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How to Choose a VoIP Provider

This article was updated on December 30, 2023

Choosing a VoIP provider for your small business is a matter of understanding your current and future needs, then comparing the costs. In addition, remote work, security, uptime, and available integrations with other software might be key considerations for your business. Use this guide and the included list to find the right VoIP provider for you.

Photo of a business man at home, talking on his cellphone. He is holding a sleeping infant over his shoulder.

Sifting Through VoIP Business Phone Systems

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has grown exponentially since 2010. In the United States alone, over 35 million business VoIP lines were added in the years between 2010 and 2018, according to Statista. Additional adoption of VoIP business phone systems is projected to continue into 2025 and beyond.

All these statistics are impressive, but what do they mean for you as a small business owner or employee, especially as the workforce has become more remote or hybrid? This data shows us that VoIP phone service is a crowded and growing market, where choosing the right provider makes the difference between quality, reliable calls, and wishing you had stuck with your old landline.

If you’re among the many businesses looking to increase savings and call quality through a shift to VoIP, here’s what you need to know about choosing a provider.

Do VoIP Phones Need a Provider? 

Yes, if you want to make and receive external calls, your VoIP phone system needs a provider. VoIP service providers deliver the infrastructure and sophisticated algorithms that host your calls and route the data to the right receiver. They make it possible for your call, text, or video call to leave your internal internet service and reach someone out in the world, whether they have a VoIP phone or a traditional phone.

How Do I Choose a VoIP Provider?

As you evaluate and compare VoIP providers for small business, use this list to help guide your decision.

Part 1: Define Your VoIP Needs

  • Determine how often phone calls are being made and received.

  • Identify which teams and/or employees are making and receiving calls  — and from where.

  • Track and document what parts of the customer experience rely on your phone system.

  • Understand the pain points and problems with the current phone system.

  • Make note of any other apps you use along with the phone system, like Salesforce, Slack, Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Part 2: Analyze (and Set) Your Budget

  • Evaluate what you are currently spending for phone service, including long-distance calls.

  • Include costs you are currently paying for services like video meetings, an answering service, fax, and multiple phone lines, which can all be integrated into your VoIP plan.

  • Set a goal for how much you would like all these costs to go down — it might not be possible, but it’s great to go in with an idea of how much you want or need to save.

Part 3: Perform Research and Comparison

  • Find out whether your current internet connection is sufficient for the VoIP solution you need.

  • Read customer reviews and case studies to learn if the VoIP providers you are considering have a good reputation.

  • Focus on the details, like whether the apps you need will be integrated and whether you can keep devices you already have.

  • Get quotes from a few different providers to compare pricing for available and included features.

Choosing a VoiP provider doesn’t seem like a life-altering decision, but as a decision that can save your business money while also impacting your reputation and customer experience, it just might be. With this checklist complete, you’ll have a good idea of which VoIP providers make the short list. But before making the final decision you might also want to evaluate how the VoIP provider will be able to grow with your business and support you in the future.

Which Are the Most Popular VoIP Services?

In the realm of VoIP, select providers such as Vonage have made the migration from simple telephone service into unified communications as a service (UCaaS). This means your phone system comes with a suite of services and features that go beyond audio connectivity. Some of these will be included with your monthly fees, while others are add-ons you can select now or in the future as your business grows. Here are some of the most popular UCaaS services and features you can explore as you make this important decision.

  • Admin portal: A VoIP administrator portal makes it easy for you to manage, add, and remove numbers, as well as upgrade services with a transparent understanding of the costs.

  • Mobile and desktop apps: Apps allow users to install the VoIP system on their computer, tablet, or even cell phone. This allows your work number identity and your personal cell phone number to exist on the same device without crossover.

  • Auto attendant: Set up a virtual receptionist to route incoming calls to the right team or individual, including an integration with each daily business schedule.

These are just some of the basic VoIP services and features that you should look for in a provider. Explore Vonage's full catalog of included features and paid add-ons. And check out  our plans, pricing, and terms and conditions as part of your research process.

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