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Cheap VoIP Service: Is It All About Price?

Learn about low-cost business VoIP phone systems that are also reliable.

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From cheap alternatives to traditional phone systems to VoIP-based unified communications

In the past, only big companies could have enterprise-level phone systems—they were the only ones that could afford them. After all, these on-premise calling and private branch exchange (PBX) solutions were expensive and ate a huge chunk of companies’ budgets. Because of this, small and mid-sized businesses had to rely on not-so-great options, like landlines and other inflexible ways of communicating.

That’s probably why VoIP networks (voice calls made over IP networks) are so popular today. As an alternative to traditional phones (and the copper wiring they need) hosted PBX providers (cloud-based incoming call routing) that don’t need expensive IT infrastructure changed everything. Suddenly there is a much less expensive business phone system option that is within reach for smaller businesses.

As cloud technology advanced, these internet phone systems evolved into modern unified communications solutions. This didn’t just improve call quality—it also incorporated features like video conferencing, virtual numbers, fax, and SMS into one platform. What was supposed to be an alternative to traditional phone systems became the solution of choice not only among small and mid-sized businesses but with enterprises as well. After all, who doesn’t like getting more for less?

Now, when you look for cheap VoIP services, that probably doesn’t mean you’re looking for low-quality alternatives to premium offerings. What you want is a modern and reliable unified communications and collaboration solutions that will not break their budget.

RingCentral features infographic

How business VoIP helps you save on

communications costs

Unlimited calling across the US and Canada

One of the best reasons to use a VoIP phone system vs landline phones is the unlimited long-distance calling. With traditional phone service providers, when you make a call outside of your area code, you are automatically charged for a long-distance call. Most VoIP providers include an unlimited calling plan so you can make voice calls from anywhere in the US and Canada without paying extra.

Want to make calls outside the US or Canada? RingCentral has different international calling phone plans options for your business.
 
Choose between pay-as-you-go international phone call credit bundles that feature competitive rates compared to a traditional phone company, or monthly unlimited VoIP plans if you are consistently calling international.
Unlimited VoIP calling on any device
Calling with VoIP using the RingCentral App

Collaboration and VoIP calling features all together

Having separate providers for different communication tools like VoIP, video conferencing, and PBX can get confusing—fast. . Separate vendors means separate bills, different people to deal with, and too many things to keep track of. Having different providers for every feature can also add up to major expenses without you realizing it, because you’re getting multiple low-priced-looking bills but for every piece of technology. Next thing you know, you’re paying thousands of dollars for different solutions that don’t even work well together. 

 

With today’s VoIP systems, you get one itemized phone bill for everything you need to communicate and collaborate as a business:

  • An automated attendant to answer all incoming calls 
  • The ability to automatically route calls to the right virtual phone extension 
  • Your choice of hold music and call recordings 
  • Custom call handling rules to send after-hours calls straight to voicemail
  • All your VoIP features in one account dashboard, including call waiting, call blocking, caller ID, and call forwarding  The best thing? Without paying extra, your employees get access to all these features through a single easy-to-use digital platform.
 

Save on VoIP service maintenance

On-premises phone systems and their associated hardware can get super expensive to implement—and that’s before you even run them. Who is going to do the upgrades? You have to hire an admin just to add and remove users and configure the phones.

With VoIP phone systems, the infrastructure and hardware are typically in cloud data centers owned by your VoIP business provider. Which means the responsibility for maintaining the service  also falls in their bucket—not yours. You’ve got enough on your plate as it is

Even the maintenance of the business phone system, including software upgrades and updates, are performed by experts on the vendor’s payroll. So, you don’t have to hire specialists  to manage the technical aspects of things (or even have to figure out how to configure the service yourself).

Also, with an easy-to-navigate unified platform, anyone—even if you don’t have specialized skills or training—can configure and manage the whole thing from their own computer or mobile device. This also eliminates the need to hire internal or third-party consultants to modify the phone system every time you move offices or restructure the team. Translation: even more money saved.

