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Virtual Phone System: What Is It and How Does It Work?

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With more dependence on cloud communications, it’s time for businesses to upgrade their phone systems to ones that can be accessed virtually. Cloud phone systems make it possible for companies to manage remote teams as well as expand their global coverage. Learn how a virtual phone system can improve the way your business communicates with customers locally and globally. In this post, we discuss virtual phone communication systems and their benefits.

Virtual Phone System: Definition

Virtual phone systems or cloud phone systems are becoming the new normal as businesses prepare for remote working possibilities. A virtual phone communication system or cloud-based phone system is a communications platform that allows users to make and receive business calls from anywhere through an internet connection.

How Do Virtual Telephone Systems Work?

More specifically, a virtual phone system uses virtual phone numbers and voice over IP (VoIP) to transmit calls over the internet. Because of this, users can make and receive calls from any location and any device (deskphone, softphone, app, smartphone, etc), as long as they are connected to the internet. VoIP phone systems convert voice signals into digital packets and move them from one user to the next. By doing so, VoIP calls use internet bandwidth to maintain high quality and speed.

While traditional phone systems work from one location, virtual phone communication systems can work from any location and can connect people from multiple locations. Companies that have multiple office locations or remote offices and teams can use a cloud phone system to stay connected and take advantage of virtual communication features for call management.

Benefits of a Virtual Communication System

There are many advantages of using a virtual phone communication system over a traditional phone system. These systems are cost-effective and can assist your business expansion plans. Furthermore, they can support your business’ call volumes by providing call management tools and features that can make the customer experience better.

1. Scalability
Need to add or remove certain users, locations, and lines? No problem! With virtual communication systems, you can control how big or small you want to go. Add new lines and users as needed, and make necessary adjustments without needing to change or update your entire system. You can scale up and down as needed — and pay only for what you use — nothing or less.

2. Cost-Effective
By switching to a virtual phone system, your business can cut down on costs when it comes to purchasing multiple phone lines, hardware, and equipment, and even long-distance and international calling rates. Your cloud phone system is equipped to add or remove phone lines as and when needed. Even your virtual phone numbers can be adjusted depending on need and usage. Calling internationally or enabling global customers to call your business becomes easier with virtual phone numbers. You can bypass international boundaries and cut down on international communication costs. Lastly, you won’t need to worry about purchasing and maintaining hardware for a virtual telephone system.

3. Access to Features
Virtual communication systems come packed with a variety of features and services to enhance connectivity, smoothen call management processes, and improve customer experience when they call your business. Top features that come with a virtual phone system are international call forwarding, call recording, customizable caller IDs, automated response systems (IVR), and more.

Why You Need a New Virtual Phone Communication System

So, why would your business need a new phone system? Evaluate your phone system and watch how it has been performing. Can you connect all necessary users (agents and employees) effectively? Are calls being forwarded seamlessly to the right department or location? Are you paying too much for minimum or basic services? These are some questions to consider when thinking about switching to a new system. Here are some important factors to include in your evaluation.

1. High Pricing, Low Reliability

Check what other providers are offering and what their plans include and cost. Are there providers offering more for lesser or similar rates? If your virtual phone system provider is not offering all the necessary features and charging you high rates, you may want to look for a new phone system. Similarly, if your provider is not reliable and the service quality is low, this can exponentially impact your customer service efforts.

2. Commitments Needed

Another thing to consider is being locked in long-term contracts or worrying about high cancellation fees. A reputable provider who knows their business’ worth won’t ask you to enter long-term contracts or charge high service and cancellation fees. Their service and its quality will speak for itself.

Related: 5 Signs You Need a New Business Phone System

3. Less Variety of Necessary Features

Are you missing specific features that can boost your communication system? Review what other providers offer, both their basic and advanced features and services. Additionally, if you need to expand or grow your service, can your current provider offer you what you need? Are these additional services reasonably priced?

4. Fewer Customer Service Options

Lastly, evaluate your provider’s customer service. Your cloud phone system connects you to your valuable customers. When your phone system fails or the quality drops, can you quickly reach out and connect with their customer service teams? For example, United World Telecom offers various customer support options such as phone, live chat, email, and trouble tickets. This way, we can cater to customers through their preferred mode of contact and resolve more issues and concerns.

