UK virtual phone number?
November 20, 2020 4:11 AM   Subscribe

Need to set up a virtual phone number for a company, not sure where or how. Asking for a friend; snowflakes inside.

Friend is starting a tiny company and needs a phone number for customers to call. The requirements:
  • As inexpensive as possible for the company (they're just starting out so money is fairly tight)
  • Can be pointed at multiple devices (right now there are two people who'd be answering the phone, available at different times; in a future where the company does well, ideally they'd be adding more)
  • Has a separate voicemail box (in case a customer calls when neither of them is available) that, ideally, can be set up to have a separate "hello, you have reached $company, unfortunately we are not available to take your call at the moment" etc message without affecting their normal phone voicemail
It doesn't necessarily need to be a 0800 (free for the caller) number, though that'd be a plus. I'm aware of Google Voice and Skype Numbers, but I'm sure there are other options I am missing.

This is probably a really stupid question with a really simple answer, but googling only seems to find me a bunch of companies that want to sell me their thing specifically and I'm more confused than I started out. I was hoping there'd be a simple comparison table somewhere, but... I guess not. Or at least I couldn't find one.
posted by sailoreagle to Technology (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
VOIP.MS will allow you to do this all, and IMO has among the best prices and service around.

UK toll free numbers are $2.5/month and $0.05/minute, and there are options for local numbers as well if you want to "place" your number in a specific city. If you're call forwarding to the United States that would add another $0.01/minute to the rate, (as opposed to taking the call on a VOIP device).

The one downside to VOIP.MS is that it's not the easiest interface in the world to setup, but once you set it up you pretty much never need to worry about it again. You can select from Call Forwarding, Call Hunting ("Call Hunting is a method to receive calls in which Call Hunting Members are dialed one after another, for a specific amount of time, until one of these Members answers the call)"and there are decent voicemail options too.
posted by tiamat at 5:54 AM on November 20

I work for a small UK company and we're using RingCentral. I'm not really involved in the setup / costing of it but from a user's point of view we're using it in a similar way that that which you mention.
posted by jontyjago at 6:59 AM on November 20

I've got a couple of numbers with A&A - they do a range of business telephony stuff in the UK, and are pretty inexpensive for low-volume use. It'd be worth dropping them some email and seeing what they suggest given what you want to do; e.g. there are a few different ways you could do the "multiple devices" thing...
posted by offog at 7:22 AM on November 20

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