Easy VoIP maintenance with a unified communications platform
Use VoIP with app integrations

Integrate your VoIP system with existing business apps

Good VoIP providers know that you probably already use, and love, some popular business apps like Google and Microsoft. You’ll want to find a solution that seamlessly integrates with these apps, so you don’t have to leave the one you’re working in to make and receive calls, chat with a coworker, start a video conference, or share files.

Improve your customer relationships by having their information at the ready when you use a phone system that integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Salesforce and Zendesk.  And with a Single Sign-on app like Okta, your users can use one login and password to get into many of their business apps.

Frequently asked questions about cheap VoIP phone services

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. You may have also heard it referred to as “IP telephony.” It’s basically voice communications over the internet, and has made huge strides in terms of call quality and security features since when it was first invented.

 

In the distant past, the main criticism thrown at VoIP was that the quality of the calls were not on par with traditional landlines. However, a lot of ground has been covered in this area. (RingCentral, for instance, supports HD voice that surpasses the call quality of most regular phone companies.)

 

VoIP calls are made using VoIP phones, which may look like ordinary phones at first glance but are actually specially designed devices specifically to facilitate calls over the internet and connect to other VoIP phones or even traditional landlines. There are two types of VoIP phones:

  • Hard phones: These refer to physical VoIP phones that can be used to make calls over the internet. The most common are desk IP phones that look like regular analog landline telephones. Other types of hard phones are IP conference phones (those “starfish” phones) and receptionist phones, which are basically IP desk phones with modules attached for routing calls manually.
  • Softphones: These are apps or software that can be installed on your desktop computer (desktop app) or mobile device (mobile app), so you can make and receive calls using the VoIP service on your laptop and mobile phone. Most VoIP providers have a custom softphone app, so you and your employees can bring your own device (BYOD) to communicate at work.
VoIP phones and equipment

Can I get VoIP at home?

Yes! That’s one of the best parts about VoIP. No matter where you are, as long as you have an internet connection, you can make and receive calls using your VoIP business phone number and virtual phone extension.

 

You don’t need to subscribe to separate residential VoIP providers unless you want one for personal use.

What's the difference between business VoIP and residential VoIP?

Most residential VoIP plans are pretty basic, and the technology is like what you’ll find in a traditional home landline. VoIP for home use is basically an internet phone service that lets you make inbound and outbound calls through IP with some other features like caller ID, call forwarding, and speed dial.

Residential VoIP
Residential VoIP
Business VoIP Phone Systems
Business VoIP

Business VoIP solutions, on the other hand, are usually tied to business phone systems that have advanced features for call management, like cloud PBX, auto attendant, and virtual extensions. Some VoIP services have also evolved to become complete unified communications solutions, which come with communications and collaboration tools like team messaging, file sharing, and even video meetings all on one platform instead of several separate apps from different providers.

Is there a free VoIP service?

There are consumer-level VoIP applications that let you make internet phone calls for free. Some of the most popular free VoIP app providers are Skype, Viber, and Facebook Messenger. 

 

But although these VoIP apps are free, they also tend to be severely limited. (And no, it’s not just because we’re biased.)

 

In most cases, they can only call or receive calls from people who are using the same application. Most don’t even allow calls to regular landlines—and those that do require premium payments or upgrades to paid plans.

 

If you’re using VoIP for personal calls to family and friends, then sure, these apps are decent. But if you’re running a business, you’re probably going to need more out of your VoIP service.

 

Want to see how a real VoIP-based business communications solution works?
 
RingCentral Office® has a free trial if you want to try how a more robust VoIP-based business communications solution really works. We can also help customize a plan for your business, walk you through it, and show you how much you could be saving with a unified solution. Let’s chat.
 

How much does VoIP service cost?

Prices for VoIP-based business phone systems can vary depending on the provider and the number of features included. Typically, a VoIP system plan ranges from $20 to $50 per month per user. But monthly rates can be lower if you choose an annual phone plan.

