Vonage Vs VirtualPBX – in-Depth Comparison

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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.

VirtualPBX.com

 VirtualPBX is one of the pioneers in VoIP and virtual telephone services. It began over two decades ago from a garage workshop to become a nation-wide company with offices throughout the USA. From those humble beginnings VirtualPBX has grown to be a major player in VoIP and more recently in cloud based PBX solutions. It has achieved this through a customer centric approach to feature design, customer support and product development.

VirtualPBX strives to produce virtual phone products that are both cost effective and easy to use. As a result they build the need for flexibility and user control into the design process. This means that VirtualPBX products work the way the customer wants them to as the user, administrators and managers have their own levels and  ability to control and tweak feature settings.

Moreover, VirtualPBX takes pride in its low cost, high-performance virtual PBX solutions via its hassle-free setup, web-based administration and no-system maintenance.

Comparing Vonage vs VirtualPBX.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).

We have chosen to compare Vonage’s  basic service plans against VirtualPBX’s Essentials, Advanced and Enterprise plans.

Pricing Models

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.

VirtualPBX

VirtualPBX 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-fo- like comparison with Grasshopper’s Solo, Partner and Small Business service plans.

The service plans that VirtualPBX offers targets the same entrepreneur and small business market-segment as Grasshopper but importantly the VirtualPBX plans come in two distinct flavors – 1) an Unlimited User plans and 2), an unlimited Minutes set of plans. Regardless of whether the plans are unlimited user, which is actually a pay for minutes plan or the Unlimited Minutes plans the feature sets are not the same as the plans are aimed at different types of customer .

Unlimited User Plans (Pay as you Go)

VirtualPBX has two billing option one is the Annual Subscription in Advance, the other is a monthly payments as you go. In either case there are no contracts or penalties for cancellation.

300 Plan – $9.99 /per month (annual subscription); $11.99 (monthly billing)

  • 300 Plan Minutes, 2 Local or Toll-Free Numbers, Free Web Phone & Call Forwarding, Enable VoIP Phones for $4.99/each  and Zapier Integration+ All Basic Features

500 Plan – $12.99 /per month (annual subscription); $17.99 (monthly billing)

  • 500 Plan Minutes, 2 Toll-Free or Local Numbers, Free Web Phone & Call Forwarding, Enable VoIP Phones for $4.99/each, ACD Queues (Standard)+ All Features Included on 300 Plan

1000 Plan – $24.99 /per month (annual subscription); $34.99 (monthly billing)

  • 1000 Plan Minutes, 5 Toll-Free or Local Numbers, Free Web Phone & Call Forwarding, Enable VoIP Phones for $4.99/each, Call Recording & Webhooks+ All Features Included on 500 Plan

Unlimited Minutes Service Plans

Essentials – $16.99 /user per month (annual subscription) or $21.99 (monthly billing)

  • Unlimited Local Minutes
  • 100 Toll-Free Minutes
  • Unlimited VoIP Minutes Between System Users
  • 5 Toll-Free or Local Numbers
  • 1 VoIP Device for Every User
  • ACD Queues (Standard)
  • Auto Attendant,
  •  Ring Groups,
  • Voicemail

Advanced – $20.99 /user per month (annual subscription) or $26.99 (monthly billing)

  • Unlimited Local Minutes
  • 1,000 Toll-Free Minutes
  • Unlimited VoIP Minutes Between System Users
  • 10 Toll-Free or Local Numbers
  • Advanced Reporting
  • ACD Queues Pro and
  • Call Recording
  • Plus All Features Included in the Essentials Plan

Enterprise – $24.99 /user per month (annual subscription) or $34.99 (monthly billing)

  • Unlimited Local Minutes
  • 2,500 Toll-Free Minutes
  • Unlimited VoIP Minutes Between System Users
  • 15 Toll-Free or Local Numbers
  • CRM Integration
  • API Access
  • Plus All Features Included in the Advanced Plan
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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.

VirtualPBX Features

VirtualPBX takes a different approach to features and service plans as it tries to be flexible and groups features into functional categories such as voice, collaboration & productivity, and Contact Centre. This is to allow you to customize your feature set to match your requirements. For example the following Dash service plans have different combinations of features:

Dash Essentials

Auto Attendant, Ring Groups, Zapier Integration, Audio Conferencing, Paperless Fax, ACD Queues, and Webhooks

Dash Advanced

Auto Attendant, Ring Groups, Zapier Integration, Audio Conferencing, Paperless Fax, ACD Queues, ACD Queues Pro, Call Recording, API Access, Webhooks, External Storage, and advanced reporting

Dash Enterprise

Auto Attendant, Ring Groups, Zapier Integration, Audio Conferencing, Paperless Fax, ACD Queues, ACD Queues Pro, Call Recording, API Access, Webhooks, External Storage, CRM Integration, Priority Support Included, Advanced Reporting

As can be seen from the feature list for each plan VirtualPBX has some very advanced features voice features such as ring groups, ACD queuing and audio conferencing as standard features even with the entry level Essentials plan.

