The VoIP market is still pretty immature – in more ways than one! And as a business, your communications are your life’s blood. Calls with customers bring in revenue; calls with suppliers bring in necessary equipment and services.
You cannot afford to drop a call, or miss a word.
There are companies out there that will sell phone numbers for really cheap, but to connect with them, you have to use the Internet. In these cases, you are paying a data provider for a number, but because the data provider is not the phone provider, your calls will not have ensured Quality of Service (QoS). Read VoIP Basics (6) for more information about QoS and how this works out.
Some SMBs can “afford” to take that risk, but our customers demand more from their communications. And we would never recommend that to a business – maybe for backup but not as a primary conduit for official business.
Why does the data provider need to be the phone provider to ensure professional-grade business communications at all times?
When the data provider is different than the phone provider, no one is ultimately responsible for call quality. The VoIP provider will blame the Internet connection, and the Internet provider says it’s your phone company. The phone company will blame the VoIP provider. See what is so wrong with this cycle? No one has responsibility for enough of the picture to accomplish anything.
Third-party VoIP providers also operate on much fewer restrictions because they do not operate as phone companies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does regulate phone companies, like AT&T, Windstream, etc. But third-party SIP and VoIP providers do not fall under the FCC’s authority. Your telephone company cannot disconnect phone lines without sending warnings and doing A, B and C.
A third-party VoIP provider can disconnect you as soon as a credit card is declined.
Whenever you receive a call from a really weird number, like XXX-32a…, the call is coming from a third-party VoIP provider that is not required to use an official phone number. And as long as the Free Internet exists, there is no way those third-parties can guarantee call quality – because they have no control. That isn’t a knock against the Free Internet: Just a fact.