Phone.com is a smart virtual PBX offering that has multiple accounts and services to reach users of any need level. It can support mobile devices with any account and has instead tailored its offerings to meet business, virtual workers (road warriors), and home users.
You’ll be paying for minutes or two different monthly fees, but the costs are low and relatively straightforward. You can expect decent customer service and a good value, with a large set of features. It’s a platform with a lot of diversity and some impressive controls for handling calls that come in to your business.
PBX systems from Phone.com allow you to operate without purchasing any new hardware, thanks to a quick setup with plug-n-play phones and no contracts. You’ll get reliable service with a large feature set, much of which comes standard.
Typically, the Phone.com service is built out in a three-step process to better serve your home or business. For these, you’ll:
- Set up your Phone.com account, phone number, and pick which phone or phone number to forward calls to.
- Use your Phone.com number on your marketing or share it with your friends and family.
- Answer your phone when your customers start calling!
The core features of the service are:
- Toll-Free and Local Numbers. You can use toll-free and local numbers.
- Auto Attendant. The system will automatically route calls through your menus and forward calls to your designated device.
- Mobile Apps. Mobile apps allow you to manage your extensions.
- Forwarding & Scheduling. Set up your hours of operation and have different rules to route your calls based on people calling during or after those business hours.
- Call Conferencing. Up to 500 participants can join your call and the system guarantees HD-quality voice.
- Unlimited Extensions. Each service comes with an unlimited number of extensions, each with its own voicemail.
- Internet Fax. Send, receive, and even safe files that are faxed from your numbers or to your numbers.
- Group SMS. Through the mobile app, you can manage groups and send SMS messages to everyone or different sections of your employees.
The Phone.com system offers three packages for different types of users. These typically break down into business owners, virtual users, and home users.
Phone.com’s main service is its Business line of support. You’ll start off with a toll-free phone number from 800, 855, 866, 877, or 888 designations. The great part about this is that your number is immediately available when you signup.
This single number will connect everyone on your team, no matter where they are, because you can set up any extension to reach any device, not just the ones located in your office building.
Next you can set up all of your employees with their own account and number. You can add an unlimited number of users with no calling cap—you pay a small per-person fee each month. Unlimited calls can be made to the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
You should take note that there is a $4.99 additional monthly hardware extension fee if you don’t use a virtual extension, softphone extension, or an IP phone.
The system sets itself apart by removing limits on users and extensions while providing complex menu systems that allow you to always route calls to the right place. You’ll get an audio menu to take everyone to the right place and not need someone to answer each of your calls and manually send them to the right place.
Other key features of the business line include:
- Access to IP phones from Polycom, Cisco, and Panasonic for a small fee.
- Free mobile and smartphone access and forwarding.
- The ability to add multiple phone numbers—from local to toll-free or international—to your single Phone.com account.
- Custom-greetings thanks to support for uploading audio files.
- Voicemail that can be transcribed and delivered to your team across multiple avenues of communication.
- Support for your system 24/7/365.
- Simple pricing.
The virtual system is designed to work with mobile professionals who are on the go and need a flexible option to answer their calls and set multiple rules for handling how they’re reached.
First, you’ll set your phone number that’s custom. It can still be local, toll-free, or even your existing phone number. You can also add multiple numbers and these will show up on your caller ID along with caller information.
You’ll then use the online portal to set up your calling schedule, caller ID options, and forwarding preferences. The Phone.com system allows you to set up some of the most complex rules available in this market.
The call handling rules can be based on your location and set to different destinations throughout the day. You can also setup a quick access to send phones to voicemail or other items.
For the virtual system, you can set up rules that change based on the time of the day for a wide range of regular PBX options, such as:
- Voicemails. Automatically send some calls to voicemail and get an .MP3 message emailed to you.
- Custom greetings based on your preferences and your own audio files.
- Menus that shift during the day.
Sometimes you just want a reliable service in your home. This makes the Phone.com system great, especially if you have a large family or you run a business out of your home.
By selecting the home option, you’ll get a service that’s full-featured and works over your home’s existing home phone lines.
Like with the other systems, you’ll be picking a phone number that’s local or you can transfer your current home phone to the system. Unfortunately, you won’t have access to vanity numbers for the home service.
After you pick a number, you’ll need to set up your system with the free Phone.com adapter. The device works with any high-speed home Internet connection. When you get this system, the first device is free with a discount. An additional device will cost you $39.95. Once you set up your account and plug your home phone into the adapter, you’ve got yourself a live Phone.com system.
