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Best business phone service
The modern office has become increasingly digital, and the office phone service is no different.
While once a desk might have been covered with a bank of phones, now employees can use their smartphones or mobile devices on the go, wherever they are at work, using nothing more than an app to join with the corporation's business phone network.
Not only does this allow employees to work more productively, but with less of an outlay on hardware costs, it means that cloud-based telecoms systems can be very cost-efficient as well.
Set up is usually easy and very simple, as it requires little more than signing up to a digital service and then accessing it once paid for.
While there may be some small configuration settings that need to be done, this can take only a few minutes. Once completed you now have a full service phone system that can scale up to as many employees as you need to cover.
Different services tiers are commonly offered, with cheaper plans offering essential features, with more expensive plans offering additional features if required.
Costs are usually based on a user basis rather than business turn-over, and though many phone service companies offer clear and flat-rate pricing, some providers will seek to provide a personalized quote instead which can often cost more while allowing for extra options not normally available.
Here then are the best in phone services for business, with our main choices featured, with additional options to consider following.
- We've also highlighted the best business smartphones
- Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
Put your business phone system in the cloud
MiCloud Connect is a cloud-based VoIP platform from telecoms industry leader Mitel, which aims to provide a comprehensive voice, collaboration, and contact center solution for business.
The platform itself operates using Google Cloud, which means that it satisfies HIPAA and SOC 2 compliance, Key benefits include the Mitel hosted PBX phone systems which can run on mobile devices on the go, plug and play service functionality, as well as a simple interface that allows for one-click management of systems.
MiCloudConnect also includes audio and video conferencing, web sharing, VPN, group chat, contact center, and includes a number of integration options.
Pricing starts from $20.99 per user per month and includes PBX, conferencing, and collaboration tools. The Premier plan for $26.59 per user per month adds call recording and integration features on top.
A premium VoIP service
Vonage is a well-known player in the residential VoIP market, and its Vonage Business offering focuses on commercial phone service; it has distinct plans that cater to enterprise, as well as the small business market.
For the latter, Vonage Business endeavors to use your current internet to have a plug-and-play solution that does not require on-site installation, and offers a 14-day free trial. It is a more premium service with over 40 included phone features, and claims a business grade “99.999% uptime reliability.”
The plans are priced depending on the number of lines required. For example, the Mobile Plan covers 1-4 lines and costs $19.99 per line per month, and offers unlimited calls and SMS, mobile and desktop apps, and team messaging.
The Premium plan at $29.99 per month per line adds video conferencing, messaging, and file-sharing for up to 100 people, as well as a a multi-level auto-attendant, and CRM integrations with Salesforce, Office 365, and Zoho.
The business phone plan with the powerful base station
Ooma Office is the business version of the popular (almost) free residential service. Here, service plans require a one-time purchase of an Ooma Office base station for $129.97, and then unlimited calling to the US and Canada starts at $19.99 per user per month, which includes bonus features such as virtual fax, a local or toll-free phone number, and a conference extension.
Rounding out the service are over 35 features including 24/7 customer support, music on hold, a virtual receptionist, a mobile app, and a choice of modes for answering calls after hours.
Ooma Office is mildly hampered with no lower tier plan for cash-strapped businesses, and there is no lower cost for economies of scale as additional users are added to the plan, as each is charged at full price.
The VoIP that offers a virtual office
The 8x8 X Series is a cloud-based communications platform that offers different service tiers for providing calls, conferencing, collaboration, and a call center.
The cheapest tier, X Series X2, costs $25 per user per month and offers unlimited calling to fourteen countries, mobile apps, team messaging, HD video conferencing with screen sharing, call recording, transcripted voicemails, analytics, Single Sign On (SSO), as well as integration with Salesforce, Zendesk, and NetSuite.
For $45 per user per month the X Series X4 plan adds unlimited calling to 47 countries, supervisor analytics, call quality reporting, and an operator switchboard.
The X Series X6 plan adds a voice contact center with Interactive Voice Response (IVR), post call surveys, graphical call display, and granular search analytics, though at $110 per user per month this is almost certainly aimed at larger businesses.
An enterprise solution X Series X8, provides omnichannel communications, quality management and speech analytics, predictive dialers, and co-browsing, all for $172 per user per month.
The affordable business phone service
Phone.com endeavors to be an affordable business VoIP service, and with a pay per minute base plan that starts at $9.99 per month (when paid annually), it does best the competition at the low end in terms of cost. The trade-off is that the plan only offers a limited 300 voice minutes monthly with 5,000 SMS, which is only adequate for the most limited business use.
On the bright side, even on this bare plan there are premium features included, such as voicemail to email, call blocking and call queuing. It is also indicated that the service is HIPAA compliant to meet the standards of privacy for healthcare-related businesses.
Perhaps the more realistic options for most businesses are the Plus Plan for $14.99 monthly (when paid annually) which gives you a still paltry 500 minutes, and 10,000 text messages. Disappointingly, even the top Pro Plan (which is $29.99 monthly on an annual contract) also limits your minutes to 1,000 per month, and 20,000 SMS messages.
Other business phone services to consider
Whether you're looking for a more traditional PBX phone system or a VoIP phone system, there are a lot of different providers out there. Which one is best for you will depend on your own needs and business size. While we've featured five providers above, there are a huge number of alternatives. Here we'll take a quicker look at another five.
Avaya is another of the big names in unified communications, and along with Mitel has established itself as a leading specialist player for business telecommunications. Even so, it caters for the full range of business sizes, from small to enterprise, so don't be put off thinking big names means big costs. Cloud-based VoIP is already an established offering from Avaya, with many different options available to suit your business.
RingCentral promotes itself as an all-in-one solution for all business sizes, with a unified communications strategy that means plenty of integration options, from Google to Microsoft, Oracle to Amazon, and Zendesk to Salesforce. Pricing begins at just $19.99 for up to 10 users, with call management and phone system administration, as well as phone rental options for conference phones and even desks.
FluentStream is another cloud-based VoIP provider that offers a multi-faceted UCaaS platform and a good number of integrations. There's a decent list of features even for the basic plan ($20 per month), with increasing levels of service options up to contact center level. As expected, mobile use is treated as standard rather than an option, with apps available for Android and iOS.
DialPad is a business VoIP platform that powers voice, video, messages, and meetings, and is especially geared towards mobile use. That offers a huge potential benefit by reducing initial outlay costs for hardware if employees can simply use their existing phones or tablet devices. Different sizes of business are catered for, integrations are standard, and pricing varies between $20-$35 per user according to the number of advanced features required.
Skype is possibly an option easily overlooked, but had already established itself as a leading provider of VoIP even before it was purchased by Microsoft. Now it offers all the cloud and Office integrations you'd expect from the powerhouse parent company. So long as you're happy to keep your calls online and use mobile phones or tablets for calls and conferencing, this could be the cheapest option of all the ones listed here.