What Makes a Flexible SIP Trunk provider?

Posted on: 2016-09-23 | Categories:SIP

Flexibility is one of the major differentiating factors between VoIP and traditional phone services. But what exactly does flexibility mean when it comes to enterprise phone systems? In the context of SIP trunking vendors, it can mean many things including providing exactly what the client needs – no more, no less. Some vendors offer flexible payment options (in terms of different plans or tiers) while others offer a unique mix of customizable features for individual businesses.

Flexible SIP Trunk Providers

By their very nature, VoIP and SIP trunks are flexible in that they can be used from anywhere, through different devices and offer a wide variety of advanced features. However those services are delivered by vendors who provide hosted VoIP and/or SIP trunks. These vendors have their own business processes and workflows and no single provider can offer every possible features at the lowest price.

Hence the service offerings by some vendors are naturally more flexible than others i.e. they can be utilized by a wide variety of businesses in different industries and by organizations of different sizes. Some providers target specific industry segments while others offer a more general service that may be suitable for all organizations.

What Makes a Flexible SIP Trunk Provider?

Although hosted VoIP and SIP trunks are often viewed as competing alternatives for opponents, organizations are coming to see that they may be able to employ a hybrid approach by combining both options. For instance, some businesses may opt for SIP trunks to their headquarters and major offices but prefer hosted VoIP for smaller locations, employees who work from home or temporary workplaces.

Today, businesses compete in a globalized environment that is constantly changing and hence business requirements are also not constant. It means that neither SIP trunks not hosted VoIP may be able to serve their needs adequately on their own but they can be combined to offer a host of benefits. This is where some providers prove that they are more flexible than the competition.

They may offer hybrid VoIP solutions that include both SIP trunks and hosted services under the same account used by the client. It ensures that there is a single billing cycle, consolidated account statements and more comprehensive monitoring. Enterprises do not have to worry about contacting different vendors when something goes wrong as troubleshooting becomes so much easier with a single provider.

Flexibility Includes Scaling up and Down

Not all SIP trunk providers offer extremely flexible pay as you go options. Even amidst the intense competition among SIP vendors, some put hard limits on how many channels can be added at a time or when they can be removed etc. It means that businesses cannot simply add or remove resources as and when required. While it may not appear to be a significant problem on the surface, it can severely hamper the ability of enterprises to respond to market conditions or manage sudden growth.

Flexibility in Billing and Call Rates

Many SIP trunk providers do not yet offer per second billing, in many cases calls are rounded up to the nearest minute. For instance a call which lasted 1 minute 40 seconds will be charged for 2 minutes. It is not a significant difference for a single call but quickly adds up for thousands of calls at the end of the month. Similarly only a few providers offer flexible call rates for different countries and organizations of different sizes. For example, a small business may prefer to utilize pay-as-you-go options by large organizations may want unlimited minutes. Flexibility in billing and call rates is often the hallmark of a good SIP trunk vendor.

Flexibility Means Getting Started Quickly

Many people wrongly assume that SIP trunks require more time for deployment than hosted VoIP solutions. This is not always true although it is certainly possible. Many vendors make it easy for customers to get started within minutes of signing up, paving the way with helpful tutorials and getting started guides. Some providers even offer to evaluate the state of the enterprise network to ensure that there are no delays due to outdated or incompatible equipment.

Of course the ability to get started quickly is just one aspect. Clients should also be free to leave the service if it does not meet their requirements any longer. A good SIP trunk provider will ensure that clients are not tied down by contracts, instead clients stay because they are satisfied with the quality of service. Unfortunately there are also disreputable vendors who try to lock in clients with annual contracts, which is certainly not very flexible for the business!

In short, a flexible SIP trunk provider is one that can accommodate the needs and requirements of many types of businesses without compromising on features, price or quality of service.