Better Known Does Not Make a Service a Great Alternative
It is days like today that make me question those in the media writing about IP communications. With Vonage’s prospects swirling down the drain, a couple of articles came out today about alternatives to Vonage which made me realize why “being big” and advertising is still important today. In both articles, although each article outlined a different market sector, they both took the easy road, offering well known solutions, rather than taking a deeper dive and offering up advice about possible alternatives to Vonage that might actually be the better service offerings than Vonage and their well known competitors.
Small Business Alternatives to Vonage
If you are currently using Vonage for your business, chances are you are a very small business, with 5 or less employees. That makes a hosted VoIP solution ideal for your needs. Here are three small business VoIP alternatives that you may have never heard of, that I feel offer the most features, functionality, and value for your small business dollar.
- Vocalocity – $39.99 – VocalocityPBX Unlimited Extension is the most popular extension service option for hosted PBX customers. It provides truly unlimited inbound/outbound calling in the US and Canada plus unlimited worldwide network calls with any VocalocityPBX subscriber. Budgeting for phone bills is simple and the only additional charges would be for our incredibly low international calling rates. An unlimited extension includes voicemail, a unique direct inbound dial (DID) telephone number and auto-attendant routing.
- Pandora Networks – $39.99 per month – Padora’s WorkSmart Office is a combination of Virtual PBX, Desktop Client, and Softphone or IP Phone, that features Smart Call Routing, a Private IM Network, Public IM Access, and Flat Rate Calling, in addition to desktop video and powerful collaboration tools such as Video Services, Web Co-browsing, Desktop Sharing, Group Collaboration, and Push-to-Talk.
- Junction Networks – $39.99 per month – Junction Networks Hosted PBX service features * No charge per user, seat or extension, no monthly commitments, free extension dialing, free on-network calls, ability use any SIP phones or software phones, users reachable via Internet SIP addresses (sip:firstname.lastname@example.org), and the service supports WiFi mobile cellular phones. Oh yeah, you also get PBX functions like extensions, voicemail, auto-attendant, dial-by-name, email notifications, click-to-call, find me / follow me, etc.
Not too shabby for three service you have probably never heard of right?
Residential Alternatives to Vonage
So we have taken care of the alternatives to Vonage for the small business, but what about your home? Well, you could always take my advice given in my top 10 VoIP Service providers post, but if your lazy (like me), I’ll just give you my top three recommendations, based on my own use of the service(s).
- VoIP.com – $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year – VoIP.comâ€™s unlimited plan allows for true unlimited monthly calling to the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Your VoIP adaptor is absolutely FREE. Call quality is superb and there was not a moment that their service had failed to connect or dropped a call. The sign-up process was easy, the installation process a breeze, and customer service (called to confirm order/shipping) was definitely friendly and informative.
- BroadVoice – $19.99 per month. Broadvoiceâ€™s $19.99 Unlimited World plan offers unlimited calling to the USA and 21 other countries. The pioneers of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), BroadVoice allows customers to choose between bringing their own SIP based device or from one of their three pre-programmed devices, allowing for hardware that meets a users specific needs. Call quality and service reliability is above average. Customer service and support is fast, knowledgeable, and of course friendly.
- ConnectHere – $6.99 per month, plus per minute charge. iConnectHere is the perfect service for those who are making calls internationally. iConnectHere is unique in that it bills per minute, so you only pay for the minutes you use. Upon sign-up, you get $30 of calling credit, and a free Linksys PAP2 telephone adaptor. Customer service and support was excellent.
So remember ladies and gentleman, just because you see the commercials, read about the company in the Wall Street Journal, and other publications, does not mean they are the best service on the market, or the best alternative to Vonage (or any other service you are currently using). Be careful with what you read – take it from someone who has used dozens of services…sometimes the best ones are the ones you never head of.