And then there’s VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which allows subscribers to place and receive calls over the internet wherever they are in the world, reducing their phone bills overall. VoIP also enables individual and business users to combine multiple communications platforms, such as phones, voice and electronic mail, faxes, web conferencing, and many more.
But which type of VoIP number should you get — fixed or non-fixed?
In this guide, we’ll discuss what it means to have a non-fixed VoIP number, some of the benefits of non-fixed VoIP, and how it’s different from fixed VoIP.
Overview: What is a non-fixed VoIP?
A non-fixed VoIP number is a number that uses VoIP technology without attaching the service to a physical address. The user usually gets a phone number through services like Skype or Google Voice, and they can then make calls and be reached on their handheld phone as long as they have internet access.
Non-fixed VoIP numbers are sometimes also known as virtual phone numbers.
Non-fixed VoIP vs. fixed VoIP: What’s the difference?
VoIP numbers, whether fixed or non-fixed, rely on the internet to make and receive calls. They make use of the same VoIP devices — such as IP phones — and can both be configured to support text messaging. They typically offer the same calling capabilities and are designed for both business and residential use.
However, there are some key differences.
1. Physical location
Non-fixed VoIP phones are not associated with a physical location; fixed VoIP phones are. You can obtain a non-fixed VoIP number regardless of your location. You can even choose an area code from any place you like. For example, if you want a Boston area code, you can choose to start your number with 617, or you can select 212 for New York, and so on.
2. Cost of international calls
With a fixed VoIP number, international calls can be more expensive. Because a fixed VoIP number needs to be associated with a specific country, companies can charge high fees for calling outside the nation’s borders.
Fixed VoIP can be more secure than non-fixed VoIP. The network used to place calls with a fixed VoIP system are protected by stringent security policies and tools.
4 benefits of using a non-fixed VoIP
Having a non-fixed VoIP number provides major advantages for small businesses on a shoestring budget.
1. Choose “where” your business is
When a customer gets a call from an area code they’re unfamiliar with, they may be less likely to answer. With a non-fixed VoIP number, you can choose a number that correlates with your target market’s location.
Meaning, you can set up a local presence even when your business doesn’t have a physical office in the area. You can also sign up for multiple numbers, so you can designate one number for one target market and another for a market in a different part of the country.
2. Pay less when calling other countries
Non-fixed VoIP costs less when calling other countries. If your company has team members or clients in different countries, connecting with them is less expensive with non-fixed VoIP numbers. Similarly, if your organization has offices in multiple countries, placing calls between them is cheaper compared with a fixed VoIP solution.
3. Enjoy more features than other phone systems
Non-fixed VoIP numbers come with more features than many traditional mobile phone systems. You can take advantage of services like conference calling, call recording, and queuing to optimize caller experiences. Depending on your needs, these features may allow you to do far more than you would with a normal mobile phone.
4. Phone service is more reliable
With typical cellular service, performance is tethered to the strength of the signal, which may vary based on your location and your carrier. With non-fixed VoIP, as long as you have access to the internet, you can place and receive calls, no matter where you are.
3 best practices when using a non-fixed VoIP
To make the most out of your non-fixed VoIP service, especially as a business tool, there are some best practices to consider.
1. Set up a professional voicemail recording
With a professional-sounding voicemail message associated with your non-fixed VoIP number, callers will see your company or business as legitimate. Likewise, if you use non-fixed VoIP for personal calls, make sure you do a real voice recording for your message system.
Often, non-fixed VoIP numbers come with a default message simply stating, “XXX-XXX-XXXX is not available,” or a similar nondescript message. Because non-fixed VoIP numbers are so easy to obtain, they are popular with scammers and unprofessional operations. If you use the default voicemail message, you may inadvertently make it seem as if you hastily set up a phone number or are even trying to conceal your identity.
2. Always say your name and the company you represent at the beginning of the call
Some phone systems can differentiate between fixed and non-fixed VoIP numbers. Clearly stating who you are and/or which organization you represent can dispel any hesitancy the other person has when answering a non-fixed VoIP number.
Also, if your non-fixed VoIP number’s area code looks strange to the person you’re calling, they may be more likely to assume they’re getting spammed. Saying who you are and the company you represent can allay these fears right away.
3. Make sure users understand their limitations when calling 911
The fact that non-fixed VoIP numbers don’t require a geographical location can be a two-edged sword, particularly when you have to make a 911 call. When calling 911, you’re connected with a dispatch service that typically has the ability to trace your call based on your location.
If you get disconnected, the police, an ambulance, or other type of first responder will still be able to find you based on the geolocation of your phone.
Non-fixed VoIP numbers cannot be traced easily, leaving users potentially stranded if they aren’t able to convey their location before getting cut off. For the sake of safety, if people in your company use non-fixed VoIP numbers, they should be made aware of this limitation.
Non-fixed VoIP: Savings, versatility, and convenience
Non-fixed VoIP combines the benefits of a cloud-based phone system and mobile telephony. For both individual users and organizations, it can be a convenient solution for local and international calling, especially if you’re always on the move. If you frequently need to reach people in other countries for real-time communication, you can save considerable money with a non-fixed VoIP number.
With features like call recording and conference calling — and because you can make calls for little or no money anywhere you have the internet — non-fixed VoIP can be a reliable alternative to the declining landline, normal cell service, and fixed VoIP numbers.