People who choose SIP trunking usually do so because they find the cost savings, through the elimination of PRI lines and long distance charges, appealing. They also enjoy the price predictability offered by many providers. However, aside from the monthly price per channel, there are some other costs to consider. Unfortunately, not all vendors are very upfront about various charges and fees. We thought it would be helpful to lay out everything that might make up your SIP trunk costs so that you can know what to expect and what questions to ask each potential provider.
Many providers offer an unlimited SIP trunk plan that does not limit or charge by the number of minutes you consume. This is great, but you should also be sure that you understand the geography covered by your plan. This can vary by provider, so be sure to ask. SIP.US, for example, includes coverage to the United States (except Alaska and Hawaii), and most of Canada.
If you will be making international calls, or calling states that are not covered by the plan, check the provider’s international rates, especially to the places you call the most. The vendor should be very transparent about international rates and should tell you how frequently they change. Some vendors offer more competitive rates than others, so be sure to get a feel of the market pricing for the places that matter to you. We make our international rates publicly available on our pricing page.
Setup and DID Fees
In addition to your monthly fee for each SIP channel, it is normal to pay both a monthly fee and a setup fee for each local, toll free and international DID (Direct Inward Dial) number that you need. These fees should be fairly minimal. We charge just a $1.00 set up fee and $1.00 a month for each local DID.
Phone Number Porting
Phone number porting is the process of moving your existing phone numbers from your current carrier to your new SIP trunk provider. As simple as this sounds, it is actually a fairly involved process for the vendor. Thus, there will be a fee. The speed at which this can happen depends on both your existing carrier and the new vendor, so be sure to ask about the cost of phone number porting and the lead time.
Nomadic e911 is a very important service that enables users to set any address in the United States as the address to be transmitted to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) when a call is placed to 911. Land line numbers do this automatically, but digital lines need to be set up for this service. This is essential so that emergency responders can get where they are needed fast. There is usually a fee associated with this service for each number. You should take it into consideration when calculating your SIP trunk costs.
Taxes and Regulatory Fees
When they say that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, they aren’t kidding. SIP is no exception. The Federal Universal Service Fund (USF), helps to insure that first-class, affordable telecommunications services are available to customers in all parts of the country, especially under served and rural areas. The Fund also provides discounted communications services for certain healthcare facilities, schools and libraries. All telecommunications providers are required to pay into the Federal USF, and their contributions may be recovered from customers. It is standard practice for vendors pass these charges along. The percentage is based on a contribution factor announced by the FCC and is subject to modification by the FCC.
We’ve covered the most common SIP trunk costs, but vendors can be clever, so be sure that every fee is clearly communicated. We make all of our costs publicly available to make it easy for you to compute the savings you will experience when you choose SIP.US.