The purpose of this article is to ensure that any size business in any vocation in any location in the United States is made aware that telecommunications cost savings can be attained in every type of telephony that is in the marketplace. And, it may surprise businesses and organizations alike to know that cost savings can begin when ordering new Phone or Internet lines themselves. The biggest mistake that businesses and organizations make is to believe that it is only their incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) of their Cable provider that can provide connectivity. That is completely untrue.
The first thing to know is that there are many types of Telecommunications companies that have a presence in a Local or Regional geographic territory. And, that there are some entities that act as wholesalers for the incumbent ILEC’s and the Cable companies. These firms utilize a network of authorized agents who are authorized to resell the wholesale rates below retail costs. These agents can either provision new or existing Voice, Data, Internet, or Wireless phone lines. To draw a parallel, Mortgage Brokers have to earn their Client’s business because Real Estate Mortgage Rates are posted all over the Internet. The same is not true of ordering telephone services.
Analog phone services would seem to be an innocuous telecom cost. However, if you make the mistake of ordering a fully featured phone line for an elevator, which includes long-distance calls, call-waiting, and call-forwarding, you are being billed every month for services that you cannot use. The solution is to order a phone line that does not have long-distance or any features on the line. Conversely, many businesses spend a slew of extra money on an analog phone line if they are situated in an area where actually having long-distance included on their fax line saves them money because they are avoiding metered phone costs in States where the calls are being billed by distance for local toll-calls and long-distance calls.
Alarm lines, sometimes called Security lines are generally an expensive item. However, there is a new technology that delivers a wireless Alarm line that has two (2) wireless SIM Cards onboard. This ensures that if one Carrier is out of service, the Alarm can still be handled by the other Carrier. Besides delivering greater peace of mind to the Customer, these wireless Alarm lines are less costly than analog Alarm lines.
And, regular analog voice lines just had a major increase in Monthly Recurring Costs (MRC) because the ILEC’s cost to maintain those lines is much higher than digital voice lines.
Another area of hidden costs happens when ordering Internet connectivity. The amount of Internet bandwidth that is delivered, unless stipulated by the Client, can be like going to an all-you-can-eat Buffet Restaurant where you are only hungry to eat a sandwich. For example, if all a company or organization needs to do with their Internet is to retrieve emails and process credit cards, they may be able to be completely functional with a basic DSL line that has 3M/768 kbps bandwidth. The 768 kbps bandwidth is the minimum bandwidth needed to process credit cards. Yet; oftentimes, the Carrier or the Cable company will deliver too much bandwidth without letting the Customer know that there are less expensive solutions that would allow them to meet their needs. This again goes for both new lines and existing lines.
Next, with the advent of Corona Virus’ daily life, there is a new need for those Companies and/or Organizations who had all of their telecommunications incumbent to their physical headquarters to find themselves with no solution for their employees to be able to work from home. In this case, let me do a deep dive into the solution.
The solution to being able to work remotely and use the same phone numbers that you have at your Office is called implementing SIP Trunk lines, where SIP stands for Standard Initiation Protocol. In layman’s term, you are using your Office Internet connection to then run your phone call through the Office Internet and terminate into the remote office of the employee worker at their own Office or Home. The solution is effectively transitioning from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) to voice connectivity done over the Internet called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Now, because you are using your Office Internet to make the voice calls, it is recommended that any business or organization using the Internet to make voice calls do invest in a larger Internet bandwidth connectivity. It is important to note that those vocations such as Real Estate Agents whose offices have what are known as PRI’s, which allow each Real Estate Agent to have their own prefix and 7-digit phone number instead of an extension on their PBX can maintain their existing 7-digit number when they have to work from their home.
Next, medium to large companies or organizations use Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) to facilitate real-time applications such as video conference calling and sending data from one point to another. The problem with this telephony is that it is expensive, and is subject to network outages. A next-generation solution is available called SD-Wan (Shared Defined Wide Area Network). Simply put, this technology can save 50% or more over MPLS and can mitigate network outages. However, because there are a number of service providers that purvey this solution, it is important to confirm whether the vendors’ solution can implement their solution promptly, and in a manner that does not encroach the Internet firewall.
There is another VOIP solution that is now available for almost every business or organization in the Country called Hosted IP, which delivers Internet Phones, often at no cost when signing up for Voice phone service. This is a great way for a company to avoid spending thousands of dollars on a new phone system while saving money and allowing their employees to either work at the office or from home.
Next, just like backing up your computer so that you do not lose all your work, companies and organizations sign up for data back-up vendors. However, not all of them are created equally. It is important to find providers who do not charge an arm and a leg when there is an outage. The pricing plan you choose should also be based on where you are located. For example, if you are in the Tampa, Florida area, the lightning strike Capital of the United States, having backup telephony is a requirement for both voice and data. This can be delivered by either wireless or satellite providers. Do your homework. Protecting yourself is important for business outages, especially if you are a mission-critical entity such as a fire station. To that end, there are some Internet routers that allow you to have multiple back-ups so that you can have SIM Cards from the wireless carriers that will deliver triple back-up (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile/Sprint).
Next, Internet circuits themselves can be replaced using the same exact carrier using a wholesaler. For example, a business might be billed $200-300 for a circuit by AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile/Sprint, and may be able to reduce that cost of the circuit when their initial term is up by electing a wholesaler of those major carriers to provide the same circuit at a savings of 20-50% less. The only change is going to be the name of the Company that is the wholesaler doing the billing. While there is still going to be a disconnect of the old Internet circuit and the scheduling of a new Internet circuit, the only change is going to be the name of the wholesaler that appears on the bill. The service is still going to be provided by the underlying carrier. And, those carriers make more money on their wholesale contracts because they do not have to do the billing or customer service or pay their employees for the labor of handling those Clients.
Finally, if you are an entity where your employees have cell phones, it is a lot cheaper to have them not pay for their own cell phones and then; bill back the Company. Instead, put all your employees under your own plan. That will save you some good money.