Loading

Error Sorry

Cart Total

$0.00

  • Your shopping cart is empty

Checkout

Delete everything ?

A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers

A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers

|

10 min read

Blog Articles

Quick Summary

Virtual phone numbers are those without ties to a physical device or phone line, reducing business costs.

What Is A Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual phone number is one without ties to a physical phone line or device. As a result, virtual phone numbers are location-independent. They work and appear in the same way as regular phone numbers. The only difference is added ease and efficiency.

Virtual numbers make it easy for businesses to use the right type of phone number since they make all phone number types accessible. Since the line is virtual, you won't even need to wait for a physical phone line installation.

business taking remote call with virtual phone number

Virtual numbers make it possible to make and take business calls from anywhere.

How do Virtual Numbers Work?

A virtual landline number works in conjunction with a cloud-based phone system to facilitate voice calls. Instead of being linked to a SIM or landline, a virtual phone number is associated with a virtual phone line.

Cloud-based phone systems, sometimes known as virtual phone systems, are Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms that recreate all of the physical aspects of a traditional business phone system in code. The software takes care of the logic and transmits voice data using the physical infrastructure of the internet (copper and fibre optic cable).

Your phone numbers are stored in the cloud along with all the rest of your virtual phone service, meaning you can configure call routing, call queues and more with your phone system from any computer or phone with an internet connection.

The cloud-hosted, software framework on which virtual numbers and their phone systems are based lends itself well to the world of Apps. Virtual landline phone numbers can be linked to VoIP apps for even greater flexibility. For example, you can take business calls with your business' UK virtual phone number from your personal mobile phone or even from your desktop computer using a VoIP app.

How are Virtual Numbers Linked with Virtual Phone Lines?

A SIM card/phone never knows its own phone number.  It’s the network provider itself that establishes, and stores a record of, that link between the SIM card and the phone number.

Virtual landline numbers are much the same.  Here at Yay.com, for example, all of your phone numbers, virtual or otherwise, are linked with your account.  You can even use your regular phone numbers with us by either (i) porting those numbers over to us, or (ii) proving that you own them by supplying us with the necessary documentation.

When a call comes through to any of these numbers, our platform recognises the association with your account.  Then, direct the call according to the call route you've assigned the number to.

hand holding phone hash key symbol

By existing in the cloud, virtual business phone numbers offer much more flexibility than traditional phone numbers.

The Difference Between Virtual and Traditional Phone Numbers

In many ways, all phone numbers are ‘virtual’. What makes a regular number ‘physical’ or ‘non-virtual’ is the inflexible link these numbers have been given by telecoms companies with physical SIM cards or physical phone lines.

The primary distinction between virtual and non-virtual phone numbers boils down to the degree of freedom you’re afforded.  Rather than being locked to a physical device (either a SIM card or a physical phone line), your virtual numbers are hosted in the cloud.  This means you're free to link/unlink them with any number of virtual phone lines at any time.

Even these virtual phone lines can be linked to any number of physical devices by using VoIP apps (aka softphones).  In this way, you could have a single virtual number routing calls through to dozens of physical devices.  Or, you could have one device receiving calls to dozens of phone numbers.  In this way, the traditional restriction of "one device, one phone line, one phone number" is lifted, giving you the freedom to make and take your business calls in the way that suits you

smart man with glasses dialling number in phone booth

Whilst regular phone numbers are linked to a single physical phone line, virtual numbers can be linked to multiple virtual lines.

Types of Virtual Phone Number

The same categories of phone numbers apply to virtual numbers too.  Geographic, non-geographic and national UK virtual phone numbers for business are all available.

Geographic

Geographic phone numbers have a leading area code.  Manchester phone numbers lead with 0161 for example.  Geographic phone numbers are great for businesses with a local presence and loyal, local customer base.

Geographic virtual phone numbers also hold the advantage of giving businesses a chance to ‘expand’ into an area they don’t yet have an office in.  If you have a remote team of technical engineers in Bristol, but your customer support team is located at a different location, you can offer those Bristol customers a firm sense of local support by providing a Bristol phone number as well.

