Fair Use Policy

Unlimited calling plans are really not unlimited

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If one of the reasons you are considering VoIP for your business is because the VoIP Provider offers Unlimited Calling, you need to pay close attention to the fine print.

Most VoIP Providers have a clause in their service agreement called a Fair Use Policy or FUP. Before accepting service, make sure this policy is something your business can live with.

What does a fair use policy clause mean to me?

Business VoIP Providers that offer unlimited calling for one monthly price are really not telling you the truth. These plans almost always include a fair use policy in their Terms of Service. A fair use policy sets a maximum amount of minutes per month you can call. Any calls above this amount will be metered and added to your bill.

The good news is that most VoIP companies will view your account in aggregate. If one of your users goes over the fair use limit, but the rest are under, they will allow you to share the minutes from your entire company, and if in aggregate, you are under the policy limit you will not be charged. Most businesses rarely exceed the fair usage limits on an aggregate basis. You just have to make sure the fair use policy includes the aggregate language.

The reason VoIP Providers have included this clause is because they price their service based on an assumption that on average, each VoIP phone user will use a certain number of calling minutes each month. VoIP Providers also calculate the maximum minutes, that if exceeded, will result in a loss to the VoIP Provider. The number of minutes that results in a loss to the VoIP Provider is usually what determines the fair use policy maximum calling minutes.

The levels at which the fair use policy kicks in and your start getting metered for overage varies from 1,500 minutes to 2,500 minutes per month depending on the VoIP Provider. The average office worker typically spends about 800 minutes per month. For most businesses the fair use policy never comes into play. If your company is a heavy phone user, check the fair use policy before you sign up.