In this article, we share our picks for the top 10 business VOIP systems for 2014.
VOIP (Voice Over IP) is a technology that has become more accessible as it has become cheaper for small businesses to invest in high bandwidth internet access. There are many issues to address when considering a VOIP service, and while many small businesses are seeing savings in the neighborhood of 40%-60%, VOIP isn’t right for everybody. You must have a strong, high bandwidth network infrastructure to support the increase in traffic that will result from all telephone communications for your business coming through your network. Often a switch to VOIP must be accompanied by an upgrade to your business’s network infrastructure. There are many professional level VOIP options designed to suit various needs, and so much research is required to determine whether or not a particular VOIP program is right for your company. As with any major communications upgrade, the system should be tested extensively before full deployment to ensure minimal complications arise that could impede the day to day operations of your business.
This list features ten of the best VOIP options for businesses in 2013. We purposely included a range of features, price points, and benefits. The list considers the major pros and cons of each system with the goal of pointing readers toward the VOIP solution that will best meet their needs. Most of these providers focus on phone systems, video conferencing is often accomplished through third party software.
Pros: This VOIP service allows you to fully control how incoming calls are divided among your staff. The settings can be managed from a smartphone. The service also has a find me/follow me feature, which allows you to specify which incoming calls ring to specific devices. The ability to customize the plan to your specific needs makes this one of the most efficient, cheapest business VOIP services available. Extensive FAQ pages to answer important questions and help determine whether the service is right for you. Unlimited extensions. 30 day free trial lets you test the service without significant up front investment.
Cons: Conference calls are limited to 3-way. The usage data is provided by the company but only the raw data, no breakdowns to help interpret the data.
Price: For 2-19 users the price is $24.99/mo per user. For 20-99 users the price is $21.99 per user. For 100+ users, the price is $19.99 per user.
Pros: This VOIP service features free call recording, and unlimited extensions. Call queues allow you to evenly distribute calls among employees, and a callback feature gives clients the option of receiving a call from an employee when available instead of having to wait on hold. Find me/follow me helps you never have to miss an important call. Very strong customer support among VOIP providers.
Cons: The toll-free number comes with a 1.9¢/min. charge to your company.
Price: 1-4 users costs $29.95/mo per user. 5-9 users costs $25.95/mo per user. 10-24 users costs $23.95/mo per user. 25-49 users costs @21.95/mo per user. 50+ users costs $19.95/mo per user.
Pros: One of the most affordable business VOIP programs around, this is ideal for small businesses with minimal needs. You can use the service on your smartphone. Up to 99 people on a conference call. Flexible call routing and forwarding. Bare bones basic service allows small businesses to add features they need, and not pay for anything they don’t need. This is especially useful for very small businesses.
Cons: Plans start with one number, businesses can add numbers at $4.99/mo per number. Only the designated “unlimited user” has unlimited minutes, the rest share a pool of minutes. The pay as you go rates are high, and adding shared minutes plans for other users besides the unlimited user hikes the price fast.
Price: The basic plan sharing 300 minutes with no unlimited users is $14.99 per month. The other plans are $24.99/mo per use with one unlimited user and the rest on shared minutes that cost extra.
Pros: Reliable business VOIP service for residential through business levels. You can use your voip account to make calls from your mobile phone. Also provides free email, document management, cloud storage and web fax. Toll Free Number comes with 500 minutes per month free.
Cons: Pricing may be difficult to figure out unless you have a good idea of how many minutes your business will need per month. No money back guarantee.
Price: $25.00/mo plus $25.00/mo per 2,000 minutes needed.
Pros: Web conferencing, smartphone apps allow you to make and take business calls on your mobile. All the standard features, including auto attendant, call routing, and other PBX system features, voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding and conference bridge delivered at enterprise quality. Up to 20 people on a conference call. Unlimited calling plan to ten countries. Customer technical support is very strong. Redundant systems provide an assurance of zero downtime and a good defense against denial of service attacks.
Cons: Lack of a strong call queueing option.
Price: Must request quote for price.
Pros: Strong unlimited program. The price doesn’t look as competitive as some of the offerings. But when you factor in unlimited calling, it’s one of the cheapest digital telephony packages available. Incoming call routing, anonymous call routing, call forwarding, distinctive ring to help identify callers. Toll free number at 5¢/min. from anywhere. Competitive international rates.
Cons: For those that don’t need all the extensive features, or unlimited calling, this plan is expensive. Only 3-way conference calls.
Price: $42.95/mo, per user.
Pros: Fully redundant network for maximum reliability. Flat rate local and long distance minutes. The premium plan features find me/follow me technology allows for flexible mobility when awaiting important calls. Full Outlook integration in the premium plan. Á la carte packages allow you to build the service your business needs, no more, no less.
Cons: Per-seat licensing. Additional fees for some features normally included in digital phone services.
Price: $40.00/mo per user.
Pros: No contract required. Outlook and LinkedIn integration. 30 day money back guarantee. Keep your original telephone number. Simultaneous ring to your office, cell phone, and home phone or other location. Up to 30 people on a conference call.
Cons: Must go through a 3rd party for conference call. Additional fees apply to conference calls. Underwhelming queueing options. No contract means no service level agreement or obligation on Vocalocity’s part.
Price: $39.99/mo per user.
Pros: No contract and no activation fees. No contract means maximum flexibility for your plan. Fully redundant network. Find me/follow me feature, U.S. based tech support. Nextiva provides customers with in depth statistics and analysis features that allow you to interpret the raw call data and understand exactly what is happening across your network. Outlook service is available for an additional fee. 99% uptime.
Cons: Additional fee for more than 10 extensions. No contract means no service level agreement. Must pay for the call queue feature.
Price: The Office Pro plan is $34.95/mo per line for 1-4 lines, $29.95/mo per line for 5-20 lines, and just $19.95/mo per line for 21+ lines.
Pros: One of the cheapest VOIP services available for home and small business plans. All essential features including blocklist, Failsafe which forwards your call to another line in case of power or internet outages, you can keep your current numbers, simultaneous ring, click to call when using the computer, calls from your Phone Power number, and an extensive knowledge base
Cons: No unlimited calling or unlimited extensions, lacking in some of the enterprise level advanced features.
Price: 24 month term is $14.95/mo per line, 12 month term is $16.95/mo per line, month to month plan is $19.95/mo per line There is a special deal where if you buy a year’s service for $199.95 for the year per line, you get the second year free, meaning an average monthly rate of $8.33/mo per line.