Frequently Asked Questions
- General questions
- What is a virtual phone number?
A virtual phone number (also called DID number) is a phone number that is not physically associated with a telephone line: all incoming calls are redirected to another number (eg your mobile phone).
- Why should I buy a virtual phone number?
- Be reachable
If you buy a virtual phone number, you will be reachable at a phone number of the same town where your friends and customers live. So they will save much money when they call you. Unlike traditional PSTN phone numbers, you can bring your virtual number with you anywhere in the world.
- Protect your privacy
Virtual phone numbers help protect privacy. You can use a temporary virtual number to be contacted by people, whom you do not want to give your private number
- Extend your business
With virtual numbers and toll-free numbers you can extend the presence of your business in more countries, without need of opening an office on the site, and you can create a call center in any country in the world, where it it's less expensive.
- Save roaming costs when you are travelling
With a virtual number you can save roaming expenses when travelling abroad: just buy a SIM from the foreign country where you are, and forward to this number the calls addressed to your virtual number.
- Carry your old landline number with you
If you plan to move to another location within your country or abroad, you can convert your fixed line number into a virtual number, thanks to local number portability (LNP). In this way, you can bring your original number anywhere in the world, without losing the contacts you had with this number. For further information: number portability.
- Get a virtual mobile number to receive SMS.
You can have a virtual mobile phone number, with which, for example, you can create a secondary whatsapp account. Read more: Virtual mobile numbers able to receive SMS.
- Use advanced phone features for free
Virtual numbers come with completely free advanced telephone services, which are not always available with traditional telephone numbers: multiple simultaneous incoming calls in the same number, blacklists, voice menu, multiple destination lists to receive calls on more landlines or mobiles, conference call etc. For further information: Advanced Call Forwarding.
- Be reachable
- How to buy a virtual phone number?
Buying a virtual phone number is simple and straightforward with the number order form ("sign up in 3 easy steps") that you find in the home page.
- Choose country and city of your local number
- Choose how you want to receive calls to that number (destination)
- Indicate the destination details (number of "classic" phone, or VOIP provider account) and click on "continue"
For ITSP destination:
for forwarding to PSTN number:
- If you wish to make outbound calls, add some money to your prepaid balance, then click on "create order"
You will be guided in a couple of clicks to the payment module. Within a few hours we will verify the order data and approve it. You will receive a confirmation email.
At this point you can see the DID number that has been assigned by opening the "My Numbers" menu in your private area. Give it to your friends, and enjoy the service!
If you have chosen phone.systems (our powerful and free virtual PBX) as forwarding destination, you need to configure it to get the SIP credentials to register your VOIP device. Please check our FAQ "How should I configure a SIP phone to make and receive calls with my DID number?".
- Can I use my virtual number to do outgoing calls at cheap rates?
Yes. See rates
- How many concurrent calls can I receive on a virtual number?
For toll-free numbers, by default you can receive up to 300 concurrent calls.
For DID numbers, you can receive 2 contemporary calls. If you need more channels please contact us.
- What are toll-free numbers and how much do they cost?
Toll free numbers, also said 800 numbers, are numbers for which the calls are free for the caller and are paid by the receiver.
Each toll-free number can receive up to 300 simultaneous calls, so they are suitable for call centers.
The monthly cost and set up cost of the toll-free numbers are listed here https://www.buylocalnumbers.com/toll-free-menu.html
The cost per minute for receiving calls on toll-free numbers are available here: https://www.buylocalnumbers.com/toll-free-rates.html
If the calls are forwarded to a PSTN destination, you have to add the forwarding rates
- Can toll-free numbers receive calls from outside the country?
Generally speaking, the toll-free numbers are a local service, so it is only guaranteed that they can receive calls from inside the country.
In some cases they can also receive calls from outside the country but this is not guaranteed; furthermore we are not able to say precisely which toll-numbers are able to receive calls from abroad and which are not, because this depends on international routes that are out of our control.
If you need absolutely need to receive calls from abroad you should not buy these numbers.
