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The Complete Guide To

VoIP

The award-winning experts at Amvia have compiled the complete business guide to VoIP. This guide covers how the VoIP phone systems work, how much they cost, what factors impact cost, the best business VoIP provider, which providers have the shortest and longest lead times, the most reliable networks, coverage, and much, much, more.

 

VOIP PROVIDERS

What is a VoIP service provider?

VoIP service providers enable your business to use voice over IP. They deliver your phones, your switch, and if you require, even your data link, for a monthly rental charge.

A VoIP provider will assess the needs of your business and help you understand the type of VoIP system you need. Part of the service is helping you spec the number of calls and bandwidth you'll require to make high-quality voice calls. They will check your internet access to make sure you are VoIP ready too. The provider will wrap all of their services up into a monthly fee. This fee usually covers phones, the VoIP system and an allocated number of call minutes per month.

What is a VoIP phone system?

A VoIP phone system allows your business to make and receive calls over the internet using voice over IP. Voice communication is converted into data packets transmitted over your data connection instead of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). 

yealink-sip-t48s-vl-voip-deskphone

A traditional phone system private branch exchange (PBX) uses the PSTN to initiate and terminate voice calls. Telecoms providers charge per minute for the use of this PSTN.

A VOIP phone system does not use the PSTN. The VoIP system sends voice calls over the data network. The use of the data network is why call costs between phones on the same VoIP system are free.

What are the advantages of VoIP?

A VoIP phone system is cheaper to run yet provides you with far more functionality. These advantages are expanded on below. The five main advantages of VoIP are:

EASE OF MANAGEMENT 

It's easy to set up. It's simple to add and remove users. Creating hunt groups is quick. You wire a phone system separately, program changes using a consultant, and add hardware cards and ISDN lines to expand. Managing a phone system is simplified with VOIP.

IMPROVED COMMUNICATION

Your staff are reachable wherever they are on landline, desktop, tablet or mobile. Connect your VOIP system with email, CRM and your support desk. You make your business more responsive by enabling your employees to remain responsive and available.

FEATURE-RICH APPLICATIONS

All of the latest technology is available, as standard: voicemail, conference calling, messenger, video chat and, auto-attendant. Advanced features such as Office 365 integration, file sharing, HD video, content suggestion, virtual meetings and whiteboards are available too.

LOWER COSTS

VoIP providers can offer lower call costs than traditional phone system providers. The savings don't stop there, though. Buying a PBX used to be expensive; most providers charge a monthly rental. Management used to mean consultants, but now you can manage your system through a web portal.

Is VoIP cheaper than a landline?

There are three main elements of cost in a phone system: the calling hardware or software, the call costs, and the management costs.

VOIP phones are now the same price as PSTN phones. Calling is cheaper over VOIP as some calls are free, and call bundles are comparable.

Managing VoIP in an office is cheaper than a PBX phone system. If you have one or two phones, the management cost is comparable.

Overall, VoIP is marginally cheaper than a landline if you have five or more handsets. For 5-200 handsets, VOIP is much more affordable.

How much does VoIP cost?

A business VoIP system costs around £10/user/month. In addition, you will pay around £100/user for VOIP hardware. Therefore, a 15-user VOIP phone system will cost about £1500 to set up and around £150/month. The phone system will include 5000 minutes per user per month to UK landline, UK mobile, and 03 numbers.

The four main components which determine how much VoIP costs are explained below.

TYPE OF HANDSET

What type of handsets or desk phones do you require? The better and more feature-rich the handset, the higher the cost. Handsets range from £25-£500+

NUMBER OF USERS

How many users will be using the system? More users cost more money. Budget for £10/user/month.

VOLUME OF CALLS

How much usage will there be? If you call internationally or premium-rate numbers, you may need a tailored call package.

FUNCTIONALITY

What functionality do you need? A call centre solution will cost far more than a basic SME VoIP system.

Who is the best VoIP provider for business?

