Finding the Best Low Cost VoIP Provider
Finding the best low cost VoIP provider doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing important features: today’s VoIP industry is highly competitive. And that means there are plenty of cheap providers offering feature-rich plans that perfectly suit the needs of your business.
Ready to discover the best low cost VoIP provider? Let’s get started.
How to Choose the Best Low Cost Provider and Avoid “Cheap” Companies
There’s a reason you’re looking at “low cost” VoIP providers and not “cheap” providers: you want the features of a more expensive VoIP plan, but you want the cost savings of a cheap provider.
All low cost providers come with some sacrifices. The trick is to sacrifice features you never needed in the first place. Below, you’ll find some of the features you can miss out on if you want to save money with a low cost VoIP provider.
Features You Might Miss Out On When Choosing a Cheap VoIP Provider
- Call routing
- Call recording
- Limited number of group call participants
- Voicemail transcription
- Software or hardware phone support
- SMS messaging
- E911 service
- SIP phone support
Of course, that being said, if you carefully choose between the providers listed below, you can find cheap VoIP plans that have every single one of the features listed above. Keep reading to find out our specific recommendations.
The Best Low Cost VoIP Providers
Ready to start shopping around for the best low cost VoIP providers for your company? Here are a few services that can help you get started.
RingCentral is consistently at the top of the list when it comes to low cost VoIP providers. Sure, it’s not as cheap as the other options on this list, and there isn’t a free option. However, RingCentral’s business plans provide some of the best value in the industry in terms of features and services.
The $19.99 RingCentral Office plan, for example, includes plenty of features that other providers expect you to pay for. Those features include things like call transfer, call screening, call parking, logs, online faxing, apps, and much more.
RingCentral is also fully compatible with basically every productivity program in the world today, including Microsoft Office, Outlook, Google’s services, DropBox, OneDrive, you name it.
If you’re willing to pay a little more than $19.99 per month, then you can enjoy features like multilevel attendant functionality and automatic call recording – things you can find in premium PBX systems.
One of the most overlooked parts of RingCentral is its setup process. RingCentral will send you SIP business phones preconfigured to work with your company’s account. From there, hooking up to RingCentral is as easy as plugging in.
Ooma’s Telo service is popular among average consumers, while the Ooma Office service is a great choice for businesses.
Both Ooma services offer easy setup and very clear call quality. Ooma has the unique distinction of working using a base station instead of a subscription-based system. The Ooma Telo, for example, is priced at around $130 per month (you can often find it on sale for around $80). Once you’ve purchased that device, you get clear, reliable, unlimited calling within the United States. You just connect your traditional phones to the hub and you’re good to go.
Where Ooma makes its money (aside from device sales) is its extra features, available on a $9.99 per month Premier service. That service includes features like anonymous call blocking, voicemail alerts to email, call monitoring, and three-way conferencing, then you’ll need to subscribe to the Premier plan.
The Ooma Telo is also a popular VoIP device because the hub itself is a speaker, which means you can listen to voicemail and pick up a call when someone is leaving you a message – just like you could in the good old days!
Skype is probably the best-known VoIP service on this list. It has an app or software program on every platform you could think of, and it’s used by nearly a billion people around the world.
Microsoft has consistently beefed up Skype’s features over the years to make it a genuinely attractive option for all types of users – including business users.
The main advantage of Skype is that it’s free. That free service provides some of the best VoIP functionality you could find without paying a dime. Yes, in recent years, Skype has started introducing ads. But that’s the cost of free on the internet these days. That free service includes video and audio calling at excellent call qualities.
If you want more from Skype, then you’ll need to pay a small amount. A $2.95 per month subscription on Skype gets you unlimited calling to the United States and Canada. If you want an inbound phone number where people can reach you, then that’s priced at $60 per year.
Ultimately, Skype is one of those services that’s as useful as you want it to be. If you need a feature-rich VoIP experience, then you can pay a small amount for it. If you don’t need extra features, then the free Skype service will probably work perfectly fine.
Skype for Business
We talked about Skype’s premium features above, but there’s also a whole platform called Skype for Business that provides extensive business functionality beyond inbound phone numbers and unlimited calling.
Skype for Business differs from most other VoIP providers here in one crucial way: it doesn’t use any external hardware. Everything is accessible over the same Skype app and software.
Ultimately, with Skype for Business, you can call standard landlines and cellphones worldwide. You can send text messages anywhere. Conduct group HD videoconferences. Share desktops. Use virtual whiteboards together.
Where Skype for Business falls short is in its virtual PBX-like offerings. If you need features like an auto-attendant and call hunting (which transfers calls around your business if multiple people don’t pick up), then you’re better off working with a service like RingCentral.
Vonage offers both consumer and business plans (we’ll talk about Vonage Business in the next section).
Vonage’s base plan is available at $9.99 per month. That plan provides unlimited calling to landlines and mobile devices in the United States and Canada. But there’s one big (and kind of sleazy) catch to this plan: after the first year, that price rises to $25.99 per month.
Fortunately, the Vonage plan does include telephone number switching (so you don’t have to switch your old number) as well as a hardware adapter sent to your location.
Where Vonage lacks some power is in its text and video capabilities. Namely, there aren’t any. However, you do get excellent call quality (especially for a cheap VoIP provider), a simple setup process, and enhanced 911 support.
Vonage’s basic plans we talked about above will fall short for most businesses (aside from one-man operations and self-employed individuals).
If you need more wide-ranging options for your business, then Vonage Business might be the best choice. Vonage Business feels like a completely different service from the traditional Vonage plan. That’s because it kind of is: Vonage started offering Vonage Business after it acquired competitor Vocalocity back in 2013.
With Vonage business, you get good voice quality, mobile and desktop calling apps, and a full set of business features. One of the most helpful features is the Call Groups feature, which is just Vonage’s name for call hunt (where an incoming call gets bumped around to different employees until it gets answered, if nobody picks up).
The main downside to Vonage Business is that it’s actually the most expensive one on our list aside from Jive: Vonage Business is priced at $39.99 per line per month on the cheapest plan, and many businesses will need to pay to add certain features to that plan to suit their needs.
Jive Hosted VoIP
Jive Hosted VoIP has plans starting at $29.95 per user per month. These plans are easy to setup and manage. Despite the relatively low price, the plans offer enterprise-grade PBX features – including all the ones you would expect as well as several surprising additions like conference numbers and virtual fax services.
Nevertheless, Jive has some major problems: like dated UIs across its system and a pricing model that is regularly undercut by its competitors. For example, the $29.95 per user per month plan is virtually identical to the $19.99 plan at RingCentral – although the RingCentral plan has several additional features.
There are actually multiple pricing tiers at Jive. Once you get up to more than 50 users (“Tier 5”), you get to pay $19.95 per user per month.
All Jive plans also come with unlimited calling minutes, local and toll-free numbers, and online faxing.
The setup process with Jive is also very quick. Jive will walk you through the process in a closer way than most companies, helping you transfer existing phone numbers, request toll-free numbers, or request individual numbers for each user.
Ready to Choose?
Most of the providers listed above are generous with free trials: they’ll let you use the service for free for, say, 30 days and then decide whether or not you want to continue with your subscription. Take advantage of these free trials when you’re shopping around for the best low cost VoIP providers.
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