How Does a Virtual Number Work?
A virtual number is not tied to a fixed physical location or address. Instead, it uses voice over IP or VoIP technology to let a caller make and receive calls. VoIP converts voice signals into digital signals and transmits them to the receiver in real-time. This way, users can call through any device connected to their internet, such as smartphones, softphones, computers, laptops, VoIP phones, etc.
Because of its virtual nature, a cloud phone number is an excellent call forwarding tool. Businesses use these numbers to forward incoming calls from one location to another for better connectivity and cheaper long-distance calling. A company using a virtual number can decide which numbers or devices will receive calls. And it can choose how to route these calls across multiple locations. For instance, calls can be routed to multiple lines and locations at the same time. Or, calls may be routed based on the location of the caller.
This way, businesses can bypass geographic boundaries to connect with international customers. And they can make it easier and inexpensive for customers to call them by using toll free or local numbers for their areas. For example, a UK business can use a US toll free number for its US customers. Customers in the US can call this number for free. Likewise, the UK business can forward incoming calls to their UK main office or their US remote teams.
Virtual Communication Features
A virtual number plan also comes with additional features to support global connectivity and improve caller experience. Top features include:
- International Call Forwarding: Forwards incoming calls from any location to another destination.
- Cloud IVR: An automated voice response which answers incoming calls and assists callers.
- Hosted Call Recording: Records incoming and outgoing calls and stores them for future reference.
- Time of Day Routing: Routes incoming calls to different locations based on the time of the day.
- Location-Based Routing: Routes incoming calls to different locations based on the caller’s location.
- Outbound Calling: Allows businesses to make outbound calls using customizable caller IDs, and more.
These features can help with effective call management and improve caller experience by offering more personalized support.
What Types of Virtual Numbers Can I Get?
You have access to a variety of virtual phone numbers from virtual number providers. For example, United World Telecom has access to various virtual business numbers from 160+ countries around the world. Here are the different types of cloud phone numbers available:
- Local Access Numbers: Also called local or geographic numbers, these numbers are available for multiple countries and come with local area codes for specific regions or cities. Locals can call these numbers for local calling rates.
- Toll Free Numbers: Also known as 800 or 1800 numbers, these numbers are free for customers to call. The business is charged for these calls instead. Companies often use toll free numbers to offer customers a convenient way to connect.
- ITFS Numbers: Also known as ITFNs or international toll free numbers, these numbers are toll free numbers that allow for international calling. In other words, they enable businesses to reach global customers. International customers can call an ITFS number for free, even if the business is located outside the country.
- UIFN: Also known as universal international freephone numbers, freephone numbers, or universal toll free numbers, a UIFN is a single toll free number for multiple countries (up to 45 countries participating in the UIFN program). Multinational businesses can use a UIFN to manage calls from multiple countries.
- Vanity Phone Numbers: These numbers have letters and patterns inserted to create memorable business numbers. These numbers can be used as marketing tools to increase brand awareness.
Related: What Is a Cloud Phone Number and How Does It Work?
How Much Does a Virtual Phone Number Cost?
The cost of cloud phone numbers can vary depending on certain factors. The type of number is one consideration, as there are different fees for toll free numbers, vanity numbers, ITFS numbers, and local numbers. The country the number is based out of, as well as where the call is being routed are also factors that will affect cost. For specific pricing, you can fill out the steps on our home page, and exact pricing for the number(s) you need will appear.
Regular vs. Virtual Numbers: Differences
Choosing the right type of business phone number will help your company communicate with its customers better. Here’s a quick overview of the differences between regular phone numbers and virtual phone numbers:
|Regular Phone Numbers||Virtual Phone Numbers|
|Tied to a physical location||Not tied to a physical location|
|Must be installed||No installation|
|Provided by a local telephone company||Provided by a virtual phone service provider|
|Call forwarding; an additional cost||Call forwarding; included|
|Used through a desk phone or landline||Used through any device connected to the internet|
|Long-distance calling: often unavailable or expensive||International calling: cheaper through international call forwarding|
|Not supportive of remote team management; all members must be within the office to use the phone number||Supportive of remote team management; members can use this number from any location|
Benefits for Businesses
If you intend on expanding your business internationally, it is likely you’ll need efficient options to communicate affordably. Cloud phone numbers can instantly establish a presence internationally without having to open a new office in a foreign country. Virtual phone numbers allow you to affordably have a local number in many locations internationally. This is much more economical than traditional long-distance communication. Here are some of the benefits of using virtual numbers from United World Telecom for your business communications:
- Convenience: virtual numbers allow for customized business communications.
- Easily automated, well-functioning, and versatile business cloud phone systems
- Unlimited cloud phone number options; vanity numbers, toll free numbers, ITFS numbers, UIFN numbers, specific countries, and the majority of area codes are available
- User-friendly online account management that allows you to change settings at any time.
What to Consider When Purchasing Virtual Phone Numbers
Before purchasing a virtual phone number, you will need to identify what type of virtual number your business needs and which provider will fulfill your communication needs. Here are some key points to consider:
- Call routing rules: Do you need to route calls to a different destination or multiple destinations?
- Availability of bulk phone numbers: Can you purchase multiple numbers to create a better virtual phone system to manage calls?
- Number portability: Do you need to port your existing number to a new service or buy a new number?
- Long-term contracts and cancellation fees.
- Provider’s response and customer service: Is the provider available 24/7 and what are their customer response rates?
- Customer reviews and case studies.
How to Get a Virtual Phone Number
Getting cloud numbers for your business or sales team is quite simple with United World Telecom. It is very easy to purchase a virtual phone number and within a very short amount of time, you can use your number. Here are the steps to get a virtual phone number:
- Research and identify a virtual phone service provider that meets your needs and budget.
- Using the form on this page (or the home page) you can select the number you would like to purchase.
- Simply follow the prompts and select the type of virtual number you want for your business. Choose from local, toll free, international toll free, UIFN, and vanity numbers.
- Then, enter where you want calls forwarded.
- Next, click on View Rates & Try for Free, where you can select your plan and premium features.
- Browse through and add additional virtual communication features. United World Telecom offers call recording, outbound calling, SMS forwarding, and rollover minutes as additional services.
- Finalize your purchase and sign up! Wait for a customer service representative to contact you and activate your new virtual number.
Build Your Virtual Phone System Today!
Once your business number(s) has/have been activated, you can add it to your website and marketing materials. You can also set up features like call forwarding, routing rules, black and white lists, and more. United World Telecom lets you access all your communication tools and your account in one platform: the control panel. Make changes to your account and your numbers in less than 2 minutes. And if you need any additional help, our customer service teams are available 24/7 via phone and live chat. Build your virtual phone system today; call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!