The best VoIP provider is the provider which offers the perfect fit for your business. Amvia is an expert at comparing the market – we do this every day. By analysing your needs and your budget, we can quickly recommend two or three of the best providers for your business.

Using Amvia will save you time and money. Best of all, we do not charge you for any pre-sales consultations. Amvia is a multi-vendor VoIP provider so we can create the best VoIP system according to your most essential needs. Better still, we can install and manage the VoIP system for you. That's what makes us the best business VoIP provider.

 

What is the best VoIP phone?

The best VoIP phone is the ideal phone for your communication needs. We have categorised budget, value and feature-rich phones. The best budget range is the Yealink SIP range. The best value phones are the Htek UC range. The best feature phones are the Polycom Soundpoint range. Find out more about each of these phones in the detailed breakdown below.

 

Yealink SIP range

The best VoIP phone if you are on a budget is the Yealink SIP range.

yealink-sip-t48s-vl-voip-deskphone

Although the Yealink SIP range is designed for buyers on a budget, it still offers a lot of value. Target price: £40/handset

Pros:

  • Price
  • Call hold
  • Three-way conferencing
  • SMS
  • Anonymous calling

Cons:

  • Single SIP interface

 

Htek UC range

If you're looking for value for money, the best VoIP phones are the Htek UC range.

HTEK-UC voip phone range

Although the price of this phone is relatively modest, the feature set is impressive compared to the cost. This VoIP phone looks good, works well, is feature-rich, and won't break the bank. Target price: £79.50

Pros:

  • 3.5-inch colour screen
  • Context-sensitive actions
  • Headset compatible with RJ9 port
  • Five-way conferencing

Cons:

  • None

 

Polycom Soundpoint range

The best VoIP phone if you are looking for features is the Polycom Soundpoint range.

polycom

The Polycom SoundPoint IP range of VoIP phones are suitable for medium and large businesses with busy receptions, call centres and complex processes. Target price £75-400. 

Pros:

  • High-quality speaker and mic
  • High definition options
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Expandable
  • Call centre features
  • Advanced hunt groups and reception support

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Complex features mean can be complicated to set up

What are the top 5 DECT cordless business VoIP phones?

The top five DECT wireless or cordless VoIP phones are SNOM, Siemens, Yealink, Polycom and Panasonic. Prices range from £65-£200 depending on the quality of the handset, the brand and the functionality. Our pick for value is the Yealink with a target price of £85. You can see an overall review of each of these DECT phone manufacturers below.

 

SNOM

SNOM makes beautiful phones that work well.

SNOM D375 Euro Color VoIPSIP Desk Telephone

Worth considering if your business requires a cordless DECT phone service.

Pros:

  • Reliable and robust signal when linked to an M700
  • Best-in-class contender
  • Excellent signal strength and coverage
  • Robust hardware
  • Auto-provisioning is easy to add to a base station

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Base stations are hard to replace

 

Siemens

GigasetSiemens Gigaset is a best buy.

Siemens Gigaset SL400A IP VoIP Bluetooth

If your business is considering a DECT VoIP handset, they must be on your list to consider. Market-leading technology backed by German quality.

Pros:

  • Long-range
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish product

Cons:

  • Not the cheapest handset
  • The menu can be cumbersome

 

Yealink

Yealink is a brand synonymous with VoIP, business telecoms and great value.

Yealink W52P IP Cordless DECT

If budget is a primary concern for your choice of DECT cordless VoIP phone, Yealink should be on your list.

Pros:

  • Low cost and great value
  • Robust
  • Easy to set up
  • Good range

Cons:

  • Lower battery life than premium brands
  • Menu and functions a little dated

 

Panasonic

Panasonic DECT phones are of good quality.

Panasonic KX-TGP600 DECT cordless VoIP phone

If your business operates outside or in a harsh environment, these rugged DECT phone options are a robust choice.

