RingCentral is a cloud based virtual PBX, based in Belmont CA, which is both feature rich and cost effective. RingCentral is targeted at all sectors of the virtual telephone market from Solo entrepreneurs to enterprise sized companies. As such RingCentral has a vast array of VoIP voice, collaboration, productivity and call center features to meet the requirements of even large enterprise organizations.
As RingCentral is a cloud based PBX it can make all its inherent VoIP features available to any size of business through a selection of price and service plans. Consequently, RingCentral bases its service model on the number of users but some of their advanced collaboration and productivity tools are only available on the more expensive plans. However, there is nothing stopping even a small business of around 1 to 5 users subscribing to an advanced enterprise service plan to gain access to the advanced feature set.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nextiva started out in 2008 as a VoIP service provider but has grown over the last decade into a leading cloud-based unified communication provider. Today, Nextiva is a leading UCaaS (unifies Communications as a Service) provider in the USA and Canada and is always there or there about when the annual awards are being handed out. What makes Nextiva so popular with its users and market observers is that it covers all of the bases that small to medium business require from a modern unified communication platform. This is because today small businesses are just as dependent on supporting their customers’ diverse communication channels such as voice, email, SMS messaging, webchat, online forms, voicemail and even video voicemail, as their enterprise competitors. This is because small business as much as anyone needs to be able to handle their customer’s preferred communication channels.
To that end Nextiva have developed a unified communication platform that is feature-rich yet still affordable for small businesses. Moreover the abundance of features does not mean added complexity as Nextiva still manages to be easy to configure, and administer.
Comparing RingCentral vs. Nextiva
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).
Comparing like-for-like services is especially valid when we consider making a comparison between an entrepreneurs, SoHo or SMB service such as Grasshopper’s virtual telephone system alongside an industry giant such as RingCentral’s cloud based virtual PBX.
As a result we have chosen to compare RingCentral’s small business service plans against Nextiva’s small business plans.
RingCentral takes a slightly different approach to pricing as it bases its plans on the number of users. Furthermore RingCentral offers both monthly and annual –in advance – payment models. As a result the entry-level Essential service plan is priced at:
Essentials – The cheapest entry price is from $29.99 per month per user paid annually in advance.
However, their service fee can be billed monthly or annually
- Billed Annually the fees can be as low as $19.99 for 2-19 users
Standard Service Plans
The Standard plan starts at $19.99 per month per user based on an annual contract basis:
- 1 user – $34.99 per month per user
- 2-19 users – $24.99 per user per month
- 20-99 users -$24.99 per user per month
- 100-999 users – $22.99 per user per month
When Billed Monthly in Advance
- Starts at $29.99 per month per user based on an monthly no contract basis
- 1 user – $49.99 per month per user
- 2-19 users – $34.99 per user per month
- 20-99 users -$34.99 per user per month
- 100-999 users – $32.99 per user per month
You will need to take the variance in the billing price into consideration when contemplating RingCentral as there can be considerable savings to be made if you are willing to pay annually.
The Nextiva service has three basic plans for small to medium businesses; Essential, Professional and Enterprise and each differs in price and feature-sets as they target businesses of different size and technical requirements. The entry level plan, Essential, is aimed at the entrepreneur or SoHo (Small office Home office) type business or the one or two man entrepreneurs that need a modern communication system. The next step up is the Professional Plan, and this service plan is targeting the small business that requires multi-channel communications for today’s technically advanced customers. Both service plans however come packed with features to meet the requirement of even the most technically demanding small business.
- Essential starts at $29.95 per user per month (1-20 users billed monthly)
Voicemail to email, unlimited US calling, free number porting
- Professional starts at $32.95 per user per month (1-20 users billed monthly)
Comes with all basic features plus – Unlimited conference calls, Nextiva mobile app, professionally recorded greeting
- Enterprise starts at $39.95 per user per month (1-20 users billed monthly)
Comes with all Pro features plus – Advanced Voice analytics, call recording, live chat on your website
These are the entry level prices for Nextiva based on the comparable service plans for businesses on 1-25 users. There is considerable saving however if you want to take on a 36 month contract and you have 100 or more users. In that case, you will begin to realize Nextiva’s advertised rates of $20 per user per month for the Essential plan, $25 per user per month for the Professional Plan, and $30 per user per month for the Enterprise plan.
Therefore, when pricing Nextiva service plans you really do need to get sales quotes from Nextiva because Nextiva offers multiple price variances based on the length of the service contract and the number of users on your plan and there simply is not enough reliable information on the site or in the terms and conditions to determine per user pricing.
