What is a virtual number? It is almost like a toll free number except it does not start with 800 or 877 or 888 or 866. If someone calls it from a long distance location, they will be assessed long distance charges. But it is like a toll free number in the sense that it is not really tied to a specific location. Yes, it is tied to a specific PHONE, but not to a location.
Let me see if I can clarify this further with some examples. Say you live in Chicago, so your VoIP phone has a local number like 773-xxx-xxxx. Nothing weird or strange about that, right? But now let's say you have parents in Tampa and your wife's sister in Denver, both of whom call you regularly but don't like paying the long distance charges. So you get a VIRTUAL NUMBER for your home VoIP phone, one in Tampa and another one in Denver.
What has happened? You are home in Chicago and can make and receive calls all day long when someone calls your normal Chicago number. But your parents in Tampa can call a LOCAL Tampa phone number and your VoIP phone in Chicago will ring! Your wife's sister can call a LOCAL number in Denver and your VoIP phone in Chicago will ring.
Do you see the beauty of this? For one flat fee for having the virtual number, you can receive calls from wherever your virtual numbers are at, and the caller doesn't have to pay the long distance charges because it is a LOCAL call for them.
Another use for this is if you live in say Des Moines. Now Des Moines is a great place to live, but it's not exactly the financial capital of the world. You have a business and you want a NEW YORK phone number. You can have your VoIP phone in Des Moines, but you can also have a VoIP Virtual Number in New York so that if customers are calling you, it looks to them as if they are calling New York, which IS considered a major financial center.
The cost for a virtual number is very low compared to what your callers would pay for a long distance charge. (And depending on how often they call you, of course!) For example with Packet8, a virtual number in the US is a flat fee of $4.99 per month, and you can also get a virtual number in the UK, France, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Ireland, or Denmark for only $9.99 per month. With SunRocket, you get your own local number and your first virtual number in the US comes with the package at no additional charge.
In summary, virtual numbers are great for VoIP service. For one flat fee, you can receive calls from wherever your virtual numbers are at and the caller doesn't have to pay the long distance charges because it is a LOCAL call for them.
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