In addition there are many additional features that allow you to customize your plans for collaboration and productivity gains through such features as Data Storage with AWS, Salesforce CRM and Zapier Integration or manage large teams or small contact centers with ACD Queues with Whisper and Barge, Call Recording, Real-Time  Agent Monitor, Call Reports, and advanced reporting.

Mobile & Desktop Apps

VirtualPBX

The VirtualPBX softphone app differs slightly from many of its competitors’ mobile apps in so much as it is a generic softphone which turns any Computer, Device, or Cell Phone into a fully-featured VoIP Extension.  This allows you to harness the power of the VirtualPBX system from your own personal devices. The VirtualPBX Softphone App works with any iOS or ANdroid smartphone and is free to download from the Apple App Store or Google Play market.

The way that it works is that the VirtualPBX Softphone App can route calls intended for your deskphone directly to your smartphone. Anyone calling you will simply dial your direct line or company phone number and extension and be transparently forwarded to your smartphone. Also, it works well for outbound calling as it can use your business number as the Caller ID. Furthermore, with addition functions such as mobile call interruptions, mobile call management, Siri integration, call transfer and the savings made on mobile call roaming makes the VirtualPBX Softphone App a handy tool for those out and about a lot of the time.

The VirtualPBX Softphone app also works on desktops, laptops and tablets running Windows or Mac OS. The desktop softphone is just another virtual extension to handle all inbound and outbound voice traffic. This means it has all the same functionality such as Ring Groups, queues, Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers and even full Salesforce integration. This means you can manage your contacts sales leads and funnels even when you are away from the office.

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

VirtualPBX

VirtualPBX supports Local, International, Toll-Free, Vanity numbers as well as allowing you to port over an existing business number. Indeed VirtualPBX offers as part of their service plans several virtual business numbers per plan, such as:

Essentials -5 Toll Free or local numbers

Advanced10 Toll Free or local numbers

Enterprise – 15 Toll Free or local numbers

International numbers also available in over 40 countries that work like local numbers and allow you to gain an international presence without the costs associated with new, international offices.

There is also the availability of multiple main business numbers, which allows you to operate several autonomous businesses from the same system profile and service.

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

VirtualPBX

VirtualPBX support is 24/7 and based in the USA.

VirtualPBX supports the following channels:

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

VirtualPBX prides itself on its customer support and boast of support staff being available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year to handle support issues.

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.

VirtualPBX

As VirtualPBX 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 over 40 countries. With Phone.com your virtual business number can be chosen or customized to specific geographical or regional preferences. VirtualPBX also offers international virtual business numbers that provide your business with a virtual in-country presence.

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.

VirtualPBX

Cancelling the VirtualPBX service is very easy as you have a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the service or any billable features. Any Approved Persons may request cancellation of the Service Agreement at any time by writing to VirtualPBX or by email to [email protected].

However be aware that if you are paying annually in advance that billing refunds will only apply to full months unused. No partial month unused is refunded. Also there is a minimum of 4 months charged within the first 12 months of 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.

VirtualPBX on the other hand is also a cloud based virtual phone system that is affordable and rich in value-add collaboration and productivity tools. However, VirtualPBX also has a bundle of call center type features, which are sufficient to power a small business contact center. Vonage also has call center functions but they are bundled together in a separate call center edition.

Having voice, collaboration & productivity, business app integration, multichannel support at an affordable price applies to both Vonage Business Cloud and VirtualPBX however the latter edges it with its call center tools.

Nonetheless Vonage Business Cloud is probably better suited to those wanting a turn-key solution that can be configured once and left to run with minimal ongoing administration. This is where VirtualPBX either gets your vote or turns you cold as it is the type of platform that is highly flexible and tunable. This means there are tons of bells and whistles to tune and optimize so it is ideal for the technically minded. Vonage Business Cloud on the other hand, is designed to be plug-and-play so you miss out on the flexibility but gain in stability.

In short both of these platforms are technically proficient and business-grade unified-communication services. Whether you decide on one or the other will come down to one of two points,

1) Whether you require having a ‘pay as you go’ service option, or 2), you having the technical confidence and ambition to delve under the hood to get thing just how you want them.

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