Virtual phone numbers: are they right for your business?

A cloud-based business phone system, or virtual phone service, provides enterprise organizations more flexibility in how its teams communicate and support customers. Discover the benefits of virtual phone numbers and cloud-based telephones for your business.


* Virtual phone numbers are only available in the United States

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What is a virtual phone number?

A virtual phone number is a working telephone number that is not tied to any physical location or device. Calls to a virtual number can be set up to route to mobile devices, physical office phones, software-based “softphones” on computers, and even other phone numbers.


The technology used to host virtual numbers is called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. VoIP is a virtual phone service technology that routes phone calls over the internet while allowing its users to interact with users on standard telephones. VoIP calls can be made from internet-connected computers, smartphones, and select physical desktop phones.


The best way to gain access to a virtual phone number is to sign up with a trusted VoIP phone service like Zoom Phone. Zoom Phone offers businesses a simple and affordable way to modernize their communications system while combining several aspects of business communication into one powerful platform. Zoom Phone customers can utilize voice, video, and messaging communications, all in one intuitive app – from virtually any device.

What’s the difference between virtual phone numbers and traditional numbers?

Virtual phone numbers and traditional numbers share a lot of similarities. In fact, virtual phone numbers and traditional numbers are identical in appearance and can interact with each other, meaning virtual phone number users can call traditional phone users and vice versa. But, there are some key differences between the two.


Virtual phone numbers Traditional phone numbers

Virtual phone numbers offer all the advantages of a traditional phone number with additional features, including:

  • Global availability
  • Ability to work on wide range of devices
  • Seamless call transfer between devices, such as laptops, computers, and mobile devices, or other numbers
  • Simplified call forwarding and auto-attendant features
  • Frictionless global call routing

A traditional phone number offers the standard features that you are likely familiar with but falls short in some aspects in comparison to a virtual phone number. A traditional phone number:

  • Is tied to a specific geographical location
  • Is tied to a specific device
  • Has limited call routing options
Use of business phone numbers on personal devices, eliminating the need to give out personal numbers Makes it difficult to separate business and personal calls while remaining connected
Requires no hardware – low-cost and versatile Requires expensive hardware for each new phone number
Can be routed globally to reach available personnel, 24/7 Has limited global routing options
Ability to leverage advanced features like video calling, online messaging, and more Is less scale-ready
Versatile, flexible, and low-cost Can be more costly

Why switch to virtual phone numbers?

  • globe
    Take calls anywhere, from any connected device

    With a virtual phone number you can stay connected wherever you go and on whatever device you wish to use. Take calls on your physical office phone or your smartphone at home during the day. You can even delegate work calls to a coworker while you are on vacation.

  • phone
    Port over existing numbers

    For most businesses, keeping existing phone numbers active is very important. Fortunately, porting over existing numbers is easy with Zoom Phone. With Zoom Phone, you can keep the business phone number your contacts already know while enjoying the advanced features and versatility of a virtual business phone number.

  • people signal
    Easily add or remove users

    With Zoom Phone’s VoIP service, administrators can easily add, remove, or modify Zoom Phone users, licenses, calling plans, and phone numbers through a single admin dashboard. Unlike traditional phone systems, our virtual phone service allows changes to be made instantly and without the need for expensive hardware.

  • hand and gear
    Get advanced functionality on any device

    With Zoom Phone, businesses can leverage all the advanced functionality of the Zoom platform on almost any device. Make crystal-clear voice calls, collaborate with coworkers in video conferences, and much more — all in the same application. Plus, Zoom Phone supports TLS 1.2 during SIP registration and 256-bit AES-GCM encryption for data transmitted over the public internet.

Business benefits of using a virtual phone number

Utilizing a virtual business phone number frees you from geographical and equipment restrictions, giving you the versatility and mobility to communicate on your terms.


Many firms are migrating to VoIP phone systems because the technology offers dozens of useful features that traditional phone plans cannot provide, including:

  • Intelligent global call routing
  • Video and voice conferencing
  • Seamless device-to-device transfers.


