In the past, most businesses used landline phones for their primary communication. Today though, many are transitioning from analog landlines to VoIP phone systems. In fact, about 31% of businesses already use the VoIP phone system to unify communication platforms and reduce their phone bills.
Residential use of landlines is also declining. According to Statista, 90 percent of US adults lived in households with landline phones in 2004 compared to less than 40 percent in 2020.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers more potential at a lesser cost. As the name suggests, it relies on an internet connection to make and receive calls.
This article will focus on landlines and VoIP: what they are, how they work, the benefits of VoIP, and why you should consider moving to VoIP.
Why Are Internet Phone Services Replacing Landlines?
Also known as an analog phone system, a landline is a traditional phone system with copper wires running from the local phone company to the physical location of the phone.
Invented in 1876, landline phones have remained unchanged and function the same way they did more than a century ago. Although it’s a tried and tested technology that has worked well, it’s also old and has had little to no advancement.
How Landlines Work
Landlines work by transmitting electrical signals through copper wires from one phone to another. This makes them fast and reliable, and the voice is clear.
However, they rely on hardware, making them considerably more expensive.
A business requires the installation of an on-premise PBX (Private Branch Exchange) consisting of one or several phone lines. A PBX allows users to switch calls by creating an internal phone network, thus, a shared phone system.
This requires hardware such as:
- PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
- Copper wires
- Telephone adapters
- Switch boxes
- Phone sets, etc.
Additionally, you’ll need to pay an installation fee and a monthly fee to your provider.
Benefits of Landlines
There are some definite benefits to traditional landlines. These benefits include:
- Reliability: Analog landline phones are incredibly reliable. Since the connection uses wires, it is not affected by issues like internet downtime and power outages.
This is especially crucial for businesses that prioritize internal communication or customer service. If customers can’t reach you consistently, you risk losing them to your competitors.
Additionally, productivity among your workers can significantly reduce if there’s no reliable communication between them. The old-fashioned analog landline promises, in almost every circumstance, an uninterrupted connection.
- Excellent Audio Quality: Unlike VoIP, which converts sound waves into data packets, landlines convert them directly into electricity and back. The result is excellent audio quality, and few dropped calls.
- No Bandwidth Limitations: Landlines do not need an internet connection to place calls.
While broadband reaches almost 95 percent of the US, the 5 percent without access affects almost 16 million people. A small office with internet phone services can require more broadband than what is available in the business area.
- No Learning Curve: Most employees are already familiar with landlines. You won’t require training workshops to teach your workers how to operate a new system.
If you’re running a small business that makes fewer calls, a landline may have served you well. However, it may not be a perfect fit as it comes with some downsides.
Disadvantages: Why Businesses Are Switching to VoIP
- High Cost of Installation and Scaling: Landlines require physical installation, which can be expensive and time-consuming. You’ll need to buy the hardware, and if you need to scale, you’ll need to install another phone line to handle simultaneous calls. Additionally, each line will be installed in your office, making it more difficult to make changes.
- Outdated Technology: While the world is moving away from analog technology, telephony is no different. Landlines have limited features which reduce your business capabilities. For instance, more people are working remotely from different regions of the world. You want a communication system that enables you to make calls from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world. The traditional landline system does not support that unless you have an expensive phone plan, thus limiting productivity.
- Single-Channel Communication: Landlines offer only one channel of communication—calls. However, people are looking for a more personalized experience in the current business world. Your clients may want to communicate via video chat, message, or even live chat with your customer support team. Moreover, if you need to engage your customers more, like giving them a virtual tour of your business, a traditional landline cannot help.
- High Running Costs: Apart from the costly installation, running a landline is also more expensive than internet phone services. You will need to budget for the monthly fees and expensive maintenance costs to use traditional landlines. Additionally, depending on your service provider, making international calls will cost more, unlike a VoIP system where you only pick an affordable monthly plan with access to advanced features and no installation or maintenance costs.
- Vulnerable to Spam Calls: Landlines are more susceptible to spam calls than VoIP phones, as they lack a vigorous call screening process. In 2019, scammers used landlines for about 25 percent of their spam call attempts. Most VoIP systems come with features to prevent spam calls, such as caller ID so you can answer only the calls you recognize and a blocking functionality to block any known spam calls.
VoIP: The Affordable Internet Phone System
VoIP is a digital phone system that allows you to make and receive phone calls through the internet, unlike a traditional phone.
Communication is transmitted through different methods such as smartphones, computers, tablets, traditional phones, and VoIP phones.
VoIP is also referred to as IP telephony or internet calling.
How VoIP Works
VoIP works by converting sound into data packets. These packets are then transmitted to the VoIP provider, who routes and directs the calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The process happens in milliseconds thanks to fast internet connections.
IThe VoIP provider offers the option of selling you hardware so you can host the phone system locally on your premises using an IP-PBX. Alternatively, you can opt for the provider to host the complete setup on the cloud. You can access the system any time, wherever you are in the world.
