Phone.com Vs Vonage – in-Depth Comparison

Company Information

Vonage Business Cloud

 Vonage is a pioneer in VoIP as well as residential and small business virtual telephone services. It began over two decades ago back in 2001 in New Jersey USA as a supplier of residential telephone services.  In subsequent years it spread its operations to Canada and then to the UK. However lately due to acquisitions Vonage has shifted its focus to virtual cloud-based PBX systems for small, medium and large companies.  As a result of this has emerged the Vonage Business Cloud, which targets small medium businesses, while a larger sibling Vonage Enterprise focuses on large and enterprise organizations.

A primary difference between Vonage Business Cloud and Vonage Enterprise is that the former is delivered across public high speed internet connections. The latter, Vonage Enterprise on the other hand, is delivered across a private MLPS network, which provides additional redundancy, security and reliability. Of course most small medium businesses do not need that level of availability and reliability but they do need many of the same advanced features for omnichannel support that delivers upon a unified communications platform.

In the past decade Vonage has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a provider of bulk minutes to the residential market. Today, in 2020, it is a provider of a unified communication platform that brings multi-channel and unified communications as well as collaboration and productivity tools to small and medium businesses. Hence, no matter how small or large your business Vonage has a solution to suit your unified communication requirements.

Phone.com

Phone.com was founded in 2007 as a virtual telephone service for entrepreneurs and small companies. Their virtual phone service was designed from the beginning to be built on VoIP in order to deliver a complete virtual telephone service that could provide small businesses with access to an online enterprise-grade unified communication system at affordable small business prices.

Phone.com markets its product as being, “the modern, work-from-anywhere solution for today’s agile, mobile, and always-on entrepreneurs and growing businesses.”

To that end Phone.com has built a cloud based virtual phone system that sits upon a flexible and robust business-communications platform that is accessible from anywhere there is an internet connection and that is designed to grow alongside of your business. By utilizing their in-house VoIP experience Phone.com has designed a virtual phone system that boasts over 40 valuable VoIP features and with price and service plans to suit the needs of all sorts of small businesses. Phone.com seamlessly connects all of your communication devices via a cloud-based virtual PBX platform to deliver a unified phone presence wherever your company or your employees are located.

Comparing RingCentral vs. Phone.com

When it comes to comparing vendors’ products in the virtual telephone systems marketplace it is essential to make sure that we are comparing comparable systems. What this means is that we must select and compare service and price plans aimed at the same market sector, such as for small office-home office (SoHo) or small medium businesses (SMB), or small to medium enterprises (SME).

As a result we have chosen to compare Vonage’s  basic service plans against Phone.com’s basic small business plans. What we do need to bear in mind is that this is a like for like comparison as both Vonage Business Cloud and Phone.com are targeting the entrepreneur and small business market sector.

Pricing Models

Phone.com

Phone.com has three basic small business plans as well as an enterprise plan, which we will only touch briefly upon here as a possible upgrade path. Instead we will concentrate on a like for like comparison with Grasshopper’s Solo, Partner and Small Business service plans.

The service plans that Phone.com uses to target the same entrepreneur and small business market-segment as Grasshopper come in two distinct offerings – 1) a pay per minute set of plans and 2 an unlimited minutes set of plans. Regardless of whether the plans are pay for minute or unlimited the feature sets are the same.

 Pay Per Minute

  • Base plan – $12.99 per user per month ($9.99 if paid annually in advance),
  • 300 Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 1 Local or Toll-Free Number
  • 5,000 SMS Messages4
  • 40+ Standard Features including Call Queuing, Voicemail to Email,
  • Plus Plan – $19.99 per user per month
  • 500 Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 2 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 10,000 SMS Messages
  • Everything in Base Plan plus Automated Voicemail to Text and Premium Hold Music,
  • Pro Plan – $29.99 per user per month.
  • 1,000 Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 3 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 20,000 SMS Messages
  • Everything in Plus Plan plus Call Analytics, 300 call recording minutes, HD Video Conferencing,

Unlimited Minutes

  • Base plan – $29.99 per user per month ($9.99 if paid annually in advance),
  • Unlimited Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 1 Local or Toll-Free Number
  • 5,000 SMS Messages4
  • 300 Bonus Included Minutes
  • 40+ Standard Features including Call Queuing, Voicemail to Email,
  • Call Forwarding
  • Plus Plan – $37.99 per user per month
  • Unlimited Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 2 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 10,000 SMS Messages4
  • 500 Bonus Included Minutes
  • Everything in Base Plan
  • Premium Hold Music
  • Pro Plan – $59.99 per user per month.
  • Unlimited Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 3 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 20,000 SMS Messages4
  • 1,000 Bonus Included Minutes
  • Everything in Plus Plan
  • Call Analytics & HD Video Conferencing

Vonage

Vonage is a cloud-hosted system that is bill monthly on a per-user basis. The service is focused primarily on small businesses but is still affordable for the entrepreneurs or SoHo businesses that want a feature rich phone service.