Pros:

  • Automatic volume increase when noisy background detected
  • Surrounding noise reduction feature
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Dust, splash, shock protection options

Cons:

  • Relatively short talk time of five hours

 

Polycom

Polycom is a strong brand in the business VoIP space.

polycom dect cordless voip phone

Although this DECT cordless phone is functional, Siemens, Yealink, Panasonic and SNOM are better options.

Pros:

  • 10-hour talk time
  • Good call quality

Cons:

  • Rather dated
  • Heavy handset
  • Delay on menu
  • Expensive

 

Which are the top 5 business VoIP softphones?

The top five business VoIP softphones are made by Broadcloud, Vonage, Mitel, Skype and Ring Central. A softphone is an app you use on your mobile or office computer and allows you to make, receive and transfer calls just like a desk-based phone.

You can see a review of each softphone app from Broadcloud, Vonage, Mitel, Skype and Ring Central by reading below.

 

Broadsoft

The Broadsoft softphone client 'UC-One' is a slick, technologically advanced application for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.

broadsoft softphone voip client app

It has to be one of the considered options for any business serious about VoIP.

Here's how Broadsoft describes UC-One:

UC-One is an easy-to-use cloud collaboration app that lets you call, message and meet with anyone from any device in full HD Video. It works on Mac and Windows desktops, Android and iOS tablets and smartphones. 

UC-One Softphone Benefits: 

Mobile compatible: Use on your iOS or Android smartphone. 

Full HD: Use high-quality HD voice and video from any device or conference room.

Messaging: Communicate quickly and concisely with 1-1 and group chat functionality.

Virtual meetings: Improve workplace collaboration and make meetings engaging with HD video, voice, messaging and screen sharing.

Mobility: UC-One works on iOS and Android tablets and smartphones so you can call, message and meet while you're on the go. 

Content in common: UC-One unites other business apps to bring you relevant emails and files, so you spend less time searching and more time getting work done.

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is one of the most well-known cloud-based VoIP softphone applications.

TeamsVideo

Since Microsoft acquired Skype, a Microsoft 365 subscription gets you access to Microsoft Teams.

Here's how Microsoft describes Microsoft Teams:

Enjoy the power of communications and collaboration on your desktop with a familiar user inspired user interface.

  • Enjoy full communications with calling, IM, presence, and meetings
  • Real-time collaboration within a meeting
  • Video-based screen sharing for better sharing performance
  • Deep integration with Office and Office 365

 

The benefits of Microsoft Teams are: 

Meetings: Free online meetings for up to 250 people.

Screen sharing: Share your screen or a file. Give and take control.

Instant message: Send instant messages during business meetings to offer new ideas.

Powerpoint integration: Present with interactive tools, with annotation, highlighting, and laser pointer.

Whiteboard: Draft, draw and edit together like being in the same room.

Productivity: increased collaboration, file sharing and remote working features.

Speed of work: New team members get up to speed on projects quickly.

Integration with other Microsoft apps: Close integration with Outlook email, Sharepoint, Dynamics & Office.

 

Vonage

The VONAGE softphone app is a free multi-functional app allowing you to make and receive calls, view your contacts and missed calls, and access voicemail.

vonage business voip

Here's how Vonage describes their softphone VoIP application:

Vonage Desktop­ App for Business Cloud is a free app that allows you to use your Vonage Business phone service from your computer. Make calls and send messages from your Vonage Business phone number using the integrated softphone, view your contact history with clients, see missed calls and listen to voicemails – all in one easy-to-navigate interface. It's almost like a softphone app, but better.

 

The Vonage softphone benefits are:

Team messaging: Access all the power of team messaging right from your mobile, web and desktop with VonageFlow

Chat: Chat with one or multiple colleagues on the account with group messaging

Business contacts: Save your business contacts with Vonage Business; view them on Mobile App or Desktop­ App

Availability: View call presence of your colleagues on the account

One number: Send and receive messages and calls to any number using your Vonage Business number

Compatibility: Desktop­ App integrates your phone system functionality seamlessly onto your computer for both Mac® and PC users

 

Mitel

Micollab is Mitel's softphone, which is designed to integrate with the Mitel range of business VoIP services.

