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How much should a VoIP system cost per user?
By Pha Lo
The best argument for switching from traditional phone service to VoIP is the long-term cost savings of calls made through broadband internet. Instead of paying three or four different bills for local and long-distance calling and internet, VoIP lets businesses combine telecommunications costs. This kind of streamlining saves time and money, but depending on the telecommunications needs of a given business, VoIP costs can vary widely.
According to 2007 research from AMI reported by Forbes.com, hosted VoIP spending in 2005 for small businesses with one to 99 employees was $80 million, with individual spending highly specific to each individual business’ needs. That number was projected to increase to $1.12 billion by 2010. Businesses with 100 to 999 employees spent as much as $66.7 million in 2005 with 2010 spending projected to reach $310.8 million.
Spending will vary from one business to the next. Here are some variables that will affect the costs of traditional VoIP systems:
Owning versus Hosted
Purchasing a system outright and managing it in-house versus going with a hosted solution will impact costs. The decision is personal and highly specific to a small business needs.
The number of lines, employees and remote locations linking into the VoIP system all impact costs. Scale is one of the main predictors of cost and is always included in customized price quotes. Often, VoIP vendors provide cost estimates based on a range of users, for example 0-5, 6-10 or 11-15 employees.
Service can start at around $200 for certain number of lines, such as four users, with fees for additional users.
A business’ current hardware and potential equipment upgrades impact cost. Items to assess for equipment cost include telephones, headsets and the current data connection–whether it’s DSL, fiber or cable. Look for vendors who bundle in free equipment or who can integrate services with your existing equipment. As a point of reference, equipment can cost around $250 per phone.
Take a look at our Business Phone System Comparison Chart.