 

Check out the RingCentral Office plans and pricing page to see the pricing and features included in each type of plan. From there, you can research and compare top providers in the industry to see what their VoIP services provide to customers.

RingCentral Office® plans for your small business

PAY ANNUALLY AND SAVE UP TO 33%.

Monthly
Annually
save up to 33%
Number of users
1
2-20
21-50
51-99
100-999+
Need more users?
Call:
Not available
Essentials

Message, Phone

$29.99
$19.99
/user/month *
Try free
Buy now
  • Up to 20 users only
  • Business phone or toll-free numbers
  • Unlimited calls within the US/CA*
  • Unlimited business SMS
  • Voicemail-to-text
  • Team messaging
  • Document sharing
Show all benefits
Standard
Message, Video, Phone
$34.99
$24.99
/user/month *
Everything in Essentials PLUS
  • No limit on number of users
  • Business phone numbers in over 100 countries
  • Unlimited internet fax
  • Unlimited audio conferencing
  • Video meetings with up to 100 participants
  • Up to 24-hour meeting duration
  • Quality-of-service reports
  • Popular integrations including
    Office 365, G Suite, Slack,
    and more
  • 24/7 support
Show all benefits
Ultimate
Message, Video, Phone, Open Platform
$59.99
$49.99
/user/month *
Everything in Premium PLUS
  • Device status reports
  • Device status alerts
  • Unlimited storage**
Show all benefits
Compare plans

Business phone or toll-free numbers

One phone number for calling, team messaging, and video meetings access.
Each user gets a dedicated phone number at no additional cost. Essentials edition doesn't include video meetings.
Toll-free minutes
Toll-free minutes are per account regardless of number of lines. Additional minutes are always available for automatic purchase, which bill at 3.9¢/min.
Learn more
100
1,000
2,500
10,000

Unlimited calls within the US/CA*

Unlimited calling/phone calls within the US and CA. Plus, choose from affordable and convenient international calling plans that fit your business. Terms and conditions may apply.
Learn more

Unlimited Business SMS

Use your business phone number to send unlimited one-to-one or group SMS/MMS.
Voicemail-to-text
Automatically convert voicemail messages into text form so users can screen messages easily and respond to the most important call first.

Visual voicemail and voicemail-to-email

Access voicemail messages from your desk and mobile phones, email, desktop app, and online account.
Learn more

Team messaging

Collaborate more effectively with colleagues, clients, and contractors with team messaging, task assignment, calendar sharing, and more. Also, utilize out-of-the-box integrations with Jira, Asana, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more.
Learn more
Document sharing
Access documents and files stored on your computer or your Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and Dropbox accounts and easily share them with your team members.

Call management and phone system
administration

Sophisticated call management, enabling you to configure your phone system across the entire company, regardless of location or device. Optimize communication with custom admin and user configurations online or using the mobile app.
Call management features include:
  • Answering rules
  • Call forwarding
  • Call transfer
  • Call screening
  • Call flip
  • Call logs
  • Presence
  • Notifications
  • Shared lines*
  • Call park
  • Intercom
  • Paging
*Not available with Essentials.
Learn more
Mobile apps for iOS and Android
Whether you're an Apple or Android user, you can use your smartphones and tablets to make and receive calls, join and host meetings, team message coworkers and partners, send and receive faxes and texts, set up and join conferences, and configure phone system settings, notifications, and voicemail.
Learn more
High-definition (HD) voice
To consistently deliver the highest HD quality possible, RingCentral utilizes the Opus Interactive codec for audio and video, as well as the G.722 codec for audio.
Learn more

Call log reports

Get a complete record of all your inbound and outbound calls and faxes. View the name of the caller, the number or extension dialed, as well as the time, date, and duration of the call.
Learn more
Phone rental options: desk and
conference phones
Rent any desk phone or conference phone for a low monthly price.
Contact sales for details and pricing.
Learn more

Unlimited internet fax

Send and receive faxes from your computer, mobile device, Microsoft Outlook, cloud storage providers (such as Dropbox), and more.
Learn more

Unlimited audio conferencing

Host an unlimited number of audio conference calls, with up to 1,000 attendees per conference. Each user gets unique host and participant access codes.

