Telephone provider

What is a telephone service provider?
A telephone service provider is a company that offers services relating to phone calls. There are three main types of telephone service provider and some companies fall into one, two, or all three of the categories. These are:

  • Landline telephone providers
  • Mobile network operators
  • Internet phone call/VoiP solution providers

Many telephone service providers are also Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The two largest telephone companies in Europe are currently Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.

Telephone provider, cloud

What is a landline telephone provider?

Landline telephone provider provide traditional fixed-line telephony services, and many have also diversified to provide mobile phone services and even TV packages. Large landline telephone providers include Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. 

Landline telephone companies connect users by placing voice calls over the traditional phone network, which is also called the public-switched telephone network (PSTN). The PSTN comprises a mix of telephone lines, fibre optic cables, cellular networks and undersea cables, and the core of the network - which used to be analog - is now mostly digital. 

Landline telephone providers transmit voice, video and other data over the PSTN using a set of standards and protocols called the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). In the case of voice calls, the ISDN is used to set up a dedicated connection between users for the duration of the voice call. 

In the near future, the ISDN will be decommissioned, which will bring a huge change for landline telephone providers. In Germany, ISDN will be replaced by VoIP in 2018, with the UK date set for 2025. This change will impact businesses whose infrastructure relies on ISDN, making a strong case for switching to a VoIP solution such as the NFON Cloud Telephony System.

What is a mobile network operator?

A mobile network operator (also called a wireless service provider or cellular company), operates a phone network where the last part of the signal is transmitted wirelessly. The term “cell phone” comes from the modular nature of cellular networks, which are divided up into cells that cover specific areas. Each of these cells is served by a transceiver, also known as a radio transmitter. When joined together, the cells make up the cellular network.

What is a VoIP solution?

VoIP solutions allow audio signals, such as a caller’s voice, to be converted into data packets that are sent over the internet to a recipient and reassembled on arrival so a conversation can take place. Companies like NFON and Skype for Business offer comprehensive VoiP solutions. While landline and mobile are often sold as one package by a provider, VoIP solutions are still typically marketed as stand-alone products.

With VoIP calls, no fixed line is established. When data is sent over the Internet, for example, when viewing a website, data packets are sent over different nodes over the most efficient route. The same principle applies to VoIP calls. As no fixed line is established, VoIP is much more cost effective than traditional telephony.

What should I consider when choosing a telephone service provider?

There are many things to bear in mind when choosing a telephone service provider. Here is a short list of important questions to ask before making a partnering decision:

  • How long has the provider served the local market and what is their reputation? 
  • What Service Level Agreements does the provider offer? 
  • Does the solution require additional hardware investments? 
  • Does the solution require additional software investments and complex installations? 
  • What are the contract periods? Is it possible to switch easily to another provider later on? 
  • Can channels be easily added/removed to scale? 
  • How do the charges work? Will we only pay for what we actually use? 
  • Does the provider offer additional services to support our planned business expansion?
  • And in the case of a VoIP solution in particular:
  • Where are servers and other VoIP infrastructure located? Do they comply with the relevant regulatory and security requirements?
  • What are the technology options? Should we choose SIP trunking or move directly to a cloud-based PBX? 

Should I choose a traditional telephone provider or a VoIP provider?

There are many compelling reasons for choosing a telephone provider that offers VoIP calling. The NFON Cloud Telephony System, for example, helps our clients simplify management of phone connections, reduce calling costs, and contact colleagues in the office and on the move with a single number. 

How can I find out more about traditional telephony vs. VoIP telephony?

NFON has prepared FAQs on all aspects of telephony to help you make the most informed decision about which telephone provider to choose. 

Click on the links below to discover more: 

Further information

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