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Virtual Phone Number: What Is It and How Do You Get One?

Imagine not being tied down to a physical location to make or take business phone calls. Whether you’re a small or a large business, a virtual phone number offers many advantages over a traditional landline — especially in cost and scalability. It can also make additional tools and features available to your business. Let’s take a look at what virtual phone numbers are, the broad-ranging benefits they can bring your business, and how you can go about getting one.

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What Is a Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual phone number (also known as “online phone numbers” or “digital phone numbers”) allows you to break the link between a phone number and a particular device or location.

You may be used to telephone numbers that are tied to specific locations or devices. For instance, a particular number for your cell phone and then a different number for your desk phone. But that means anyone trying to contact you needs to guess which number is best to reach you on at different times. They will have to wonder if you’re at your desk or out and about.

With virtual phone numbers, you can take calls on a range of internet-connected devices all using the same number. Having a virtual phone number puts you in control, allowing you to switch access as required. You can even engage on other communications channels outside of calls.

This flexibility is a core benefit of having an online phone number. The technology underpinning virtual numbers can facilitate a wide range of powerful features. Read on to learn more about even more advantages virtual phone numbers have to offer.

How Do Virtual Phone Numbers Work?

First, let’s review the traditional alternatives to virtual phone numbers:

  • A traditional landline phone number is associated with a particular phone line connection to a geographical location (for example, your home or your office desk).

  • A mobile phone number offers more mobility, but it’s still linked to a specific SIM card in one device at a time. Moreover, it’s dependent on cell phone coverage wherever you are.

Virtual telephone numbers, on the other hand, don’t depend on a particular phone line connection, SIM card, or cell phone coverage. Instead, they utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

You don’t need any specialist equipment to take advantage of VoIP. Pretty much any device that connects to the internet will work. If you’ve got a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, for example, you can use a virtual number.

And, being internet-based, a virtual number can enable a huge number of additional potential benefits — if you want them. These benefits include rich features to support business needs and seamless integrations with other tools and software you already use.

Benefits of Virtual Phone Numbers

There is a wide range of potential benefits that come with virtual numbers and the cloud-based phone systems they’re usually associated with:

1. Take Calls Easily, Wherever You Are

First off, virtual numbers are convenient for you and your employees, providing much more flexibility. So long as you have an internet connection, you can take a call anywhere, on any connected device. You’re no longer tied to a single location or device.

That’s great for anyone who spends lots of time on the road, roving between offices, or switching between remote and office-based working. You can take your communications with you wherever you go.

Employees can stay connected, involved, and productive, wherever they are. This is a valuable benefit as remote and hybrid work patterns have become increasingly normalized.

2. It’s Cost-Effective and Easy to Manage a Virtual System

Traditional landline-based telephony systems are expensive and complicated. Getting additional landlines installed can be a big job, involving a significant cost on hardware and infrastructure, and a fair amount of inconvenience.

With virtual phone numbers, it’s a different story. You don’t need any physical cables or lines to be laid. Specialist hardware is typically not required. You can simply make and receive calls on your existing internet-connected devices.

That means you only need to worry about your software working properly and your internet connection being stable to make and take calls. In fact, your provider will likely be responsible for making software updates and upgrades. Thus, taking an item off your to-do list.

3. It’s Easy to Scale Up

With virtual numbers, it’s also easier to respond to the growing needs of your business.

You suddenly need to give a new team or agent phone access? No problem. Adding or changing users is particularly easy with great VoIP business communications software on your side. No costly new hardware or infrastructure is needed — it’s just an admin task.

4. You Can Port Over Existing Numbers

This is perhaps less a benefit in its own right, but addresses an important potential risk.

You don’t have to abandon your existing number in order to shift over to a VoIP system. For instance, all Vonage Business Communications (VBC) business phone plans give you the option of keeping your existing number. That’s in addition to the chance to choose a new international, toll-free or local business number

5. Support Business in Different Territories

A great VoIP-based communication system can help you do business, wherever matters to you.

