VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. A VoIP is a business communication technology that allows you to make and receive calls over the internet by converting calls into digital signals and transmits those signals over the internet.
Earlier we were only familiar with the traditional landline phones and had no alternate choices. Now with the advent of internet, there is a choice of VoIP phone delivery service. VoIP is currently gaining more attention and customers.
VoIP vs Landline
Probably the best way to understand which service has an advantage over the other, it will be good if we compare some of the key areas – features, technology, reliability, and cost:
Landline phones provide only the most basic features whereas VoIP phones bring to you a wide range of features like voicemail to email, automatic call forwarding, having a virtual receptionist, three-digit dialing and much more. If your business is in search of advanced features that can work across multiple locations and also work in the cloud then VoIP is the only solution.
Landline phone uses the legacy system of exchange infrastructure and copper wires and most phones companies are not committed to upgrading the system. Digital companies are on the other hand are rapidly upgrading and developing their technology to provide a better and wider range of services to their customers. Digital communications are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and individual consumers.
Earlier landlines had an edge over VoIP phones in context of reliability. However, with the evolution of high-speed internet, the gap between VoIP and landline has closed. You can now choose your internet service provider to ensure that your connection is secure and meets the requirement of VoIP providers that you are considering.
VoIP is typically 40 to 50% less expensive than traditional landline phone services. If you have multiple landline phones in your office then you will require a PBX or private branch exchange which can cost you thousands of dollars. VoIP is a far more inexpensive proposition – you will only need a few lines and can eliminate the initial outlay and the service maintenance costs.
VoIP edges over landline phones due to the feature-rich services that they offer. We have evaluated the best VoIP providers and have narrowed it to 5 best and here is our pick:
Top 5 Best VoIP Services for Business
RingCentral is a VoIP service which provides unlimited calling, multilevel auto-attendant, and a powerful and robust voicemail and conferencing. RingCentral’s prices range from $29.99 to $39.99 per month for up to 10 users. Unlimited user plans range from $34.99 to $49.99 per month. All these plans have an annual contract option which also provides a discount on the cost per user. You can cancel anytime without any penalty charges. RingCentral offers 3 packages: Essentials, Standard and Premium. The essential features of these three plans are:
|Pricing||$29.99 per user per month||$34.99 per user per month||$49.99 per user per month|
|Toll free minutes||100||1,000||2,500|
|Unlimited audio & video meetings||4 people per meeting||4 people per meeting||100 people per meeting|
|Visual voicemail & Voicemail to Email||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integration with Microsoft, Google , Okta||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Call log reports||No||Yes||Yes|
|Multi-level auto attendants||No||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic call recording||No||No||Yes|
|Voice mail transcription to text||No||No||Yes|
RingCentral offers all the features which are identical to those proved by other service providers it also allows integrations with business apps to give small businesses more options and also is a great VoIP solution for larger call centers especially for those businesses which require digital records of calls for quality assurance and training.
Nextiva is a reasonably priced VoIP provider that provides advanced features like auto-attendants, voicemail to email transcription, conference call capabilities and unlimited calling including top notch customer support. This is one of the most sought after VoIP services by small business owners and single entrepreneurs due to its affordability and features. Nextiva offers three service plans. Pro, Pro Plus and Enterprise. Pricing is per user and if more users are added the prices decrease. You can avail additional cost savings through a long term contract and prepaid arrangements. Here are some of the features offered by Nextiva –
Office PRO Plus
|Pricing||From $34.95 /user per month||From $37.95 /user per month||From $44.95 / user per month|
|Professionally recorded greetings||NO||1||3|
|Free local and toll free number||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Voice mail to email transcription||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Analytics and Reporting||No||No||Yes|
Nextiva offers all the standard phone system features businesses should expect, through their various plans however, what makes Nextiva stand out is their high standard customer support. All new customers are assigned a single point of contact to make the phoning experience smooth and comfortable. Your customer support officer will guide you step by step from setting up the phone and will also provide you training as to how to use your phone. Nextiva’s customer support allows you to raise an online ticket, participate in a live chat in case you have any issues and brags about a comprehensive knowledge base. They also provide phone support from 5 am to 6 pm Pacific time Monday through Friday and 6 am to 6 pm Pacific time on Saturdays and Sundays.
8X8 is a hosted VoIP service provider which caters features like text messaging, conferencing, call storage and unlimited fax. 8X8 offers three plans for their users X2, X5 and X8 and are equipped with international calling. We have found these features quite useful and have presented those essential features for you as below:
|Pricing||$25 / user per month||$35 / user per month||$55 / user per month|
|Unlimited calling zones||14 countries||32 countries||47 countries|
|Audio and video conferencing||Up to 5 people||Up to 25 people||Up to 50 people|
|Media storage||1GB||5GB||10 GB|
|Call Quality Reporting & Analytics||No||No||Yes|
|Inbound and Outbound Contact center||No||No||Yes|
What makes 8X8 a distinct VoIP service provider in the market is their generous international calling plans. It offers international calls to more than 40 countries. This is ideal for small business owners who have to make a lot of international calls as this VoIP phone system provider offers significant cost savings over the long term when compared to other VoIP service providers.
Vonage is a well-known player in the VoIP market that offers unlimited calling, video meetings, file sharing, and chat. Vonage is the best fit for consultants and sales teams that use collaboration tools to stay connected. Vonage’s moderate pricing makes them a top pick among business owners. Vonage offers three plans Mobile, Premium and Advanced. Pricing, just like other VoIP service providers, as per users, however, if you add more users, then the pricing gets reduced. Vonage also offers A la carte options with the following features:
- Local phone numbers: $9.99 per month
- Toll-free numbers: $39.99 per month
- Automatic call recording: $49.99 per month
- Conference bridge: $14.99 per month plus 3 cents per minute.
Vonage Plan features includes:
|Pricing||$19.99 / user per month||$29.99 / user per month||$39.99 /user per month|
|Voice mail to Email Transcription||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Music on Hold||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|On Demand Call Recording||No||No||Yes|
|On boarding support||No||No||Yes|
Vonage offers many similar call management features which are identical to its competitors. However, it is the partnership with Amazon Chime which gives them a leg up as it integrates communication and collaboration tools. This feature alone sets Vonage, which is a popular VoIP provider apart for business collaboration solution.
Phone.com is a great choice for single entrepreneurs and budget-conscious small businesses that do not require to place a lot of calls or does not have the need for unlimited callings. It offers bundle plans of calling minutes along with other features like call conferencing and auto attendant. Phone.com offers three plans- Base, Plus and Pro. Here are some of the significant features:
|Pricing||From $12.99 per month||From $19.99 per month||From 39.99 per month|
|Phone Numbers||1 Local or toll free||2 Local or toll free||3 Local or toll free|
|Premium Hold Music||No||Yes||Yes|
Phone.com is one of the few VoIP service providers that offer low price calling to some countries outside the US. You can use your calling minutes to dial landline numbers in Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. You can also avail the CRM facility for an additional fee by contacting Phone.com’s sales team and call analytics are available for an extra monthly charge.
VoIP phone services are an affordable option to replace landline phones. Compared to landline phones that offer limited facilities, VoIP services offer a wide range of features that can facilitate in running your business operating smoothly. VoIP phone services are easy to use at an affordable cost. VoIP systems may soon be your only business phone choice.