Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/28/2008 01:02:00 PM |

One of the advantages of VoIP is that it is not geographically based. This allows VoIP to offer users some features that are not available from analog telephone service providers. The ability to have a virtual phone number is one such feature. VoIP allows providers the capability of assigning available area codes to any number, regardless of the physical location of the subscriber. For example, you may reside in the Los Angeles area of the United States. If your VoIP provider offers virtual area codes, then they may be able to provide you with an area code that belongs to the New York City area. There are a number of ways that you can use virtual phone numbers to your advantage.

One way to save money with a virtual phone number is to choose an area code in an area that is normally long distance for you. Calls to this area will then be local calls, and calls made from this area to you will be local as well. There will be no long distance charges for calls in either direction. Using the example from above, you would be able to call New York City from Los Angeles, and it would be the same as a local call. People in New York City could call you in Los Angeles, and it would be a local call for them as well.

If you have relatives or friends in a distant area, and normally place a lot of long distance calls to them, then you can save all of these long distance costs by getting a virtual phone number for this area. You probably do not want to use this feature with your primary phone number, as that would mean that calls to your actual local area would become long distance calls. The solution to this is to use the “add a line” feature offered by many VoIP providers. This allows you to add another phone number to your VoIP service for a small cost, often around $5. If you assign this distant area code to the new number, then you can place local calls to that area using the new number. If you provide your friends and relatives in this city with your new number, they will be able to place local calls to you as well.

Business owners can also use virtual phone numbers to their advantage. Let's say that you have a business located in Dallas, Texas. You have a large number of customers in Ft. Worth, Texas, which is not that far away but is a long distance call using regular telephone service. If you add a virtual number to your VoIP account, and choose a Ft. Worth area code, then your customers in Ft. Worth can make local calls to you. This saves them the cost of long distance calls, and provides a local “presence” in the form of a local phone number for you. In addition, you will then be able to place local calls to these customers.

Your local telephone service provider can probably provide you with a local number to a distant city, but the cost will definitely not be $5 per month. They would have to dedicate an entire analog telephone line to this task, and the cost would definitely not be low. Also, you might be able to obtain an inbound only toll-free number from your regular provider for say $50 per month, but this would not have the advantage of providing a local “presence” in that city.

Virtual phone numbers are just one of the ways in which VoIP is changing the way we communicate. They can be used to add convenience and lower costs - so why not consider trying VoIP service today?

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