With the ever-increasing cost of living and cost of doing business in South Africa, choosing to move to a VoIP Telephone system is a no brainer. However, picking the right VoIP provider for your needs is not always as easy as it may seem. So how do you narrow down your selection and choose the right provider?
The following guidelines should enable you to select a VoIP provider who will meet your requirements:
How to pick from the best VoIP providers in South Africa
VoIP is growing at a rapid rate. With hundreds of VoIP providers in South Africa to choose from, some people find it hard to find a company they like. And one that offers them solutions that suit their specific requirements!
It’s important to know what kind of VoIP service you want
Is this service for your home or business? Are there any specific features you want? How much are you willing to pay for service fees and equipment? Do you want cordless or desktop phones? Or do you just want to use the service with a software application on your computer or mobile phone?
VoIP services subscriptions can range in price. Some providers even offer their services for free or offer bundled “free” minutes in their monthly subscription. This might seem very attractive initially, but, you could suffer in the long run if the company offering “free” services doesn’t offer quality calls or good client support.
There are lots of features that should come with your new VoIP service. Be careful that the VoIP provider you have selected doesn’t charge extra for certain features which should be covered in the cost of the subscription, such as, call waiting, caller ID, voicemail and 3-way calling.
Some VoIP providers give you a free second line with your subscription, too. Other features are more advanced, such as enhanced voicemail that lets you check messages from your mobile phone or receive them via email. Find out what your VoIP Provider offers.
Make sure to compare call rates. If you make international calls or calls to premium-rate numbers, make sure you know the rates to these destinations or numbers. This will prevent a nasty shock when you get your first bill.
Most importantly, you need to remember the cheapest isn’t always the best. There is no point in getting the “cheapest call rates” if you are unable to hear the person on the other end of the line.
Searching for the best VoIP providers in South Africa
Once you have features and prices in mind, start looking around for the VoIP provider that interests you. WhichVoIP offers an easy comparison which allows you to compare the services of some of the best VoIP providers in South Africa. Or simply type the phrase “best VoIP providers South Africa” in your internet browser. Remember, a number of companies pay to advertise on Google or other search engines so the companies coming up on top might not be the best-ranked VoIP companies after all. Google highlights paid for adverts with the word Ad in a little green block next to the website address of the company.
Always read reviews about the VoIP providers
When you find a VoIP plan that interests you, read reviews of the VoIP provider. Pay attention to critiques of customer service, service reliability, and sound quality. Facebook and Twitter are great places to start. Websites such as Hello Peter also offer valuable insights and Technical Publication forums can also be very useful. Try the Mybroadband forum if you are looking for further peer reviews. (Pay attention to who is contributing to the conversation as some companies respond and advertise on these forums)
Read the fine print
If you’re content with the plans, price, features, and client reviews of the VoIP provider you selected, go to their website and read their terms and conditions. These are usually found at the bottom of the Home page in small print or they might have a specific page with their legal information. Most importantly, your new VoIP provider shouldn’t insist you sign into a lengthy contract term. Ideally, you should pick a provider that allows you to cancel with a calendar months’ notice.
There are a number of things you should understand when you are getting started with VoIP. The questions and answers below should help.
How do I get VoIP working for me?
If you are a home-user you need to decide if you would like a cordless or desktop handset. You also need to ensure that your potential VoIP provider can port your existing landline number. If you aren’t technical, make sure your new provider offers free remote support and can assist you in setting up your VoIP phone. If you are looking for a solution for your business; work out how many users require telephones. Do you have a receptionist? Do you need to transfer calls between staff members? Would you like to advertise your services while you keep callers on hold? And finally, make sure you can port your number if you have an existing business number. Once you’ve decided on the basics, your new VoIP provider should have qualified consultants that will tailor the right solution to meet your specific requirements.
What do I need to get started?
It goes without saying that whether you’re a home-user or the solution is being implemented to enhance productivity and save costs within your business, make sure you have a reliable internet connection. The best VoIP providers in South Africa offer quality services over multiple different types of internet connections such as ADSL, LTE or Fibre.
It’s important to note, that it’s not always necessary to get your voice and data from the same provider. If you already have an internet provider it will make your life a lot easier if your new VoIP provider offers VoIP as an auxiliary service without forcing you to change your existing internet service.
A VoIP phone will need to plug into your internet modem or router. If your modem or router isn’t easily accessible, consider a cordless handset. Business VoIP phones need to plug into network points. If you don’t have network points chat to your provider about a wire-less solution or consider installing network points.
Do I need to be a technical expert?
If you are supporting your own VoIP switchboard you will need to have highly skilled individuals in your organisation that can support the system. If your new VoIP provider is providing you with a hosted switchboard solution or VoIP line, then you do not need to be technically savvy. A majority of VoIP service providers pre-program the telephones before delivering them, which allows for a plug and play installation with minimal effort. More often than not, you can have your new VoIP phone service set up in a matter of minutes! But even computer-based VoIP applications and mobile softphones are not too difficult to set up and your VoIP provider should be able to assist you remotely.
For more information or to speak to one of our qualified VoIP Consultants call us on 087 550 0000 or contact us via our website.