Does your company have a dramatically oscillating call volume? I’ve found that when it comes to how often they’re using the phones, many companies have seasonal periods where the amount of calling spikes, but then drops down for months at a time.
From a cost perspective, the issue is that with traditional voice technologies, such as PRI and Analog Lines, companies have to pay the monthly recurring charges of the maximum number of phone lines they will need at their busiest time. Otherwise, they risk getting busy signals for inbound calls or having employees that are unable to get an open line for an outbound call. As a result, these seasonal companies are overpaying for voice lines they are not using the majority of the time. Now that SIP is flooding the market, however, there are some service providers who’s SIP offering solves this dilemma.
During the month of December I decked the halls and made some calls…to many of the SIP service providers listed on AeroComInc.com, asking them how their SIP service was different than the competition. One of the features (that only around 50% of them offer), is the ability to “burst” your call paths as your volume increases. This allows you to only pay for a number of call paths you are using, not the amount you’ll need at your busiest call time.
Here is a brief overview of the providers I spoke with that offer burstable call paths:
Allow you to burst up to 10 additional call paths but you have to pay a small fee for the ability to burst. They can deliver their SIP service over either a dedicated circuit or 3rd party Internet and also offer all other telecom products, such as traditional voice, Internet and private WAN services.
One of their SIP pricing structures only charges you for calling minutes and does not charge for call paths, so bursting is normal and free of charge. They can deliver SIP over a dedicated circuit or 3rd party Internet and will give you a free two-week demo of their service.
If you commit to spending at least $400/month, their SIP pricing is “usage-only” and they do not charge for call paths. This gives you the ability to burst at no additional charge. They can deliver their SIP service over either a dedicated circuit or 3rd party Internet and customers can add new numbers at will, through their user-friendly online portal.
For a slight increase in your pricing, Fusion will allow you to burst to a maximum of 2x your regular amount of call paths. They can deliver your SIP service over either a dedicated circuit or 3rd party Internet and they have a whopping 72 NNI’s with other major and regional ISP’s, which decreases the number of “hops” your SIP calls will traverse over the public Internet and inevitably increases your call quality. They will also do a free 2-week trial.
Granite does not charge for call paths, so bursting is free of charge in regards to MRC but they do charge a slightly inflated rate for the usage billed on the bursted call paths. They can deliver SIP over both dedicated circuits and 3rd party Internet and are well known for being a solid provider for mid-size and large companies with multiple US locations.
If you are going to spend a minimum of $250/month, Intelepeer has a usage-only calling plan that does not charge for call paths and therefore, allows for free bursting. They can deliver their SIP service over both dedicated or 3rd party bandwidth, can provide you with DID’s in 96% of the US and 50 countries, internationally. They also have a good contact center solution and have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Star2Star’s SIP service is delivered over 3rd party Internet bandwidth and allows for bursting. They are a member of the Gartner Magic Quadrant, have a good SLA and can creatively configure their SIP service to allow extension dialing between different phone systems and cell phones.
Velis4 does not charge for call paths on most of their SIP service offerings, so bursting is free and “the norm.” They can deliver the service over either dedicated or 3rd party bandwidth and take pride in their flexibility when it comes to addressing unique customer requirements.
This provider will allow you up to 10 “on-demand” call paths above and beyond your normal count. They charge per call path but all call paths have failover capabilities and they can authenticate devices with either an IP address or username/psswd. Something very unique is their commitment to customer service: They can turn up service in 1 day and their average hold time for customer care is only 34 seconds.
There you have it!
That’s my quick summary from the 60+ providers that I contacted from our website. I’m sure you have more questions, so feel free to reach out and ask me what else I learned from my December to remember SIP research.
More important than my take, however, is YOUR take. If you’ve had SIP service, rate your provider on AeroComInc.com and read some reviews on your provider to see if you concur with others’ experiences.
About the Author
Mike Smith is the Founder and President of AeroCom and has been helping companies with telecom and cloud services since 1999. He has been the recipient of numerous business telecommunications industry awards and in 2011, he was honored as one of the top 40 business people in Orange County, CA., under 40 years old. Follow Mike on LinkedIn, Twitter or SpiceWorks.