VoIP has quickly replaced traditional phone service over the last few years. As companies strive to cut costs and get more value from their phone providers, VoIP has quickly gained customer adoption. VoIP has weathered the economic turmoil over the last few years and is one of the few industries that has experienced exponential growth.
Infonetics Research estimates that the VoIP services market neared $50 billion in 2011. It forecasts that business and residential VoIP services will grow to $74.5 billion by 2015. Update: Revenue growth has been projected to reach $86.2 billion by 2020 according to a recent report by Future Market Insights (FMI).
So how does one get started in offering such a service? It is easier than you might think, there are three components you will need in order to offer your own Hosted VoIP service.
Search for a Switch
First, you will need a VoIP switch or platform. This can be a open-source solution like Elastix, FreePBX, FreeSwitch, Trixbox or a paid versions like Broadsoft and others.
There are literally hundreds of free and paid versions of these types of platforms out in the market. Some are fully hosted and some are premise-based. This platform will provide all of your class five features. Class five include features such as voicemail, call forwarding, hunt groups, auto-attendants and more. Some platforms are capable of supporting multi-tenant, while others can only support a single company.
Features and pricing vary across the board. Determine what your target market ahead of time, so you can figure out the best one to fit your needs.
Choose Your Carrier
Second, you will need to find a VoIP carrier. These services are also known as class four. The most important service is origination, also referred to as DID’s or phone numbers. Coverage is king, so make sure your provider has the largest footprint available in your target market. Termination is also necessary; it is typically referred to as long distance or outbound service. As a VoIP provider, you are required to offer e911, no exceptions. Then there are other services like 411, caller ID, directory listing, T.38, etc.
You may find that it is easier to start with one carrier that can offer all of the above services. Quality is the key when choosing a carrier. Make sure they offer 24/7 support and that they can offer you real time reports. Reporting is the most crucial aspect of this business and the more information a carrier can provide, the better.
Equip Your End User
The third and final piece is end user equipment or software. You can choose to offer this directly or let your customers bring their own device (BYOD). Most ITSP’s will offer some kind of ATA (analog telephone adapter). Linksys is by far the most common and popular with ITSP’s. The ATA allows end users to simply plug their existing analog phone into the device, which then plugs into their data network.
Another option is to provide an IP Phone. IP Phone are the most popular choice for businesses. Many of these IP phones have built in buttons to support some of the advanced class five features offered by some of the platforms.
One last option that is quickly gaining popularity is to provide some kind of soft phone or software. Many companies are electing to install software on their computers and forego phones completely. There are also apps you can download to your mobile devices that allows you to make VoIP calls over a Wi-Fi network.
VoIP Innovations provides wholesale VoIP origination and termination services across the globe. They offer one of the largest wholesale VoIP DID warehouses with over 500,000 DID’s in stock in over 8,500 rates centers. Their proprietary software, TITANIUM III, allows ITSP’s to quickly provision DID’s as well as e911, CNAM, caller ID and more. To learn more about running a VoIP business, check out our eBook "Originating Profit: Overcoming the Challenges of VoIP Entrepreneurship".