As an employee of the telecom industry for more than a decade, I’m given the opportunity to try a variety of technologies. This includes the newer Fixed Wireless Voice Service.
While this technology, which uses cell phone towers to give you voice access on traditional desk phones, isn’t brand new, it is something that is growing in popularity with some of our business customers with small satellite locations. The service gives them easy-to-establish phone service without needing a landline and, in many cases, can save them some money.
However, while this product does have some potential, there are some things about it that doesn’t make it right for every business owner. In fact, there are three major drawbacks that every business should consider before making the jump to this type of service.
First, your phone numbers aren’t always portable. Each carrier is different when it comes to this. Some can port any phone number to their fixed wireless service. Some can only port cell numbers and there are some that require you to establish a new number automatically.
While this isn’t a huge deal for businesses looking to establish new service at satellite offices, it does create problems for business owners that are looking to make the switch but want to use advertised phone numbers. From experience, I know not every provider is upfront about whether they can port an existing phone number or not, it’s best to ask.
Second, you might have a limited amount of minutes. One thing that makes this type of service so affordable is you can purchase discounted packages based on the number of minutes you use. The problem with this is many businesses underestimate their usage and ultimately end up with high overage charges.
As a result, unless you have an unlimited usage plan, you have to be careful about estimating the minutes (both inbound and outbound) before committing to this type of service and, if you think there’s a chance you’ll exceed the allotted time on a regular basis, it’s best to avoid this product.
Last, it’s not a good substitute for a fax line. When the company I work for started experimenting with this product a couple years ago, that was one of the first questions I had about it. We have a lot of customers that like having a fax machine but don’t like paying a high price for a landline and I hoped this would be an affordable substitute.
Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case. I was able to send the occasional fax through using this type of technology but, as I had been warned about, more often than not, there were issues and I wouldn’t consider it a reliable alternative.
As I said before, there are business customers out there that are perfect fits for this type of technology. But, before your business takes this step, it’s best to review what I mentioned above and, if any of them make you a bad fit, it’s best to avoid this type of service.