Introduction to VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) refers to making and receiving phone calls over the internet rather than traditional analog phone lines. VoIP converts analog audio signals into digital data that is transmitted over the internet. It allows both businesses and residential users to benefit from cheaper calling rates, advanced features, and greater flexibility compared to traditional landline or mobile phone services.
Definition of VoIP
Simply put, VoIP enables phone communication via the internet rather than copper phone lines. It translates voices into specialized packets of data for transmission over broadband connections instead of old-fashioned switched telephone networks.
Dedicated VoIP providers offer the capability to place calls directly from a desktop phone or softphone app just like traditional phones but routes calls over the internet. IP telephony protocols replace circuits in order to connect phone users anywhere worldwide at a fraction of the cost using innovative technology.
Benefits of VoIP over Traditional Phone Lines
VoIP introduces some major advantages over conventional telephony:
Lower Costs – Avoiding telephone company services cuts international call costs by up to 90% as VoIP utilizes cheap, ubiquitous internet pipelines.
Increased Flexibility – Software phone apps enable calling from anywhere with WiFi access not just desks. Built-in features boost productivity.
Enhanced Scalability – Cloud VoIP systems easily and affordably scale to accommodate growth way more than legacy PBX equipment ever could.
Scalability and Cost-Effectiveness
Two major advantages VoIP solutions hold over traditional phone services involve scalability and cost savings. As internet speeds have soared globally over the past decade while broadband penetration continues rising, VoIP call quality and reliability now matches conventional landlines.
Meanwhile, IP telephony costs remain minimal because voice data travels over cheap, abundant internet bandwidth rather than tolled traditional switched networks. This fundamental economic and infrastructure advantage allows hosted VoIP services to gain widespread mainstream adoption across businesses of all sizes as well as residences.
VoIP for International Calls
With burgeoning globalization, entertaining customers, partners and remote employees abroad continues growing exponentially each year. But astronomical international calling rates levied by incumbent phone companies prompt massive bills. Migrating international calls to internet-based VoIP solutions slashes costs by as much as 90% over conventional long distance while unlocking more flexible reach.
Cost-Effectiveness for Businesses and Individuals
Traditional international calls carry some of the highest per minute rates often exceeding $1/min – a 15 minute weekly client call abroad costs over $75/month. But the same call over VoIP would run under $5 symmetrical for both parties. These incredible savings add up allowing small businesses to affordably communicate overseas to boost sales.
Global families also take advantage of consumer VoIP options to connect affordably and more often. Some leading business platforms even offer free international calling bundled into low fixed monthly rates for unlimited minutes. Charitable and relief organizations also harness VoIP solutions to help coordinate essential disaster recovery responses more economically enabling precious funds to be allocated for actual aid work rather than astronomical phone bills.
Comparison of VoIP International Call Rates
Most residential and business VoIP providers publish international calling rates by country on their websites for full pricing transparency allowing easy rate comparisons. Below illustrates sample per minute rates to Britain for VoIP services versus conventional phone companies:
|Per Minute Rate
|AT&T Long Distance
As evident, VoIP rates equate to only a tiny fraction of traditional international call rates from telephone companies. Those rock bottom VoIP rates add up to major cost reductions especially for regular international callers.
Flexibility and Accessibility
Another benefit using VoIP for global communications introduces involves vastly enhanced location flexibility untethering callers from physical desks and traditional handsets. VoIP apps turn any smartphone, tablet, laptop into essentially a portable business phone system able to ring anywhere with WiFi access around the world and across international borders seamlessly.
Most providers allow choosing unique virtual business numbers from 50+ countries linked to accounts. This means a small business in Dallas could transparently present London or Sydney numbers on its website and routes to mobile devices wherever staff travels internationally. Some services even offer unlimited free calling minutes between international numbers on the same account in loads of countries making cross border team communications simple and affordable.
Handy features like internet faxing, digital voicemail to email, call analytics and even toll-free international customer service numbers provide additional useful business functionalities realizes huge savings and convenience communicating overseas.