Non-geographic

Other businesses might not want a geographic phone number, preferring an expansive image.  Non-geographic phone numbers can help here.  Many of the prefixes used by non-geographic phone numbers are reserved for use by Government bodies and other official agencies.  In the UK, 0330 is the most widely available non-geographic phone number.  If your business operates nationwide and you want to communicate a sense of omnipresence and size to your customers, a non-geographic phone number could be for you.

International

International phone numbers are best for businesses who do business abroad.  This category includes all phone numbers ‘belonging’ to countries outside of your business’ home country.

Use international phone numbers to enable French customers, for example, to be able to reach you on a French phone number.  This saves your customers overseas from being charged hefty calling costs just to reach you with an enquiry about your latest product.

Since international virtual numbers are hosted in the cloud too, there is no red tape to jump through and no convoluted setup process.  Just purchase an international virtual phone number, assign it to a particular call route and you’re good to go.

female entrepreneur calls virtual phone number on mobile

With a virtual phone service, customers from all of the world will be able to reach you no matter where you are.

Advantages of Virtual Phone Numbers

Appear local to callers whatever your location

If you’re an SME, startup or an expanding business, virtual numbers provide a simple and effective means of appearing local to customers. This applies if your callers are in the same town or city as you, or even if they’re in a different country or continent. Listing a local phone number on your advertising or website can also help your business attract local customers.

Present professionally when dialling out with your virtual landline

Virtual phone numbers make small businesses appear more professional. Dialling out from a local, non-geographic or toll-free phone number makes a  more favourable impression on customers than dialling out with a mobile/cell phone number and can boost trust in your organisation.

Link teams across different locations

VoIP phone numbers also prove versatile when it comes to multi-office businesses and remote working. Without the need to physically be installed in an office, calls to a single number can be distributed to multiple locations, phones and departments. So instead of incoming calls routing to one office only, our cloud-based VoIP phone system and virtual phone lines allow them to be distributed wherever you wish.

Track marketing campaigns using virtual phone numbers

Using specific phone numbers for specific advertising campaigns can also prove useful. By funnelling calls to dedicated virtual landline numbers you can monitor where calls are coming from. A quick look at the call logs in your Yay.com dashboard will reveal which campaigns have been most successful.

Reduce call costs

Virtual phone numbers can save your business money. Neither VoIP phone systems nor virtual numbers require any hardware. This means you save on both the initial purchase cost and any maintenance fees. What's more, virtual numbers scale with your business. If you have more numbers than you need, just delete some and they'll be removed at the start of your next billing cycle. Or, if your business is growing and you need to purchase new phone numbers, you can do so at any time and they'll be available for you to use right away.

How Much do Virtual Phone Numbers Cost?

The price of a virtual number varies depending on:

1) Whether the number is deemed 'memorable' or not

2) Whether the number is geographic or non-geographic

3) Whether the number is domestic or international

Memorable Numbers

A phone number is considered memorable if it has many consecutive digits.  The cost of a memorable number scales with how easy it is to remember (in other words, with the number of consecutive digits it contains).

Most of our memorable numbers are priced between £9.99 and £19.99/month (exc VAT) but, depending on the number, have been priced as high as £99.99/month and as low as £1.99/month.

As an example, 020 811 1111 would cost much more than 020 827 6412.

Memorable numbers cost more than other kinds of numbers as they are in higher demand.  Since they're easier to remember, these numbers can be read out or displayed during an advertisement and the probability is high(er) that listeners will remember the number.

Prices vary negligibly between geographic and non-geographic numbers, with the memorability of a number being the factor that drives price the most.

You can buy virtual phone numbers from Yay.com.  With all of our plans, one or more free virtual phone numbers are included.

How to Get a Virtual Phone Number

Yay.com users can buy virtual phone numbers with the following simple steps:

Log into your Yay.com dashboard. Navigate to ‘Voice’ and ‘My Numbers’.

  1. From the ‘My Numbers’ section, click the ‘Purchase Numbers’ button at the top right.
  2. Search for virtual phone numbers according to your needs and add those you like to your basket.
  3. Click the trolley icon at the top right of the page and check out.

Your new virtual business numbers are available in your dashboard to assign to call routes in an instant.

You can purchase new virtual phone numbers during the sign-up process. All new customers are offered one or more virtual phone numbers for free as a thank you from us! Just pick the plan that’s best for you and your teams, and then choose the virtual landline you want from our extensive range of local, non-geographic and international numbers. No installation required, no long wait times, no hassle.

