Many people are moving over to VoIP (voice over IP phones) for both home and business use. The reasons are many:
- Lower costs compared to a landline/traditional PBX
- Freedom to use your handset/softphone wherever you travel
- High-end features such as interactive voice recordings and call-transfer that were previously only available to corporate PBX users
- The ability to make and receive calls even during load-shedding*
*will require the Zoiper app on your smartphone
Given these benefits, it is not hard to see why small businesses and even home users are moving over to VoIP in their droves.
What exactly is VoIP Anyway?
VoIP or Voice over IP is basically a phone call over the Internet. Think of it as Whatsapp or Skype except that with a VoIP service you receive your very own phone number that looks and behaves like a normal landline number. This means that your business can come across as a well-established company even if you are diverting the number to your cell or have a few extensions in various locations around South Africa (or even the world)
What VoIP numbers are available in South Africa?
While many VoIP providers in South Africa have their unique range of numbers, most of the VoIP numbers available start with 010. This is the common range of generally available numbers that closely resembles the traditional landline 011 extensions (for Johannesburg). You can also port your existing landline number over to a VoIP provider and effectively cut the cord.
So, How Do I Get a VoIP Phone Number?
The process of obtaining a number and linking it to a handset or soft-phone is fairly simple:
1) Choose a VoIP provider
A VoIP provider will be able to assign to you a number of your choice from a given range – they will bill you a small monthly fee to host the number for you. Simply Google VOIP providers or you can get a VOIP phone number from Buwa Communications here
2) Determine how many extensions you require
An extension is a physical device on your internal VoIP network. This can be a desktop or cordless handset, a smartphone or it can even be a virtual extension that simply plays a recorded message or diverts to your cell phone.
3) Determine the flow of the incoming calls
Do all calls go to a single handset (like a receptionist for example) or does the number ring extension 1 5 times and then move on to extension 2? You have complete freedom on how incoming calls are handled.
4) Buy the handsets/smartphone app
Each extension that you want to receive and make calls on needs a handset or an app if you prefer to use your smartphone as your extension. We recommend a handset from Yealink, Fanvil or Grandstream as they generally have the best features for the lowest price. If you prefer to go truly mobile you can download the Zoiper app on your smartphone, there is a free option but the paid option offers call transferring and several other valuable features over the free app
5) Configure your device
Your VoIP provider will give you the correct settings to configure each handset if you are technically able. If you use Buwa Communications, we sell the handsets pre-configured so all you need to do is plug them in and start using them. Please bear in mind that all desktop and wireless handsets need to be plugged into your Internet router to work as they need an Internet connection. If you have an existing network in your home/office this will normally do just fine.
6) Pay for your service
Your VoIP provider will normally bill you at the end of each month a fee per phone number and each extension as well as all outgoing calls.
Our prices are as follows:
R69 p/mo per extension
R69 p/mo per phone number (you only need one number no matter how many extensions you have)