Looking for a Change?

You can upgrade your virtual phone system when you get a virtual phone number from United World Telecom. We offer an array of features and services to give you the tools your need to build strong customer relationships. Speak with our representatives to find out how we can support your business needs today!

Call Center BPO: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

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Wondering if outsourcing your communication processes to a BPO is the way to go? Learn how a BPO in a call center works and what the advantages of using a BPO for your business communication needs may entail.

What is BPO (Business Process Outsourcing)?

Businesses often choose to outsource communication-related services to a BPO in a call center. In other words, these businesses hire a third-party organization to handle business processes like customer service, sales, marketing, and so on.

BPOs are call centers that take on a company’s business processes so as to ease the various burdens they may face. Companies have used such services for years as a way to reduce communication-related and hiring costs.

What Services Does a BPO Call Center Offer?

A call center BPO offers a variety of communication-related services including:

1. Lead generation and sales calls: Agents make calls based on lists of predetermined prospects and leads. They track leads, qualify them as valid leads, make sales pitches, and follow-up with interested customers. The goal is to increase sales for their business clients.

2. Market research-related services: This includes agents trained in marketing services who interact with potential customers and target demographics to understand the customer base better. The goal is to identify customer needs, expectations, and preferences so that the business client can serve these customers better.

3. Customer success and interaction services: Customer success focuses on proactively taking care of existing customers, welcoming new customers, making follow-up appointments, collecting feedback, checking in on customers, and more.

4. Customer service and technical support: Customer service reps answer calls and offer assistance regarding products and services, as well as IT, technical, and troubleshooting help to customers.

Benefits of Using a BPO in a Call Center

From small businesses to large corporations, all types of businesses can take advantage of BPOs and call center outsourcing services to boost their customer support and sales endeavors. Here are some reasons to consider outsourcing:

1. Cost-savings:
By utilizing a BPO in a call center, you can reduce costs that would otherwise be spent on running in-house customer service and sales teams. Additionally, you do not have to spend additional capital on call center software and equipment, and its maintenance.

2. More advanced call management tools:
Contact centers are equipped with all the right tools and advanced technology to handle large call volumes effectively. Common features include:

    • International call forwarding
    • Call routing strategies: time-based, location-based, skill-based, and more
    • Call recording: inbound and outbound
    • Advanced IVR
    • Outbound calling with customizable caller ID capabilities
    • Call center reports and analytics
    • And more

These services boast better call management to ensure calls don’t go unanswered and callers are served efficiently.

3. Low staffing requirements:
Since your BPO takes care of hiring and training reps, your business does not have to worry about training agents and evaluating performance on a regular basis. This can further save you money and time, which can then be spent on marketing services and product development.

4. Offer reliable, accessible, and around the clock customer support:
Some call centers tend to have multiple geographic centers and cater to international business needs. Because of this, your business can provide around the clock sales and customer support to your customer base in different regions and time zones. This way, your business is always reachable, increasing customer satisfaction.

Is Call Center Outsourcing the Right Option for You?

Deciding whether you need to outsource your communication needs depends on the size of your business and pocket. Consider what your business needs to improve sales and customer service. Can your budget handle in-house call center software? To learn more about cloud call center software, speak with our experts at 1 (877) 898 8646 today!

What Is SIP ALG and Why VoIP Users Should Disable It

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In this post, we discuss what SIP ALG is and how it can affect the quality of your VoIP phone calls. Disable SIP ALG to improve VoIP call quality and ensure there are fewer interruptions.

What is SIP ALG?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an internet protocol with voice data packets that initiates, maintains, and terminates voice communication between two users. SIP is used for voice calling over LTE and VoIP phone systems.

Routers used to connect to the internet also segment the provider and your internal network through Network Address Translation (NAT). This is to add an additional layer of security through a firewall allowing only authorized systems access as they connect with a network’s computers and devices.