Buy a Virtual Landline

Choose your own virtual landline number. Reduce your business costs and increase your flexibility.

Small and large businesses alike are set to benefit from virtual business numbers. Kickstart new growth in your business by exploring overseas markets with international phone numbers. Deepen trust and existing relationships with your local customers with geographic phone numbers, or use non-geographic phone numbers to show that yours is a business that can be reached anytime from anywhere.

Get in touch with our five-star support team for a phone system quote or choose from over 2 million virtual business numbers and get started today.

A Guide to Virtual Phone Numbers

In this Category

See More
A Guide to UK STD Phone Number Area Codes
A Guide to UK STD Phone Number Area Codes

You use area codes all the time when calling from your phone or Cloud PBX, but when was the first call made using a UK STD area code? Find out here.

Revised February 4 2022 | 8 min

Phone Exit Codes and Country Codes Explained
Phone Exit Codes and Country Codes Explained

Exit codes and country codes: what are they, why do we need them and how do we use them?

Posted August 27 2021 | 3 min

Choosing the Best Phone Number for Your Business
Choosing the Best Phone Number for Your Business

With many types of phone number available, choosing the right one for your business isn't always easy. Today we help you decide which will be best for you.

Posted June 24 2021 | 5 min

How Business Phone Numbers Can Help Your Business
How Business Phone Numbers Can Help Your Business

If you're using a personal phone number, or too few business phone numbers, for your business, you're likely hurting instead of helping your bottom line.

Posted October 23 2020 | 4 min

Using Your Personal Mobile Number for Your Business is Costing You Money
Using Your Personal Mobile Number for Your Business is Costing You Money

Acquiring a business phone number need only take seconds. Not doing it will cost your business money. Here's why.

Posted July 7 2020 | 9 min

Working Remotely - Globally - With International Phone Numbers
Working Remotely - Globally - With International Phone Numbers

So you suddenly find yourself working remotely. Leverage modern technology and some international phone numbers and your business can grow its impact.

Posted April 1 2020 | 5 min

Transfer Your Phone Numbers to Yay.com
Transfer Your Phone Numbers to Yay.com

Your dashboard view of transferring phone numbers to Yay.com.

Posted December 6 2019 | 4 min

Keep existing phone numbers when moving to the VoIP Cloud
Keep existing phone numbers when moving to the VoIP Cloud

Find out how easy it is to transfer your current business phone numbers and benefit from our great call rates.

Posted June 3 2019 | 3 min

Enjoy full control over your Cloud PBX and avoid nuisance calls
Enjoy full control over your Cloud PBX and avoid nuisance calls

Enjoy control over your phone system and avoid unwanted VoIP call charges. Use your Cloud PBX to restrict premium rate call costs and block nuisance calls.

Posted December 8 2017 | 4 min

Memorable business phone number advantages
Memorable business phone number advantages

What makes a memorable phone number easier to remember? Learn how hosted VoIP and a memorable number can benefit your business.

Posted April 13 2017 | 4 min

More choice, with added 01493, 01637, 01900 and 01569 area codes
More choice, with added 01493, 01637, 01900 and 01569 area codes

We've made additional 01493, 01637, 01900 and 01569 area codes available, to provide you with more phone number choices for business and home.

Posted February 23 2017 | 3 min

0203 phone number help establish London business presence
0203 phone number help establish London business presence

Find out about 0203 London phone numbers, and how, with a VoIP phone system, they can help establish your business presence.

Posted January 11 2017 | 3 min

Local phone number business benefits
Local phone number business benefits

Find out how local phone numbers can be advantageous to your business. Couple with a VoIP phone system for further benefits.

Posted December 13 2016 | 3 min

Article By

Adrian - Digital Marketing at Yay.com

Adrian

Digital Marketing at Yay.com

ISO 27001 Business Continuity Accreditation ISO 22301 Business Continuity Accreditation Cyber Essentials Certificate of Assurance G-Cloud accredited by the Crown Commercial Service
ISO 27001 Business Continuity Accreditation ISO 22301 Business Continuity Accreditation Cyber Essentials Certificate of Assurance G-Cloud accredited by the Crown Commercial Service