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RINGCENTRAL ENGAGE™

Phone Service for Business Growth

Comparing landline, cellular, and internet phone services

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What is a phone service?

A phone service is a public utility service focused on voice communications delivered by a phone company to residential and commercial clients.

For the longest time, organizations have relied on landline phone systems, but advancements in telephone technology have given rise to other approaches, including cellular and internet phone services.

But how does one compare to the others? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these communications solutions? Let's take a closer look at all three options so you can decide which one can best drive business growth.

voip phone service

What is a landline phone service?

A landline phone service is a type of telephone service that utilizes a public-switched telephone network (PSTN) to facilitate a call. It relies on a physical network of copper wires connected to the telecommunications company. For this setup, you'll need a handset, which can either be wired or wireless. The audio you generate is transmitted through the phone jack and into the cables within the network.

This form of telephony has been around for more than a century and has been helpful to businesses for decades. While there has been a shift in consumer preference towards more modern types of telephony, landline phone systems have remained reliable. But do they still offer enough value with respect to their cost? Check out these pros and cons before you contact a business or home phone service provider:

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Familiarity -

    There are businesses that prefer to stick with processes and technologies they're used to, like traditional telephony. This is the case not just with business phones, but also with home phones. With a landline system, slow adopters in the office and seniors at home don't have to fear the unfamiliar.

  • Emergency Services -

    There is no denying the reliability of landline phones during emergency situations. That's because with traditional telephony, the phone line is clearly tied to a specific location from the get-go, making it easy for first responders to trace it. Keep in mind that when the 911 system was established, there were no phone solutions other than the landline.

  • Limited availability -

    The service is only available when you're at home or in the office since you can't bring the phone with you when you leave.

  • High cost -

    The plans phone companies offer usually involve high prices. Let's not even get started on long-distance and international calls.

  • Fewer features -

    With a landline phone system, we are dealing with an aging technology. Basic plans therefore don't come with many advanced calling features. Available add-ons like caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, and call blocking usually cost extra.

What is a cellular phone service?

A cellular phone service relies on mobile networks to transmit calls. Depending on the coverage map, you can access the phone services from almost anywhere using your cell phone. Coverage varies among phone providers, and connection options include 3G, 4G, 4G LTE, and 5G. Here are the major merits and faults of subscribing to a cellular phone service:

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Increased connectivity and mobility

    : You probably have had to contact someone who's out of the office, like a supplier, customer, or field personnel. With a cell phone in hand, that person can take the incoming call as long as it's within the coverage map.

  • Multimedia communication

    : Use the same phone number for sending text messages. Reaching out to customers who prefer to get contacted through SMS should appreciate your gesture.

  • Fewer features -

    Like landline phone systems, cellular phone systems lacks advanced call management features. For example, without an auto-attendant, customers would have to go through a live operator, wait on hold, and state their reason for calling before getting routed to the right person or department.

  • Emergency service limitations

    : The consistency of cell phone services depend on coverage, so locating emergency phone calls made from mobile devices can get really tough in areas that are out of reach. Moreover, there's a chance emergency calls from mobile phones can get misrouted with increased call volume (e.g. in cases of widespread emergency situations).

  • High cell phone cost -

    Cell phone companies are in a constant race to come up with the most stylish smartphones loaded with the most sophisticated phone features. If you want any of those top-of-the-line units, prepare to shell out a ridiculous amount of money.

  • High international calling fees -

    If a worker travels overseas and needs to be contacted by cell phone, costs can soar. There are providers that offer international packages, but these are usually expensive and quality is not always guaranteed.

voip phone service

Postpaid plans vs. prepaid cell phone plans

With a postpaid plan, you choose a plan and are billed on a monthly basis. Plans can come with a mobile phone or just the phone-based services like talk, text, and data. With a prepaid plan, you're charged each month for a predetermined access to services.

Major carriers focus on providing the most attractive, unlimited data plan, but prepaid carriers can be more flexible. If your business anticipates a certain volume of texts and data for a period of time, you can get only the required credits, making prepaid mobile plans the lower priced option for you.

That said, if your business relies heavily on cell phones, you'll probably find postpaid plans more cost-effective mainly because they usually offer perks like free unlimited calls. Once your employees have used up their credit, you would have to top it up, or they won't be able to make a call.

