A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers: What Businesses Need To Know

19 minute read
19 minute read

Today is the day and age of digital communication and cloud computing. With cloud computing and communication, users no longer need to save data on their devices or download large programs and files to communicate and share information. One way to do this is by using a hosted phone system rather than a conventional one.

In addition to compromising your security, fielding business calls on a personal phone line may be a major hassle. It also only works well when additional people are added to the team.

As a result, many modern entrepreneurs, brands, and startups employ specific software to get distinctive business phone numbers.

Today, marketers can find many comparable phone numbers online. But it can be challenging to choose the best option. The best VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions, however, will be competitively priced, easy to use, and supported by helpful staff.

Over eight years (from 2010 to 2018), businesses across the United States have adopted VoIP technology at an impressive rate. In fact, over 35 million new VoIP lines have been added; in 2018, the total number sits at 41.6 million. That represents a massive shift in how businesses communicate and shows just how important VoIP technology has become.

A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers What Businesses Need To Know - 5

Source: Statista

Virtual Phone Numbers Explained

A virtual phone number is a telephone number that is not associated with any physical telephone line. Instead, it is linked to a VoIP service, allowing users to make and receive calls online. 

Virtual phone numbers are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a range of advantages over traditional landline numbers. They are cheaper, more flexible, and can make and receive calls from anywhere worldwide. They are also more secure, as calls are routed online rather than by a physical phone line.

Virtual phone numbers are typically used by businesses and organizations that need to communicate with customers and clients from different locations. They are also used by individuals who want to keep their personal phone numbers private. With a virtual phone number, users can make and receive calls without revealing their real phone number.

They work by routing calls through the Internet. When a call is made to a virtual number, the VoIP service provider will route the call to the user’s device. The user can then answer the call as if it were a regular phone call.

A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers What Businesses Need To Know - 2

Source: The Definitive Guide To Call Tracking: How It Works & What Is Its Impact

A virtual phone number isn’t directly linked to a specific network; incoming calls to this direct inward dialing (DID) number are routed to another specified phone number. Businesses often utilize virtual phone numbers to provide their consumers with a local or toll-free number to reach them.

A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider is responsible for hosting virtual phone numbers. The VoIP service provider will provide the client with a new phone number and route all calls to that number. Calls to the customer’s virtual phone number may be forwarded to any number they want, including landline, mobile phone, or another virtual number.

Likewise, virtual phone numbers may be utilized for texting purposes. Messages sent to the virtual phone number may be routed to the customer’s preferred email or mobile device.

With virtual phone numbers, companies may provide their clients with a local or toll-free number without breaking the bank. Customers like them since they may use the same phone number to reach the business anywhere. Calls made to virtual phone numbers may be forwarded to a selection of existing phone lines.

When Do Virtual Numbers Make Sense for a Business?

It’s often misunderstood that only huge corporations may benefit from virtual numbers; however, that isn’t correct. Virtual numbers are useful for organizations of all sizes and in a variety of contexts, including multinational corporations with international operations, government agencies with toll-free service lines, bootstrapped startups on the lookout for novel approaches, and established firms with outdated infrastructure.

The cheap initial and ongoing expenses, the simplicity of usage, and the scalability on demand make virtual numbers attractive for startups, small firms, and solopreneurs.

How To Get a Virtual Phone Number

There are a few options for acquiring virtual phone numbers. Your service provider may add virtual phone numbers to an existing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) bundle. The average monthly fee for this service is between $10 and $15.

When investing in a virtual PBX, one virtual phone number and various extensions and talk time may be yours. How long a call takes on the “business line” will determine how many minutes are used. One or two virtual numbers with 200 to 500 minutes cost $12 to $15 a month, while two with 1,500 to 4,000 minutes cost $20 to $50 per month.

Cloud-based systems like Phonexa’s Cloud PBX offer the best of both worlds — combining the essential features of traditional on-site PBX systems with a wide range of additional features. With a virtual PBX phone system hosted in the cloud, businesses can forget about hardware damage, maintenance, and security breaches as the provider entirely manages all system aspects.

A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers What Businesses Need To Know - 4

Here’s what Phonexa’s Cloud PBX can offer marketers and brands:

  • Control over outbound calls: Making phone calls to potential customers who provide their information online may improve the likelihood that they will buy from you.
  • Consistent service with no downtime: A cloud-based phone system that employees can use from anywhere is one way to guarantee business continuity in the face of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Call scoring system: Keep up a high rate of agent efficiency by tracking and evaluating calls and keywords used in phone conversations.
  • Simple, low-cost setup: Reduced initial costs and ongoing maintenance expenses are only two of the many benefits of switching to Phonexa’s Cloud PBX.

