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Virtual Phone Numbers – Give Your Business a Competitive Edge

Virtual Phone Numbers - Giver Your Business a Competitive Edge

 

Whether you're an entrepreneur,  small business owner or an enterprise-level company, your business number is an indispensable asset to your success.  As technology continues to change the way we communicate, landlines are gradually being phased out with many estimating them to be completely obsolete by 2025.  This is an alarming thought, and a motivating reason to switch to virtual phone number sooner rather than later.  In this article we explain the different types of virtual numbers and which is better suited to your unique business needs.

Choosing The Right Virtual Number For Your Business

Virtual numbers are a wireless telephone number that forwards incoming calls via the internet,  instead of a traditional telephone line. These phone numbers can be set to forward calls to predetermined landlines or devices,  based on the time of day or geographical location.  Virtual numbers have become a cost-effective option for any sized business and available in most countries, although regulatory restrictions may apply in select countries. Below we provide a brief description of the four most popular numbers.

Local (DID) Phone Numbers

Local Virtual Numbers are also known as Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers or local phone numbers.  Unlike toll free numbers, local virtual numbers are not free to the caller, but shared cost numbers meaning the caller will pay the local call rate.  Local phone numbers are better suited to business looking to establish a local presence in one or multiple cities without the expense of a physical location.

Domestic Toll Free Numbers

Domestic toll free numbers are country-specific, and accessible from any landline, mobile or online device.  Although these calls are usually free for the caller, mobile network charges may apply based on the user's plan.  Domestic toll free numbers are an affordable option for any sized business looking to create a more established and professional appearance at a local level.

International Toll Free Numbers

International toll free numbers (ITFS) allow callers around the world to reach your business for free.  The owner of the toll free number (the business) pays a set monthly fee and reduced per-minute call charges for minutes used.  International toll free numbers are best suited to businesses with customers in multiple countries. For example a business in the United States with customers in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Universal International Freephone Numbers (UIFN)

A Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN) is a universal virtual number that callers can dial from multiple countries.  Like international toll free numbers, universal freephone numbers allow prospects and customers to call you at no charge. These numbers are not country-specific but are regulated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITC), with only 50 countries presently participating in the UIFN number program. UIFN are better suited to Helpline Centres, Data Centers, and Research Companies.  Unlike ITFS, these numbers take longer to provision, require registration in two countries and come with an expensive registration fee. Visit our webpage for a complete list of UIFN country participants and their respective international access codes.

Best Practices For Buying a Virtual Number

A virtual phone number requires no additional hardware making them quick and easy to set up.  While there is no shortage of providers to choose from, we recommend you investigate your options.  Key questions to ask include:

  • Providers coverage and possible country restrictions.
  • Does the provider offer cost-effective bundled plans, with reduced per minute call rates suited to your monthly call volume?
  • Identify which business phone features you want to be included with your service and applicable add-on costs for non-standard features?
  • Does the provider offer discounted rates as your call volume increase?
  • Are there additional setup fees?
  • Do they provide 24/7 customer support?
  • What are the contract terms and cancellation fees?

How to Get a Virtual Number

AVOXI has been a leading virtual number provider for over 18 years and services an estimated 5000 business around the world.  Our global direct interconnects with Tier 1 carriers, allows us to deliver reliable, high-quality service. Our newly revamped Shopping Cart carries a large inventory of toll free numbers in 130+ countries and local numbers in over 2500 major cities.  If you're interested in AVOXI’s services, let us know! Set up is simple and affordable. Try out your new virtual phone number with 20+ VoIP features for 30 days risk-free.   If you already have a business number, get paid to port your existing numbers to a new service with AVOXI.  Contact us today for a customized quote to meet your business needs.

Commonly Asked Questions About Virtual Numbers?

How long does it take to get a virtual number actived?

The activation time is based on the type of number, country, and provider.  Most providers take less than 48 hours to provision a local or toll free virtual number.  UIFN numbers take at least 30 days based on the country with some taking as long as 6 months.

Can I forward calls from my virtual number to a mobile device?

Virtual phone numbers can be forwarded to either a mobile device or landline, but restrictions may apply in select countries.

What if I don't see the virtual phone number I need in the AVOXI shopping cart?

Not all of AVOXI’s virtual number inventory is displayed in the Online Shopping Cart. If you do not see the business number you need, let us know! AVOXI is partnered with local carriers in countries around the world. If we do not already have your number in stock, we will order it for you.

What if I don't see the virtual phone number I need in the AVOXI shopping cart?

Local and toll free virtual numbers can be ported but may be subject to regulatory restrictions in select countries.  The timeline to port a virtual number is based on your existing provider and the type of number you wish to port. View our Local virtual number and Toll free number portability guide for more information.

I already have a virtual phone number; can I change providers?

Documentation requirements vary between countries.  Some requiring you your business address or other documentation to obtain a local virtual number. Most countries do not require any documentation from you to provide toll free virtual numbers