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What Is a VoIP Number, How Does It Work, and Why Might It Help Your Business?

Would you like more flexibility with your business phone system? Want to make calls from anywhere and on any device? Would you like to integrate your telecoms system with your CRM, other customer data, and more? A VoIP phone number (also known as an IP phone number) and the kind of phone system they come as part of could be the answer. They allow businesses to make and receive phone calls over the internet, using any internet-enabled device. 


VoIP-based systems are fast, flexible, and future-proof. Want to know more? Then let’s take a look at what VoIP numbers are, how they work, and why they might be a great idea for your business.

Illustration of a computer keyboard and monitor. On the monitor screen are a row of stars representing a 10-digit phone number


What Is a VoIP Number?

VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol”. A VoIP phone system provides you with a virtual number that allows you to make phone calls over the internet without a landline — that’s what a VoIP number is.

VoIP is fast becoming the go-to telecommunications technology for forward-facing businesses. It offers future-proof flexibility, security, and a host of unique features that landline systems simply can’t compete with.

VoIP-based platforms like Vonage Business Communications are typically cloud-hosted, meaning their services can be used from anywhere and on any device so long as there’s an internet connection.

Let’s take a closer look at the technology.

How Does VoIP Work?

VoIP works by turning your voice into a digital signal and sending it over the internet to the person or people you’re calling. 

You can use it to contact other VoIP services as well as landline telephones. If your VoIP call goes through to a landline, the digital signal is seamlessly converted to a regular phone signal. The experience for the landline user is no different from talking to another landline caller. 

You can use VoIP services on computers or any other internet-enabled device that’s compatible with your VoIP provider’s platform. Or, you can still use a traditional desk phone, if you fit an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA).

Key Differences Between VoIP Numbers and Landlines

So, how do VoIP systems differ from traditional phone lines? Let’s examine the VoIP vs. landline debate.

VoIP Numbers Can Be Used From Anywhere With an Internet Connection

To use a traditional landline, you need a dedicated line connected via the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). This relies on physical copper wires being fed through buildings and into landline phones.

This sort of setup restricts you to certain locations when making phone calls. Depending on when you’re allowed (or able) to access your office building, it can also restrict calls to certain times of the day. 

VoIP systems, on the other hand, can be used anywhere with an internet connection. While the quality of your call will depend on the quality of this connection, you can make calls from pretty much anywhere without having to rely on a landline. This gives you a lot more flexibility.

VoIP Can Be Used on Any Device

Landlines need to be plugged into the PSTN. This means calls can only be received on devices that are attached to a landline at any given moment.

VoIP services, however, operate via accounts rather than specific devices. So, as long as you can use the device in question to access your VoIP account, you can make a call from any internet-enabled tech. 

As VoIP services like those provided by Vonage are hosted in the cloud, this means you can pick up and make calls anytime you log in, no matter where you are or what kind of device you’re using. 

Vonage apps are compatible with a wide selection of tech, so you can use it with all the best devices and operating systems out there.

Landline Services Are Being Phased Out

In August 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deregulated copper landlines. This means US telecom companies are no longer required to provide POTS (“Plain Old Telephone Service”) landlines to customers. 

Many telecom companies, including AT&T (the largest telecom provider in the USA), have responded by replacing old copper wires with internet-carrying fiber. 

This move follows decades of declining landline usage. According to the CDC’s biannual National Health Interview Survey, this decline measured almost 30% in less than a decade. Today, the majority of people use cell phones or other digital devices as their main means of communication and may not have a landline at all.

Other countries are moving even faster on this. For example, the UK intends to transition fully to VoIP from landlines by 2025. If you make a lot of international calls, it might be wise to move quickly on this issue.

So, essentially, one of the most important differences between VoIP and landlines is that the latter is not future-proof, whereas VoIP arguably represents a more modern telecom solution.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Communications Platform as a Service Report report
Vonage Named a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Communications Platform as a Service
Read about this recognition that positions Vonage in the Leaders Quadrant for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision and makes Vonage one of only two vendors recognized in all three Magic Quadrant reports – CPaaS, UCaaS, and CCaaS – in the cloud communications space.

VoIP Numbers Are Customizable

Also, landline numbers are intrinsically linked to their position in the network, whereas VoIP numbers can be customized.

For example, you can set your VoIP account up using a local number that will appear the same on caller ID no matter where someone is calling from. This means you could make sales calls during a business trip abroad and customers would still see a local number pop up on their caller ID. 

Why is this useful? Because people are more likely to answer an unknown caller if they’re using a local number. By choosing one for your VoIP account, you thus have the flexibility to make business calls from anywhere without any drop-off.

Business Benefits of Using VoIP Numbers

So, what are the business benefits of using a VoIP number?

It’s Easy to Set Up 

Setting up a VoIP number is simple — so simple it can often be done in under an hour.

The most complex things about setting up VoIP systems are making sure your broadband can cope with it (it should be able to, as a VoIP system isn’t a big drain on bandwidth) and training staff on using the new system.

Fortunately, Vonage Business Communications is easy and intuitive to learn, so even the training aspect is relatively quick and simple.

VoIP Comes With Plenty of Useful Additional Features

As it’s connected to the internet, it’s easy to turn a VoIP platform into a fully integrated communications system with plenty of useful features. 