Mitel-MiCollab

Here's how Mitel describes Micollab:

With the MiCollab Client Softphone, road warriors and teleworkers can enjoy the same intuitive communications management as Mitel Business IP Phone users from a remote PC or laptop. Mobile users can make and receive calls as though they were inside the corporate network when remotely connected to the MiVoice Business or Mitel MiVoice Office via a secure network. The MiCollab Client Softphone also lets features call recording on your computer, unified communications, add customised ring tones, and configure HID-compliant USB devices through an intuitive user interface. 

 

The Mitel softphone benefits are as follows: 

Everything in one place: Remove the need to flip between multiple apps to get the job done by providing employees with a single application for voice, video, messaging, presence, audio conferencing, mobility and team collaboration.

Enhance teamwork: Keep up with projects, stay connected with colleagues, and boost the sharing of knowledge and ideas across business silos. Extend the power of teams beyond your walls so they can quickly and intuitively do the same with clients and partners

Multiple devices: Get a communications experience that's consistent across all of your devices. Stop a conversation on one device and pick it up on another. It's that simple.

Increase productivity: With collaboration, conferencing and messaging all rolled into a single, unified service, employees spend less time trying to connect and more time engaged in productive communications.

Collaborate anywhere: No longer is collaboration limited to huddle rooms and conference tables. Collaborate anywhere, on any device, with the same set of tools and a consistent look and feel. Whether you're in the office, at home or on the road

Easy to deploy: Deployment QR Codes simplify deploying device clients or users redeploying them themselves.

 

Cisco

Cisco Jabber should be on your list if you are a medium to large business that values internal and external communication.

cisco jabber

Here's how Cisco describes Jabber:

Mobility doesn't have to limit productivity. Cisco Jabber delivers instant messaging, voice and video calls, voice messaging, desktop sharing, conferencing, and presence. Find the right people, see whether and how they're available, and collaborate more effectively.

The benefits of Cisco Jabber include:

Instant messaging: Improve productivity by using real-time presence information and instant messaging to reduce delays. View the availability of contacts within and outside of your organisation.

High quality voice & video: Communicate clearly. Get secure, reliable communications with Cisco Jabber's softphone features, including HD voice and video, plus desktop sharing.

Collaborate: Go where you need to go. Access all of Cisco Jabber's features while mobile, including video conferencing, with the same ease of use found on the desktop.

MS Office integration: Keep things simple. Access Cisco Jabber directly from Microsoft Office applications. Easily click to initiate chat, voice or video calls, or multiparty conferences.

Team function: Jabber uses Webex for modern messaging while keeping your existing on-premises calling functionality.

Active controls: You now have more control with features like meeting roster, participant controls, customisable layouts, and more flexible screen sharing.

How a VoIP comparison works

It's the easiest way to find the best deal at your business location. Specify the spec of the VoIP system Choose the number of users, the functionality you need within the budget you set. Compare VoIP providers

functionality and prices side by side. Select the VoIP provider that meets all of your needs.

VOIP provider comparison

Performing a VoIP comparison is proven to be the most effective way of reducing costs and ensuring you get the best deal. VoIP providers are continually amending their prices and adding functionality. Use Amvia's experts to identify the right deal, at the best price.

Did you know it is often cheaper to buy a VoIP service through a wholesale partner than directly from the VoIP provider? With 100s of providers of voice over IP in the UK, comparing providers can be an arduous task. That's why Amvia built AmviaSearch™, a VoIP comparison tool enabling you to search all providers and get side-by-side pricing in a couple of clicks. You can even compare VoIP compatible internet connection lines too!