Plus, with a wider feature set, lower pricing, competitive international calling rates, and more predictable monthly costs, it’s easy to see why millions of businesses have modernized their phone communications with virtual phone services.

Getting started with a virtual phone number is easy

To use a virtual phone number, you will first need to sign up for a cloud VoIP system such as Zoom Phone. This will eliminate the need for physical infrastructure at your business as the service is entirely cloud-based. Zoom Phone makes the process of switching to VoIP simple and intuitive while providing enterprise-class features, reliability, and security.

  • Check your internet service

    VoIP calls are routed through the internet rather than telephone networks, so you’ll need a reliable high-speed internet connection to use VoIP to its full potential. While VoIP requires relatively little bandwidth, every additional user you add to the service will require additional bandwidth resources. You can run an online internet speed test and compare the results to Zoom Phone’s recommended bandwidth requirements.

  • Sign up and select your numbers or keep your own

    If you have existing phone numbers that you’d like to transfer over, you can begin the porting process on your own (this typically requires contacting your existing provider). For new numbers, Zoom Phone allows you to select from a list of available phone numbers. Additional numbers can be purchased for as little as $5 per month.

  • Make sure your phones are VoIP-compatible or skip them altogether

    A virtual phone number can be used on compatible physical office phones that support VoIP technology. You can see a list of compatible phones on our support page. Alternatively, remember that you don’t actually need any physical phone hardware to use a virtual phone number. VoIP can be used on desktop or laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, and more.

  • Add users and assign numbers

    Zoom Phone makes it simple to manage your business’ communications, whether you have 5 employees or 5,000. Administrators can easily add or remove users, assign new business phone numbers, and utilize a suite of powerful administration features. Managers can also oversee call quality and volume in real time, and even monitor and step in on calls where needed.

  • Take advantage of VoIP features

    Once you’re set up, you can begin to enjoy all the advanced features of Zoom Phone. Intelligent call routing can be set up to ensure that important calls always reach the right people, 24 hours a day. And powerful integrations with tools like Google G-Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and more allow for enhanced productivity throughout your business. Zoom Phone is built into the Zoom platform, allowing for ultimate versatility. Users can elevate a 1:1 phone call into a video meeting with the click of a mouse. You can explore all of Zoom Phone’s features here.

Virtual phone number FAQ

Yes. From the user’s perspective, virtual phone numbers function in essentially the same way as a standard phone number. The VoIP technology that powers virtual phone numbers is able to interact with other networks, so you can call any number – whether that number is an international business contact using a traditional provider, a coworker using VoIP, or a local landline.

Yes. When you purchase a new virtual number, you will be able to choose from a list of available numbers. Of course, only numbers that are not currently in use, or otherwise restricted are available to choose from.

Yes. Zoom Phone allows you to select from domestic area codes in the United States. International numbers can also be obtained in dozens of countries. Zoom Phone makes it easy to have a powerful local presence in every market your business serves.

Yes. Toll-free 1-800 numbers are supported. Existing numbers can be ported in, and new numbers provisioned, using Zoom’s online tools.

Yes. Zoom Phone supports phone number porting. This means that you can transfer in any existing numbers you have from your current provider. Generally, this requires contacting your existing provider to begin the process.

Yes, you can have as many virtual business phone numbers as your organization needs. New numbers can be added with the click of a mouse for as little as $5 per month.

To use a virtual phone number, you need to subscribe to an affordable and accessible VoIP service, such as Zoom Phone. Business packages start at just $8 per month per user, while additional virtual phone numbers, including international and toll-free, start at just $5 per month.

No. Virtual phone numbers can be used through almost any smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer. If you’d like to use your new virtual business phone number on a physical office phone, the physical phone must be compatible with VoIP technology. See a list of compatible devices here. Businesses can also choose to subscribe to Zoom Phone Hardware as a Service, allowing you to procure the latest phone hardware with no upfront costs.

Users will simply need to sign up for Zoom Phone, pick a plan, and get started using the simple start-up guide. You can obtain new phone numbers for immediate use and begin the process of porting over existing numbers, all from the intuitive Zoom platform.

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