Perhaps you’re expanding globally and want an international number to simplify customer contact. With a VoIP-based virtual number, you can help customers avoid international charges when calling you and enhance their experience with your business.

Thus, with virtual phone numbers, you get the numbers you need whether local or international, and create cost-savings for customers.

6. And There’s More!

All of the above is great, but, in truth, this is just the starting point. When you get a virtual phone number for your business, what you’re typically investing in is VoIP-backed communication software. Those kinds of cloud-based communications platforms can offer a vast range of additional features to supercharge your business.

The exact nature of the extra tools available is dependent on the communication software you opt to use. These range from the very simple to the extremely feature-rich. All vary in terms of particular strengths, tool sets, and pricing, so be sure to look around to get the best fit for your requirements and budget.

Vonage Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions offer a range of features, including:

  • Effective call management tools (auto attendant, voicemail, call forwarding tools)

  • Video and voice conferencing

  • Unified cross-channel communication (phone, SMS, MMS, video, live-streaming)

  • Top-drawer sound quality and reliability

  • User-friendly interfaces for employees across all devices 

  • Powerful additional productivity tools (AI analytics, coaching, gamification)

Plus, taking your business telephony online allows easier integration with many of your other business tools. For example, Vonage solutions integrate with numerous Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, making it easier than ever to provide satisfying omnichannel customer experiences.

By simply moving to a virtual phone number, you can open your business to all these possibilities!

How To Get a Virtual Phone Number

Once you’ve decided that a virtual phone number is right for your organization, it’s important to think carefully about how to get one. 

It’s possible to get a low-cost (or even free) virtual phone number simply by signing up with a VoIP service provider. That will enable you to start making and receiving calls without being tied to a particular device or location. 

For small businesses, this convenience and flexibility alone may be enough. Many businesses, though, are embracing the additional advantages of unified communications solutions built upon cloud-based or VoIP technology.

If you want access to the wider range of benefits outlined above, it’s definitely worth considering a more comprehensive business communication platform, like VBC. 

Whether you are looking for a small business VoIP based system or a larger-scale call center communications solution, you can customize VBC to your needs. Whichever of the VBC pricing plans you choose, you also get a virtual phone number to use via mobile and desktop apps. 

Virtual Phone Numbers Are a Better Fit for the Modern Workplace

Virtual phone numbers offer a wide spectrum of benefits and are a compelling option for businesses of varying sizes and needs. 

Perhaps you just need a basic but flexible and cost-effective phone tool. Virtual phone numbers tick that box.

Or maybe you can see the value in having access to a richer palette of features and integrations to supercharge your business. Again, solutions like those provided by Vonage utilize virtual numbers to help you do just that.

Effective communication is integral to the performance of any business. Get in touch with a Vonage expert today to discover how our solutions can play a part in the growth of your business.

Still Have Questions About Virtual Phone Numbers?

Assuming you choose the right provider of your communications software, virtual phone numbers can be secure. For example, Vonage invests heavily in security and privacy measures and maintains a wide range of compliance certifications across our product lines. They include ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, SOC, HITRUST, and CSA STAR, to name just a few.

Of course! Virtual phone numbers are not tied to any single particular device or location, and also allow users to access their calls and texts across various devices, including smartphones, VoIP-enabled desk phones, tablets, laptops, and more. And, it’s completely flexible, allowing you to meet the changing needs of your customers and employees.

No. It will be just like calling a traditional landline number for customers. And your numbers can have area codes and country codes to match specific markets — making them indistinguishable from a standard phone connection.

Contact Us

Let's connect!

Want to know more about virtual phone numbers? We’re here to help! Call us at 1-844-365-9460, or fill out this form! A dedicated specialist will show you how a virtual phone number for your business can:

  • Let you take and make calls on a range of internet-connected devices all using the same number
  • Enable you to easily scale your system up or down based on the changing needs of your business
  • Eliminate the need for expensive and complicated landline-based telephony systems

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