Because it’s internet-abled, VoIP offers advanced features that are not available in traditional systems — built into the system at a fraction of the cost.
If you’re looking for more control over your communication system and calling experience, a VoIP phone will meet your expectations.
What Features Make VoIP Popular?
Technology has come a long way since analog landlines were the only option, and the features that are now available with VoIP are pretty impressive, not to mention very useful. Some of these features include:
Call forwarding automatically directs calls from your VoIP line to other phone numbers of your choosing, including mobile, home, office, or another line.
For example, if you’re working in the field, you can direct calls to your mobile phone. If you’re in a meeting, you can direct calls to your receptionist.
Some VoIP platforms even allow you to forward based on more specific factors, like when the call comes in or what number is on the caller ID.
Caller ID displays the caller’s information, including their name and phone number. With this functionality, you can know who’s calling you and, if they are spam calls, block them using the call blocking feature.
You can also create your Caller ID in a VoIP system, which will be displayed to recipients whenever you make calls.
A VoIP system can actually perform some of the functions of a receptionist, also known as a virtual assistant. Your VoIP system can automatically answer, forward, and record calls. It can also deliver recorded messages, among other tasks.
You can use this feature on customer support lines or in automated directories to accomplish things like informing your callers of system changes or delivering up-to-date information.
Call Queues include specific phone numbers. These queues allow you to direct incoming calls to these numbers. If one member is on a call, the call is directed to the next member who’s available while the caller waits in line.
Video conferencing or video calling allows you to communicate with your customers through video. Instead of traveling to where they are to show them a product, you can conduct a product demo through video call.
Additionally, employees working remotely can collaborate on projects or even hold virtual meetings using this functionality.
Voicemail to Email
This feature transcribes your voicemails into emails. It does not convert the message into a written text. Instead, it converts it into an audio file and sends it to your email.
Whenever you’re not available on the phone, you can always receive the message via email, open it, and listen when convenient.
Benefits of VoIP
In sharp contrast to the landlines of old, VoIP offers inexpensive, flexible, scalable options with extensive technology benefits for businesses. Let’s outline some:
- Inexpensive: Communication on VoIP takes place over the internet. Unlike landlines, you are not charged for minutes or extra phone service. You also don’t incur hardware installation charges. Making international calls is also cheap through VoIP apps.
- Flexibility: You can take your VoIP phone when traveling and still make calls. Also, if you need to upgrade or downgrade, it’s easy and flexible.
- Advanced features: VoIP systems come with a wide variety of advanced features suited for business. You can mix and match features according to your needs.
- Connection anywhere: Since VoIP is internet based, you can connect to the system from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. In the continuously growing business world, the ability to make calls from anywhere maximizes the capabilities of your business.
- Reliability and scalability: As long as you have a good internet connection and enough bandwidth, you can depend on VoIP to make quality calls. And when your business grows, no more hardware or installation is required. Just upgrade your package to match your needs.
- More communication channels: Unlike traditional landlines where you only have the phone as a communication channel, VoIP offers expanded communication options, such as video chat, messaging, and video conferencing. You can give your customers a customized experience at a fraction of the cost.
- Dependent on good internet connection: VoIP relies on strong bandwidth and good internet connection. If your connection is weak or you have downtime, you might have dropped calls and poor sound quality.
- Difficult to track call location: You can use VoIP anywhere without tying it to one location. While this is excellent when working anywhere, it makes tracking calls difficult. Consequently, you’re not guaranteed the phone will support emergency services like 911. To resolve this, VoIP providers enable the Enhanced 911 (E911) feature, where you can set a physical address that appears whenever you dial 911.
Switching to VoIP: Business Implications
The move to VoIP offers significant benefits like advanced features and seamless migration; however, the switch will require planning and consideration. You may also need to replace, upgrade or reconfigure some services that rely on the landline system for perfect functioning.
- Security systems and fire alarms that call monitoring centers
- Fax machines
- Lift communication systems
Things To Consider When Switching
Do you have a strong internet connection you can depend on? Without it, you’ll have problems using your phone.
Your Business Needs
VoIP service is offered in packages containing different features and at different prices. The one you choose will depend on your business needs. You don’t have to pay for features you won’t need.
What’s your budget for the switchover and monthly costs? Determine the features you’d like for your system. Will they come with the package or as add-ons for which you have to pay extra?
Switch to VoIP Today
Will internet phone services replace landlines? Yes. People are recognizing the advantages of VoIP over landlines and will continue to switch to the more affordable and flexible phone system.
You may not know where or how to start the migration process, but you don’t have to do this alone.
At Phone.com, we’ll do all the work for you so you can concentrate on the more important matters of your business. We’ll provide you with an affordable and easy-to-use communication system for your growing business in just minutes. You’ll no longer have to worry about being responsive or whether your employees are connected (wherever they are in the world).
Just pick a plan, then mix and match users so you only pay for what you need. Plus, you’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee. Sign up today and take your business communication to the next level.