The main purpose of SIP ALG — Application Layer Gateway — is to prevent problems caused by a router’s firewall. ALG prevents these issues by keeping an eye on the VoIP traffic (voice data packets mentioned earlier) and modifying them, when necessary. ALG works as a proxy to rewrite the destination for these packets. By doing this, ALG can improve connectivity.

Why VoIP Users Should Disable SIP ALG

Many routers have the SIP ALG feature turned on by default. With this feature on, VoIP traffic (voice data packets) can get lost due to router firewalls when transferred between the phone and the VoIP provider.

And because of this, it can lead to multiple VoIP problems, including:

  • One-way audio
  • Phones not ringing on incoming calls
  • Calls sent directly to voicemail, especially when not set to do so
  • Dropped calls, even after connecting

This is why one of the best ways to improve VoIP call quality, among others, is to disable the SIP ALG feature.

How to Disable SIP ALG in your VoIP System

Disabling SIP ALG is quick and easy, and depends on the type of modem your business uses. For most routers, you will need to:

  • Log into your router’s control panel.
  • Navigate to Advanced or Security settings.
  • Locate SIP, ALG, or Firewall settings (depends on your router’s set-up).
  • Uncheck the SIP or ALG box.
  • Save and reboot/restart your router.

If your router’s settings are not as clear, you can always reach out to your provider and ask for specific instructions.

Protect and Maintain VoIP Call Quality

Disabling SIP ALG is a common way of troubleshooting VoIP issues. However, there are other VoIP call quality issues such as jitter, packet loss, and latency that can affect the way your business communicates with its customers. Most of these issues stem from low-quality internet or insufficient bandwidth. Speak with our representatives today to learn how your internet bandwidth can affect your VoIP phone system. Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online today.

What is an Auto-Attendant and 3 Benefits of Using One

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Need an automated telephony service to help you manage business calls? Learn how an auto-attendant works and how your business can use one effectively.

What is an Auto-Attendant?

Auto-attendant refers to a telephony service wherein a voice menu system answers incoming calls and transfers callers to the appropriate extension without the help of an operator or receptionist. Other terms for auto-attendant include automated attendant, digital receptionist, and interactive voice response (IVR).

How Does an Auto-Attendant Work?

The automated attendant can be understood as an automated call answering system that helps transfer incoming calls while providing callers with general information about the company and its services. But the main point of an auto-attendant is to manage incoming calls effectively so callers are not left confused or arrive at the wrong agent or department. An auto-attendant may have the following features to ensure better call management:

  • Greeting messages
  • Business information (office hours, location, list of services, etc.)
  • Automated company directory (with extensions for users and employees)
  • Call transfer and routing options
  • Menu prompts such as Repeat, Exit, Speak to Representative, Operator

Auto-Attendant vs IVR: What is the Difference?

The terms auto-attendant and IVR are often used interchangeably. However, there are a few differences between these services. The main difference is that the interactive voice response system is a more advanced system with additional features.

Auto-attendants route and transfer incoming calls so customers don’t wait in queue for long. And if waiting is required, then hold music is played. IVR systems include more smart features. For instance, IVR systems have voice recognition that enables callers to speak or say what they need instead of pressing a button on their keypad. This way, callers are not limited to the set menu available and can explain the reason for their call better.

Additionally, the IVR system can collect information about the customer and route calls accordingly or inform the agent beforehand. This includes account numbers, customer IDs, and so on. As such, the IVR can prepare the appropriate agent before they proceed to assist the customer. Furthermore, the IVR’s self-help menu allows for callers to complete certain actions and tasks without needing an agent. For example, the IVR can assist callers in paying bills, checking one’s account balance information, scheduling appointments, and so on.

3 Benefits of Using an Auto-Attendant

So, what does an auto-attendant do and how can your business benefit from such a service? Automated attendants or IVR systems have countless benefits that support call management and improve caller experience. Here are some of the top benefits of using an auto-attendant:

1. Effective Call Management

Since calls can be automatically distributed based on set rules, callers reach the appropriate department or agent quickly and accurately. This is especially useful for businesses that have large call volumes and struggle with answering calls effectively.

