Cloud communication solutions continue to evolve, and businesses of all sizes realize the huge advantage of VoIP technology for their phone system needs. As businesses seek to take advantage of the significant cost saving and low maintenance requirements, many questions arise about virtual numbers their cost. With over 16 years of experience in cloud communications, AVOXI addresses customer questions about VoIP technology and virtual numbers daily. In this article, AVOXI takes a look at the cost of local numbers and how rate plans and minutes factor into those costs.
Defining the Terms: Local Number, DID, and DDI
A local number is a virtual number often referred to as a Direct Inward Dialing (DID) or Direct Dial-In (DDI) number. The DID or local number looks and functions just like any local phone number you typically see and use. A caller dials your specific local number and the call forwards to the phone line of your choice: VoIP, PBX, mobile, or landline.
The benefit is that your business establishes a local presence in a particular region where you target and serve customers. Your audience sees the number as a “local” phone number. Customers have an easy way to contact you and are comfortable reaching out using a familiar dialing format.
How Much Does a Local Number Cost?
The popularity of local phone numbers or DIDs means that you have a variety of providers to review to identify the plan that best suits your particular needs. From monthly packages to per-minute rates, providers offer several variations of DID services. Let’s take a look at some popular options.
Monthly Cost of a Local Phone Number
Many VoIP providers offer their local DID phone numbers for a monthly cost. This monthly price covers the cost of the phone number, but it also can include business-class phone features such as call forwarding, voicemail to email, time of day routing, and more. The price varies depending on location and provider services.
Using the United States as an example, the monthly cost ranges anywhere from $3 (USD) to more than $50 (USD). Why such a wide range in cost? Some monthly plans come with certain features while others do not. The flat monthly fee of $3 applies to the cost of the number itself while the $50 fee includes 1,000 calling minutes and business-class features. Often providers offering low cost local DIDs with minimal features and services are not suitable for high volumes of incoming calls. Some providers even assess a surcharge on a per call basis for each call exceeding a specified limit per day.
(Source: Localphone website-26 June 2017)
Grasshopper’s most popular plan for local numbers is $49 (USD) per month and includes 3 numbers and 3 extensions along with 15 plus features. (Source: Grasshopper website – 26 June 2017; the offer only applies to new Grasshopper customers.) It’s important to inquire about termination rates as usage charges generally apply for termination to landline or mobile numbers (based on your call forwarding rules).
DID and DDI number pricing varies greatly by country. Some countries have lower rates for in-country residents and higher rates for out-of-country customers. Several countries also require a local, in-country office and representative to purchase a number (India typically requires this for a DDI/DID number for example, where as China almost always has a per minute rate for all calls). Many countries (Colombia for example) allow landline termination only on local numbers while others allow mobile from certain carriers but not all. We find that the pricing, restrictions, regulations and options vary widely across the world.
Per Minute vs Bundled Minute Costs
When you opt to forward to mobile or landline numbers, a bundled plan may be a consideration. To determine whether a bundled monthly plan or a per-minute plan is right for your business, you need to ascertain your usage. Bundled packages are attractive for consistent budgeting; however, you want to be sure that you select the most appropriate minute bundle with usage estimates not exceeding the plan. Typically, minutes used over the packaged amount incur charges at the per-minute rate on top of the bundled pricing.
The Cost of Local Numbers (DIDs) Using a Customer Example
For clarity about cost, let’s use a real world example of an AVOXI customer, an international travel agency. Using two of its local number selections, we’ll walk you through the associated costs:
- Local number in Spain:
- 454 inbound calls (one selected month used for example)
- Free call origination
- No charge when terminating the call to VoIP (customer’s cloud PBX)
- Monthly subscription charge: $20 (before volume discount)
- Local number in France:
- Monthly subscription as low as $8
- Per minute rate for termination: $0.012
- Unlimited channels: used for high volume, simultaneous calls such as needed with a contact center
The customer manages the local phone numbers through the AVOXI Online Portal to direct inbound calls to specific call groups, turn features off or on, route calls based on time of day, and more.
Determine the Best Fit for Your Business
Virtual phone numbers like DIDs/DDIs are a flexible and cost-effective tool for any business and industry. Learn more about the various types of virtual numbers, costs by type of number, capabilities, and limitations to help you make the best choice for your business.
Talk to a VoIP Specialist about your business needs.