Finding the best telecom vendor for your company can be a difficult task. You need to find one that meets your needs now and into the future. The question is, how does your company know which vendor is best?
To start the selection process, you must know how to differentiate them. Telecom providers are broken into three categories based on core competencies. Knowing the differences will help you understand their capabilities and find the right one.
Traditional providers – also known as carriers – are providers that have direct connections to the internet and all the comprehensive networks used in order to deliver both voice and data services. They do not borrow network capacity from anyone else. They own the infrastructure of their internet and network offerings.
These carriers are often household names such as AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink. They are full-service providers that take care of all of a company’s telecom needs. They are considered the largest providers of telecom services and are typically able to host, invoice, and streamline a company’s wireless services, digital and cable television options, and broadband internet access through only one vendor.
Because they have such far-reaching and comprehensive networks, true traditional providers never need to purchase IP transit agreements from other providers.
Engaging with a traditional, full-service telecom vendor will get you efficient services. This approach also leaves the option for bundling, which can save you money.
Broadband providers are also household names. You’ll likely recognize the brands Cox, Spectrum, and Comcast to name a few. While these vendors are also known as carriers, they differ from the traditional telecom providers in a few ways.
The traditional providers encompass multiple types of technologies beyond internet. As mentioned, they are full-service and can deliver multiple solutions in one package. Broadband providers are focused solely on delivering internet. They offer multiple types of internet service and have made internet connectivity their bread and butter. While traditional providers have made forays into advanced connectivity such as fiber-optic internet, broadband providers have the advantage of making high-speed, reliable internet their singular focus. They will be able to recommend the ideal solution for your business because they are bent on delivering top-notch speeds and service to U.S. businesses.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Providers
The other half of telecom from the data side is the voice side, so the third category of telecom provider doesn’t focus on connectivity – rather they sell voice communications. You’ll probably only recognize the company names of 8×8, Ring Central, and Vonage if you’re more knowledgeable about the business technology world because these brands don’t service residential homes. These providers sell UCaaS – cloud-based communications services. They host the technology that enables them to provide cloud-based voice to businesses.
The advantage of going with a UCaaS vendor for your business instead of getting voice from one of the traditional providers is that these companies specialize in voice. They have spent decades evolving their solutions to address the many iterations of voice technology. From traditional phone lines to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to mobile technology to communications in the cloud, these vendors have perfected the cloud-based voice offering.
How to Choose the Right Telecom Vendor
The number and scope of telecom vendors out there is vast, making it very confusing for most businesses to choose a vendor that will meet their specific needs. When pursuing a new or supplementary telecom vendor, be open minded and explore your options. In order to get the best, most optimized service, you will need to do your due diligence. Here are a few key considerations when choosing a telecom vendor:
Telecom Vendor Fees
Most telecom vendors charge non-recurring charges (NRCs) at the start of service. These fees are typically for cost of installation, equipment, and other necessities related to setting up a telecom system.
Pay attention to your monthly recurring charges (MRCs). Some services may be billed according to usage per minute, so you’ll see variable costs in your invoice every month. These are usually long-distance calls, international calls, inbound calls from toll-free numbers, etc.
Knowing all the fees charged to your company will help you understand exactly how a vendor’s billing system works. Most of the time, only the discount is fixed, and not the actual base rate. When the base rate increases, your monthly bill will increase even when the usage stays the same.
Figure out Which Telecom Services You Really Need
Determine what services your company frequently uses, then ask vendors for discounts and deals they’re willing to provide. Request a consolidated quote to give you a clear idea of how much you’ll be spending. Piecemeal quotes add up to a considerable sum, which take many by surprise when they receive their first invoice.
Get Better Telecom Quotes
For better telecom quotes, look for vendors that are offering services with newer technology. Old solutions are not as efficient and end up costing more.
The secret to getting a good deal lies in your commitment to being proactive. Ask detailed questions, seek specific answers, and request more options. Don’t let your company get tied up in a contract without an easy way out.
Make sure all contracts with your telecom vendor have coterminous expiration dates and avoid over-commitment. Instead of meeting the ceiling amount (e.g. $2,000 a month in total expenses) to get your money’s worth, work toward lowering your expenses and pay any amount that goes over. In the long run, you’ll save more with this approach.
Knowing what you’re getting into from a billing standpoint is a key factor in choosing a telecom vendor. At PAG, we specialize in offering guidance to our customers toward selecting vendors that meet your needs within the boundaries of your budget. Ready to make smarter choices? Contact PAG today.
This blog was initially posted on December 12, 2014 and was last updated on July 31, 2020.
[author_bio username=”Ken” name=”yes”]