 Vonage Business Cloud has three basic small business plans, Mobile, Premium, and Advanced, which we can use as a like-for- like comparison with Grasshopper’s Solo, Partner and Small Business service plans.

Vonage Business Cloud

Vonage is a cloud-hosted system that charges a monthly per-user fee so plan prices depend on the number of users. Vonage Business Cloud and is available in three service plans that target growing small businesses and all plans include the 40 standard features, unlimited calling and text messaging, as well as a free to download mobile and desktop app. Here’s how the plans differ:

  • The Mobile plan is $19.99 per user per month for 1-4 users, $17.99 for 5-19 users, and $14.99 for 20-99 users.
  • The Premium plan starts at $29.99 for 1-4 users, $27.99 for 5-19 users, and $24.99 for 20-99 users.
  • The Advanced plan starts at $39.99 for 1-4 users, $37.99 for 5-19 users, and $34.99 for 20-99 users.

Prices for companies with more than 100 users should look to the Vonage Enterprise service plans.

Phone.com Features

Phone.com’s three basic service plans all come with 40+ inbuilt VoIP features in addition to all the unlimited or free minutes for each plan. What is noticeable is that even though Phone.com is targeting the same market sector for virtual phone systems they have added considerably more features to their service plans.

All of the three service plans share over 40+ VoIP voice orientated features such as:

Nonetheless, some advanced features are available in only some of the more expensive plans. For example although voicemail-to-text is available in the basic plan, automated voicemail-to-text is available in the Plus and Pro service Plans. Similarly, HD video conferencing is only available with the Pro Plan. However we should realize that these features are not available as standard with any of the Grasshopper plans. Indeed to get HD conferencing or indeed any video functionality with Grasshopper you would need to subscribe to Join.me.

As can be seen you get a lot of features as standard with Phone.com. Indeed these features cover not just basic voice calls – call transfer, call forwarding, call screening, but also contact center functionality such as queues, call notification and location based routing. Moreover, there are also collaboration and productivity tools that come as standard such as HD Video or HD audio conferencing, and voicemail-to-email.

Phone.com comes with an impressive array of features made more impressive as it is targeting the small business market sector. This makes Phone.com extremely competitive as it comprehensively out guns its rivals, in this case Grasshopper.

Vonage Features

Vonage has over 50 build-in VoIP features that cover just about everything you could need in a unified communications platform for small businesses. The entry level Mobile service plan is aimed at the small business, that typically does not have an office or the need for desk phones and that is looking for a cost effective virtual PBX service that will run effectively on smartphones or mobile devices. The Mobile service plan comes with the standard 50+ VoIP features as standard, such as:

  • Mobility and omnichannel: Mobile app, Follow Me, Call Forwarding, Paperless Fax, Business SMS, voicemail to email, Vonage visual voicemail as well as many devices on an extension
  • Collaboration and Productivity: Call Conferencing Bridge, Call Monitoring, Call Announce, Call Groups, Team Meetings and Team Messaging
  • Customer and employee experience: Call recording on-demand, Call screening, Call queues, Do Not Disturb, Call Continuity, Call Park and Spam shield
  • Flexibility: Set Caller ID, Call Block, Smart Numbers, Local or geographic numbers, and an App center

The aim of Vonage Business Communications is to provide an advanced UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)  platform for communication across many diverse channels, such as voice, video, SMS text messaging, chat and email to aid collaboration and boost productivity.

As a result of the desire to deliver unified communications to even small businesses the Mobile plan provides integrated calling and messaging via SMS using the virtual business number as the caller ID. However it does not support all those goals as it lacks several of its larger siblings’ features. The VoIP feature set is still very good for a SoHo or small business but it does lack some features such as voicemail to email and business application integration.

The Premium service  plans prices (per user per month) start at $29.99 for 1-4 users, $27.99 for 5-19 users, and $24.99 for 20-99 users.

