’t being maintained, and you need to switch to another provider.

Man signing a contract

6. Check whether the VoIP package provides a best-effort or managed service

With any business phone system, support services matter.

With VoIP, the majority of maintenance is performed remotely. Sometimes support is required on-site when hybrid VoIP PBX systems are involved.

Factors such as whether your package and provider have a dedicated remote support team, fast turnaround times, certified on-site technicians and the cost of callouts can be important depending on the nature of your phone system and desired VoIP solution.

VoIP packages may also include a best-effort service or managed service, and understanding the distinction is important when selecting a VoIP package.

A best-effort VoIP service is shared by other users, and there is no guarantee provided regarding the speed at which data is delivered or the quality of the data transmitted to a network.

A managed service is not shared by other users and therefore a continuous level of service can be provided to all users on a network.

7. Integrated Software

Software solutions that help your business manage its communication needs are essential.

VoIP software solutions provide businesses with a wide range of features and integrate with types of IP phones and peripherals, and may be compatible with CRMs or offer other benefits.

A VoIP package may include a software solution from your provider, or this may need to be considered separately.

We include our United Voice Classic extension with all of our VoIP packages, which offers a unified communication solution for businesses. It performs various features you would expect state-of-the-art phone systems to offer, while also integrating seamlessly with CRMs, providing analytics, real-time and historical reporting, and much more.

Final thoughts on picking the right VoIP package for your business

Although there are many VoIP packages from many different providers to choose from there are a few essential aspects to keep in mind to make this decision much easier.

In summary, it’s important to consider:

  • Your network connectivity & network related infrastructure
  • The capabilities of a current or new VoIP-enabled phone system
  • Volume of users and concurrent calls
  • Your budget constraints and a provider’s billing
  • The terms of your contract: flexible or fixed
  • Level of service
  • Integrated VoIP software solutions.

You can also read our post on how to choose the right VoIP provider in South Africa to make sure a service provider is up to scratch. And if you’re looking to learn more about VoIP and VoIP phone systems, you can explore our Ultimate Guide to VoIP Systems or our Ultimate Guide to Yeastar VoIP PBX Systems.

Discovering the benefits of VoIP lines vs Analog lines for your business may also be important to consider if you are trying to compare more traditional phone systems with future-facing VoIP systems.

We assist businesses across South Africa by providing fully customisable and personalised VoIP solutions with VoIP packages that suit the needs of small, medium and large businesses. If you’re considering switching to VoIP, contact us to get expert advice and find a solution that matches your needs. We’ll outline the benefits of VoIP and answer the popular question, “why use VoIP for business?“.

Got questions? Contact our experts today.

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We service the following locations in South Africa

Western Cape: Cape Town, Belville, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Vredendal, Hout Bay, Green Point, Bloubergstrand, Durbanville, Melkbosstrand.
Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth, Knysna, East London, George.
Kwa-Zulu Natal: Durban, Pinetown, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Ballito, Port Shepstone, Pietermaritzburg, Umhlanga, Westville, Hillcrest, Amanzimtoti.
Gauteng: Johannesburg, Vereeniging/Vaal, Sandton, Midrand, Pretoria, Centurion, Randburg, Roodepoort, Germiston, Alberton, Edenvale, Menlo Park.
Free State: Bloemfontein, Welkom, Bethlehem.
Mpumalanga: Witbank, Nelspruit.
Northern Cape: De Aar, Kimberley, Repra (Upington Area).
North West: Klerksdorp, Mafikeng.
Limpopo: Phalaborwa, Polokwane/Pietersburg.
Outside South Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique.

What Our Customers Say

“Once we approved the installations we were kept up to date daily with the levels of progress on our various sites and were very impressed with the final installation”

Spear Properties

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