2. Increased Productivity and Efficiency

You can study your customers’ needs and preferences and customize your auto-attendant to provide them with more useful options and reduce wait times. Additionally, you will also reduce the number of times agents receive calls that are not related to their department, increasing efficiency and productivity.

3. Cost Savings

With smart call routing, you will not need a secretary or receptionist working to manage your calls. Your company can save on hiring extra staff and place more emphasis on improving customer experience.

Where Can I Get an Auto-Attendant?

You can get an auto-attendant from virtual phone number providers like United World Telecom. Speak with our experts to learn more; call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 to get started today!

Troubleshooting the 7 Most Common VoIP Issues

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Having VoIP problems and don’t know how to solve them? Here we go over troubleshooting for the 7 most challenging VoIP issues.

7 Common VoIP Troubleshooting Problems

VoIP phone systems help businesses save about 50%-75% of communication-related costs. This is because such systems offer flexibility, mobility, and scalability which helps users connect from any location and communicate through advanced technology.

However, even VoIP phone systems — with their advanced features, high voice quality, and more — are not devoid of possible quality issues. Thankfully, most VoIP call quality can be improved without IT help so you can continue communicating effectively.

Here are the most common VoIP issues and a simple guide to troubleshooting them.

1. Inability to Make Calls from a Device

Struggling to make VoIP calls or outbound calls from your device? An inability to make calls can be due to a failure to connect, inadequate internet support, and more. For some businesses — like a call center — not being able to make outbound calls to customers and leads can essentially shut the business down until you find a solution.

Most likely, the cause of this problem is the SIP ALG feature is turned on, on your router. Session Initiation Protocol Application Layer Gateway (SIP ALG) is a common feature in commercial routers and is turned on by default. The main task of a SIP ALG is to reduce or prevent issues resulting from router firewalls. It does so by constantly inspecting your VoIP call traffic. However, SIP ALG may modify packets (voice signals) in unexpected ways, leading to problems such as incoming and outbound calls failing and phones not registering.

Solution: A simple solution for outbound VoIP calls failing would be to turn off the SIP ALG feature. If you still experience the issue, then try repositioning the VoIP devices onto a VLAN.

2. Dropped Calls

One of the most common VoIP problems is dropped calls. This causes a lot of frustration, especially during business calls. This is when the call suddenly ends mid-conversation without the speakers hanging up. Call centers or large enterprises with large call volumes face this issue the most.

Solution: First, ensure all devices, software, and hardware associated with your VoIP phone system are updated and running on the current version. If you are still experiencing the issue, disconnect all devices and turn them back on one at a time. This may be time-consuming but it will help you identify exactly which device is the root cause of the problem. Speak with your small business VoIP provider if you notice that calls get dropped after a certain amount of time. They may have an automatic disconnect feature to ensure calls are not left open by mistake.

3. Jitter

Jitter is one of the most common VoIP problems. Jitter directly affects voice quality and communication, leading to jumbled, muffled, or missing audio. As voice data packets travel from one destination to the next, some packets may arrive before the other. This leads to out-of-order or missing parts. If such voice quality occurs for more than 30 milliseconds then the overall call quality is impacted. As such, when finding a new provider, look for one that can keep the delay under 20 milliseconds.

Solution: Your internet may not have enough bandwidth for VoIP. Upgrade your internet connectivity by contacting your ISP.

4. Echo

This is a pretty straightforward VoIP concern. Telephone echo leads to voices being repeated at various points, leading to confusion and possible miscommunication. Often the recipient of the call hears the echo while the caller may or may not be aware of this VoIP problem. Echo can be a result of either feedback during the conversation or a VoIP phone system issue. As such, it can be troublesome when conducting important business calls such as conference, sales, and support calls.

Solution: First, if your phone is using the speaker option, take the call off the speakerphone. When using a speakerphone, the voice has to travel through multiple microphones and speakers leading to disruption in the audio for the recipient. Additionally, you may even need to test the phone headset you use and consider getting a high-quality replacement. Lastly, echo can be a result of a bad internet connection or inadequate bandwidth. Check your speed with an Internet speed test and also reevaluate your wall jacks, Ethernet cords, and other cables to ensure there are no damages.