Phonexa’s Cloud PBX provides a comprehensive solution that seamlessly integrates with all its platforms, including lead distribution through LMS Sync, call tracking via Call Logic, and click tracking with Lynx.

By utilizing this suite of solutions from Phonexa, businesses can enjoy the benefits of efficient synergies and optimize the effectiveness of all essential products. Combining the power of these merged solutions will help enterprises achieve their goals more efficiently.

A virtual number service provider is an option if you don’t have a virtual phone system. Your service plan will provide you with a phone number. Have you ever noticed that most home phones, mobile phones, and VoIP services come with one? Of course, online phone call programs provide a number at no cost.

You can get a virtual phone number from various places, including Google Voice. You may make free local phone calls and send unlimited messages using the number provided to you by these applications.

In contrast, a virtual business phone number from a trustworthy operator that can manage that bandwidth is your best choice if you require international calling (without the higher call rates), more complex call routing, and other sophisticated features and services.

The fact that a virtual phone number is not associated with a physical place is an important distinction between it and a regular phone number. Let’s examine other differences in more detail.


Traditional Phone Number

Virtual Phone Number

Placed on premises

Placed on cloud or virtual servers
Call Handling

Handles 1 call at a time

Handles concurrent calls

High maintenance

Low maintenance

Requires manual installation or update

No physical phone lines, easy management
Additional Features

No additional features

Multiple features like routing, tracking, etc.

No flexibility

Customizable, flexible, and scalable
Integration Options

No integration options

Multiple integration options

Virtual phone numbers allow callers and receivers to simultaneously be anywhere in the world. That’s very helpful for companies with international clientele or target audiences.

Google Voice is only one of several personal virtual number services accessible online for free. You may start using your virtual phone number immediately after opening an account with the service provider of your choice and selecting the area code of your choice. Virtual phone service companies often supply free virtual phone numbers to individuals but charge for their commercial services.

Can a Physical Phone Number Be Converted Into a Virtual One?

Your current physical phone number may be changed to a virtual one. Most virtual phone number providers provide this transfer between users, also known as porting.

In Which Countries Is It Possible To Get a Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual number is available anywhere. Some service providers even claim that their services are accessible in over a hundred different nations. 

How Many Digits Are in a Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual number has the same 10-digit format as a regular U.S. landline number, beginning with the same 3-digit area code. You don’t need a physical location in the same region as the area code to buy a virtual phone number. That paves the way for companies all over the globe to give off the impression that they are locally based in a certain area.

What Is the Point of Having a Virtual Number?

One major advantage of virtual US phone numbers is that they allow you to be reachable at all times, regardless of your physical location. Friends, family, colleagues, and customers converse effortlessly with Google Voice and other similar virtual service providers. Smartphones, tablets, computers, and other Internet-enabled devices provide unrestricted access to instant messaging.

More individuals than ever are working remotely, but that doesn’t mean companies should worry about a decline in reliable communication. With virtual phone numbers, you’ll never miss a call again due to network-wide notifications. You’ll still be reachable even if you’ve misplaced your phone but not your laptop.

Cost-Effective Choice for Companies of Any Size

With the proper provider, a small company that needs just a few lines per month may only pay $100 monthly. Yet, communication expenses tend to soar when businesses expand to employ hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. Then consider a spread of sites across international borders, and there might be a sudden skyrocketing of monthly phone bills into the thousands.

Regardless of the size of a company, switching to a virtual phone number can significantly reduce monthly phone bills. Getting an Internet number eliminates the need to purchase costly, multiline corded infrastructure. You may be eligible for one or more free virtual phone numbers depending on your subscription package. In addition, receiving calls inside the United States is often free, while international calls are cheap.

A virtual phone number offers a low-cost alternative for businesses of all sizes.

Keep Some Space Away

Some people feel uncomfortable giving their personal contact information to potential clients or business associates. Virtual phone numbers are convenient because they are associated with a unique telephone number without losing anonymity. This solution is ideal for solo owners who value privacy but need a company phone line.

What Distinguishes a Virtual Number From a Regular One?

Regardless of location or need for a SIM card, virtual phone numbers may be used by anybody. Calls to virtual numbers are routed through VoIP instead. Simply put, it’s the same tried-and-true technology behind services like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Google Voice.

All your phone calls are converted to digital signals and routed through the Internet and conventional phone companies. Number porting is the method to ensure your business phone number is portable across different VoIP service providers.