Video meetings and participants

Hold video meetings with screen sharing, in-meeting public and private chat capabilities—anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Maximum number of participants varies by the video platform:
Premium with RingCentral Video (up to 200)
Premium with RingCentral Meetings (up to 100)
Standard with RingCentral Video (up to 100)
Standard with RingCentral Meetings (up to 4)
Up to 100 people
per video meeting
Up to 200 people
per video meeting
Up to 200 people
per video meeting
High-definition (HD) video
RingCentral delivers crystal-clear HD quality video and voice.
Learn more
Quality-of-service reports
Gain the ability to proactively review overall RingCentral system health and diagnose quality issues impacting users. A holistic overview of quality measured by location, endpoint, codec, ISP, and more enables easier monitoring and faster troubleshooting.
Learn more
Popular integrations including Office 365,
G Suite, Slack, and more
RingCentral offers the largest ecosystem of integration apps in the communications and collaboration space to maximize productivity and efficiency. Get integrations for bots, AI, analytics, archiving, automation, productivity, and more.
Learn more
24/7 support
Unlimited chat and phone support.

Multi-level auto attendant

Answer callers automatically with customized greetings, and ensure every call is directed to the right employee or department.
Learn more
Professional implementation
Get the most out of RingCentral with a portfolio of professional and personalized services, ranging from planning, designing, and implementation to project management, ongoing support, and consulting.
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Call recording

Automatic call recording: Set your RingCentral phone system to automatically record inbound and outbound calls for individual users or inbound calls for departments.
On-demand call recording: Allows Users to manually record phone calls anytime using an IP Phone provisioned with RingCentral, Forwarding Number, or RingCentral Phone for Mobile.
Learn more
On-demand
Automatic
Automatic
Single Sign-on
Users can log in to RingCentral automatically with their corporate credentials. Reduce the IT cost of assisting in password recovery and benefit from a central authentication point that securely accesses your RingCentral service from any device.
Learn more
Multi-site admin and management
Get the flexibility to manage and support your branch offices based on their unique operational needs.
Learn more
Up to 8-digit extensions with site codes
Simplified intra-site dialing for large multi-site customers.
Hot desking
Allows users to log in to shared phones to access their own RingCentral extensions, voicemail and greetings, and other features.
Advanced call handling including whisper, barge, and more
Advanced call management controls (monitor, whisper, barge, takeover) to allow authorized users to listen in on employee calls with clients to monitor the conversation, provide coaching, and facilitate discussion.
Other features include overflow call queues, user groups, and role-based access control with customized roles/permissions.
Real-time analytics
Gain real-time insights into your RingCentral system and gather business-relevant data, alerts, and reporting metrics.
Popular CRM integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, and more
Bring the functions and features of RingCentral Office into your business apps such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft Dynamics, ServiceNow, etc.
Learn more
Industry-specific integrations with Canvas, Smarsh, and more
Bring the functions and features of RingCentral Office into your vertical's business apps such as Canvas, Smarsh, etc.
Learn more

Developer platform and custom integrations

RingCentral APIs let you create your own custom applications and seamlessly integrate business communications into your key business processes, so you can automate workflows, drive efficiency, and gain valuable insight from communications data.
Visit Developer Portal
Device status reports
Monitor hard phone registration status globally and gain visibility into your devices' history.
Device status alerts
Set up automated monitoring rules and receive notifications when devices are offline.
Unlimited storage**
Store an unlimited** amount of documents, spreadsheets, presentation files, contracts, invoices, images, videos, and recordings. **Retention period applies.

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