It’s true that as connectivity across the globe improves, the prevalence of calls over the internet will increase. But, having said that, the importance of direct calls and IDD (International Direct Dial) using traditional voice switch, that is PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Networks), will continue to stay relevant, especially in Singapore.

Here are three reasons why IDD and direct calls still make more sense than Internet calls or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and how businesses can get the best of both worlds by getting a hybrid solution.

  1. Dependency on Connectivity Standards

Internet connectivity is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The quality of audio and video solely depends on how stable the internet connection is, especially when it comes to VoIP calls. And depending on the internet isn’t always a smart strategy. If connectivity is intermittent, the voice breaks off and the call has to be made again. This affects the quality and experience of your call.

But when it comes to direct calls and IDD, most of these challenges will not exist. Call quality is significantly more stable due to the use of traditional voice switches. Direct calling delivers outstanding sound quality, whether you are speaking to a client or your overseas subsidiary abroad.

  1. Communicating in Developing Countries

Robust internet connectivity remains a problem in developing countries and this has become a major setback for businesses that are planning to expand into these geographies.

According to a 2016 report by World Economic Forum, more than 4 billion people, mostly in developing countries, still don’t have access to the internet. This means that over half of the world’s population is missing out on the incredible benefits of connectivity–from financial services to health and education–being brought about by the increasing pace of innovation.

Hence, communicating in developing regions over internet calls might not be a good idea. Also, power shortage is a major problem in developing countries. VoIP services   can never work in case of a power-cut, whereas IDD and direct calls have no such limitations.

  1. Cost of Connectivity and Regulations

Here’s the thing: If you think Internet calls are free, they are not. And making the so-called “free” calls over the Internet can drain your data and significantly increase the cost of small businesses.

A new test conducted by technology community AndroidPit reveals that using WhatsApp to make voice calls can actually cost users more than what it costs them to make regular calls, that is, if users are making WhatsApp calls on cellular data alone. The test also shows that

WhatsApp uses 1.3Mb of data per minute when making a phone call. Therefore, chatting away at a rate of 1.3Mb of data per minute will burn through a 500MB monthly data plan in just six hours.

You may argue that this is not a problem if you are connected to an unlimited WiFi hotspot. But it’s a hassle trying to scramble for the nearest WiFi access point – especially for the frequent travelers who have to rely on their mobile data network.

While Internet calls can be made over mobile apps such as Whatsapp and Line, it is difficult for businesses to understand and predict the cost of communicating through the apps. Meanwhile, direct calling or IDD is very transparent when it comes to costs. It also ensures that your business only pays for what you use.

Another challenge with mobile app calls is that all the people who are supposed to meet over a call must have the exact same VoIP application. But, different countries use different applications to communicate. For instance, China uses WeChat and the use of Whatsapp is not popular in Australia.

In some countries, especially in Asia and the Middle-East, the government have stringent regulations when it comes to using VoIP services, making it extremely difficult for businesses to communicate with people in these countries. This leaves them no option but to fall back on IDD calls.


Going for a Hybrid Approach

These are some of the major reasons why direct calls or IDD calls are still better than internet calls or VoIP. But if businesses in Singapore still feel the need to subscribe to VoIP services, they can always take the hybrid approach by using both direct and internet calls, in other words, an IP PBX solution.

So what does an IP PBX do? It’s a private branch exchange (telephone switching system within an enterprise) that switches calls between VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) users on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. The typical IP PBX can also switch calls between a VoIP user and a traditional telephone user, or between two traditional telephone users in the same way that a conventional PBX does.

Technology advancements in the telecommunication space have resulted in IP PBX solutions becoming a viable option for businesses in Singapore. In a nutshell, here are five immediate benefits of an IP PBX solution.

  • No costly infrastructure and capital expenditure, only pay for what you need
  • No maintenance costs associated with traditional phone systems
  • Avail free calls via apps on your laptop, tablet and smartphone using existing mobile data plan or wifi connection
  • Ability to call anyone, anywhere in the world, even without having to use the same app
  • Stay available on multiple devices with just one number
  • Feature-rich configuration options that allow you to customise the system to best suit your needs

To sum it up, it will not be wrong to say that businesses in Singapore will continue to use direct calling and IDD services and at the same time embrace digitisation by experimenting with hybrid approaches of business communication.


ZONE Zentrex is a hybrid voice solution that offers both VOIP and IDD capabilities and thus allowing you to take advantage of converged voice and data networks for optimised cost savings and efficiency.