In a world of smartphones, is the landline still in use?
Having a dedicated office phone is fundamental to communicate with customers personally, handle sales conversations, onboarding new customers, and provide customer support.
Phone calls make communication more efficient and interactive, but also more personal.
Having an office phone makes it possible to manage calls as a team, but also have a separate line for business and even one for each department.
So what is the difference between VoIP and landline and…which is better for your business?
What is a landline?
“Landline” usually means a telephone connected using solid core, twisted pair copper wire plugging into a telephone wall socket. This technology was introduced in the late 1800s and it hasn’t changed much since: landlines phones are still based on analogue switch boxes which, acting as a series of exchanges, connect two different phones for a call to take place.
Having an analogue connection limits the types of new features that service providers can introduce. Most carriers only offer basic features like call waiting, caller ID, voicemail, call blocking.
Having separate wiring can make installation and maintenance a lot more difficult (and it can even take up extra space). However, because landline phones use a dedicated physical wire connection, they have an extra level of resiliency, since they do not depend on other infrastructure or internet usage.
What is Voice over IP (VoIP)?
VoIP is a way to manage a phone call using internet connectivity.
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, meaning calls happen over the internet as opposed to using dedicated infrastructure. VoIP phones are connected using the same broadband internet connection that plugs into a computer or router, and they convert the call into digital signals without the need for physical exchanges like landlines.
This makes installation and maintenance much simpler, as no dedicated infrastructure is needed apart from the one already in place for internet connectivity. Since calls happen digitally, VoIP can benefit from a much wider set of features to make call management more efficient, and give a better experience to both callers.
Telcom Voice comes packed with powerful features that are business-ready, like conference calls, time-based rerouting, and many more.
VoIP’s reliability depends on the internet connection used: if you have fast and reliable connectivity, your phone calls will always be clear and never drop. We usually recommend a minimum of 1.2 Mbps per phone line.
So, is VoIP a landline? Technically, no. VoIP uses an internet connection as opposed to copper wires. As a fixed phone, most people refer to it as a landline.
Is VoIP better than landline?
Which telephony should you choose for your business?
Here are the main key characteristics compared, and then a summary table for a complete showdown between VoIP and traditional landline telephony.
Both landlines and VoIP can handle call forwarding.
VoIP lines, however, can support time-based routing, when calls are forwarded to a specific number only on certain days and over particular times. This is ideal if you work out of the office on Thursdays.
You can also forward calls to a particular extension to multiple numbers, to make sure important calls are never missed.
Some landline systems can support three-way calling, where a third participant is connected to the conversation. VoIP telephony can include multiple participant calls, conference call numbers, and even call groups to call multiple numbers at once from one extension.
Call waiting and queues
Both traditional landlines and VoIP phones can support custom call waiting messages and call queues to keep your customers waiting while the line is busy.
While this is a shared feature, it is much easier to configure and change using VoIP and the control panel software you can access from your computer.
Handsets powered by the phone line connection itself will not lose connection if the power goes out, nor if the internet stops.
However, VoIP phones will have better phone quality and equal 99.9% resilience depending on your internet connections. We recommend a minimum 1.2Mbps per phone line.
Domestic & International calls
UK landline calls can cost up to 9p/min (the legal cap), and much more for international numbers. For example, BT charges up to 96p/min to contact zone 5 countries, plus a 22p call setup fee**.
VoIP calls are much cheaper, to both mobile and landlines (including other VoIP-based numbers). For example, Telcom Voice calls to UK landlines cost 1.5p/min, and so to the US, Germany, Canada, and many other destinations. You can check out our call rates here.
While traditional landlines are wired to the wall, VoIP phones are not necessarily tethered to an actual desk handset.
You can forward calls to multiple mobiles (or other VoIP extensions), and even pick up your VoIP phone number from your smartphone.
Here’s a summary of the various features available to VoIP and landlines.
|VoIP (Telcom Voice)||Landline|
|Blocking||√ (easier to manage)||√|
|Waiting messages||√ (easier to manage)||√|
|Conference call rooms||√|
|Call group extensions||√|
|Forward to mobile||√|
|£0.015/min||up to £0.090/min*|
|International calls (??example)||£0.015/min||up to £0.220 + £0.060/min**|
|CRM or software integration||√|
|IVR dial menus||√|
**Source: BT tariffs - document updated August 2017