For postpaid plans, look into Sprint Unlimited plan or other similar cell phone plans from top providers like Verizon Wireless, Metro by TMobile, and even Straight Talk. If you want more control over your usage and monthly fees, go for prepaid cell phone plans.

What is an internet phone service?

An internet phone service makes use of Voice over Internet Telephony (VoIP) to facilitate phone calls; hence, it's also called VoIP phone service. This form of telephony needs only a high-speed internet connection to make phone calling possible (internet calls can be done from a landline phone with a phone adapter, from PC to PC, from PC to phone, or using softphones and apps).

VoIP phones come in the form of regular phones, such as desk phones and cordless phones. They can also be any VoIP-enabled device like cell phones, tablets, or laptops. Below are some of the benefits (and drawbacks) VoIP services provide.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Low cost -

    There are many ways you can save money with this technology, whether you use residential VoIP or business VoIP for your organization. For a hosted service, it starts with zero setup fees. You also don't need to worry about maintenance and upgrade costs. And since VoIP calls leverage the internet, local and long-distance calls are much cheaper.

    With internet calls, you save on monthly costs, which can go as high as $100 per line (ask the phone provider, as rates could be subject to change without prior notice) with a traditional business phone system. That means the more phone lines you have, the more savings you can expect on your monthly bill.

  • Advanced features -

    VoIP services provide advanced call features like auto-attendant and enhanced call forwarding, among others. You can partner with a top VoIP provider like RingCentral and get unified communications solutions. That means more than business VoIP, hosted PBX, and fax, you'll also get sophisticated functionality like audio and video conferencing and team messaging.

  • Enhanced mobility -

    With a business internet phone system, you can make and receive calls anywhere using any mobile device. Move as your business demands, and bring with you all the features and services you need. Even if you have remote or mobile workers, you can ensure your company stays connected by downloading a desktop app for Mac or PC or a mobile app for iOS or Android.

  • Scalability -

    The power of your VoIP phones extend to the future. If you need to add to or reduce the number of digital phone lines, you can do it through your online account. This is not the case with traditional phone systems; with that, you have to pay your phone carrier for any additional phone line.

  • Easy Integrations -

    VoIP solutions easily integrate with apps you're already using. RingCentral, for example, offers call center software that easily integrates with CRM so your agents can better manage outgoing and incoming calls.

  • Internet dependence -

    If everyone uses the same internet connection for downloading, conferencing, and HD streaming, digital voice quality would suffer. But this shouldn't be a problem if you partner with a provider that would constantly ensure you have sufficient bandwidth to maintain quality.

Internet phone service has gained popularity in recent years. Before jumping in, be sure you ask providers about every plan available and understand all package details. One vendor may offer an unlimited plan for calling and texting but falls short on other mission-critical features. Consider the scenarios below. Does any one of them apply to your business?

  • You have a remote team so you want to guarantee the quality of phone calls forwarded to mobile devices.

  • You have offices in the USA and Canada and are looking to open one in Puerto Rico so you need an international calling plan with unlimited calls in those countries.

  • You advocate "bringing your own device" to work so your staff can use their Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy s10 to access productivity tools.

  • You intend to use your existing landline phones so you need a complete business phone system that works well with an analog telephone adapter.

  • You intend to use cordless and conference phones so you favor a provider with services that are compatible with numerous state-of-the-art VoIP phones.

If you plan on switching to an internet phone service, find an industry leader that can get you started and help you every step of the way.

What our customers say

Thierry Moussu

Thierry Moussu

Head of Digital Relations, Direct Energie

Scalable and open, the RingCentral Engage platform was exactly what we needed both in terms of our increasing contact load and our desire to be innovative with regard to digital customer relations.

Frédéric Gonin

Frédéric Gonin

Head of Customer Service Transformation CANAL+

RingCentral Engage is a pillar in our customer care strategy. RingCentral Engage’s software and expertise has helped us to improve quality of service, enable peer support and self-service, and move our subscriber interactions into the digital domain.

Marie-Hélène Albertini

Marie-Hélène Albertini

Head of Forums and Social Networks, Customer Service, Orange France

RingCentral Engage has enabled us to embrace our customers on digital channels at scale. The solution was able to satisfy the complex and demanding standards of our business, reconciling the imperatives of community marketing and corporate communications with the obligations of customer service helped us to improve quality of service.