Small business VoIP phone services replace your local phone company’s landline service and add a wide range of standard calling features to your office’s physical phones, such as call transfer, call queueing, extensions, directories, third-party app integrations, and more. RingCentral is one of the leading small business VoIP providers. They’re also significantly more expensive than comparatively featured products from their competitors. In this article, we will review and recommend the best Ringcentral alternative that offers more economical pricing and comparable features to RingCentral’s small business VoIP phone service.
Best RingCentral Alternative for Small Businesses in 2017: Nextiva
We recommend Nextiva as the best RingCentral alternative because it delivers the right balance between its standard features, customer support, and price. In fact, we feel so strongly about this recommendation that we use Nextiva in our own office.
RingCentral Alternative Comparison Table: Nextiva vs Vonage vs 8×8
|Best For||Small businesses who want the best balance between standard features, customer support, and price.||Distributed teams who may benefit from Vonage’s integration with Amazon Chime to better collaborate online.||Small businesses who use a lot of long distance minutes in a month to those countries included in 8x8's top two pricing tier packages.|
|Ease of Setup and Use|
|iOS and Android||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|
|Industry-leading multi-tiered support, available 24/7, with single point of contact by phone or online||Online knowledge base with phone-based support available Monday-Friday from 8am to 11pm EST and 24/7 emergency on-call support||Online knowledge base, user guides, setup guides, online chat, and phone-based support as well as an online Q&A with other 8x8-selected power users|
|Pricing||No activation fee|
|No activation fee|
|$39.99 activation fee
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||No||30 days|
Best RingCentral Alternative for Small Businesses: Nextiva
We recommend Nextiva as the best alternative to RingCentral’s VoIP phone service for small businesses because they offer the best balance between their list of standard features, industry-leading customer support, and price.
Nextiva delivers most of the standard features you would expect from a VoIP phone service provider that will help your business day-to-day, including:
- Web-based system administration
- Call forwarding
- Conference bridge
- Voicemail to email (audio file)
- Voicemail transcription
- Direct phone numbers for each extension (DID)
But what truly sets Nextiva apart from RingCentral, 8×8, and Vonage is the level of customer support that they offer.
When you first sign up for the service, Nextiva’s award winning team assigns your small business a US-based account representative to assist you through the process of setting it up and ensuring that you’re making the best use of its available features.
Then should you encounter any issues while you’re using the service, 95% of their incoming sales and support calls are answered by the second ring with the goal of answering any question or resolving any issue within your first contact with them. RingCentral, 8×8, and Vonage all offer a variety of customer support resources, but they fall short of Nextiva’s industry-leading commitment and delivery.
Finally, Nextiva’s pricing model is in line with both 8×8’s and Vonage’s, give or take a few dollars depending on your specific needs, so there was no clear lower-cost option. However, all three providers are significantly cheaper than RingCentral.
Best RingCentral Alternative for Online Collaboration: Vonage
Vonage’s partnership with Amazon Chime integrates the online communication and collaboration tool with Vonage’s VoIP phone service. Chime’s online meetings, video conferencing, online chat, and file sharing capabilities help to enhance Vonage’s phone service to be a more complete end-to-end business solution.
RingCentral includes some online collaboration features, but none with the seamless comprehensiveness — or the power of Amazon behind them.
Neither Nextiva nor 8×8 offer a comparable integration.
Businesses who are hesitant to commit to RingCentral’s high prices should consider Vonage’s lower-tier per extension and per minute pricing model. Nextiva, 8×8, and Vonage are all more cost effective services than RingCentral overall, but this option could make Vonage the cheapest of the four depending on your usage. Some additional features can be added on an more à la carte basis, or businesses can move to higher pricing tiers to include international calling.
8×8 offers similar pricing options, but Vonage gives businesses more flexibility and control over their costs. However, this same flexibility can cause monthly fees to add up quickly as some features that many businesses would want, such as conference bridges and call recording, cost extra. As well, the lack of 24/7 customer support (except for critical network issues) means that 8×8 falls short of Nextiva.
