Researchers at the University of Southern Indiana state that companies can cut communication costs by more than 55% by using a VoIP phone system instead of a landline. List of Best VoIP Providers & Services for your business. Plus, fixed-line phones require bulky on-site hardware and frequent maintenance, restricting agents to a local office, unlike VoIP systems.
Cloud-based VoIP systems eliminate the need for on-premises hardware by allowing users to make calls over the internet. These networks are easy to set up, provide excellent call quality, and have a wide array of communication options. Every company offering this service has its own pricing plans, features, and calling areas.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet telephony, broadband telephony, and broadband phone service specifically refer to the provisioning of communications services (voice, fax, SMS, voice-messaging) over the Internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network (PSTN), also known as plain old telephone service (POTS).
The steps and principles involved in originating VoIP telephone calls are similar to traditional digital telephony and involve signaling, channel setup, digitization of the analog voice signals, and encoding. Instead of being transmitted over a circuit-switched network, the digital information is packetized and transmission occurs as IP packets over a packet-switched network. They transport media streams using special media delivery protocols that encode audio and video with audio codecs and video codecs. Various codecs exist that optimize the media stream based on application requirements and network bandwidth; some implementations rely on narrowband and compressed speech, while others support high-fidelity stereo codecs.
The most widely used speech coding standards in VoIP are based on the linear predictive coding (LPC) and modified discrete cosine transform (MDCT) compression methods. Popular codecs include the MDCT-based AAC-LD (used in FaceTime), the LPC/MDCT-based Opus (used in WhatsApp), the LPC-based SILK (used in Skype), μ-law and A-law versions of G.711, G.722, and an open source voice codec known as iLBC, a codec that uses only 8 kbit/s each way called G.729.
Early providers of voice-over-IP services used business models and offered technical solutions that mirrored the architecture of the legacy telephone network. Second-generation providers, such as Skype, built closed networks for private user bases, offering the benefit of free calls and convenience while potentially charging for access to other communication networks, such as the PSTN. This limited the freedom of users to mix-and-match third-party hardware and software. Third-generation providers, such as Google Talk, adopted the concept of federated VoIP. These solutions typically allow dynamic interconnection between users in any two domains of the Internet, when a user wishes to place a call.
In addition to VoIP phones, VoIP is also available on many personal computers and other Internet access devices. Calls and SMS text messages may be sent via Wi-Fi or the carrier’s mobile data network. VoIP provides a framework for consolidation of all modern communications technologies using a single unified communications system.
Here is a List of Best VoIP Providers & Services for your business
RingCentral MVP is a teamwork-oriented UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service) platform. It has built-in collaboration tools like VoIP calling, SMS messaging, team chat, and video conferencing.
The platform lets you invite users by email and build a custom phone system with voicemail transcription, call recording, and adaptive Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus for self-service routing. You can also create dozens of team-chat channels where members can message each other, send images, share files, and assign tasks with due dates.
HD-video meetings host up to 200 participants and are supported by AI-based tools. These include auto-generated insights, background noise reduction, live transcription, and collaborative drawing whiteboards.
Vonage is a UCaaS platform offering VoIP and SMS, live chat, and video functionality—these three features are becoming increasingly popular with young audiences. Its Business Communications platform has basic phone-system features and collaboration tools.
The Vonage desktop, browser, and mobile apps come with standard calling features, including routing via auto attendant and call management tools like call holding, forwarding, and parking. Queues and multichannel business inboxes are also available as add-ons.
This service’s team messaging lets individuals and groups communicate easily. Video calls come with collaboration features like whiteboards with 20 participants, team chat, waiting rooms, and integration with calendar apps for scheduling.
Zoom Phone is Zoom’s VoIP phone system, not to be confused with its Meetings video-conferencing app or Zoom One collaboration platform. Zoom Phone includes team chat and bundles with Zoom One, to make collaboration more available and intuitive to remote workers. The Zoom app—available on desktop, browser, and mobile—unites all of the company’s applications in a seamless interface, but also works with Zoom Phone alone.