5. Broken/Muffled Audio

Broken, muffled, or choppy audio refers to words and audio being dropped, interrupting calls when connected. This is one of the most common VoIP issues users face. Thankfully, it has a solution.

Solution: How you solve the problem of broken audio depends on who is experiencing it. If your business is experiencing the issue, it is most likely due to insufficient bandwidth that leads to packet loss as all voice packets are transferred successfully. A common VoIP troubleshooting solution for this problem is to turn off other applications that take up a lot of network space and are not needed for business. This includes streaming services like YouTube or Netflix and so on. Additionally, make sure your router’s Quality of Service (QOS) settings have the VoIP service on priority.

6. No Sound

Similar to broken audio, a voice call with no sound after connecting can lead to frustration and interruptions in communication. No sound in a voice call can be a one-way issue (where one party hears but others can’t) or a two-way issue (where both parties cannot hear).

Solution: One reason for a lack of sound during calls may be because of firewalls blocking RTP packets. Examining and possibly disabling your SIP ALG can solve this problem.

7. Phone Doesn’t Ring on Incoming Call

This VoIP issue is pretty straightforward: missing calls from important customers and clients because the phone doesn’t ring. Another version of this issue is if your calls are sent directly to voicemail instead of an employee.

Solution: Thankfully, this common VoIP problem has an easy solution. First, ensure your device is registered within your VoIP phone system and VoIP provider. Also, check to make sure your device is not on the Do Not Disturb setting and has the correct call forwarding settings and configurations.

Choosing a Reliable VoIP Provider

Need a new VoIP phone system that comes with high call quality and easy problem-resolution? Finding a reliable VoIP provider for your small business can be tough if you do not know what to look for. United World Telecom has been in the business for over 25 years and we offer top-quality communication services. Try our VoIP phone system solutions! Call us today at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!

What is a RespOrg?

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A quick guide to what RespOrgs are, how they work, and how businesses can benefit from using a RespOrg service provider for their toll free numbers.

RespOrg: Definition

A Responsible Organization or RespOrg is a company (usually a telephone company) that is certified to have access to a centralized database of toll free numbers. This centralized database is known as the 800 Service Management System or SMS/800.

How do RespOrgs Work?

RespOrgs are in charge of managing toll free databases, assigning numbers, and keeping records. If you want a toll free number for your business, you will need to contact a RespOrg. For customers, RespOrgs come into play when porting a toll free number. To port a toll free number, a current user will have to change the RespOrg ownership from the old carrier to the new carrier. You will need a Letter of Authorization from your new carrier and your current RespOrg must authorize the release of the number to the new RespOrg or carrier.

A business that has high toll free traffic can take advantage of one of the below choices:

  • Become their own RespOrg
  • Use a single carrier for all of their call volume
  • Use a RespOrg service provider

Port your toll free number to United World Telecom.

How to Become a RespOrg?

RespOrgs can be large or small companies or even run by a solo business owner. Some toll free number carriers or business phone service carriers may also be RespOrgs. Currently, the US has about 400 RespOrgs. To become a RespOrg, a business goes through a certification process.

Technically, any company or organization that uses a toll free number can become a RespOrg. To become a RespOrg, your business will need to do the following:

  1. Complete and submit a ten-page service establishment form
  2. Pay a deposit (avg. $4000)
  3. Pass a certification exam to be certified

Should My Company Become a RespOrg?

While becoming a RespOrg is an easy process, there are a few factors to consider. For example, you will need to factor in the salary of the employee managing the toll free traffic. The cost of being a RespOrg for your business — as opposed to using a RespOrg provider — may entail increased expenses. Plus, if your employee leaves, you will need to train and certify a new employee, which will require additional costs.

