Reference : Understanding VOIP Pricing
Telecoms pricing has always been something of a mystery to many – with so many tariffs, charges, rates and acronyms for add-ons and extras that are not always clear.
Similarly with VOIP – the cost of data and connection charges can vary enormously. So asking how much a given system costs is pretty meaningless. Understanding how the various models work, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, is far more useful, as you can then calculate how much you would spend on each type of solution over a given time period under given circumstances. Importantly, it will help you understand the full range of benefits that each has to offer.
Premises VoIP is similar to traditional premises systems of the past. You buy, install and operate a complete phone system including call-handling (PBX) and end-user (phone) equipment. You can use your own staff to handle technical tasks, or use an outside firm or the vendor itself via a service contract.
But premises VoIP also differs from the traditional premises model. Traditional PBXes are expensive pieces of specialized hardware. The more users you want to support, the more you have to spend on hardware. IP PBXes, by contrast, consist of sophisticated software running on relatively cheap hardware, often generic servers or appliances. Adding users thus doesn't require big spending on more hardware. But IP PBX vendors still want to make more money when they support more users. Thus their tendency is to sell per-seat licenses, keeping revenues rising in proportion to user numbers. Bundling phones in the per-seat price also supports this revenue/user link.
- Advantages of premises VoIP:
- Once purchased, all you pay for is maintenance, upgrades, support etc.
- Security: You have physical control of the equipment and data, including voice mail messages
- Disadvantages of premises VoIP:
- Major upfront expenditure
- You are responsible for equipment management, maintenance, upgrades etc.
Some providers charge only for minutes of inbound and outbound calls, focusing on the telecom rather than the call-handling part of the hosted package. And some even charge by bandwidth: You can have as many calls for a fixed fee as your IP connection (which may be bundled with the service) can support.
- Advantages of hosted VoIP:
- No upfront expenditures
- Flexibility: It's easy to add users by paying for more seats
- No responsibility for maintaining system, keeping it technically up to date, etc.
- Disadvantages of hosted VoIP:
- You have to keep paying monthly fees forever
- This could become the more expensive option in as few as one or two years
- Advantages of premises-based hosted VoIP:
- The usual price and flexibility benefits of hosted VoIP services
- Call handling and data on premises
- Quality: Calls don't travel over the public Internet between employees' phones and the IP PBX, as with traditional hosted VoIP
- Disadvantages of premises-based hosted VoIP:
- Takes up space at customer's premises
- Pay forever
You can discuss any of the above with us at Merlin Telecom on 0800 877 8810 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org