List Of UK VoIP Providers

There are over 50 UK providers. The major providers are BT, Virgin, Amvia, Surevoip, Skype, Vonage, Ring Central, 8x8, Mitel, Gradwell, Lily, Telappliant, Voip Studio, Voipfone and Circleloop. Most providers have three types of VOIP packages: a low-usage package, an SME 5-10 user package, and a premium higher-usage package. The major UK providers are covered in the list below.

BT

British Telecom offers BT Cloud Phone, BT Cloud Voice and BT One Phone.

BT Cloud Phone

Basic £13/user

Connect £18/user

Collaborate £23/user

500 minutes per user included

24-month contract

Find out more at: https://business.bt.com/products/business-phone-systems/voip/

Virgin

Virgin offers Enterprise Cloud Voice and SME Cloud Voice.

Virgin Cloud Voice

From£10.50/user

Add on call minutes per user

36-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/applications/voip/

Surevoip

Surevoip offers three types of VoIP service; SureVoIP Hosted Basic; SureVoIP Single User and SureVoIP Hosted VoIP System.

SureVoIP hosted

Single user £5/user

Hosted Basic £11/user

Hosted VoIP System £20/user

Add on call minutes per user

3-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.surevoip.co.uk/products/hosted-voip

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft offers Teams, a VoIP solution as part of Microsoft Office 365.

Enterprise 1 £6/user
Enterprise 2 £17.60/user
Enterprise 3 £30.80/user
60 minutes per user included
12-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

Vonage

Vonage offers three plans: Select, Professional and Ultimate.

Select £9/user
Professional 2 £12/user
Ultimate £16/user
Unlimited calling with Ultimate
12-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.vonage.co.uk/business/

Ring Central

Ring Central offers four packages: Entry, Standard, Premium and "Ultimate".

Entry £7.99/user
Standard £14.99/user
Premium £19.99/user
Ultimate £24.99/user
Ultimate 4000 minutes/month/user
30-day contract

Find out more at: https://www.ringcentral.co.uk/

8x8

8x8 offers a variety of X-Series plans.

X2 £18/user
X5 £32/user
X8 £45/user
Unlimited International Calling
12-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.8x8.com/uk/voip-business-phone-systems/by-business-size/small-business

Mitel

Mitel offers three business VoIP services: Essential, Premier and Elite.

Essentials From £13.59/user
Premier From £17.84/user
Elite From £23.79/user
Unlimited Calling
12-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.mitel.com/en-gb#mitel

Gradwell

Gradwell offers three VoIP packages: Single User, Multi-User and a package with calls included.

Single user £5/user
Multi-User £10/user
VoIP + Calls £20/user
3000 Landline 1000 Mobile With VoIP + Calls
12-month contract

Find out more at: https://www.gradwell.com/calls/

Lily Communications

Lily Communications

Lily Communications offers a hosted phone system called Lily Cloud.

Custom Quote/user
Unlimited Calling
12-month minimum contract

Find out more here: https://www.lilycomms.co.uk/solutions/business-phone-systems/hosted-phone-systems

Telappliant

Telappliant offers four types of VoIP provider services: Starter, Plus, Premium and Enterprise.

Starter £4.99/user
Plus £11.99/user
Premium £17.99/user
Add on minutes/month/user
12/24/36 month contracts

Find out more here: https://www.telappliant.com/products/communications/phone-systems/

VoIP Studio

VoIP Studio has three different VoIP plans: Pay As You Go, National" and "International".

PAYG £4.99/user
National £9.99/user
International £19.99/user
2000 minutes National/International
30-day contract

Find out more here: https://voipstudio.com/pricing/gbp/

Voipfone

Voipfone offers two packages, Pay As You Go and Unlimited.

PAYG £1/user
Unlimited £19.99/user
Unlimited calling option
12-month contract

Find out more here: https://www.voipfone.co.uk/

CircleLoop

CircleLoop offers two packages: Pay As You Go and Unlimited.

PAYG £4.99/user
Unlimited £9.99/user
Unlimited calling to UK, USA, Canada, Ireland
30-day contract

Find out more here: https://www.circleloop.com/pricing

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