- VOIP technical questions
Call forwarding, PBX setup, general VOIP questions
- How can I receive on a regular phone the calls directed to a virtual number?
- If you want to forward calls to a classic phone at the time of purchase:
In the number order form, select the option "Regular phone". Then, in the two menus that will appear, select the country and the prefix of the number where you wish to receive the calls
- If you want to forward calls to a classic phone after purchase:
In your private area, click on "my numbers" ⇨ Open "Details" of the DID number ⇨ "change forwarding" ⇨ choose "regular phone"
- Which equipment do I need to use a virtual number?
If you do not want to have costs when you receive calls, you need a VOIP phone (for example, a Siemens Gigaset IP) or a VOIP adapter (for example, the Fritz!box), or a smartphone in which you have installed an application that can receive VOIP calls (Sipdroid, Linphone, Hangouts...).
Or alternatively you can simply receive calls on your home phone or mobile phone, without any additional equipment. In this case you will have a small charge per minute, according to these rates
- How should I configure a SIP phone to make and receive calls with my DID number?
Here are the detailed instructions:
1) First you need to forward the DID number to "phone.systems": in the private area click on "my numbers" ⇨ open "Details" of the DID number ⇨ "change the forwarding" ⇨ choose "phone.systems"
2) Start the phone.systems widget: in the private area click on "phone.systems control panel" ⇨ click on the start button. A new window will open with the phone.system control panel. The complete guide for this tool is available here:
3) Create a "number" object and a "person" object. To do this, drag the mentioned objects from the toolbox to the workspace.
4) Open the "number" object settings and select your DID number (if the DID number does not appear at this point, check if forwarding of the number has been set to phone.systems, as explained in point 1)
5) Open the settings of the "person" object: choose "VOIP" as a contact method, then create a "device" and open the device details. In the caller's ID panel, in the "Acknowledge field", choose your DID number, or "CLID auto match". The important is that you don't leave "Disabled outbound", otherwise you will not be able to make calls.
Your SIP account data will appear as in this screenshot:
6) Connect with the mouse the object "number" to the object "person", as shown in the figure. Now you can close the phone.system window.
7) Configure the SIP device with the data obtained in step 5.
Now your SIP device is ready to receive unlimited calls for free and to make outgoing calls using your credit.
- Can I receive faxes?
Yes, you can receive faxes as attachments of your e-mail. Here are the steps:
1) Open phone.system panel in your private area and then start the phone.system widget.
2) Drag and drop from the palette onto the desktop the fax icon
3) Edit the settings of the fax object that you have created, and write the e-mail address where you want to receive the faxes
4) Connect your number to the fax.
- Can I choose a custom caller ID for outbound calls?
Yes, you can. You can choose any number as caller ID, provided you can proof that you have access to this number. Here are the steps:
1) Open the phone.system widget and click on advanced settings.
2) Click on "verified callerids"
3) Click in the "+" button on the top left
4) Write the number you want to use as caller ID. Note that it must be in E.164 format: this means that the country code does not need "00" or "+" (for example: for US, the number starts with 1)
5) Choose how you want to receive the verification code (voice call or SMS)
6) Type the code you have received
7) If the code is exact, a confirmation message will appear
8) Now, when configuring a VOIP device as a contact method of a person object, you will see the list of the caller ID that you have verified
- If my SIP device is behind a firewall, can I receive calls?
Yes. You have to add the IP range 46.19.208.* to the whitelist in the firewall.
Please refer to your specific firewall documentation for further details.
- I have my own VOIP server or ITSP account. Can I integrate it with phone.systems?
Yes, this is possible. You can forward incoming calls to your preferred ITSP or VOIP server, and use phone.systems to do ooutbound calls.
In order to do this, first you have to create a virtual VOIP device inside a “person” object in phone.systems: this will provide to you a SIP registration username and SIP server address, which you will write into your SIP device (for further details, see the FAQ “How should I configure a SIP phone to make and receive calls with my DID number?”). Then to forward calls to the ITSP or to the customized VOIP server, it is necessary to add another contact method in the "person" object, of type "Custom SIP forward" or "ITSP SIP forward".
