Compare VoIP phone systems

The business world is transitioning from traditional phone systems to modern VoIP systems. VoIP systems are great, but there are many factors to consider when comparing VoIP systems for your business.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to comparing VoIP systems.

What is a VoIP phone system?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, an acronym that offers little explanation but is widely used in the telecoms industry.

Put simply, a VoIP phone system is a phone system that uses a broadband network instead of a phoneline network. Skype is a VoIP provider you’ll likely be familiar with.

A traditional telephone uses a Victorian-era national copper cable network to connect one caller to another. VoIP offers a cheaper, more flexible service and is the future of telephones.

In 2025, the UK will transition away from the traditional telephone systems, and all businesses will use a VoIP system.

How does a VoIP system work?

In a VoIP phone system, you can make calls from many devices, including your laptop, smartphone or a physical VoIP desk phone. Your device will convert audio from your microphone into a digital message.

Your device sends this digital message to your cloud-based VoIP service provider using broadband or another internet connection. Your VoIP provider will route and connect your call to either a traditional phone or another VoIP device in a process that takes only milliseconds.

The VoIP system will route your call seamlessly with other VoIP devices or traditional phone lines. With a fast broadband connection, you won’t notice any difference from using a conventional phone line.

What are the benefits of a cloud-based VoIP phone system?

VoIP phone systems have a lot of advantages over traditional telephones. Here are the key ones to be aware of:

  • Much less hassle. No need for BT engineers to come out to your property and fiddle about with unreliable copper cables. If you’ve got a decent broadband connection, then using a VoIP system couldn’t be easier.
  • Most businesses can save money by switching from their traditional phone network to a VoIP system.
  • VoIP systems are highly flexible, allowing features such as call recording, complex call routing, and various mailbox options.
  • VoIP systems are generally more reliable than traditional phones, with backup cloud servers ready to take over if anything goes wrong. They don’t rely on Victorian copper wire infrastructure.

What is the best VoIP phone system?

There is no one answer to which VoIP provider offers the best system. It depends on the needs of your business. Here are the key factors to consider when comparing VoIP systems:

  • Customer support – How effectively will your VoIP system provider help you with any issues?
  • Pricing – VoIP system pricing plans can be complicated. Review and compare different VoIP charges when deciding which provider to choose.
  • International calls – You should consider if your business needs international calling capabilities. We recommend reviewing in detail international incoming and outgoing call charges.
  • Free trial – VoIP systems have no setup, so we recommend taking advantage of the free trials offered by most providers.
  • Voicemail transcription – It’s worth considering whether your business can benefit from converting voicemails into emails.
  • Contract length – Comparing VoIP systems and finding the best deals is easy. Consider how long you wish to be tied into your VoIP contract.
  • Uptime – Businesses rely on their phone systems. Uptime is a way to compare the reliability of VoIP system providers.

How much do VoIP systems cost?

The pricing of VoIP call packages is quite a complex area.

A microbusiness that doesn’t use phones often may find that Skype’s free business basics package will do the trick. On the other hand, large multinationals require vast, configured VoIP systems. Here’s a guide to the charges that usually come with a VoIP system:

  • User licence costs – Most VoIP providers will charge a fixed monthly fee for each system user. User licences define a set number of minutes for incoming and outgoing calls included within the monthly cost. Domestic calls are frequently unlimited within the monthly licence cost.
  • Outbound call charges – Call charges are levied in pence per minute of the call. VoIP systems providers often have a substantial international call list that defines your outbound call charges depending on where in the world you are calling.
  • Inbound call charges – Similarly, inbound call charges are levied in pence per minute, typically only charged for receiving international calls.
  • Additional number costs – It may be necessary to register additional numbers not associated with a specific user. This is common, for instance, where you need a number for an automated menu for incoming callers. Additional numbers will usually incur a flat monthly fee.
  • Premium features – There are separate charges for premium features such as large-capacity conferences and physical device rental on VoIP phone system packages.
  • VAT – The provision of VoIP systems is subject to VAT in the UK, so this will be added to your VoIP system bill at the standard rate of 20%.

What features should I look for when comparing VoIP systems?

Unlike traditional telephone systems, VoIP systems come with a variety of additional features. The features can make comparing VoIP systems a little more complicated than just checking prices.

Here’s a list of the key features you should consider when choosing a VoIP system:

  • Automated voice menus – Some VoIP systems don’t require a receptionist to direct all incoming calls to the right place. Instead, an automated attendant system will provide a voice menu to direct callers to the correct extension.
  • CRM system compatibility – VoIP systems can integrate with a CRM system to locate your customers for incoming calls. This is an incredibly useful feature for a customer support function. Make sure you check the VoIP system is compatible with the CRM system used in your business.
  • Call queue management – VoIP systems can handle more than one call simultaneously. A VoIP system will allow you to configure complicated rules for handling multiple calls.
  • Call recording – Some VoIP systems offer a call recording feature that will store a record of a phone conversation securely on a cloud network.
  • Flexible phone extensions – VoIP systems that will allow users to receive calls from multiple locations, like different desks or through their smartphone.
  • Call forwarding – A VoIP system feature that allows you to move a call from one extension to another.
  • Analytics – A VoIP system can provide valuable business insights by collecting data about the phone system’s use.
  • Voicemail to text – Some VoIP systems use voice recognition technology to convert answerphone messages into emails.
  • Three (or more) way calling – Some VoIP systems can call in a conference going beyond just connecting one telephone to another.

Business VoIP FAQs

Is VoIP cheaper than a landline for my business?

Yes, typically, VoIP systems are cheaper than landlines.

The most significant saving from a VoIP system can be found in lower call charges, especially when calling abroad. Even better, there’s no physical installation, so switching to a VoIP system can be completely free.

Compare VoIP systems costs to determine how much your business can save by switching to a modern VoIP system.

Do businesses have to use VoIP phones?

Not yet; there are still plenty of options available for traditional business landlines system. This is still the best option for properties that suffer from a slow internet connection.

However, be warned that in 2025 the UK will transition from the traditional copper landline system to internet-only calls.

Is there a minimum internet speed needed for VoIP?

Internet speed is essential when considering switching your business to a VoIP system. The speed of your busienss broadband provider directly affects the quality of VoIP calls.

The Federal Communications Commission states that a download speed of at least 0.5 Mbps is necessary for a VoIP call. Test the speed of your internet connection with our internet speed test.

Given that some internet connections are unreliable with speed, we recommend using the free trial of a VoIP provider to test the quality of calls at your property.

Do you need to change your number when switching to VoIP?

No, transferring phone numbers from a landline provider or between VoIP systems is possible so that you can keep your old number.

Each VoIP system provider will have a page on porting numbers from an old supplier. We recommend reading and understanding this before proceeding with the remainder of the system setup.

What is hosted VoIP?

Hosted VoIP simply means that the VoIP system provider uses a cloud-based server to manage and route VoIP calls.

The alternative, “non-hosted VOIP”, means that you would have VoIP system servers based on your business property. This complex process requires expertise to operate and manage the system.

For most businesses, a hosted VoIP solution is the one to go for.

Can I get VoIP with a home broadband package?

Yes absolutely. From 2025, VoIP will be the only option for a home phone system.

Many business broadband providers offer a VoIP phone line with their fibre broadband deals. Compare business broadband deals today.

Authors of the page

This page was written and reviewed by our utility experts, Ben Brading and Tom Melhuish.