business internet optionsMany business people feel that their only options for business phone and internet services are through the local phone and cable companies.  Actually, there are a number of provider options available for business customers, all filling different roles and meeting different needs.

Here’s a list of different types of telecom providers and what services they offer and what need they fulfill: 

POTS Consolidators – POTS stands for Plain Old Telephone service.  POTS consolidators or aggregators help larger, multi location companies manage their phone line inventory.  These companies have a number of POTS lines at each of their locations.  Their locations can be spread across the country and serviced by a number of different providers.  The result is a slew of bills and a number of different customer service contacts.  POTS Consolidators establish agreements with phone companies in different parts of the country, so they can service locations across the country.  They can offer a multi location company, one bill and one point of contact.  That helps reduce the cost of bill administration and simplifies the management of the business phone line inventory.

Competitive Local Exchange Providers (CLEC) – These companies compete with the incumbent phone company.  They’re usually more aggressive with pricing, more flexible, and can be more customer service focused.  Typically, they limit their offerings to business customers.  CLECs help to keep the marketplace competitive and the incumbent on their toes.  Even if you don’t do business with a CLEC it is good to have them around.

Incumbent Carriers – incumbent carriers are also known as the local phone company and service different regions of the country.  They own and maintain the phone network.  CLECs access a portion of the incumbents’ network (the local loop) to service their customers.  Incumbent carriers offer just about every telecom service imaginable and service every sized business and residential customers as well. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses to understand if ILEC is better for you.

Cable Providers – Cable companies are similar to incumbent carriers because they are the incumbent provider in a given area and own and maintain a network.  Unlike CLECs, they don’t need to access the local phone company’s network to service a customer.  Cable companies are usually in direct competition with the local phone company for phone line and internet business.

Hosted VoIP Providers – Hosted VoIP providers package phone service, internet access and phone equipment.  They are an alternative to the local phone and cable companies for smaller businesses.  They are a good option for a smaller business establishing new service that want to package all their telecom services and equipment into a single bundle and make it an operational expense.

Managed Service Providers – Establish and manage sophisticated voice and data, wide are networks for multi location companies.  Managed Service Providers can assure uptime and performance of a network and provide a single point of contact for customer support.

Telephone Expense Management (TEM) Companies – Telephone Expense Management companies help large business better manage their telecom inventory, including phone, internet and long distance.  These companies don’t provide the services but offer a billing platform for their customers.  The goal of a TEM provider is to provide a business better visibility of their entire telecom billing inventory, to facilitate its management and help control costs.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) Companies – Help large businesses better manage their inventory of wireless devices.  These companies help businesses control usage and costs, optimize functionality and security, and manage the equipment’s life cycle.

If you’re unsure if your company could benefit by incorporating any of the above provider services, contact CarrierBid today.  CarrierBid provides telecom consulting and can help you identify the best solution and provider available. 

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