RingCentral is a cloud based PBX and so has an extensive feature set that it delivers across 4 service plans that cater for all the marketplace from the smallest one person business to the largest of enterprises. Consequently, RingCentral is well placed within the market to fulfill not just all a business’s telephone requirements but also all its modern multichannel communication needs.
Businesses today have to handle many different types of customer communications and they need a unified platform that gives them the ability to handle these diverse channels. Where some competitors can handle voice and SMS texts and if you subscribe to the Connect service also some rudimentary contacts and email integration RingCentral provides the full gamut of multichannel support tools.
As we are comparing Phone.com with RingCentral’s Essentials and Standard service plan we will restrict the feature list to what is native to that plan – but be aware that RingCentral’s larger sibling service plans have considerably more Omni channel support tools.
The standard features found in Essentials are:
- Unlimited video and audio meetings with screen sharing (4 people per meeting)
- Unlimited phone calls
- Toll-free numbers 100 free minutes
- Unlimited Business SMS
- Call management & phone system administration
- Phone rental options: desk and conference phones
- Mobile apps for iOS® and Android™
- High-definition (HD) voice
- Visual voicemail and voicemail to email
- Team collaboration
- Integrations with Microsoft®, Google, Box, and Okta
- 24/7 Customer support
- Professional implementation
As can be seen from viewing the feature set from RingCentral’s entry—level service plan, Essentials is a far more comprehensive service than many of its competitors higher-level plans.
One of Nextiva’s major selling points is its feature-rich unified communication platform. It has over 50 built-in VoIP features that cover just about everything you could need for a technology driven small business. The entry level Essentials service plan is aimed at the small business that typically does not have a single fixed office but has remote locations, home workers and that is looking for a cost effective virtual PBX service that will run effectively on smartphones or mobile devices. The Essentials service plan comes with the standard 50+ VoIP features as standard, such as:
- Cloud PBX
- Free phone number porting
- Mobile call management
- Unlimited US calling
- Free local number
- Free toll-free number
- Voicemail to email
- Unlimited virtual faxing
- Shared call appearance (multiple phones on one line)
- HD hold music
- Voicemail to text ($2.95 per line)
- Barge In (manager monitoring)
Additional features available in the Professional Plan include:
- Professionally recorded greetings
- Call Me Now (phone call via website link)
- Conference bridge (up to nine users)
- Nextiva mobile app
The Enterprise plan brings the additional features:
- Call recording
- Nextiva Anywhere
- Business Application Integration
A single differentiator between Nextiva and many of its rivals is its array of business application connectors for seamless integration wide a wide range of applications, such as:
- Skype for Business
Another interesting point about Nextiva is that it has removed most of the call handling and routing features from the standard plans and made them available as specialized Call Centre editions. There are two Call Centre service plans the Call Centre Pro, which is suited for small to medium contact centers and Call Center Enterprise for medium to large call centers.
- Call Center Pro – $50 per user per month
- Call Center Enterprise – $100 per user per month
Mobile & Desktop Apps
The RingCentral mobile app and their computer softphone are designed to deliver the same full functionality as any other RingCentral extension. Hence running the RingCentral mobile app on a smartphone or the softphone will be pretty much indistinguishable from using the desk phone that is connected to RingCentral’s system. The main differential is that a desk phone or softphone cannot transition or fail-over to a carrier network like a smartphone.
Indeed with RingCentral mobile app you can choose which service to default to, whether it is network carrier or Wi-Fi using VoIP. As the RingCentral mobile app runs on Apple iOS as well as Google’s Android most phones will automatically handle the seamless transition from poor Wi-Fi (Internet) conditions to the mobile carrier’s data network.
A disappointing aspect of Nextiva in the mobile app is not included with the Essentials plan. Indeed you need to upgrade to the Professional plan before it is included as standard. The same is true of another great mobility tool called Nextiva Anywhere which allows you to unplug a VoIP phone and take it with you and plug it in to the internet wherever you go and it works – due to local DNS trickery – as if it was still on the local network. They can also have calls diverted from their business lines and ring any other phones such as their mobile or home landline phones.
In addition to Nextiva Anywhere, another great tool is Nextiva’s mobile app, which runs on iOS and Android devices. The mobile app allows remote users to make and receive phone calls on their smartphones. They can also work as normal on their business lines, making use of all the standard features such as making video calls, chat with team members via instant message, access the company directory or manage their contacts and leads within CRM. In addition, there is seamless call transfer so that you can start a call on a desk phone and then move the call transparently to a mobile phone, and vice versa without the caller realizing.
The Nextiva softphone allows you to make and receive calls from your desktop computer or laptop. Just plug in a handset into your device to transform it into a fully functional VoIP phone.
