As a local telecom consultant, we talk to clients all over Northeast Ohio. Whenever we talk to someone new, we’re inevitably asked, “Why should we work with you when we can just go with ‘X’ provider directly?” It’s not an unfair question, and it’s one we’re always happy to answer. The answer usually ends up resulting in a conversation around local versus national providers.
Local or National – What’s the Difference?
Ten or fifteen years ago, this wouldn’t have been as common of a question as it is today. In our current globally connected world, it isn’t uncommon for people to receive services from providers who are hundreds or thousands of miles away.
As it relates to telecommunications, though, there is still some regionality involved as buildings and homes are connected to the outside world via a physical fiber or copper line. Whether it’s the phone company or internet company, a regional provider is going to connect into your facility.
So when we talk about local versus national, what we’re most often describing are those big providers of VoIP service like 8×8, Vonage, or RingCentral. These providers offer VoIP services to businesses across the country, often advertising low prices and easy installation. Their service runs across the local internet or data connection.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Each
The advantage of signing up with a national VoIP provider is primarily cost-based. Most have created web interfaces which make it very easy for new customers to jump online and place their order for phone service. That’s typically where the “cheap and easy” ends. We know because we’ve come to the rescue of several clients who’ve gone down this path only to end up frustrated and angry. Here are a few of the issues clients have expressed as being the most frustrating when going direct with a national VoIP provider:
- They placed the order, the phones got delivered, then they struggled with installation for any of the following reasons:
- They didn’t know they needed each office pre-wired with a data jack.
- They didn’t know they had to port their old number.
- They ordered power over ethernet phones but don’t have power over ethernet switches.
- Those who managed to successfully install their phones soon complained about quality issues like jitter, delay, or dropped calls. Nobody told them about the bandwidth demands of VoIP.
- They didn’t realize they were still under contract with their current phone provider and are now paying for both services.
- Their support was limited to email or chat. If they paid for phone support, the first-tier support techs were ill equipped to handle their requests.
The list goes on. In the end, our business clients realize the value that comes from working with a local agent and partner. At Modern Telecom, we evaluate everything. We look at:
- Current calling and internet/data usage
- Current telecom services, rates, and speeds
- The existing network infrastructure – voice, data, routing, switching, and cabling
- Desired features of the new service
- Costs for current and new services
Once completed, we propose a solution. If the client agrees, we process local number porting paperwork, order phones, configure, install, test, and turn-up. We also work to help our clients order new bandwidth and network services (if necessary) and handle the timing and termination of any out-of-contract telecom services they no longer need.
In the end, we’ve found that very small, often home-based businesses, with one or two users benefit the most by going direct with a national VoIP provider. Businesses moving from a traditional digital business phone system are better served to work with a local telecom company who can handle all the elements of a migration or new installation.
Partner With a Telecom Company Who Knows
Modern Telecom has been implementing VoIP solutions for the SMB space since its inception. Choosing a partner who knows what to look for in advance will allow you to avoid a bad VoIP experience.