Ways to Lower the High Price of Cell Phone Long Distance Bills

Tired of wrestling with high long distance bills or a large overage on your cell phone? I for one don’t look forward to receiving my cell phone bill each month as a result of the hidden fees that may lurk inside.

Whether you or someone in your family is making long distance calls it seems there are few reasonable solutions to keep costs down. Of course, this mainly applies to people that make calls internationally or within the USA, but even though cell phone companies have more included in their plans of domestic long distance calls there are several areas that you have to be careful of when it comes to placing long distance or international calls.

It’s not uncommon to get a $100 dollar surprise in the mail from your phone company.

Usually people have to learn the lesson the hard way as it takes some high bills to seek other solutions to lower long distance bills and find alternatives. The good news is that there are many options now for calling overseas at reasonable rates.

If you find that you are seeking to lower your long distance bills there are alternatives to look for beyond what your cell phone company may do to lower your rates. You see most cell phone companies don’t offer the low rate international rates unless asked and when you do call about the high bills you are receiving it may be too late to negotiate anything lower. Most of the times low rates come as an added feature for cell phones and this is something that could cost 10 dollars a month for just to be eligible for discount calling.

The smart people would say “I’m just going to make internet calls then for free!” we’ll before you try that think about what your options are. Yes, there are options out there for free internet calls but you really need an option that works on your cell phone or other phones in your household.

Check out your smartphone apps too! There are several options of utilizing voice over IP to make calls through WiFi internet. This works well if you know who you are calling and you are both available through WiFi. Although a good solution in some instances it may not fulfill the need for making calls on the go when you are outside of your home.

Another option is phone cards for placing long distance calls and this works well but presents some hassle for folks that don’t want any interruption on the call or don’t have money left on the card. Two things that have been awkward about phone cards is having to travel to get them and also dealing with pin numbers that are always changing.

Seek long distance calling solutions that work on both your home phone, cell phones and family phones.

Basically there are solutions out there for people and many, but for sake of convenience you may want to seek a prepaid international pinless card. These types of cards that are also called pinless digital phone cards are the next generation of phone cards that allow consumers to order online and then specify the phones they want the low rates to apply to. This type of a solution can also work on your existing cell phone in most cases.

Overall, there are many ways to reduce your long distance bills but it will require some research and due diligence on your own time to seek out solutions that work for you and make your life more convenient.

No matter what direction you choose it’s important to apply due diligence in your search in order to seek out the best options for you. Avoid those high rates and work towards lower long distance bills that technology is now providing consumers.

5 Reasons To Use A Virtual Phone System With Your Small Business

So you have a small business or you’re in the process of creating one – which type of phone system do you want? The traditional landline or a virtual phone system, which is often referred to as a virtual PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system. There are advantages and disadvantages to using each one, so here is a detailed look at your options.

First, perhaps an exact description of these relatively new virtual phones is needed in order to make a sound business decision, especially when it comes to your business office communications – the heart of any company. Virtual means everything is handled online or over the Internet. These are VOIP or voice over IP systems, such as the popular Skype program which now has roughly 300 million users according to Microsoft which acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Many skeptics still balk at using the web for phone communications but these technologies are becoming much improved and may be the norm in the not too distant future. In the same light, many households are now dishing the traditional phone landline and going with a completely mobile option. Increasingly, most of our daily communications are going wireless/mobile, and many are connected via the Internet. Like it or not, most of today’s business communications are done through computers, cell phones and the web.

It is in this current framework which any business owner has to at least consider the “virtual option” when it comes to setting up their communication system. So here are 5 reasons to use a virtual phone system, followed by some reasons why you shouldn’t use it.

1. Cost – It is definitely cheaper to run a virtual phone system not only because the operating costs will be lower, but the initial startup or setup expenses will be much less than going with a traditional system. Actually, if you’re using your current cell phones, the costs will be very minimal compared to installing and maintaining a landline system.

2. Setup Time – One of the best advantages of going with a virtual web-based system, setup is almost instant. If you’re ordering virtual phones, these will take a week or a few days to arrive, but for the most part your phone system can be up and running within minutes. You can even “port” your current business phone number over to this online service or provider.