The home system will get the same type of digital backing and menu options, plus full access to the basic tier of additional services provided below.
All three of the big plans have an option to add a virtual service to your mobile phone. Thanks to its wide range of apps and notifications, you’ll get every point of access that’s available on IP phones and PCs.
When you call through the Phone.com Mobile Office app, your office phone number will show up on the recipient’s caller ID. The full-feature support of its call handling rules means you’ll also know when a business call is coming in plus the phone number of your guest. This means you can answer forwarded calls during work hours and weed out anything that’s work-related when the office is closed or you’re on vacation.
Phone.com has a wide range of services and features for you to choose from. Most accounts will get access to these, though there are some additional options too.
The basic features supported by Phone.com are:
- Account Management
- Address Book
- After Hours Greetings
- Call Blocking
- Call Handling Rules
- Call Logs
- Call Notification
- Call Screening
- Call Transfer
- Call Voice Tagging
- Call Waiting
- Caller ID
- Dial-by-Name Directory
- Do Not Disturb
- 911 Dialing
- Follow Me
- Free In-Network Calls
- Global Numbers
- HD Voice
- Hold Music
- In-Call Features
- Local Number Porting
- Queues for Hold or Large Call Volumes
- SMS Send & Receive
- Text to Greeting
Depending on your service level, you will also have access to premium features, though these typically come at an increased cost.
The most popular premium features are:
- Call Recording
- Caller Analytics
- iNum Numbers
- Premium Hold Music
- Professional Recordings
- Voicemail Transcription
The company also provides a wide range of phones. You’ll shell out $30 to $110 for each additional item, but prices rise quickly because only the first of each model gets a discounted price.
In addition to the three types of services, there are three pricing models that you can look at. Every system will use the standard service, while the Pay Per Minute and Unlimited options are for those adding in multiple users to that standard account.
The Standard Phone.com service is:
- $9.99 per month
- No contract
- 1 phone number
- 100 prepaid minutes
The Pay Per Minute platform includes, per extension:
- No monthly cost
- Calls are 2.5¢ – 3.9¢/minute
- Smartphone app support for $4.99/month
The Unlimited minutes extension will include this for each extension:
- $19.99 each month
- Unlimited minutes
- No extra cost for the app access
If you want more options, you can add a variety of different services.
|Computer Voicemail transcription||$1.50/month per extension|
|Premium Hold Music||99¢/month per account|
Is It Right for You?
The Phone.com service requires you to have a computer and an existing phone to receive a call – that’s all you need to use the service. However, for some of its options, you’ll need a high-speed Internet connection. Let’s check that out for a moment.
You do not need a fast Internet connection for these services:
- Use its call-forwarding feature on a phone you have, including a mobile, home, or office phone.
- Route or re-route incoming calls based on account settings – this means use the rerouting but not setting it up.
You must have high-speed Internet connectivity at your home or office to use:
- Edit your account settings in the Phone.com control panel
- Place and receive calls through a softphone device and software
- Make and receive calls on specialized devices such as an IP phone or adapter.
While these differences can impact your service, the real deciding factor for Phone.com is your need to have a mobile app service. The company is great at supporting smartphones and has one of the most robust apps available. The smartphone option and its low cost make the Phone.com system standout. However, if you’re looking just at price or need a full enterprise suite of features at a standard cost, you’ll want to keep looking.
- Rule setting seems simple but very versatile.
- No needed hardware.
- Plug-and-play phones.
- No contract.
- Cheap initial rates and a free 30-day trial.
- Lots of praise for its apps.
- Twitter response is very fast.
- Great international support.
- The company has a number of complaints about improper billing. Many seem to be resolved over time.
- Customer service can be hard to reach.
- Interface for voicemails can be frustrating because a single click can delete them.
- Changing numbers or extensions can be difficult and some people get double charged.
- Call recording and transcription are not always accurate or able to be used.
- When signing up for a trial account, some users were pushed immediately into a paid account so they did not get the 30 days for free.
- Incoming calls may count against your minutes for metered accounts.
Phone.com is a great phone option if you need a PBX system for a small business, home office, or your home. The mobile support is great and it fits well with a small size, but the dashboard does get a bit unwieldy when your company starts to scale. Some of the options it offers as paid features are given away by competitors, but baseline costs are still low. You’ll get a decent service if you’re comparing solely on price, but for anyone who needs mobile support – you may not be able to find a better option than Phone.com and its Android and iOS apps.