The Premium service plan comes with all the features in the Mobile plan but with some notable extras, such as:

  • Video conferencing, chat & file sharing for up to 100 people
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • CRM integrations

 The Advanced service  plan prices (per user per month) start at $39.99 for 1-4 users, $37.99 for 5-19 users, and $34.99 for 20-99 users.

The Advanced plan includes everything in the Premium and Mobile plans but it also has some extra specialist features such as call recording on-demand (15 hours per month), call groups, as well as visual voicemail.

Additional/Supplementary Apps

Not all the features in Vonage are available through the standard service plans as some are bundled together in a supplemental offering called VonageFlow. Just like Grasshopper Connect, VonageFlow is a supplementary collaboration tools offered to all users and it provides group chat, video calls, and file and media sharing. The way it works is that SMS and social media messages to be routed directly into a team messaging location. This means that when customers make contact with an issue via SMS or Social Messaging, all team members associated with that extension or business inbox would receive the message in real-time, regardless of their current location.

In a similar way to Grasshopper’s partnership with Join.me, Vonage has also integrated with third parties to deliver enhanced features. In this regard Vonage teams up with Amazon Chime, which allows video conferencing for up to 100 people but the subscription is billed at an extra cost.

Mobile & Desktop Apps

Phone.com

The Phone.com mobile app delivers a fully functional Phone.com extension to your smartphone. The free to download app supports both Android and iOS and there is also a desktop application – called communicator – available for Windows and Apple PCs. This is a fully functional extension that can be run on any windows or Mac devices however there is an additional monthly charge of $4.99 per month per softphone extension.

Using the Phone.com mobile app allows you to make outbound calls through Phone.com using your business number as the caller ID. You can choose to use either your mobile phone’s network connection or either a Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection for VoIP. When you are using the mobile app you can also access your Phone.com address book, contacts, call logs, Inbox, conference calling and SMS functions.

Setting up the mobile app to receive and send calls using VoIP is easy and you can also navigate to m.phone.com using your mobile browser to access many of the other Phone.com features that are available on standard extensions. However, if you want to convert an existing extension to a mobile extension you will need to go through customer support.

Vonage

Just like many other virtual phone systems Vonage supports a mobile app and desktop softphone. The concept is the same in that you create a Vonage extension and then link the virtual business phone number to your mobile device. This is all managed  through the Vonage Business Communications Mobile App. Once the Mobile App is linked to a Vonage extension, your mobile phone then becomes a fully-functional extension which can not only make and receive business calls but can also utilize all of the Vonage features such as making video calls or integrating with business applications such as CRM when you are away from the office.

Types of Numbers Available

An important consideration when choosing a virtual telephone service is whether the vendor can supply the type of business number that you need. There are several types of virtual telephone numbers available;

  • Local Number that matches your location or desired location or virtual business presence.
  • Toll-Free Numbers
  • Vanity Numbers
  • International Numbers
  • Existing Business Number

Almost all virtual telephone service vendors will support these types of numbers the difference is whether they charge for them or not.

Vonage

Vonage lets you choose from local and toll-free numbers. In addition you can port over your existing business number to Vonage. You can also transfer local voice and fax, toll-free voice and fax, and even wireless numbers.

Local Number – $9.991

Toll Free Number – $39.99

International Local Numbers – $39.99

Local or Geographic Number – $9.99

Paperless Fax Number $14.99

Toll Free Fax Number $19.99

Phone.com

Phone.com supports Local, Toll-Free, Vanity numbers as well as allowing you to port over an existing business number. There are also custom local numbers that you can choose to deploy to raise your businesses profile and gain an advantage over your competitors. Custom local numbers look like this; (212) 888-TECH.  Custom Phone Numbers can be purchased on a one-time fee starting at $100 but raising to thousands for rare numbers this is in addition to Phone.com’s standard monthly number fee ($4.99).

With regards vanity numbers Phone.com offers businesses two types:

  • Vanity Local: These numbers use local area codes and the customer calling the number will pay for the call minutes.
  • Vanity Toll-free: These numbers use toll-free prefixes like 800 or 888, and customers calling these numbers are not charged.

Support

An important factor when comparing vendor virtual telephone solutions is Customer Service. Each vendor approaches this area differently with some more focused on online material such as FAQ, Podcasts, and Blogs as well as website training videos. Whereas others aim for the personal contact via telephone, email or web forms. Whichever channel you prefer should be available to you from the vendor.