Many businesses, therefore, choose to work with a RespOrg service provider to reduce costs. RespOrgs will work with your business and your specific needs to offer you the best pricing. Some benefits of using a RespOrg include:

  • Ability to route calls to different carriers
  • Routing calls at different times of the day
  • Taking advantage of low-cost carriers in different countries
  • Access to Disaster Recovery — in case your toll free carrier is shut down, traffic can be routed to a secondary carrier

A company with high toll free traffic will find it beneficial to utilize a RespOrg service provider instead of becoming their own RespOrg.

Get a Toll Free Number for Your Business Today!

United World Telecom offers toll free business numbers for more than 160 countries around the world. You can get a toll free number to enter new markets and extend sales and customer support services to more customers. We also offer number porting services for businesses that currently have a toll free number but are not satisfied with their service. Sign up on our website today or call us to learn more!

PRI Explained: What is a Primary Rate Interface?

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Choosing a business phone system for your company is a necessary part of creating the perfect communication system. With advancements in technology, there are many different systems available for businesses to choose from. Here we will discuss primary rate interface (PRI) and the advantages and disadvantages of this phone system.

What is PRI?

A primary rate interface or PRI is a communication system that is provider-free. This system allows businesses (users) to send and receive voice, data, and video files through a copper wire network. PRI systems or lines constitute two pairs of copper wires. This feature of primary rate interface networks provides secure data transmission. You can get two types of PRI systems:

  • Basic rate interface solutions (BRI) for personal and small business use
  • PRI for large enterprises and corporations.

Features of Primary Rate Interface

To understand how these communication systems work, it is first crucial to be aware of their features. Key features of a PRI system include:

  1. Lines are made of two pairs of copper wires connecting the provider and the user.
  2. You can have 23 B-channels on a single telephone line. And by doing so, it enables businesses to have multiple extensions and telephone numbers via one connection.
  3. Each channel has 64 kbps for data transmission.
  4. Can connect two private branch exchange or PBX systems together and can also work with an IP PBX system.

Advantages of a PRI Phone System

There are different ways a primary rate interface phone system benefits businesses. However, whether or not your business needs this system depends on what you hope to achieve through your business communication system. Let’s look at how PRI systems boost business communication:

1. Extensions and DID numbers:

Direct inward dialing refers to direct numbers assigned to individuals within a business. This means that callers from outside can dial this number and reach a contact directly. Extensions work in a similar way with an additional code attached to a number to let callers reach an individual or department directly.

With PRI, SIP trunking, or virtual phone systems, you do not need additional lines for each number or extension. For PRI, specifically, you can have up to 23 conversations happening simultaneously on one line. That means you can have up to 23 users using the system. And that is considering everyone uses it at the same time. If you need simultaneous communication, you can add more users to these existing lines and they can use it as and when needed.

2. Scalability and expansion:

As your business traffic grows and communication needs increase, you will want to scale and expand. And a primary rate interface will allow you to do that. If more users are needed, you can simply get another PRI line and add it to your existing system, giving 23 more users the ability to communicate.

PRI Drawbacks

While a primary rate interface system changed the way businesses communicated over the years, phones have come a long way since. Advancements in telecom technology have given rise to more modern and user-friendly systems.

The biggest drawback that PRI systems have is the ability to expand in bundles of 23. This means that if you have just one or two extra employees and all channels are used constantly, then you will need to buy 23 more channels for those extra employees. You will end up paying more than you need.

On the other hand, if you run a large corporation with 100-150+ employees, then you will need multiple PRI lines to work efficiently. Additionally, it gets more complicated if you need to add multiple locations or remote workers.

To combat these issues, you have a few alternatives to consider: Hosted VoIP and SIP trunking.

PRI vs Hosted VoIP vs SIP Trunking

Most businesses today have adopted a cloud VoIP or hosted VoIP solution. Hosted VoIP means that your service provider hosts your phone solution and takes care of all your software needs and maintenance. All you do is use the service. You do not have to worry about purchasing hardware and software, maintaining it with a professional IT team, and so on. This helps your business save on communication and IT-related costs.

SIP trunking is a session initiation protocol (SIP) feature that enables transmission of voice communication over a data network. SIP trunking works similarly to POTS except that the phone lines are virtual instead of standard copper lines. And your phone system connects to your provider via your internet connection. SIP trunking has often been used as an alternative to POTS and PRI systems.