So, making calls requires a stable data connection, such as 5G LTE or WiFi. Using a virtual phone number enables you to answer calls on your cell phone.

A Virtual Phone Number’s Top 5 Advantages

Armed with an online connection rather than just a working phone jack, brands should consider these five arguments in favor of investing in virtual number solutions.



No Wires Needed

VoIP systems are entirely digital and do not require any physical infrastructure, making them user-friendly and easy to manage. Virtual numbers with multiple lines require no changes to the physical infrastructure and allow for easy online management of number allocation and reassignment.

Easily Transferred

Virtual numbers are portable, making them convenient for customers. Company representatives can maintain contact with customers, even when they are not in the office.

Available at All Times

Virtual numbers provide an efficient call routing system that ensures businesses do not miss any potential customers’ calls. This feature also gives operational freedom to agents as they can work remotely from anywhere.

Strong Local Presence Virtual phone numbers allow multinational corporations to pose as locals, which helps them build relationships with the community. Assigning different numbers to distinct locations helps businesses analyze regional call data, allowing them to train their agents better to respond to local needs and provide more relevant service. 


This approach helps people remember your brand and gives your business more credibility. Consumers are more likely to pick up the phone and engage with a caller who dials their area code instead of one from a different country.

Cuts Down Costs

Virtual numbers eliminate the need for costly infrastructure like phone lines, regular maintenance, extra employees, and emergency repairs. Instead, businesses pay a membership fee to a service provider to access these features. The “pay as you use” approach helps companies to control costs as they grow.

What Are Three Types of Virtual Phone Numbers?

Virtual Private Branch Exchange (Non-VoIP)

This particular virtual phone system is the finest of its kind currently available. Using this format has several benefits. Before anything else, it’s important to note that this is not a VoIP service; however, some companies combine cloud-based PBX with the more traditional VoIP technology. We’ll talk about them in a moment.

Cloud-hosted PBX solutions do not need a constant Internet connection like VoIP. After you have everything set up the way you want, you won’t require Internet (cellular or WiFi) much except when you enter into your online control panel to make configuration adjustments.

Remember that “cloud-hosted” is currently a rather generic word.

Depending on the kind of phone used, calls will be routed via either the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or the cellular network.

No special phones are required for use with this service. Any phone with a valid service plan and a unique phone number will operate. The beautiful thing about this kind is that you don’t need special tools.

It is inexpensive and easy to set up and provides all the features and advantages of a conventional business phone system.

Virtual System That Uses Voice over IP

This category includes some of the most widely used virtual phone systems and some of the most lamented. VoIP has been around and utilized by many organizations since it has been the greatest solution for many companies.

The only problem is that many companies still rely on them, mistakenly believing that virtual systems are not a viable option to the cloud-hosted PBX we discussed before.

VoIP systems are popular among organizations because they are reliable. However, this benefit comes with a caveat. Their operation occurs online, and dependability relies on your office’s Internet connection quality.

Services are now available that aim to develop next-generation systems by virtualizing them while still using VoIP. Although the virtual PBX discussed before did not need an Internet connection, VoIP-based virtual systems must. There are a few ways this may need to be corrected.

First and foremost, connection and call quality might suffer from insufficient bandwidth or a poor Internet connection provided by your Internet service provider. As a result, you’ll want a separate Internet connection for your telephones and any extra gear.

The service provider may also mandate the use of certain handsets. A virtual VoIP service is viable if you meet all these requirements, but the associated costs may increase rapidly. An entirely cloud-based virtual PBX system is your best choice for a highly functional virtual phone system.

Caregiver Replacement Apps

These providers are widely available, represent the simplest virtual infrastructure, and are inexpensive. People are drawn to app-based services in large numbers owing to their low prices, resulting in intense rivalry.

That might work for a while if your new company requires a simple phone line to field incoming calls. Nevertheless, it will not scale as you expand. These applications are designed specifically for smartphones and will not function properly on any other phone.

Most of these services also need more essential options like call forwarding, call waiting, and voicemail. It’s also important to note that there are often issues with assistance and support for customers. Numerous consumers have complained about the poor quality of customer service and difficulty reaching a live person using these mobile applications.

There may be better courses of action than this, as you’ll eventually need to invest in a proper phone system when your company expands.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, a virtual phone number is a great way to stay connected with your customers, colleagues, and even family. It allows you to make and receive calls from anywhere worldwide without worrying about expensive international calling fees. 

On top of that, it provides a secure and reliable way to communicate with your business partners and prospects. With a virtual phone number and the right martech stack, you can complete your sales objectives while getting all the necessary information to convert more callers.