Another important factor is where the Support service is based. Generally a few years ago vendors took advantage of offshoring contact centers to Asia and other places to take advantage of lower costs. Unfortunately this often backfired resulting in poor customer experience and so recently there has been a shift back to on shoring Contact Centers in the USA.

Vonage

Vonage support is during office hours ET time and based in the USA.

Vonage supports the following channels:

  • Telephone – Vonage offers phone support between 8 a.m. and midnight (ET) Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Live Support – Chat
  • Ticket System – Online Forms
  • Live Training
  • Email
  • FAQ and online documentation

Phone.com

Phone.com support is 24/7 and based in the USA.

Phone.com supports the following channels:

  • Telephone – 24/7
  • Live Support – Chat
  • Ticket System – Online Forms
  • Email
  • FAQ and online documentation

Phone.com also has bilingual support in English and Spanish

Regional Availability

Vonage

As Vonage Business Cloud is a virtual PBX so it can support diverse geographical locations thereby providing enhanced mobility by allowing companies to choose local phone numbers in over 40 countries. With Vonage your virtual business number can be chosen or customized to specific geographical or regional preferences. Vonage also offers international virtual business numbers that provide your business with a virtual in-country presence. In addition Vonage has regional offices in the US, Canada and the UK.

Phone.com

As Phone.com is a cloud based virtual PBX it can support diverse geographical locations thereby providing enhanced mobility by allowing companies to choose local phone numbers in other countries and regions. With Phone.com your virtual business number can be chosen or customized to specific regional preferences. Phone.com also offers international virtual business numbers as well as having an international dialing rates plan by country.

Cancelling the Service

A very important factor to consider is how you end the contract if things just don’t work out. After all no matter how affordable and well delivered a telephone service may be it just might not fit with your own business model or direction. Therefore you should be aware of any potential cancellation fees or contractual obligations before you subscribe to the vendor’s service.

Vonage

Unfortunately Vonage Business Cloud does not make it easy for customers to cancel their subscriptions. Indeed you will need an authorized system administrator to call Vonage Business as they provide no way to cancel online or through the admin portal.

The accepted cancellation process is that services may be cancelled by Customer only through the Superuser by contacting Vonage Customer Care by telephone during normal business hours or via email to [email protected]

Month-to-Month Services. For Services provided on a month-to-month basis, either Party may terminate the Services by providing at least 30-days’ notice, with termination being effective the following month.

 Fixed Term Services. For any fixed term contractual agreements you must give 90 days’ notice of cancellation.

Phone.com

Cancelling the Phone.com service is very easy as all you are required to do to cancel your Phone.com service is to call their Customer Loyalty Department. Alternatively you could simply log into your Phone.com account: Then look for and click on Configure à Manage Settings. Then scroll down t0 the bottom of the menu and click Cancel Account.

One thing to beware of though is once you cancel your account you will automatically lose access to any stored data. This means you can no long access your Inbox for voicemail, call logs, SMS messages or faxes. You will also lose access to any customized greeting and uploaded hold-music files. You must download these prior to cancelling the service.

Summary

Vonage Business Cloud is a cloud based Virtual unified communication platform that is targeted at the small business that means it is affordable and feature rich. In addition Vonage Business Cloud offers services out with the USA and Canada and offers International local numbers in over 40 countries. That is a huge business advantage for any small business with international ambitions. Furthermore, the Vonage Business Cloud offers a seamless upgrade path along with VonageFlow which provides social media integration, messaging, chat and file and document sharing. It is the abundance of productivity and collaboration tools that gives Vonage Business Cloud the edge over many of its more tradition voice centric competitors.

Phone.com on the on other hand is also feature rich and scales to meet the modern communication requirements of even medium to large organization. Nonetheless, despite Phone.com excelling at providing a plethora of traditional voice call handling features it does lack some of the modern communication features required to handle multi-channels, such as social media, business integration as well as many of the collaboration and productivity tools that many of its high end competitors have now as standard. This makes Phone.com a highly competent virtual telephone or PBX service but it falls short of being a fully featured unified communication service.

Nonetheless, many small businesses will not require most of these unified communication and productivity tools and they will be more interested in Phone.com as a virtual telephone service rather than being a unified communications platform. If that is the case then Phone.com will certainly meet their expectations. However, for forward-thinking small businesses that already have the need to handle multichannel communication with their customers or vendors then Vonage Business Cloud would be a better solution in the near to long term.

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