For example, Vonage offers over 50 powerful features and add-ons that you wouldn’t get with a traditional landline, including:

  • Vonage Meetings, an intuitive video collaboration solution

  • An admin portal. Manage your whole telecoms system using this simple feature

  • Softphone. This allows you to make phone calls from your desktop computer and other devices

  • Apps. As well as plenty of smart, scalable features of their own, Vonage solutions integrate with popular business apps and platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack

  • Team messaging. Vonage’s team messaging feature is great for keeping teams connected on the go

  • Call routing. Vonage also offers a virtual receptionist to intelligently route customer calls for improved customer service

  • International numbers. Make it easy and cost-effective for overseas customers to get in touch without facing international call charges

VoIP Is Easy to Scale

Another upside — no matter how fast your business grows, VoIP systems can scale just as quickly. It’s incredibly easy to add new users and handsets to your system, and if you need fresh features, you can switch tiers in your provider plan to access more tools and capabilities instantly.

This is in stark contrast to the complicated and expensive process of scaling a system reliant on landlines. In that case, you may have to wire in extra phones or provide additional desk space. 

VoIP Telecoms Can Help Cut Business Expenses

VoIP telecoms can have a positive effect on several areas of business expenses too, including:

  • Hardware. Landline systems often require expensive hardware installation and maintenance. VoIP only needs an internet connection and compatible devices. So, rather than bringing in and assembling a whole network of hardware, a VoIP system can simply be installed on pre-existing devices and desktops.

  • Premises costs. Without the need for a landline, your business becomes a lot more flexible in terms of both the hours and locations within which you can conduct your work. Your employees no longer have to be tied to a certain place at certain times. Instead, they can work flexibly and remotely.

    In terms of cost, this means you might be able to downscale your premises if it suits you to do so. So, essentially, VoIP can enable you to cut overheads and move to a more flexible semi or fully remote model of working.

  • Lower (or no) cost per call. VoIP solutions typically offer a flat monthly rate, which usually works out cheaper than the cost-per-call landline model. The more calls you make, the cheaper it gets. Adding new users can also enhance savings, meaning you get better value for your money.

A VoIP Number Helps SMEs Compete with Larger Businesses

VoIP services are cost-effective, simple to set up, easy to learn, and highly scalable. All of this helps remove traditional barriers that have kept SMEs from competing with larger businesses.

With VoIP, SMEs gain easy access to the kind of slick, sophisticated, and flexible communications that have previously been reserved for wealthier companies. For example, with VoIP, small and medium businesses can make calls from and to anywhere, from any device, and at any time, making it easier to collaborate and sell internationally.

Providers like Vonage also offer integrated communication systems, with features including analytics, CRM integrations, and more. This allows SMEs to easily draw detailed insights from their comms. They can then use these to improve their approach to everything from customer service to marketing.

All in all, VoIP services offer SMEs access to sophisticated communications tech at a relatively low cost. This optimizes their comms in ways that can give them a real competitive edge.

Get a VoIP Number and Much More With Vonage

So, a VoIP number can:

  • Help your business to scale

  • Give flexibility to your employees and operations

  • Optimize your comms through specialized features and integrations

  • Reduce your costs

  • Make you more competitive

If this all sounds good to you, what are you waiting for? A VoIP number from Vonage can provide you with the above and more. 

Get in touch today to find out how Vonage could benefit your business.

Still Have Questions About VoIP Numbers?

A VoIP number is used to make calls over the internet. VoIP technology converts audio into digital signals, which are then passed to the person on the end of the line via broadband.

There are three main types of VoIP phone numbers.

Local numbers are useful for gaining trust. A lot of people like to support local businesses, and they’re more likely to pick up their phone if the caller ID displays a local number. 

This is useful for businesses that operate from several places or rely on remote employees. No matter where the call is coming from, a local number will always be displayed.

A toll-free number is one that someone — like a customer — can call without getting charged. This is useful if your business is heavily reliant on inbound phone calls.

Vanity numbers are custom numbers that have a meaning for a business. They’re useful for things like branding and marketing. For example, if you run a business called “Fab Cars”, you could make “1-800-FAB-CARS” your VoIP vanity number. This makes it easier for customers to remember if they need to get in touch.

There’s no detectable difference in the quality or experience of a VoIP call compared to a landline call. The only way your customer would know you’re using a VoIP number is if they used special VoIP detection software.

Even so, using a VoIP number will not damage your brand. VoIP phone systems are popular with businesses around the globe and are arguably set to take over from landlines in the very near future. 

In particular, VoIP systems are highly cost-effective, with providers like Vonage offering tiered packages with varying features and benefits. These operate on a flat monthly fee basis and can be upgraded at any time.

What’s more, a VoIP system will be more cost-effective than a landline system on a number of levels. It requires less hardware, has competitive call charges, and can save you serious money on your overheads.

Yes, most VoIP providers will give you the option to set up and use multiple numbers. For instance, Vonage allows you to add multiple VoIP numbers to your account, including local, international, and toll-free alternatives.

Contact Us

Let's connect!

Want to know more about VoIP Numbers? We’re here to help! Call us at 1-844-365-9460, or fill out this form! A dedicated specialist will explain:

  • Exactly how VoIP works and the business benefits of making calls over the internet
  • The differences between VoIP Numbers and landlines, including the impact on remote work and the range of possible devices that can be used
  • The wealth of collaboration and customer experience features available in a VoIP system

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