3. Mobility – Using a virtual system can give your employees and your business complete mobility. They and your company can be reached 24/7 from anywhere on the planet. If your operation has an active traveling salesforce, having your data and communications in the “cloud” may prove very beneficial.

4. Efficiency – Having all your business communications readily accessible by all parties can make for a very efficient operation. All faxes, sales stats, memos… can be easily send/received by all your workers. The use of voice mail, message forwarding, Internet faxing… even a virtual 24/7 receptionist can make for a smoothly run business.

5. Interconnectability – Needless to say, computers run most modern day businesses and having all your company’s phone and office communications neatly connected with the web and your computers will synchronize /digitize your whole operation. Files, calls, sales orders… can all be in digital form where they can be easily accessed by all your workers. Having all your office communications directly plugged in to your email, fax and phone calls via a virtual PBX system does connect the whole show.

Now, these are all valid reasons to use a virtual phone system but there are a few drawbacks. Mainly, the issue of privacy and security has to be considered when it comes to the Internet. We have all heard horror stories of private data being stolen or hacked and any information stored on a computer connected to the web can be compromised. While we are slowly improving security and many in the general public now use the web for such things as banking, shopping, faxing and phone communications – the general overall distrust is still there and has to be considered.

While encryption and increased security measures do make most communications secure, small businesses should still make sure any sensitive data stored online is completely secure. The same goes for your business phone communications, check with the provider to see exactly what security measures are in place and how your private data is stored online. In a similar vein, you should thoroughly check out the “quality” of the provider and make sure they have a reliable service with good support.

Another issue simply has to do with your customer or client base, if you have a traditional client list who prefer using landlines (especially when it comes to sensitive data or information) you might want to stick with a traditional system. However, if your client base is completely comfortable with virtual phones and communicating via the web, then a virtual PBX system may be a more suitable option for your business. Even though most of your customers won’t notice the difference, the old adage, the customer is always right does come into play here and should be followed.

Lastly, maybe it’s a little redundant to say, but all your business communications are vital to the success of your company or operation. Just keep in mind, in this era of cell phones, VOIP services and cloud providers of all sorts – going with a cheaper and more efficient virtual phone system is a definite option, but like always it’s your call.

What Are Analog Trunk Lines?

Understanding every aspect of a phone system will help you make the best decision when you are ready to purchase and install. This knowledge will help you ask the proper questions, be able to recognize exactly what your business needs in a phone system, and facilitate a smooth relationship with the phone installer you hire. Let’s start with trunking and analog trunk lines.

A simple analog trunk line is a telephone circuit made of copper wire that runs from your local phone company’s central office building to your business location. The phone company’s central office building houses switching equipment that connects you to the public telephone network. This is sometimes referred to as the local loop. Once installed, someone can call the phone number that you have subscribed to, and the phone company can connect the call to you through the analog trunk line. A good point to remember with analog trunk lines is that one phone number is associated with one line. If you need more phone numbers, then your phone company will have to connect more analog trunk lines to your business.

Trunking refers to the concept that many users can access the telephone network through sharing a set of lines instead of each receiving one individually. Think of a tree trunk: all of the branches share one trunk and through this connection are all granted access to the nutrients in the soil. Similarly, every phone extension in your office has access to the public telephone network through a smaller set of analog trunk lines.

If you have a small office, each telephone can be connected to the local loop and then receive its’ own phone line. However, if your office is growing and you need to connect many phone extensions to the public telephone network, it just doesn’t make financial sense to pay for separate lines to each phone. In most circumstances every employee does not need to be on the phone at one time. Instead, by using the trunking concept you can reduce the amount of telephone lines you pay for while servicing every phone in your business. In fact typical business phone systems are configured in ratios of 3-4 telephone lines for every 8 phone extensions.

If you are a small or medium size business looking to use up to 10-15 incoming telephone lines to connect your phone system, then choosing analog trunk lines would be a great place to start.