SIP Trunking – Cost vs Benefits

Posted on: 2017-03-03 | Categories: SIP

There is little doubt that VoIP has taken the business world by storm this past decade. Hosted VoIP or cloud PBX systems have hogged the limelight for a while now and it is not hard to see why. Organizations don’t have to maintain their own phone systems or troubleshoot problems when they arise. You can switch vendors when your requirements change and you only pay for the resources that you use.

Most people view SIP trunking as a useful alternative only for large organizations or multinational corporations. SIP trunks are considered to be less flexible and require more maintenance than hosted services. While SIP trunking does require a bit more knowledge to setup and deploy, they actually offer more flexibility than their hosted counterparts. SIP trunks can be the perfect solution for a wide variety of organizations, regardless of their size.

But just like hosted VoIP services, SIP trunks come with their own benefits and drawbacks. So before you decide to implement your own SIP trunking solution, you should read up on the costs and benefits of SIP trunks. First let’s take a look at the costs of deploying SIP trunks.

Cost of SIP Trunking

Moving to a new technology can be expensive but VoIP generally works out cheaper than traditional PSTN lines. There are two types of costs you should look at with SIP trunks – one-time/upfront fees and recurring payments. Some vendors charge a setup fee when you purchase SIP trunks from them while others don’t charge anything but bundle the costs into higher monthly payments.

Another upfront fee involves purchasing new numbers or porting your old numbers. The price for each number is generally not high but if you plan to purchase or port hundreds of numbers, it will quickly become expensive. If your organization already has an IP enabled PBX system, then you only have to purchase SIP compatible phones or headsets. You don’t need to purchase a lot of new equipment to use SIP trunks. However if you don’t have an IP enabled PBX box, you will need to include the cost of a VoIP gateway in your budget.

There are three types of monthly charges you can expect to see with SIP trunking.

  • Call charges
  • SIP trunking fees
  • Cost of bandwidth

SIP trunking call charges are pretty straightforward. Vendors generally offer a choice of metered or unlimited plans. You can even select a combination of unlimited domestic calls and metered international calls (or vice versa) to suit your requirements. Vendors will also charge a monthly fee for each SIP trunk you have deployed. Some providers will bundle it with unlimited calling to specific destinations or a certain number of minutes for a better deal.

Most people would not consider the cost of Internet bandwidth in their budget for SIP trunking. However SIP trunks use your data networks to transmit calls and generate additional traffic. You might have to upgrade the capacity or speed of your network to handle VoIP calls. So if you’re calculating the return on investment, be sure to include the cost of Internet as well.

Benefits of SIP Trunking

Now that we have seen how much SIP trunking can cost, it’s time to look at what you can get out of it. One of the biggest benefits of switching to SIP trunks is that internal calls between employees become free. Since a good portion of your voice communication happens within the organization, you will see a significant drop in your monthly bill.

Both domestic and international calls are much cheaper over SIP trunks than regular PSTN calls. If your business has high call volume, the cost per call is significantly less than hosted VoIP services as well. If you opt for unlimited calling plans, then you will never be surprised by certain hikes in your monthly expenses.

Another advantage of SIP trunks is that you don’t have to purchase more than you need. SIP trunks come in bundles of 24 but if you need 26 channels, you don’t have to add another 24! You can buy the exact number of channels you need and add extra on the fly. Suppose you only need 30 channels for most of the year but want to add extra capacity during the peak season. You can easily do this with SIP trunks and remove them when you no longer need so many.

Adding voice traffic onto your existing network is an extra burden. However it also means that you don’t have to maintain two separate networks – each with its own requirements. You don’t need an expensive service contract with the phone operator to make sure nothing goes wrong. Quite a few organizations are switching over from hosted VoIP services to benefit from SIP trunking. So take a close look at your needs and requirements and see if SIP trunking offers the best solution.