The following images will show you the single steps and are self-explaining:
Here you can choose whether you wish to use an ITSP server or a custom VOP server.
In our example, we have chosen the procedure for the custom VOIP server: in this case you will have to indicate the destination in the SIP URI format, ie "username@sipserver".
- How do I receive calls on a third-party VOIP server?
If you prefer to receive calls on your VOIP server, you must select "VOIP" or "ITSP" as the forwarding method.
The difference between the two is that with "ITSP" (Internet Telephony Service Providers) you have to choose within a predefined list of providers available on the market, while with "VOIP" you can specify a generic server, which can also be an IP address.
To configure the forwarding you must indicate the VOIP server and, in the "details" of the forwarding, your username on that VOIP server.
Here are some screenshots that show how to configure the forwarding before purchasing the numbers...
...and how to configure the forwarding after purchasing the numbers, in "my numbers menu".
If you choose ITSP or VOIP as the forwarding method, your VOIP device must be registered with the credentials of your VOIP server, and not ours.
- Website usage
Website browsing, usage of user account menus
- I'm not able to buy a local number; What can I do?
We do it for you. Please write us using the "Contact us" menu, indicating
- The country and city of the local number you wish
- How you want to receive the calls on this local number
We'll create the order for you and we'll send you the invoice. The only thing you will have to do is pay the invoice. After you have paid it, the number will be active.
- How can I use phone.systems after end of life of flash plugin?
After 12-Jan-2020, Adobe prevents the usage of flash plug-in. In order to continue using phone.systems you can use a special version of Firefox and of the flash plugin. Registered users can can find the instructions in the phone.systems control panel.
If you don't wish to use phone.systems any longer you can change the forwarding to ITSP or "VOIP account", but in this case you cannot make outbound calls using our system. For this purpose you can open an account with a Dellmont ITSP provider such as "freevoipdeal.com": you will be able to register our DID numbers as caller id at the ITSP provider, and make outbound calls with their system.
We apologize for the inconvenient and we are evaluating better long-term solutions. We'll keep you up to date.
- Regulation and laws
International rules about VOIP numbers, local laws and regulations, fair usage of service
- What conditions must I respect in order to buy virtual numbers?
If you only want a few numbers for personal use, it is sufficient to identify yourself with a valid document.
If you want to use numbers for business purposes, you must provide a description of the use you intend to make of the numbers, and identify your company. At this regard, we remind you that our terms of service strictly prohibit the use of numbers for telemarketing, callback applications and automatic dialers.
- Can I sell the numbers to other people?
It is possible to resell phone numbers after requesting our authorization and under certain conditions.
1) Your sub-customers must identify themselves and provide a copy of an identity document.
2) If the sub-customer wants to use numbers for business purposes, they must identify their company and provide a detailed description of the use they intend to make of the numbers.
3) In no case is it allowed to use numbers for telemarketing, callback applications and automatic dialers.
4) If the requested numbers are from countries that require special registration, the sub-customer must provide the documents indicated on the page https://www.buylocalnumbers.com/legal-restrictions.html
- Can I use virtual mobile numbers for SMS verification?
Yes, this is not prohibited. However, as we state clearly in https://www.buylocalnumbers.com/mobile-numbers-menu.html, "we cannot guarantee that these numbers are accepted for verification SMS and we don't provide support for such usage".
We only ensure the possibility to receive SMS from other mobile subscribers. This in is in most cases enough to use the numbers for SMS verification. However, we don't know which additional checks and restrictions do Paypal, Whatsapp, Gmail ecc. have on the verification numbers. They are different companies with which we haven't any partnership and any relation. We have not any control on the rules that they apply in order to accept numbers for SMS verification.
- Can I use your VOIP service for telemarketing?
No. It is strictly prohibited to use our service to make unsolicited calls to sell or to promote anything with phone campaigns.
In particular it is prohibited:
- continuous or extensive call forwarding
- calling cards
- telemarketing (including, without limitation, charitable or political solicitation or polling)
- fax or voicemail broadcasting / blasting.