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.
RingCentral supports all categories of telephone numbers such as local, Toll-Free, Vanity, and International numbers as well as porting over an existing business number. Similar to other vendors the RingCentral features work on the virtual business number, such as business SMS, Confirmation Texts and outgoing caller ID amongst others. The number of business numbers available for use – of any type – is determined by the service plan. Additional numbers are available at a charge of $4.99 per month per number. Additional Vanity numbers have in addition to the $4.99 fee a one off setup fee of $30.
Additional charges for add-on services are also applied for large meetings and webinars, such as :
- RingCentral Webinar – 100 licenses – $40 each
- RingCentral Large Meeting – 100 participants – $14 each
- RingCentral Large Meeting – 300 participants – $140 each
- Additional International local number – tier 1- $4.99
- Additional International Local Number – tier 3 -$14.99
As you can see with both vendors there are some significant hidden charges, so make sure you read the service contracts carefully.
With Nextiva you get one Toll Free or Local Number per service plan. Alternatively you can port an existing business number across for use on the Nextiva system. However porting an existing number does take time – typically 2-3 weeks.
With Regards to VoIP local numbers Nextiva can supply local telephone numbers in every region across the USA.
Nextiva’s cloud based VoIP technology allows you to manage a presence in any city or state that you have customers. It doesn’t matter where you are located you can still have local VoIP phone numbers for nearly any other area code across the USA. Unfortunately Nextiva does not extend this service out with the USA, so there are no international local numbers available.
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.
RingCentral support is also 24/7 and based in the USA.
RingCentral supports the following channels:
- Telephone – 24/7
- Live Support – Chat
- Ticket System – Online Forms
- FAQ and online documentation
- Professional implementation
- VIP support for higher plans
Nextiva support is during office hours ET time and based in the USA.
Nextiva supports the following channels:
- Telephone – Toll Free 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST on weekends.
- Live Support – Chat
- Ticket System – Online Forms
- Live Training
- FAQ and online documentation
As you might expect from a company of RingCentral’s size and scope they cover over 30 countries. Indeed RingCentral’s Global Office feature allows you to connect offices and employees around the globe by using international local numbers so calls between geographically dispersed locations count as local calls.
With a RingCentral Global Office account each location is given 1,000 minutes of in-region calling credits per month per user based on location that are pooled and shared with all users worldwide. On top of the 1,000 in-region calling credits per month, all users have unlimited extension-to-extension calling from anywhere in the world.
Nextiva is a virtual PBX so it can support diverse geographical locations thereby providing enhanced mobility by allowing companies to choose state or city numbers as local phone numbers. With Nextiva your virtual business number can be chosen or customized to specific geographical or regional preferences within the USA. Nextiva also offers international virtual business calling rates but does not provide international local numbers.
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.
The way to cancel with RingCentral is a bit more complex even if you are paying monthly on a non-contract basis. In this case so long as you do not have any RingCentral equipment i.e. phone headsets or VoIP phones, etc. you can simply call up the support number and cancel the service. If you do have RingCentral equipment then you must send back the hardware immediately and the cancellation only takes place upon RingCentral receiving it in good condition.
For annual subscriptions you can cancel the service by telephone and you will receive a rebate based on pro-rata months unused.
Nextiva can be run on a month to month contract or on long term multi-year contracts (36 months). You have to be sure you know the renewal date or the contract will simply roll over and start anew when the time expires. Therefore you need to contact Nextiva within the notice period to cancel the service.
You may cancel your NEXTIVA Service at any time by providing NEXTIVA with a notice of your intent to cancel by sending an email to [email protected] or calling our Customer Care Department at 1-800-983-4289.
RingCentral is a behemoth in the virtual telephone industry and has developed a cloud PBX system packed with VoIP features that covers every aspect of voice, omnichannel, collaboration, productivity and contact center technologies. This makes it very hard to compete against at the lower end of the SMB market. However vendors such as Nextiva are building cloud based unified communication platforms to challenge RingCentral in the middle to large SMB marketplace.
Nextiva is one of those vendors and has developed a cloud based Virtual unified communication platform that is affordable and feature rich. Unfortunately, Nextiva does not offer services out -with the USA or even provides International local numbers. Nonetheless, Nextiva has a more extensive set of features covering voice, call handling, application integration, collaboration and productivity as well as some basic call center features. It is rare for a vendor to outgun RingCentral on features but the lack of international support, obscure pricing models, and additional charges for many features blunts that advantage somewhat.
Although Nextiva is a competent challenger to RingCentral its opaque billing and expensive plans for small companies may put some SMB off.