This phone system is perfect for companies that want an advanced phone-only solution without other communication channels. All three pricing plans have the same features, varying by unlimited calling area and call-pricing structure: a US- and Canada-based pay-per-minute plan, a US-Canada unlimited calling plan, and unlimited domestic calling plans in over 40 different countries. The two unlimited plans also come with an add-on allowing limitless calling to 19 other countries. Local and toll-free Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers can be purchased in several countries worldwide.
The Zoom Phone system provides access to an expansive library of advanced call center features. These include unlimited queues, ring groups (a cluster of phone extensions that share incoming calls), call distribution, voicemail transcription, call recording, routing via IVR, and flipping between devices. While Zoom Phone doesn’t provide analytics, it does deliver call-center monitoring through supervisor surveillance, barge, and takeover. The chat and video functionality are also standard but can be greatly improved if you bundle Zoom One as a synchronous UCaaS platform.
GoTo Connect is a unified communications platform and business phone system with VoIP calling, SMS, internal team chat, and collaborative video. It offers virtual phone numbers around the world, and all plans support unlimited calling in over 50 countries.
With this service, you can answer and make calls via softphone from the GoTo Connect app on any device. You can also flip calls live and customize call routing with a drag-and-drop dial plan editor to link users, voicemails, and announcements.
Additionally, you’ll be able to create ring groups with a custom routing sequence, which can be organized into unlimited call queues. The highest-tiered Premium plan includes live queue analytics, a supervisor dashboard with monitoring tools, and agent effectiveness reporting.
GoTo Connect HD video meetings support up to 250 participants, with screen sharing and chat. It allows for the creation and scheduling of video meetings within the system and links them with calendar apps. Want to start an unlimited one-on-one or team chat? You can do that too, along with file sharing, one-click buttons to join a call or video meeting, and emojis.
Dialpad is an AI-enhanced UCaaS platform with VoIP phone, SMS, collaborative team chat, and video conferencing. Video meetings are capped at 10 users, making this provider an excellent fit for small teams.
The phone system supports unlimited calling within the US and Canada, along with international cloud numbers in 70+ other countries. It includes routing and queueing features like auto attendants and custom call distribution, unlimited hold queues, and ring groups.
Dialpad’s greatest strength is AI support. All calls have real-time transcription, with auto-generated call summaries that follow up with key topics, sentiment scores, highlights, and action items. Agents get real-time AI coaching, while supervisors can access live queue reports.
Dialpad meetings are capped at 10 users but feature collaborative tools like chat, waiting rooms, and whiteboards. You can use the system to schedule meetings in integrated apps—like Google or Microsoft 365—and invite any user to join without needing to download the app. Dialpad chat supports file sharing and storage, with a search function for easy access.
Grasshopper is a VoIP phone system offering voice calling and SMS. The phone system itself, accessible through a mobile and desktop app, is straightforward to use.
This service’s plans support unlimited calling in the US and Canada, and each includes a preset phone number limit you can split among as many agents as needed. Grasshopper’s unique payment structure works well for companies that want to share a handful of phone numbers among many extensions. However, all of their available DID numbers have US area codes.
In the Grasshopper app, agents can make calls and send SMSes anywhere in the world. They can also access their voicemail with transcription and screen, transfer or forward calls. Each agent has the option to set up a personal greeting that can be configured with Grasshopper’s phone number extensions to create an auto attendant routing system. These plans support between three and an unlimited number of extensions.
Ooma Office is a VoIP phone system and UCaaS platform with all core communication channels: voice, SMS, team chat, and video. The phone system supports unlimited calling in the US and Canada, with per-minute fees anywhere else in the world. Ooma also provides local and toll-free numbers from US area codes.
The Ooma Office app on desktop and mobile gives agents access to team messaging, voicemail, call logs, SMS, video, and basic call controls. These let you participate in three-way conference calls and forward, transfer, park, and flip calls between devices.
Supervisors can set up unlimited call queues, ring groups, automatic call recording, and a self-service auto attendant for routing. Administrators can view live and historical call analytics to gain insights into contact center activity and performance. While sending SMS messages, agents can share a singular inbox, splitting responsibility for inbound texts.
Ooma allows one-on-one and team channel messaging, and its video meetings support screen-sharing but don’t have any collaboration features.