Grasshopper Vs Virtual PBX – in-Depth Comparison

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Grasshopper and Virtual PBX are two very popular and well established virtual telephone services that share a common business model and market focus. Both these companies are targeting the entrepreneur, home business and small medium business (SMB) market sector. However, there is a fundamental difference with regards their respective technical platforms.

grasshopper-vs-virtualpbx

Before we look at both of these vendors’ platforms, we have to realize that the criteria we are judging here is reliability, capacity and availability. For a business telephone system, these are critical performance indicators when judging a virtual telephone service.

 

Grasshopper

grasshopper_logo_lightThe Grasshopper technology is built upon an overlay of the traditional PSTN network and utilizes the existing carrier class network infrastructure – it is not VoIP so does not suffer from bandwidth and quality issues – and is therefore as good as your fixed line operator’s or mobile phone’s network. This is a major selling point as it means Grasshopper has the inbuilt reliability and quality of service provided by the PSTN telephone network, therefore is not at the mercy of the Internet at its unpredictable nature. However, that reliability and quality comes at a cost because it means Grasshopper does not have an abundance of IP PBX features – it has the standard telephone feature set.

 

Virtual PBX

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Virtual PBX also has a virtual telephone service, called Dash, which like Grasshopper is targeted at the entrepreneur of business on the go. Dash though is fundamentally different from Grasshopper in so much as it is a true IP enabled telephone service Therefore Dash can provide its customers with many VoIP services, features and functions not available to the Grasshopper client. However, that is also a double edge sword as Dash being VoIP consequently has many of the issues associated with internet telephony. Such as it does require a high bandwidth and a reliable internet broadband connection, as this will directly affect the availability, capacity and quality of the calls. However, if you are a business where staff work predominantly from their home’s landline or have mobile workers using cell phones as their primary telephone device then Virtual PBX’s Dash service can operate similarly to Grasshopper and redirect calls over the PSTN network to the real telephone devices. Of course if that should occur you will lose many of the benefits of VoIP.

Virtual PBX can be used reliably with high quality internet or over the PSTN as a feature rich phone system for home or office use. VirtualPBX can also be used on computers, smartphones and PC/tabled based soft phones but it costs extra as each device requires a metered pay as you go line. Grasshopper in contrast has a free mobile app but no softphone application for a computer or tablet as it isn’t a VoIP service. However Virtual PBX has a path for growth from its virtual phone service Dash to its hosted IP/PBX service and this reflect the scalability Virtual PBX offers that Grasshopper cannot match.

 

Virtual PBX on the other hand has two services Office and Dash. However, as Dash is the directly comparable service to Grasshopper we will use it for comparison.

 

Price Plans

Grasshopper despite being a basic service has a wide scope of available plans to match business requirements. At the time of writing (Jan 2015) Grasshopper’s plans are:

  • Pay As You Grow – $12/month (no free minutes, calls charged at 6C per minute)
  • Ramp – $24/month (500 minutes)
  • Grow – $49/month (2,000 minutes)
  • Max – $199/month (10,000 minutes)

All these plans come with free activation and a 30-day money back guarantee. There are additional charges at the time of activation due to taxes ($5.75) and an additional $1.75 monthly upkeep fee.

plans

Virtual PBX Dash

  • Basic – $10.99 per user/month with 1,000 Shared Continental U.S./ Canada & Toll-Free Minutes, with 2 Local or Toll-Free Phone Numbers Included and addition call minutes charged at 4.9C
  • Pro – $21.99 per user/month with 2,500 Shared Continental U.S./ Canada & Toll-Free Minutes with 2 Local or Toll-Free Phone Numbers Included addition minutes charged at 4.4C
  • Unlimited – $27.99 per user month with unlimited free calls Continental U.S./
    Canada & 1000 Toll-Free Minutes 3 local or toll free numbers, there are also 500 conference call minutes, addition minutes charged at 3.9C

All prices below reflect advanced annual payment option for 2-99 users

 

All options come with the first local or toll free number included in the price and no activation charges. There is in addition a 30-day free trial with an included 50 free minutes. The first metered VoIP device such as a smartphone app or softphone is included for each user BUT Additional metered VoIP devices are $9.99/month,

Interestingly, Virtual PBX has no additional monthly fees or one of taxes at time of activation. In addition, overuse fees are 0.6C for Grasshopper and 0.49C for Virtual PBX

