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What are the benefits of SIP trunking compared with hosted VoIP?

What are the benefits of SIP trunking compared with hosted VoIP? Is SIP trunking replacing hosted VoIP? If so, why?

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SIP trunking is an excellent play for businesses, even if they already have a PBX.  The cost benefits, rumored to be upward of 60%, are not a myth. At my firm, we are about to make our third move to another SIP provider to reduce our costs yet again by another 20% to 30%. IP telephony, unlike the old time division multiplexing services, is not a static service. Services are changing and improving, and the competition is on for these next-generation providers. For those that missed the published "drop dead date" of the PSTN moving to an all-IP network on June 15, 2018: Take note. It remains debatable whether that date is accurate. It also remains unclear how and when the public will be completely migrated away from PSTN. It is, however, clear that businesses and consumers will be moving to an all-IP network sooner rather than later.

SIP trunking is not replacing hosted VoIP. Our office IP-PBX is connected to a hosted PBX and both dial plans (hosted PBX and our PBX) are integrated. Remote phone and office users are connected via the cloud. In many cases, SIP trunks are very cost-effective for companies that have money to invest in their solution. Hosted PBX services are ideal for businesses that lack cash flow, and especially for startups that need to preserve cash and minimize capital expenditures. But again, if these businesses are not investing in their infrastructure, their hosted PBX or SIP trunk efforts will be in vain. Hosted VoIP is complimentary to both TDM and IP PBXs. In our case, we are using both SIP trunks and a hosted PBX to meet the needs of off-site employees and to eventually phase out our voice mail (VM)/automated attendant (AA) system. Why? For energy consumption and efficiency. We can move the VM/AA system to the cloud, free up rack space and reduce our energy consumption. The cost is a wash. The really cool thing is that we can queue up calls in the cloud, resulting in more calls than we have virtual or physical connections. The cloud ultimately becomes our call center. Now, instead of buying more virtual or physical trunks, we use the cloud.

In this arrangement, callers also have the option to continue to hold or to leave a voicemail. We can potentially increase our "capture rate" of business without the added costs of adding more virtual and/or physical lines.

This was first published in February 2013

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