More and more businesses are transitioning to the virtual world. It’s crucial to adapt to newer communications solutions to keep up with the demands of a worldwide digital marketplace. Businesses install softphones for their convenient features and ease of use to improve communication with remote employees and clients.

So, what is a softphone? A softphone is essentially a software-based interface that acts as a telephone. It allows you to make, receive, and manage calls on any hardware device that utilizes this type of software.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about softphones for business.

What is a Softphone?

You’ve probably used a softphone-type interface without realizing it. Skype and Zoom are two popular softphone examples that many businesses still use.

Thinking to yourself, what is a softphone and how does it work? Let’s first look at what a softphone is before we get into how this app works.

A softphone app typically runs on hardware such as a PC, smartphone, tablet, or computer. To place VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls and video calls, establishing a connection via the internet to a physical device is necessary.

The softphone app opens in the same way as a regular smartphone’s touchpad. Once you open the program to load the softphone, you can use the touchscreen or a mouse to dial a number and make calls.

A softphone app includes a dial pad and features such as hold, mute, and call transfer. The softphone app converts your voice into a digital signal and carries it to the receiver’s end on a call using integrated technology.

You can speak through the softphone app just like a regular telephone if it’s on your smartphone. Alternatively, you can conduct calls from a computer through a headset. 

Softphones for business are programmed to enhance and access your VoIP features, which is impossible with a traditional phone. Take Microsoft Teams, for example – with a host of cloud-based tools baked right into its interface, and it serves as a streamlined way to communicate and collaborate alongside your workforce.

How Does a Softphone Work?

Setting up a softphone app is as easy as setting up any program on your device. Let’s look at how a softphone works and what you need at your disposal to make calls over the internet efficiently.

You’ll need two crucial types of hardware to initiate a softphone app—a desktop computer (or laptop/tablet) and a VoIP headset (or a working microphone and speaker on your device).

Before you can make or receive calls, you need to set up an account with a VoIP provider with a downloadable software program to help initiate the softphone functionality. A cloud phone system provider such as ULTATEL offers softphone functionalities through their communication packages. These are primarily compatible with today’s operating systems such as Microsoft, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Once you pick the device, you want to use the softphone on, and the next step is to download the app. All you have to do is follow the setup process and implement your desired settings. 

Once the setup is complete, you need a wireless or high-speed broadband internet connection to make your first call. A strong internet connection will help you initiate, conduct, and arrange calls without dropping off or experiencing lags due to network issues.

Softphone Key Features

While softphones for business have all the traditional features of a regular telephone, they come with certain upgrades that make softphones perfect for companies. Now that you know what a softphone does let’s explore this innovative program’s most common and basic features.

●   One-click calling

●   Three-way calling

●   Drag and drop call transfer

●   Incoming call notifications

●   Incoming call routing

●   Presence (shows employee availability)

●   Real-time chat messaging

●   Multiple lines

●   Shared contact directory

●   Multiple call appearance lines

●   Audio conference capabilities

●   Video calls and screen sharing

●   Instant call bridges

●   Call recording

●   Auto dialing capabilities

●   CRM integration

Advantages of Using Softphones

Now that you know what a softphone system is, how to set it up, and what features to expect, let’s take a look at the advantages of using one:


The most significant advantage of a softphone app is that it can be taken anywhere, this is particularly beneficial for frequent travelers and remote workers. You don’t need to be at your desk to make or answer calls for those who travel to the office for business.

On jam-packed days that find you away from your desk for several hours, a softphone allows you to take calls anywhere in a building or at a location with good internet.


Another equally important advantage is the cost savings factor of using a softphone. There are different softphones in the market, but they are all programmed to cut costs significantly. Depending on the softphone package you choose, prices costs can range between $50 to $3 a month.

Ultimately, using a softphone costs less than traditional phones that have to be hardwired throughout an office. You’ll also save plenty by not needing a dedicated line to use a softphone (the same internet connection you use every day can be utilized).


If you’re already using a phone, you’re probably wondering why having a softphone is necessary. That’s because having a softphone allows you to keep your personal contacts and information separate.

The calls you make from the softphone will not reveal your personal number, just your business number. The advantage of having a softphone is that you don’t have to compromise on your privacy when you use your own device for business calls.

Video calls and conferences

There’s no need to install expensive video conferencing hardware and software to conduct video calls. Softphones for business allow you to perform video calls and patch in multiple speakers simultaneously at no additional cost.

Hassle-free connectivity

Softphones can be re-installed on a new smartphone or secondary device such as a laptop or PC. As a result, a business gets to save on hefty costs involved in moving, replacing, or updating hardware in an office.

Also, if you need to add new lines to your softphone, you can do so by accessing the dashboard and making the necessary changes. No hardwire line installations are required whenever a new space needs telephonic capabilities in an office.

Additional benefits

The perks of using a softphone extend to the following features:

●   Manage contacts across multiple locations

●   Send texts on missed calls

●   Customize settings for greetings, music, etc

●   Craft automated texts with reminders for appointments, payments, updates, events, conferences, and the like

●   Chat with teams across the country and anywhere in the world

●   Accept payments

●   Check a client’s entire history with your business before taking calls

Disadvantages of Using Softphones

While the advantages are plenty of using softphones for business over traditional phones, there are a few drawbacks to using this type of technology:

Government Regulations

Perhaps the most apparent and restrictive downside to softphones is that they aren’t universally available – at least not legally. Some governments worldwide restrict their use, usually to establish more control and national security over communications services.

Several major countries such as Brazil, China, and Saudi Arabia have strict regulations on softphone use and either ban the technology outright or offer government-regulated software instead. This can serve as a major barrier, especially if you work with colleagues or clients in these regions.

Challenging For Non-tech Users

Most people should breeze through the installation and usage process for softphones, but many take our comfort level with modern software for granted.

If your business needs to regularly work with, say, the elderly, chances are that they may find softphones confusing and challenging to set up or simply not own compatible hardware.

Internet Limitations

While modern high-speed internet connections have reduced latency issues, softphones still can offer lower quality audio and occasionally exhibit voice delay compared to traditional phone calls.

While these downsides exist, investing in softphones is still a great idea if you want to create fluidity across your business communications.

Softphone Vs. VoIP Phones

Softphones are based on certain IP protocols, as previously mentioned, meaning that it is a flexible solution to make and receive calls. As software, it doesn’t require the use of a physical telephonic handset or additional hardware besides what one would already have in their possession.

Consumer VoIP services such as Skype allow users to call each other just like softphones, except the latter comes with additional high-end business features to streamline everyday communications. Softphones are programmed as software that can be easily installed on any VoIP-enabled device.

Alternatively, VoIP phones are similar to traditional telephone handsets. This is a type of physical hardware that one needs to make and receive calls. These phones have a microphone, an earpiece, and different buttons (which are customizable) bound to certain functions.

Unlike a softphone app that initiates communication digitally, VoIP phones have to be picked up and used by callers. These phones also come with small screens that display basic information. VoIP phones can be expensive, depending on the bells and whistles included in a model..


When you choose softphones for business, you’re making a wise choice to upgrade your communications. Softphones have everything you need of a traditional desk phone but with integrated functions that level up everyday interactions in a virtual world.

A softphone app is a cost-effective, portable program that can cement communication gaps and support productivity anytime, anywhere.