Vonage Business Solutions, which operated formerly as Vocality, is a hybrid PBX and VoIP offering that brings packs a feature-rich punch. It’s been operating since 2006 and the company has earned a good reputation for quality and offerings, with a lot of packages to help you grow and train new staff.
One big difference for Vonage is that all of its technology is created and maintained in-house, so customers can typically see a quick deployment of new features. When problems arise, Vonage is also pretty quick to patch issues and automatically install updates that prevent further issues. It’s a good add-on to an overall strong service.
Vonage offers you three business plans that base their virtual PBX service around the type of extensions you want to use: metered, unlimited, and virtual (mobile). Depending on the size of your workforce and their location, you can find a good fit at a compelling price from Vonage.
Vonage’s virtual PBX bread-and-butter is its Unlimited Extensions package that gives you a company phone number for $40 per month per line, though there are multi-line discounts for this option.
The trick to the unlimited calls is that you’ll get free in your network and anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada. The service features a wide range of prices for any international calls.
A nice feature for these lines is that calls in your internal network are free and that includes anyone with a company number, even if they work remotely or use a cell phone as their business extension.
The system includes the 40 basic features (listed below in Standard Features) and is a fairly standard virtual PBX system with the normal virtual assistants, call management, and expanded platform. What Vonage hopes will set it apart is call quality plus some unique VoIP features such as continued or maintained calls even if your office power goes out.
Vonage Metered VoIP Extension plans for businesses will charge you a fee per each extension every month, with additional per-minute usage charges. You’ll get a variety of different costs based on whether your calls come from within the U.S. or overseas.
This platform is typically offered as an add-on for the company’s Unlimited plans. To get the $14.99 per month per extension rate, you’ll also need to order at least one unlimited extension and one company number.
The option is a good deal for infrequently used extensions thanks to a relatively low monthly rate and a $0.03 per minute charge. Each metered extension can call within your company for free, so there’s no charge for connected within the Vonage VoIP system.
This package plan is the closest to a truly virtual PBX offering that Vonage provides because it doesn’t rely on VoIP technology for the majority of its operations.
You and your employees will get a virtual PBX extension that acts as a business phone number but connects directly a smartphone. Each extension, with costs starting around $15 per month per extension, gets their own direct-dial number that you can manage. Calls automatically forward to mobiles.
The plan comes with unlimited inbound calls for each device plus voicemail options and extension dialing from smartphones. You can also integrate your whole system to include VoIP numbers, landlines, answering services, and extra PBX features.
Vonage says that these packages require a minimum order of one unlimited extension and one company number. However, company representatives say they are willing to build unique solutions if contacted directly, but you may rise above that $15 monthly cost.
All of the Vonage Business plans come with 40 standard features to improve your overall PBX operation and phone experience. These features include:
- Admin Portal where account managers can control phone system functions
- Call Announce that whispers the phone number or Custom Tag being contacted before the call connects
- Call Conferencing
- Call Continuity to avoid phone interruptions even if the power goes out
- Call Forwarding
- Call Holding
- Call Logs by account or extension
- Call Park to let you “park” a call so another extension can access it
- Call Pass to transfer calls from your cell phone to your desk phone without interruption
- Call Screening
- Call Transfer
- Call Waiting
- Caller ID
- Caller ID Block
- Cell Phone Integration to forward calls to cell phones and access some VoIP features on your cell phone
- Click-to-Call Me for a Vonage button on your site or email signature to allow people to click the button and call you directly
- Click-to-Dial Web browser extension allowing you to click on a phone number on a website and call through your Vonage service
- Cloud PBX
- Custom Caller Tagging
- Directory Assistance (411)
- Do Not Disturb
- Dynamic Caller ID to show your work number no matter which phone you’re calling from
- 911 Service
- Follow Me
- Mobile App
- Multiple Devices on One Extension
- Hold Music
- Outlook Integration
- Simultaneous Ring
- Unified Inbox
- Virtual Receptionist
- Cloud Voicemail and Voicemail-to-Email
Vonage also offers a variety of business features that you can add your service for an added cost. These expand what you can do both in the office and on the go. The add-on features are typically niche offerings that allow you to do specific functions or introduce features without paying for an additional line.
For those training new employees you can add call monitoring to individual accounts for $50 per account to help track employee performance. If you want an overall review process, there is a $50 monthly option to record calls for your company—the default plan is 500 hours of recording time.
You can also add in conference bridges for $15 per month with an additional per-minute charge, add a local number for $10 per month, or build a new, specific company number specifically for the virtual assistant at $10 per month. If you want a toll-free number, it’s an additional $40 per month.
If you want to add in features for your employees who don’t need a full phone line, consider the $15 monthly paperless fax option or a $5 per month virtual mailbox that collects voicemail messages around specific functions, such as reporting bugs.
Almost everyone getting a Vonage Business Solution package will pay a unique cost based on their features, lines, and packages. The company offers a variety of different discounts based on these numbers and representatives said Vonage typically does not publish rates because of these features.
That said, any company can expect to pay around $40 per month for a single line with a new business number and unlimited national calling, with costs rising from there. Vonage says that, despite this cost that’s somewhat on the high end, you can expect to save 30% compared to your traditional business phone costs.
Some costs are also not included in projections because Vonage has some additional features that come through its partners. Perhaps the most common would be to acquire a vanity number, which Vonage doesn’t do directly, but will transfer you to one of its partners and have them charge you that cost.
Is It Right for You?
Vonage is going to come in with a decent set of features and calling options for most businesses. It’s a strong mid-tier offering that could be very useful for mid-sized businesses who only want a single solution and for companies with a lot of mobile employees. For small businesses, you’ll get a lot of features but pay slightly higher than you would for other options. You’re getting a strong service and it’s priced well for the features that are included.
- Strong set of standard features
- Good pricing
- Customers report relatively little down time
- Integration with lots of third parties, beyond standards like Outlook
- Cost-effective for features
- Customers say it is very easy-to-use
- Scales well with business growth
- Customer service is good on the phone
- Transferring and adding new numbers is very simple and easy
- Some extra-cost features are standards for others
- Some users say customer service is slow to respond to emails
- Call quality can be poor for mobile connections
- Costs have risen without warning for some subscribers
- The company posts some advertisements listed as reviews on review web sites, making some consumer uneasy
- Call queues and parking sometimes hang up on callers
Vonage Business Solutions offer competitive packages for many different business styles, with a mix of features that make it better than many standard VoIP services and virtual PBX offerings. The standard feature list is strong and includes many options that others charge for, plus it supports additional services and software that most businesses rely on. The website and browser integration receive high marks from their customers. Vonage can be pricey for some smaller businesses, but it’s one of the best values on our list when considering overall costs and the options included.