In the age of the landline, Vonage was pretty much a household name. But now that most of us are using our cell phones at home, the company has invested in its Business Cloud Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. And though you have to pay extra for basic features like video conferencing, chat and file sharing, pricing scales on the number of lines you'll be using, which should appeal to enterprises with legacy phone systems.
If you’re running a small business that only needs one to four lines, the price per month per user is going to be higher than if you’re at a business with 20 to 99 employees. Plus, unlike some of the other players in the VoIP market, Vonage Business Cloud requires no annual contract. The downside is that most competitors really can offer more for less money.
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Key features and pricing
For the most part, the functionality you get when you sign up for Vonage Business Cloud is par for the course. The difference between it and, say, RingCentral Office is that Vonage’s trio of subscription plans is that RingCentral gives you a lot more at the base level.
Assuming you want just one to four lines, the $19.99 (£16) Vonage Business Cloud Mobile plan is – in Vonage’s own words – great for “any team that doesn’t need desk phones.” It offers unlimited calling and texting, a desktop app, a mobile app and VonageFlow, which is apparently Vonage’s team messaging service. Sure.
The problem is you don’t get anything else - there's no auto-attendant or conferencing, and if the few features you do get with the Vonage Business Cloud Mobile plan are limited to PCs and smartphones, then RingCentral’s most affordable business option is clearly a better value. Even 8x8 Virtual Office Pro’s $25 (£19.26) per user per month X2 Edition plan is more compelling, despite being a little pricier, since it comes with a phone line with a unique number and extension, an auto attendant and internet fax.
Nevertheless, Vonage seemed to have set their sights on enterprises who are less concerned with cost and more interested in working with legacy PBX systems based on landlines than cloud services, and this is where pricing and features work in Voange's favor.
If you bump the number of lines up to 5 to 19 lines, the lowest price for the Vonage Business Cloud becomes a bit more digestible. It’s $17.99 (£14) per month per line. Otherwise, if you need between 20 and 99 lines, it’s going to cost you $14.99 (£12) per user per month. Anything more than that in terms of desired lines, and you’ll have to contact the Vonage Business Cloud sales team for pricing.
Next up is the Vonage Business Cloud package that businesses will more likely find attractive: the Premium Plan. At $29.99 (£25) for one to four lines, its pricing falls between RingCentral’s Standard and Premium subscription packages. Again, adding 5 to 19 lines brings the price down to $27.99 (£23) whereas 20 to 99 lines will result in a price drop down to $24.99 (£21). However, Vonage Business Cloud Premium’s functionality is frankly more limited than that of the $24.99 (£19) RingCentral Standard package.
While it does have a multi-level auto assistant, video conferencing, chat, file sharing and some integrations, Vonage Business Cloud Premium is missing internet fax and voicemail-to-email transcription forwarding. That said, CRM integrations don’t kick in with RingCentral (For Business) unless you’re subscribed to the $34.99 (£26.97) Premium plan, which costs more than Vonage Business Cloud’s Premium plan.
Speaking of which, the list of CRM integrations you’ll find with Vonage Business Cloud is extensive. The company says its business VoIP service integrates with Salesforce, G Suite, Office 365, Clio, Bullhorn, ConnectWise, JobDiva, Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, and Zoho. RingCentral (For Business) integrates with Salesforce.com, ZenDesk and Desk.com. 8x8 Virtual Office Pro integrates with Salesforce, ZenDesk and Netsuite.
Lastly, Vonage Business Cloud, like other VoIP services, has a top-end plan that only certain companies will find appealing. At $39.99 (£32) per user per month with one to four lines, Vonage Business Cloud Advanced is somewhat more enticing if you want 5 to 19 lines for $37.99 (£30) or 20 to 99 lines for $34.99 (£28). It comes with 15 hours of on-demand call recording, call group and visual voicemail. Oh, and Vonage will set it up for you.
Compared to other cloud-based VoIP services Vonage Business Cloud seems to under-deliver on a number of fronts. When compared to competitors it's difficult to see what could really appeal for small businesses. Where Vonage seems to be targeting this service is at enterprises who would like to touch on cloud services while still being reliant on landlines. In that regard Vonage can deliver but chances are competitors can deliver more.
Despite the negatives, Vonage does offer a lot of features and can obviously cater for its target market. But, if you're a new or small business, and you're looking to fully embrace digital transformation when it comes to cloud-based phone systems, you're probably better off looking to more innovative competitors such as RingCentral, Dialpad, or Jive.