Key Features

Virtual PBX Dash has comparable features and functionality to Grasshopper but there is an upgrade path to an IP/PBX service available. Grasshopper has a much more simplified platform that relies on traditional PSTN functions such as call transfer and redirect, amongst others. In this article, we will just compare what basic features they each support and where they differ. If you want to read up on all the features supported by both vendors please check out the links below.

https://www.virtualhostedpbx.net/virtualpbx-voip-service-provider-full-review/

https://www.virtualhostedpbx.net/grasshopper-full-review/

 

Local/Toll free numbers

Grasshopper and Virtual PBX work in much the same way as far as each service provides the customer with a local, toll free or vanity number to use as their incoming business number. There is no longer a difference here as Virtual PBX supplies only one local or toll free number included whereas Grasshopper also supplies only a single local, vanity or toll free number. VirtualPBX does however supply International numbers should you require one at extra charge, whereas Grasshopper has no international numbers available.

 

Auto attendant

Both vendors solution depend on an auto attendant answering the incoming calls and providing the caller with a choice of options much like the IVR options provided by large companies to aid the caller to navigate to the correct person or department. The auto-attendant can then automatically redirect the caller to the pre-configured extension, such as a landline number, mobile or desk phone by using call transfer. The call transfer is done transparently to the caller as they only hear music whilst on hold.

 

Unlimited Extensions

The interesting thing about both vendors’ products is that they support unlimited extensions, which allows the business to grow and scale. Similarly, they both share the ability to attach several real phones per extension and use find me/follow me techniques to find the called party. Both vendors support simultaneous ring, or using a configured list of prioritization, or just plain old round robin where it rings each phone in order for a configurable length of time.

 

Voicemail

If none of the configured phones on the list answers then the call will be passed to voice mail. The options for retrieving voice mail are through a web portal or pre-assigned extension number/password or by having the voicemail sent to email. Grasshopper also supports transcribing the email to text as does Virtual PBX but it is at an extra cost.

 

Fax

Incoming and outgoing Fax is a troublesome business with all virtual telephone services. Grasshopper can handle incoming fax very easily but does not handle outgoing fax very well as Grasshopper is predominantly an incoming call service, so it does not supply a dial tone. There are ways to make out-going calls using the business number, as the caller ID for example by going through the voicemail portal but that isn’t really practical.

VirtualPBX’s Dash on the other hand being an IP service cannot handle incoming fax and outbound faxes need to be sent via email.

 

 

Soft Phone and Mobile apps

Virtual PBX supplies a free Softphone for using on a PC on a metered line BUT Additional metered VoIP devices are $9.99/month for a computer, smartphone or tablet whereas Grasshopper has only a mobile app, which is used to check incoming calls, for example to accept or to send to voicemail. The Grasshopper application is also utilized when making outgoing calls using the business number.

 

Bottom line

grasshopper-virtual-pbxVirtual PBX and Grasshopper are excellent virtual telephone systems targeting the small office home office (SoHo), mobile workforce and SMB. Grasshopper is characterized by its reliability, voice quality and ease of use. Grasshopper makes it simple to present a big company image whilst at the same time operating from mobile phones. It is cheap and easy to scale as the company grows though it is predominantly marketed as a virtual phone system for use on mobile phones it can be used in SoHo environments though its lack of out-going call handling functions pretty much restricts its growth to small company deployments. However, Grasshopper serves its target customer base very well as not every business needs features beyond the basics, call answering, call redirect, find me/follow me, voicemail to email, call conferencing and basic call queuing. Restricting the feature set makes Grasshopper intuitive and easy to use.

Virtual PBX on the other hand has all the attributes of Grasshopper when used on real phones using PSTN call redirect and forwarding but has the potential to scale to VoIP IP/PBX implementations in SMB and larger companies. Virtual PBX can scale to support large offices with small call center capabilities as it can handle and intelligently queue and route inbound calls, which is well beyond the capabilities of Grasshopper.

 

Company Website Full Review Coupons
grasshopper_logo_light visit_site_big Limited offer: $75 off coupon.Click here to redeem!
logo visit_site Click to get VirtualPBX Office plan with a 10% OFF!
Company Website Coupons
grasshopper_logo_light visit_site_big
Limited offer: $75 off coupon.Click here to redeem!
logo visit_site
Click to get VirtualPBX Office plan with a 10% OFF!

Alasdair Gilchrist

Alasdair is a technical writer with interest in business practice, operational strategy, start up philosophy and affordable technology. He lives in Nonthaburi, Thailand with his wife and daughter, and writes terrible novels as a hobby.

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