Nightmare VoIP Scenario #1:
VoIP trunking is a newer technology that allows a business to run their phone lines over their internet connection. For example, several of the local carriers offer dynamic PRI’s that basically allocate bandwidth to phone calls when a call is happening. But when no phone calls are being made, the full 1.5M T1 connection is going toward Internet.
I met with a company here in town that went to a business VoIP circuit through AT&T. Ironically, dynamic circuits have been around for years with other carriers like Nuvox, Paetec, TWTelecom, etc. but AT&T was very late to the market with their dynamic product. They just rolled it out this past year. I met with one of their early adopters and it has been a disaster. Anyway, this was a relatively small office that contracted with AT&T to provide a data T1 and then run their 8 voice lines over the T1. The contract price for this was $500 before taxes/fees etc.
Several months later, after numerous # porting issues, long outages, lost revenue due to the outages, we were finally referred to their company to help put the puzzle together…
First of all, AT&T didn’t inform the company that they couldn’t port their fax number to the AT&T business VoIP circuit. That means an additional $50/mo. above their quoted contract.
Second, AT&T assessed penalties for canceling the previous contract they had with this company for the their phone lines. (ie. AT&T assessed a penalty for switching from AT&T service to AT&T service….)
Third, it took months to finally deploy the solution. Porting of the main number led to several days/weeks of downtime for the customer. And with the communication chain at AT&T, straightening the situation out was next to impossible. Since the Business VoIP offering was new technology, they had to install new switching gear in their CO’s in order to support voice quality, etc.
Please keep the following things in mind:
- VoIP trunking in this customers situation brought no benefit to their business. The migration to VoIP was very painful, cost them a lot of employee time and energy and cost them business.
- We encourage our customers to work with a carrier services broker, who can independently look at your different service providers and help you identify your best options. Direct carrier sales reps want to make the sale.
- Unlike AT&T, there are other carriers that offer VoIP trunking through your existing internet circuit. BE VERY CAREFUL working with an unregulated IP trunking company. There are hundreds of them in the market these days and they market their services aggressively. Please understand that if you choose IP trunking through your existing internet circuit, you are susceptible to poor voice quality and dropped calls. We see companies make this mistake every day, trying to save a little $. Please remember the cost involved with lost business before making this decision. The real challenge comes once you recognize the issue and try to move back to a more reliable service. Unregulated IP phone service providers can be a real challenge to work with.