How VoIP Works for International Calls
Under the hood, VoIP solutions utilize the ubiquitous power of the global internet ecosystem combined with digitized packet voice protocols to transmit calls internationally at much lower costs compared to monopolistic traditional telephone infrastructure.
Utilization of the Internet for Call Transmission
Rather than dedicated end-to-end circuits, VoIP technology breaks down calls into tens of thousands of tiny digital data packets labeled with unique destination codes. These packets traverse across the interconnected internet worldwide following optimal pathways based on real-time traffic conditions automatically.
Internationally, voice packets exchange between local data centers in different countries connected via fiber optic submarine and terrestrial cables just like normal internet data does. Last mile data connections tie corporate or residential internet connections into local exchanges granting affordable access to global calling.
Dialing Format for International Calls using VoIP
When dialing international numbers over VoIP platforms, the same standard international calling format applies:
(International Call Prefix + Country Code + Local Number)
However, most business VoIP providers require specifying extensions for every call for proper routing and monitoring. Many also mandate including a leading 0 before the number as well. This format looks like:
0(Extension) + (International Call Prefix) + (Country Code) + (Local Number)
So calling a mobile number in London England from a 1000 extension might follow:
01000 + 44 + 20 3389 8425
For even faster international dialing, VoIP services also allow pre-programming speed dial buttons for frequently called overseas contacts storing tedious number strings. Admins can control permissions like international calling and extension dialing on a user by user basis as well centrally.
Best VoIP Providers for International Calls
With specialized VoIP technology readily handling international calls far more cost effectively and flexibly than possible otherwise, selecting providers designed specifically optimizing global connection quality and affordable rates proves vital. Hundreds of VoIP companies exist but only a few focus intently on international requirements balancing capabilities, quality and value.
Comparison of Top VoIP Services for International Calls
|Ease of Use
|$0.023 to $0.08
|Instant messaging, video calls, file sharing
|Free to $0.019
|CRM integrations, advanced call routing
|Integrated chat, video meetings
|$0.029 to $0.069
|Integrations galore, custom app development services
|Plug and play installation and configuration
|Superior call quality and reliability
|Open API platform, Salesforce integration
|Generous 5000 minutes included
You’ll notice tradeoffs balancing monthly service fees, international rates breadth, scalability and platform sophistication for global usage across popular options. Consider usage volumes, locations and feature needs accordingly.
Considerations for Choosing the Best International VoIP Provider
Key factors assessing international calling providers include:
Global Infrastructure – Quality and costs vary greatly depending which countries you call most abroad. Optimal routing requires localized data centers paired with reliable last mile foreign carrier partnerships abroad, which proves extremely challenging logistically and politically to achieve worldwide thus the huge cost and quality differences.
Calling Minutes – Some plans limit monthly international minutes while many now offer unlimited bundles to popular destinations. If your usage outpaces included limits, overage rates apply which get exceptionally expensive for international calling so projections help guide appropriate services.
Integrations & Features – If interacting regularly worldwide with key systems like Salesforce or Zendesk for customer service, choose reliable providers prioritizing security, compliance and essential productivity integrations.
Ease of Use – KISS (Keep It Simple) gets harder adhering across desktop and mobile experiences globally so app store reviews and trials prove invaluable determining usability abroad before committing services long-term.
VoIP technology has practically eliminated the prohibitive costs of international communications opening unlimited opportunities for individuals, families, businesses, charities and governments to connect quickly across borders and oceans on fixed budgets. Harnessing VoIP for cheap global calling unlocks more frequent international interactions critical for today’s globalized personal and commercial relationships.
This guide outlined the tremendous flexibility and affordability benefits VoIP introduces for international calls along with explaining exactly how the technology achieves such enormous cost reductions over traditional telephony. We also compared the leading consumer and business VoIP providers excelling on international calling capabilities to highlight pros and cons based on usage models and features.
Whether planning for life abroad or scaling globally distributed company operations, VoIP paves the way for easily maintaining seamless richly connected communications with foreign customers, family and colleagues regardless of distance. Evaluate solutions matching calling needs and locations across the myriad low cost options to start realizing VoIP international calling advantages improving budgets and bonds globally.