Best RingCentral Alternative for International Calling: 8×8
If your small business conducts a lot of its business outside of the US, then 8×8’s top two pricing tier packages may work out to be a more economical option for you in the long run. Their Unlimited and Global plans include international calls to either nine top destinations or 40, respectively.
For international calls outside of the included destinations, 8×8’s rates start at $0.034/minute, which is in between Nextiva’s at $0.05/minute and Vonage’s at $0.01/minute. RingCentral’s international rates are similar to 8×8’s, starting at $0.039/minute, but with no unlimited option.
8×8 is also compliant with HIPAA, PCI, and FISMA, making it suitable for industries where the collection and storage of sensitive data are required.
However, for the more typical users, other costs for features that other providers include standard, such as call queuing and toll-free numbers, cost extra with 8×8 and this can quickly cause costs to increase. As well, the lack of 24/7 customer support means that 8×8 falls short of Nextiva.
In-Depth Review: Nextiva vs Vonage vs 8×8
Ease of Setup/Use
The learning curve of any new tool can be the most significant barrier to its adoption. The easier your VoIP phone system is to use, the more likely it is that your staff will be able to take full advantage of its features, maximize your investment, and increase their productivity.
Once your phones are connected to your network, the rest of the system is setup via a web-based administration tool and small business owners can access it remotely to make any changes to their staff’s systems on the fly. It’s through this tool that you will assign extensions to your employees, create ring groups, choose a greeting or record your own, and configure any other features for your business.
Once your employees have been assigned their own extensions and granted access to the system, they can use the same tool for their personal use like voicemail or softphone features.
Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8 each offer individual assistance and resources to help with the process of setting up your new VoIP system.
Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8 all offer many of the same standard call management features that will help the day-to-day operations of your small business, as well as help it to present a professional face to your customers. Many of these features used to only be available to businesses who invested in an enterprise-level PBX system, but the advancements of VoIP technology have made them more accessible to smaller businesses.
Some of these standard features include:
- Web-based system administration
- Hold music
- Call forwarding
- Conference bridge
- Caller ID
- Call blocking
- Call waiting
- Call transfer
- Ring groups
- Share one line on multiple phones or devices
- Voicemail to email (audio file)
RingCentral also includes most of these standard features in their service, but at a higher cost than Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8.
However, Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8 each include a few features that differentiate their services from the others. We’ll look at them in more detail below.
Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8 all offer mobile apps for your iOS or Android device that lets your users bring their office phone with them on the go. Basic functions that should all come standard with any VoIP phone service’s mobile app include:
- Make calls from your business line (using either your mobile carrier’s voice or data plan)
- Send texts
- Chat with other users using instant messaging
- Check voicemails
- Access call management features like setting up call forwarding rules
Nextiva’s app goes one step further by giving system administrators access to perform basic functions like assigning extensions to new users.
RingCentral, Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8 offer various levels of customer support. Each service offers some form of an online knowledge base for more self-sufficient users as well as multiple channels to connect with them through for issues that require more individual attention.
Other RingCentral Alternatives
There are many other VoIP phone service provider options on the market that may be a better fit for your business’ needs. Here are some of the others that we liked and what makes them unique:
|Provider Name||Best For|
|Nextiva||Combination of features, customer service, and value|
|Vonage||Partnership with Amazon Chime|
|8x8||International calling to many countries is higher-tier packages|
|Jive PBX||Highly rated customer support, an easy-to-use user interface, and enhanced analytics|
|Dialpad||Competitively priced and also available for use on hardware phones|
|Fonality||One-on-one assisted setup and hardware phones are included|
The Bottom Line
RingCentral’s VoIP phone service for small businesses is an industry leader, but there are many alternative service providers that offer comparable features for a more economical price. We would recommend all of Nextiva, Vonage, and 8×8 over RingCentral — and between the three, we recommend Nextiva overall.
Nextiva delivers a comprehensive set of features, one of the best customer support experiences in the industry, and at a price that’s both comparable to 8×8 and Vonage and significantly less than RingCentral.