PRI, unlike VoIP and SIP trunking, does not rely on internet bandwidth for transmission, and therefore does not suffer from jitter or packet loss. However, there are limitations in terms of scaling upwards, mobility, and features available.

Here’s a table to demonstrate the differences between these business phone systems:

PRI SIP trunking Hosted VoIP
1. Upfront costs Medium-High High Low
2. Maintenance costs Medium-High Medium-High Low-High
3. Connectivity Physical Virtual Virtual
4. Service quality Low; calls may experience muffled or distant quality, frequency range is limited High; good bandwidth required, low bandwidth can lead to jitter, packet loss High; good bandwidth required for VoIP, low bandwidth can lead to jitter, packet loss
5. Scalability Low High; very scalable High; scalable
6. Mobility None; no routing ability Medium; calls can be transferred to predetermined locations Very high; can be used anywhere and through any device

Choosing the Right Phone System for Your Business

The phone system that is ideal for your business purposes depends on what you want to accomplish with it and what your budget can include. Speak with our experts today to see if VoIP or SIP trunking is a good fit for you!

LNP Explained: What is Local Number Portability?

Looking to change your phone service provider to one that has better quality and prices but you don’t want to change your current phone number? Local number portability (LNP) makes this possible with little to no work on your part. Here is an in-depth post explaining how LNP works and how you can switch phone service providers without losing your number.

Local Number Portability (LNP): Definition

Local number portability (LNP) or number porting enables users to port or “move” their phone number from one service to the other while keeping the number intact. In other words, with number porting, you can switch providers but keep your local number the same. This is a feature offered by telecom service providers.

Originally, changing your phone service provider meant getting a new phone number. Users would then have to go through the hassle of providing their contacts with a new number. Businesses, on the other hand, would have to start advertising their new number and may still miss out on valuable customers that call the old number instead.

To ease this issue, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated that local exchange carriers make this feature available for users in large metropolitan markets. LNP is regulated by the Number Portability Administration Center appointed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 2003, the FCC required all wireless providers to offer wireless number portability. This allows mobile users to retain their numbers when switching mobile providers.

How Does LNP Work?

Local Number Portability works through the Location Routing Number (LRN) feature. With this feature, users can switch service providers or even physical locations and still retain their phone number. When customers switch providers, a new LRN is assigned to their phone number (instead of a new phone number being provided).

Every local exchange carrier and long-distance carrier must know what LRN this phone number has attached. This way, when someone calls this number, the carriers can route the call to that LRN. The NPAC logs, updates, and monitors all LRNs in the Local Service Management System (LSMS) databases and distributes the information among carriers.

Local Number Portability Rules for Carriers

To use LNP, you must contact your new carrier and they will begin the process of porting your number by contacting your current carrier. Users may have to provide identification such as a recent bill with their name and address registered in the current carrier’s database. According to the FCC rules, carriers:

  • Must port a number upon receiving a valid request
  • May not refuse to port a number
  • Are allowed to charge for porting services
  • Are allowed to charge an early termination fee, especially for long-term customers
  • May refuse to port if the customer has not paid for porting

Benefits of LNP

So, why should you change phone service providers? And why should you port your number? There are many reasons why a personal or business user will want to port their number to a new provider. Reasons to change your phone service provider include:

  • Changing physical locations or relocating
  • Low voice quality and high monthly bills
  • Limited access to advanced virtual communication features
  • Stuck in long-term commitments
  • Lack of reliable customer support

By using local number portability, you can easily port your current phone number to a new provider to get better and cheaper service and access to more features. Additionally, you can even retain your number when you move to a new location within the country.

How Can I Port My Number?

Porting your number is easy but requires a few steps, most on the part of the carriers. In fact, the FCC has a comprehensive number portability checklist that interested users can check out.

To port your number to a new service, you can simply submit a request on the new carrier’s website or get in touch with their customer service/ sales team. A representative will contact you and let you know the next steps; these include:

  • The old service provider confirms the user’s identity and notifies the new provider.
  • The new provider notifies NPAC.
  • NPAC creates a pending port and notifies the old provider to concur.
  • The new provider asks NPAC to activate the port.
  • Upon activation, the port is broadcasted to the telecom industry network.
  • Your new service will be activated.