Choose the most suitable plan for your business to gain access to the marketing automation suite or schedule a consultation to learn more about Phonexa.

Frequently Asked Questions

How secure are virtual phone numbers?

The short answer is – yes. Safer than traditional, analog phone lines are virtual ones. You won’t find it annoying if you only use it for making and receiving conventional phone calls and text messages. A virtual phone number may be useful for business, but you should know the security dangers of using any digital product.
Virtual phone numbers are usually safer than regular ones, and this is because they are independent of a traditional telephone connection, which might be hacked or compromised. Calls and texts to and from virtual phone numbers are often encrypted over the Internet, ensuring their safety from eavesdroppers.

Are toll-free virtual phone numbers available for purchase?

The virtual phone number functions in the same way as the toll-free one.

Toll-free numbers are those for which the recipient, rather than the caller, is responsible for paying any associated fees. There is an area code indicating that it is a local number.

Instead, a virtual number is a kind of DID (Direct Inward Calling) number that does not need changes to your current phone service. It does this without adding any fee for call forwarding or international IP telephony, and it may redirect calls to any of the numbers you choose. It aids in establishing an international online presence for the company. These figures are country-specific.

Vanity phone numbers are the way to go. Toll-free vanity numbers are the norm. Businesses often use phone numbers that begin with the toll-free prefixes 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888. Calls made to these numbers are free of charge to the caller, thus the “toll-free” moniker. The caller will not be charged since the firm owns the phone number. That’s a great perk to provide to clients, customers, and anybody else who may want to do business with your firm over the phone.

Are multiple virtual numbers available from one vendor?

There is often no restriction to the number of virtual phone numbers one customer may purchase from a single virtual number provider.

Can a virtual number forward incoming calls?

You can decide where calls are redirected based on the time of day and other parameters from a single, convenient place. Calls to virtual numbers may be routed to landlines, VoIP, mobile phones, and other cloud-based phone services. You’ll have the flexibility to handle your communications any way you choose, with the capacity to transmit your calls anywhere at any time. You can access many options that simplify call forwarding with a virtual phone number.

What is the best way to route calls via a virtual phone number?

Location-based routing is an advanced IVR function. An interactive voice response (IVR) system answers incoming calls, assesses the nature of the call, and directs the caller to the appropriate destination.
A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers What Businesses Need To Know - 3
Source: The Definitive Guide To Call Tracking: How It Works & What Is Its Impact

Depending on location, an IVR system with extensive call forwarding and routing capabilities may route calls. This allows you to direct incoming calls from specified locations to specific numbers. In this manner, you can guarantee that callers get customer assistance that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.

How should I choose a company that offers virtual phone numbers?

Choosing a virtual phone number provider requires certain considerations. Understanding their relevance will make picking one easy. If any of the following apply, keep them in mind before buying:
Setup time: Established firms need fast onboarding. To ease this move, virtual phone number firms must provide team onboarding. Call interruptions are costly for most companies. They will lose revenue, prospects, and customer connections. 
Avoid virtual phone number companies with lengthy onboarding. Solopreneurs starting a business line have minimal setup time. They may take mobile calls during setup.
Hardware obligations: Virtual phone number firms service consumers with hardware, software, or both. Startups want software-only services. New entrepreneurs only require some of the gear, making onboarding easier.
Hardware or hybrid services are preferred by large companies having a physical presence. Having workers use just mobile phones for conference calls could be more efficient. Offices with virtual phone number hardware appear more professional.
Team size: Size is crucial. Virtual phone number firms frequently charge per user and specialize in various sizes. Choose a service that supports huge teams. Select one with user-based pricing. User-based pricing models benefit teams with dozens of users. Smaller businesses could choose virtual phone number firms for their audiences. These teams choose usage-based pricing. Lower call volumes save your team money.

Can I set up multiple phone numbers for my company?

If you are willing to pay for them, you can purchase multiple phone numbers and configure them without too much hassle. Benefits include:
Great first impression: Potential customers may observe that your company can offer numerous features your business needs. The solutions you implement to deliver high-quality customer service show your business’s stability, reliability, and professionalism. Your company may benefit from adding a few lines in non-local locations where you conduct business, even if the calls are routed to your hub or mobile phone.
Effective promotion of local business: Calls from non-local numbers are rare. Numbers in the regions you’re contacting give you more credibility. You may target a group you would likely lose if your clients can confidently contact you.
Increased call volume: When calling a company, customers can easily get frustrated if they keep getting a busy signal. With several numbers, you can effortlessly divert incoming calls if the lines are tied and use your cloud phone system to manage a huge volume of calls without compromising your client’s trust.

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