It’s no surprise that many businesses have made the switch to SIP trunking for their communications solutions. In addition to flexibility, scalability and ease of configuration, one major advantage is the significant cost savings. This article will explain the elements that factor into SIP trunk pricing, and what you can expect from a SIP trunk provider.
What is SIP trunking?
For those of you who may need a refresher course, we'll review how SIP trunking works first. (If you are already a SIP trunk expert, you can skip this part and move on to SIP trunk pricing.
Conventional phones receive their service through a channel on a PRI, or the Primary Rate Interface. It may sound fancy, but it's really just refers to physical phone lines, like a T1 line.) SIP trunking replaces the traditional wire phone lines and circuits with a virtual phone line. The virtual channel connects your phone service to the existing IP Network.
So, what's the benefit? By connecting your phone system to the cloud, SIP trunking upgrades the capabilities of your phone system while lowering the cost.
How does SIP trunk pricing work?
There are various elements that factor into the cost of SIP trunking. On-going costs such as monthly fees and calling costs are dependent upon the number of SIP trunk groups you have and the type of plan you choose. Additional costs may include setup fees, local number portability, the purchase of new numbers and the configuration of your existing PBX system.
Monthly SIP Trunk Pricing
A SIP trunk comes with 24 channels, and typically costs anywhere from $10 - $50 per month. Depending on your business's communications needs, you may need to purchase additional trunks.
Adopting a metered plan is common for businesses whose usage fluctuates. Paying by the minute prevents you from paying for wasted minutes when your business experiences lower call volume. Choosing a metered plan will typically cost less per month as the plan charges on a per-minute basis.
Businesses that experience consistently heavy call volume may prefer an "unlimited" SIP trunk pricing plan. These types of plans often have a higher monthly recurring cost, but you will have a predictable monthly telecom bill.
One-Time SIP Trunking Fees
Depending on the service provider you choose, you may or may not need to pay a setup fee. Keep in mind that providers who charge a setup fee typically have lower monthly rates, while providers that waive the fee often end up charging higher fees for monthly SIP trunk pricing. If you do choose a provider who charges a setup fee, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 - $250.
Local Number Portability
While switching telephone services providers may be necessary, most businesses don’t want to lose their existing numbers. Local number porting allows business to port their existing numbers to the new SIP Trunk provider for anywhere from $12-$25 per number. For companies who have a large number of existing customers and do not want to risk any potential loss of business, this has proven to be a valuable solution.
Purchasing New Numbers
You may find that you need to add additional numbers to accommodate everyone in your office. Each new DID (direct inward dial) number that you purchase will require a one time setup fee. This fee is typically nominal; however, if you plan on adding several new numbers you will want to make sure you keep this fee in mind.
The cost to configure your PBX for SIP trunking varies depending upon your current PBX. If you are using a legacy PBX that you are not yet ready to replace, the solution is simple; you will need to purchase a VoIP gateway. The gateway converts the analog signal to the IP signal, which flows to the SIP trunk provider's network.
If your PBX is already IP-enabled, you won't have to worry about purchasing any additional equipment.
If you are a larger business and require multiple SIP trunks, you may need to consider purchasing additional bandwidth. Since calls are virtually routed over the Internet, the amount of available Internet bandwidth directly impacts voice quality. To avoid poor voice quality and reduced connectivity, increasing bandwidth is suggested.
You can project whether or not you will need to purchase more bandwidth with a simple equation:
Estimated concurrent calls (peak hours) X 85 Kilobits per second = Estimated bandwidth (in Megabits per second) needed to comfortably support your business.
SIP Trunk Pricing
It may seem like a lot work, the benefits you'll gain from a SIP-enabled phone system outweighs the cost and effort of transitioning to a SIP trunking solution. Aside from a few one-time upfront fees, your business will almost instantly see a return on your investment.
Looking for more information on SIP trunking solutions? Explore these related articles:
- Building the Business Case for SIP Trunking
- How to Choose the Right SIP Trunking Provider
- SIP Trunking