Port Your Number With Us!

To port your number to United World Telecom, simply fill and submit this porting request form. Our customer service team will get in touch with you to get the process started as soon as possible. To learn more about our local number portability service, speak with our representatives today!

5 Signs You Need a New Business Phone System

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Your business phone communication system can make or break your sales and customer support efforts. More specifically, a bad phone system can lead to miscommunication and ineffective communication which can result in a loss of valuable customers and leads. Here we look at 5 signs that scream “Your business needs a new business phone system!”

Finding the Right Business Phone System

Since so much of your business’ success depends on good communication, it is important to find the right business phone service. Here are 5 signs you need a new business phone system. In other words, consider getting a new phone system if your current office communication system has any of the following:

1. Bad Pricing and Low Reliability

Are you struggling with paying the bill for your current phone system? Is the pricing not straightforward, leading to confusion and paying more than you originally signed up for? Your business phone system provider should be reliable and trustworthy. And you should be able to predict your monthly bill without any surprises for better accounting.

Switch to a business phone service provider that helps you understand what to expect from your monthly bill. As you sign up, you should have a clear idea of what you are paying for. This means no hidden fees or set-up/installation fees that just turn up out of nowhere. With a predictable monthly bill, your business can manage its communication-related finances better.

Related: How To Set Up a Business Phone System in your Office

2. Less Variety of Virtual Communication Features

With the advancements in telecommunications and technology available, businesses now have access to many opportunities and top-notch services and features. And so, if your current phone system is offering you the bare minimum, then you are missing out.

Advanced services such as global call forwarding, call recording, a variety of virtual numbers, and so on, can help with effective call management by providing your business with the right communication tools. These services can improve productivity and efficiency in your office which will lead to better customer service and more sales.

3. No International Call Forwarding

Any business with a goal for expanding globally must have international call forwarding. An international call forwarding service enables businesses to connect easily with their global customers. With this service, you can have incoming calls from different countries route to a destination of your choice. For example, your US-based company can receive international calls from customers in the UK, Asia, Australia, and more via virtual phone numbers. These calls are forwarded to your main office in the US or remote offices around the world via international call forwarding.

As such, call forwarding helps businesses maintain global connectivity by providing customers around the world with inexpensive ways to call for product inquiries or customer support. Even if your business is located outside the country, customers can call your local or toll free number and evade long-distance calling rates. This encourages customer calls and builds trust and credibility for your international business.

H3: 4. Limited Customer Support

Customer support is an essential tool for any business. And so, if you cannot reach customer service for help with your business phone system, especially during emergencies, then again, you stand a chance of losing out on customers. Unreachable or bad customer service can break a company.

Look for a business phone service provider that is available 24/7 and offers multichannel support. For example, United World Telecom offers 24/7 customer support via voice, live chat, email, and trouble tickets. We also have an online knowledge base with self-service information.

5. Long-Terms Contracts

Lastly, you want a business phone system that does not force you into long-term contracts. In case things change within your business, you should be able to scale up or down or switch to new services. A provider that locks you in with contracts or high cancellation fees can make it difficult to grow your business.

Why Should You Consider United World Telecom?

Since 1996, United World Telecom has been providing businesses around the world with cloud phone systems and virtual communication tools to boost sales, customer support, and international business. Advanced services and features we offer include:

  • International call forwarding
  • Outbound calling with customizable caller ID
  • Hosted call recording
  • Cloud IVR
  • Extensions and DID numbers, and more

United World Telecom’s plans are straightforward with no hidden fees or long-term contracts. We don’t force our customers into commitments as we know our service will speak for itself. We offer five different plans for businesses of every size and type; so you can choose the plan that works best for your communication needs.

Get a New Business Phone System Today!

We offer a variety of services that can help you create the ideal cloud phone system for your specific company. Get a VoIP business phone system today by calling us for more information or by signing up on our homepage!