Comparing VoIP Service Providers
Businesses of all sizes are continuing the move to VoIP-based phone systems, and it's not hard to see why. Also known as hosted phone systems, VoIP phone systems offer a range of cost-saving benefits and essential calling features. But for businesses that are new to the world of VoIP, choosing a VoIP provider might be a daunting task. Because of this, we’ll be comparing VoIP service providers, including 8x8, Vonage Business, and RingCentral, so you can make the right choice for your business.
Although 8x8 has a number of cloud communications solutions, including cloud contact center software, we're focused on their hosted business phone system.
8x8 offers a complete solution that comes with a range of advanced phone features, team collaboration tools, and more. They also offer complete integrations with some of the most common business applications. This VoIP service provider's hosted phone system can be integrated with CRMs like Salesforce and Zendesk as well as email clients, such as Outlook.
8x8 customers can choose from two pricing plans: Virtual Office and Virtual Office Pro. The two vary based on the specific features you'll receive at each tier. And unlike many providers, 8x8 offers almost all features with the basic Virtual Office plan; if you upgrade to Virtual office pro, you'll get a few extra perks, including web conferencing with video, Internet faxing, and call recording.
You'll also have the opportunity to choose from 3 different VoIP service plans, which determine how you pay for minutes used:
This plan offers unlimited inbound calling and unlimited calling between 8x8 extensions, plus 250 minutes of outbound calling to the US and Canada. If you exceed the 250 pre-paid minutes, you'll pay about 3 cents a minute.
This plan, which 8x8 notes is their most popular offering, provides unlimited calling to a number of countries, including the US, Canada, Guam, US Virgin Islands, the UK, and more. You'll also receive unlimited minutes to and from 8x8 numbers.
If you also need top-tier features, like Internet Fax and Call Recording, you can upgrade to the Unlimited Extension Pro plan.
Running an international business? You'll probably want to go with 8x8's Global Extension plan, which offers the benefits of the Unlimited plan plus unlimited calls to select international locations.
If you want to learn more about specific pricing for each of these plans, you have to get in touch with 8x8's sales team; they do not publish basic pricing on their website.
Vonage's cloud-based business phone system is called Vonage Business. They boast that they can help you grow and build a better workforce using their system, that can meet the demands of any size business.
Vonage Business offers the features you'd expect on a VoIP system including call hold, virtual receptionist and call conference. But they also offer premium features such as call monitoring and paperless fax.
The video below provides a more detailed overview of how Vonage's advanced business phone features can work for you.
Plans start at $34.99 per month per line and go up to $64.99 for their premium tier. These plans vary based on the features they offer and the number of lines you'll get on your system.
Vonage also offers a unique plan that allows your business to add features or phone lines as you need them, rather than going with one of their standard packages. This "Build Your Own" plan is priced at $39.99 per month/per line.
RingCentral's premier product is RingCentral Office, a cloud-based PBX phone system for businesses of all size. They advertise a quick implementation process, a flexible system management and a mobile-enabled phone system.
RingCentral Office offers a variety of features including auto-receptionist, call monitoring, and music on hold. And like 8x8, RingCentral also offers a host of integrations that allow you to connect the business tools that you use every day to your phone system.
However, the features and integrations that are included with your system are dependent on the plan you select.
Plans start at $24.99 per month per user and go up to $44.99 per month per user. These plans differ based on the calling minutes included, features you need and number of users you need on the conferencing features.
Choosing the Right VoIP Provider for Your Business
As you can see, each provider offers their own set of functionality and accessibility. Because of this, it’s important to do your homework to truly understand what you’ll get from a provider. It’s also extremely important to understand your specific needs so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for out of a VoIP system.
As you are comparing VoIP service providers, ask yourself these questions:
- How many employees use their phones on a regular basis?
- Are your calling habits primarily inbound, outbound, or a little of both?
- What features are essential to your daily operations?
- What calling features are on your wish list?
With the answers to these questions in hand, you should be able to determine which provider is right for you, your business, and your budget.