Help me Pimp my international business phone network... OF DOOM!
August 8, 2011 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Help me prepare and organize my business phone network utilizing a Landline/Fax (copper-USA), Iphone (AT&T), Skype, Google Voice, etc (other services?) as optimally as possible. I want viable international business line(s) I can easily express on a Business Card. PS, I have to connect with Fiji as cheaply as possible.

So, shame one me, I worked in telephony (mass broadcast) for the last 2 years but never really learned how VOIP and cell phones work for the end user and all the really cool things Google Voice, Skype, etc have to offer. I am sort of a Luddite and just got by with only my default settings, personal AT&T Iphone # and nothing else.

Now, I am getting ready to form an international Import/Export business, focusing on Fiji and I want to figure out how to array the various phone, fax, etc number(s) & VOIP, online services, etc so that I can confidently stamp my business-number(s)-for-life onto business cards and stationary that I will be purchasing in the not so distant future.


-Personal iPhone 3Gs on AT&T, out of contract so I can move if needed, but want to keep my long standing personal phone #.
-I'm prepared to sacrifice my iPhone as a jail broken foreign device*(see bonus points below) if a Droid Phone will allow significantly better performance as a main phone here in the USA (PS I know nothing of the virtures of iPhone vs Droid other Droid is Google and Google Voice is... also google. And AT&T sux)
-Just got a months worth of various Skype subscriptions since at $0.15 a minute Skype has the cheapest and most clear calling to Fiji I can find. I can drop this if something better is presented.


- 1 real, actual copper phone line in my office (probably in NC). Just because for international calling cards it helps and I trust it.
- A solid Fax line that can do international Faxes (specifically Fiji) [ps, I never use faxes, I have no idea what is business standard these days]
-*** An amazing Rube Goldberg contraption of Skype, Gmail voice, sipgate, 21st-century-telephony-awesomeness that you techie mefites will instruct me on how to construct so that I can always be in control of calls to me and... of course... use to take over the world.

I will be a one man shop, no assistants, no secretary. I keep odd hours and want to take as many calls as possible But I don't want people waking me up accidentally at 4AM due to time differences. I also want to maintain a personal-number without multiple cell phones and (idealy) have some really easy way of telling when a call is business or pleasure.

My goal, have simple business number(s) system such that someone calling from older than dirt phone systems in the middle of the pacific will smoothly and smartly be forward to me at the office, then Skype, then Cell then a central voice mail service. Also can be easily set to forward to other numbers/a central voice mail service when traveling as well as all the other cool tricks that I don't even yet know that I want...



How to I integrate all of the above with cell phone(s) (probably pay-as-you-go) that can swap out various SIMs as I visit Fiji and other Pacific island nations. I NEED TO ALWAYS BE IN CONTACT WITHOUT PAYING OUTRAGEOUS 3$ PER MINUTE FEES... AGHHH!!!!!

Thanks for reading my wall-o-text, hope it was enjoyable! Thanks always hivemind.
posted by DetonatedManiac to Technology (1 answer total)
Three comments:
1. On your iPhone//Droid thoughts and ease of use. Skype and Google Voice can be integrated into the normal dialing on an Android phone. In iOS the Apps are distinct from the normal phone interface.

2. In terms of fax, most businesses may not use fax, but if they do, in nearly all cases it may be better for you to have a E-fax sort of solution vs. a real land-line. You are welcome to have one for emergencies, but an E-fax solution would cover all faxing needs 100%. And probably be cheaper then subscribing to a land-line anyway. E-fax would definitely help you keep the business as digital as possible and not waste paper and time rescanning print faxes back into your computer. This can also be available/usable via App on your smartphone, but of course it would all depend on the vendor you choose and costs to Fiji are not cheap ($1~ a page...). However the number of business still using faxes as a mainstay are dwindling and you may want to just ask customers to email scanned documents vs. any faxing period as a rule.

3. The sort of "down the list" forwarding of a caller is something like a PBX system. Wiki link Perhaps a hosted solution could provide what you are looking for.
posted by Bodrik at 11:01 PM on September 10, 2011

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