While SIP trunking has many advantages, lowered communication costs is certainly one of the main drivers for the increasing popularity of SIP. In case the low price is behind your decision to make the switch to SIP, does it make sense to simply choose the lowest cost provider? In most cases, the answer is a resounding no. Here’s why.
Not All SIP Trunks Are Created Equally
Without getting too much into the telco weeds, you should know that there are various tiers of networks that are used to connect SIP calls to the public telephone network. The best solutions leverage only Tier-1 carrier networks. Tier-1 carriers are directly connected to the structure of the Internet and can be considered part of the Internet itself. They have the highest connection speeds and are the most reliable network. Some SIP providers use Tier-2 or Tier-3 networks to cut costs, but that comes with the risk of poor audio quality, jitter or loss of dial tone.
Pricing Can Be Deceptive
For people unfamiliar with the various ways that SIP trunks are priced, it can be easy to get drawn in by what seems like a low monthly fee, only to find out that there are added hidden costs. Some vendors charge extra for technical support or call data records, for instance. You should also consider initial set up fees, charges for direct inward dial numbers (DIDs) and e911. Choose a vendor that is transparent about all of the costs involved.
Support is Important
While we wish it wasn’t true, it costs money to maintain a quality support team. No one has a magic formula that allows them to provide excellent customer service without the revenue to do so coming from somewhere. Rock bottom priced vendors are cutting corners in some way, and it is usually customer service. While it is true that SIP trunks are fairly easy to install and maintain, and you don’t have to be a SIP expert to use one, you do want to know that the vendor will be there for you if questions arise.
Contract Terms Vary
It pays off to pay attention to the fine print. Some vendors require long term contracts that lock you in even if you are unhappy with the service. Some even require that you also get your Internet bandwidth from them. We think that most customers are better off choosing a vendor that provides service on a month-to-month basis so that they have the flexibility to reduce or cancel service at will. It is also our view that you should be able to choose the internet service that provides the best value and quality in your area.
Price is certainly an important factor in your SIP trunking decision, but it really shouldn’t be the only one. What you want to look for is the right combination of price, quality, service, and flexibility.