You should be aware that calling unknown people for advertising promotion purposes, besides being a particularly harmful and annoying practice, is illegal in many countries.
We reserve the right to immediately terminate or modify your Service if we determine, in our sole and absolute discretion, that your use of the service is, or at any time was, inconsistent with normal usage patterns. In such event the amount paid for the suspended service will not be refunded.
- Orders, billing and payments
Billing, payments, order process, service renewal
- Which payment methods are available?
It is possible to pay with credit card (Mastercard, Visa, American Express), with Paypal or bank transfer.
- After I've paid a local number, when will it be active?
If you are a new customer, for security we will do a manual anti-fraud check of your first payment and your first order. This will be done in few hours. Then if everything is fine you will be put in the group of the trusted customers. In some special cases, at our discretion we may ask for additional documentation before approving the order.
If you are already a trusted customer, paying with credit card or paypal, the number will be active immediately. If you pay with bank money transfer, the number will be active as soon as we have received the transfer.
There is an exception for the numbers of some countries, listed here, whose legislation requires additional documentation (ID or proof of address). In these cases the activation will be done after the review of the documentation, which will not take longer than a few hours.
- How can I avoid that the service is interrupted due to lack of credit?
We need to distinguish 2 cases:
1) If you are using a DID number only to receive calls to a VOIP phone, your periodical expenses are only related to the fixed monthly fee. In this case, you just need to activate the automatic renewal of the order for that DID number and activate the payment subscription with paypal or with credit card. You can do this during the purchase process of the number, and then you can disable or reenable it in your private area.
For Paypal subscriptions: open "my numbers", then open the "details" of the DID number order: you will find a menu to enable the subscription.
For credit card: open "my details", go to payment preference, then choose the credit card as payment method in the "Payment for new and renewal orders" menu.
2) If you have also traffic costs (forwarding a DID number to a PSTN regular phone, do outbound calls, or receive calls on a toll free number), then you need to have a non-zero prepaid credit in your account in order to use these services. Since your expenses are not exactly predictable, it may happen to run out of credit. To avoid this, you can activate the automatic recharge. Go to "my details" and in the payment preference set the minumum threshold amount, under which you wish to do the recharge; then select your credit card in the dropdown menu "balance auto-recharge for PSTN charge" and choose the action "refill amount" in the menu "If balance is less than threshold amount". Finally set the recharge amount. Notice that the automatic recharge is possible only for credit card, not for Paypal.
With the automatic recharge, you will sure to avoid service interruption. This is especially important for call centers.
If you prefer, in the "if balance is less than threshold amount" option, you can choose to receive an automatic notification via e-mail: then you can do manually the recharge when receiving the notification.
- Do I need to sign a contract to get a virtual number?
No. To obtain a virtual number, the only obligation is to pay in advance for the first month.
If at the end of the month you no longer want to use the number, the only thing you have to do is stop paying, and the number will be automatically canceled.
For more details see https://www.buylocalnumbers.com/refund-policy.html
- Can I choose a specific phone number before buying?
No. You can choose only the country code and the area prefix.
However, if you already own a number, you can port that number to our company, provided that the local number portability is supported in your country.
- The number is expired and has been canceled. What can I do?
In order to avoid such incidents we suggest to enable the auto-renew in your menu "my numbers" and create an automatic payment (see FAQ "How can I avoid that the service is interrupted due to lack of credit?"). But if you didn't do it and the number has expired, don't worry: you can restore the number in 5 minutes, and you have 34 days to do it, after the expiration date of the number
- create a payment in my payments menu to add the necessary funds to renew the number
- go in my numbers menu
- Click on the button "details" of the number
- Click on the button "restore" of the number
Note: the billing cycle of the number will not change (if the number, for example, was being renewed the first day of each month, it will continue to be renewed on the first day). This means that the days in which the number was canceled are not refundable. The reason is that the during these days number was still reserved for you and could not be sold to anyone else. This is a cost that we have to pay to our provider and does not depend on us. We hope in your understanding.
Finally an important technical note. If number forwarding was configured with phone.systems, after reactivating the number you will need to enter phone.systems and set the object "number" again.