RingCentral Review: Is It a Good Option for Small Businesses over Landline Providers like AT&T and Centurylink?

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Until recently, most businesses used traditional landline phone systems and only in the recent years, due to several advancements in telecommunications and the emergence of VoIP-based phone systems, several businesses are shifting to VoIP.

Traditional landline phones, which are also known as PSTNs (public switched telephone networks) are analog phone systems which run via the standard copper wires of the local or regional telephone company. The landline service requires a PBX (private branch exchange) hardware on the site of your business, which creates multiple phone extensions and also enables various features such as extension directories, call forwarding, etc.

VoIP systems, on the other hand, make use of the existing internet connection of your business instead of copper wires of the local phone company in order to convert voice into data and transmit it. Setting up a VoIP phone system is extremely easy. You don’t need any hardware or wiring, which makes VoIP very cost effective and the service provider usually handles the maintenance and upgrades.

In this article, we will discuss how VoIP-based phone systems like RingCentral stack up against landline phone services such as AT&T and CenturyLink.

>> Get a free trial to RingCentral Office


RingCentral

Started in 2003, RingCentral is one of the most advanced VoIP-based communications providers that offers comprehensive and scalable business phone solutions, that are ideal for the modern global workforce. RingCentral offers affordable VoIP phone services via cloud-based systems which are extremely flexible. The RingCentral communication system is reliable, secure, versatile, dynamic and easy to use.

RingCentral is among the best business phone service providers, as it offers an extremely versatile and reliable VoIP-based phone system for businesses of varied sizes. RingCentral offers unlimited business calling and a comprehensive set of features. The phone system is extremely easy to set up and manage. And, RingCentral allows you to customize the phone system, features and services according to your business needs.

Since RingCentral is cloud based, there is no need to install and expensive equipment and all the maintenance and upgrades are handled by the service provider. RingCentral also gives you the option wherein you can add features such as virtual services, conference calling and contact center solutions.

RingCentral offers an excellent set of features and tools for small businesses such as all the standard calling features like caller ID, call screening, auto-receptionist, hold music, call logs, message alerts, one-touch calling, call recording, call forwarding, call flip, voicemail to email or text, visual voicemail, integration with CRM platforms like Zendesk, Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, etc., video and audio conferencing, instant messaging, GLIP and a whole host of other features. RingCentral’s mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices and lets the employees make and receive calls, send and receive text messages and faxes, receive notifications, among other features their app offers.

RingCentral Office Pricing

RingCentral Office has 4 pricing plans:

Essentials

  • No. of Users: Up to 10
  • Cost: From $19.99/ user/ month
  • Video and Audio Meetings: 4 people/ meeting
  • Toll-free Minutes: 100

Standard

  • No. of Users: Unlimited
  • Cost: From $24.99/ user/ month
  • Video and Audio Meetings: 4 people/ meeting
  • Toll-free Minutes: 1,000

Includes all features of Essentials Plan plus multi-level auto-attendant, internet fax and call logs.

Premium

  • No. of Users: Unlimited
  • Cost: From $34.99/ user/ month
  • Video and Audio Meetings: 100 people/ meeting
  • Toll-free Minutes: 2,500

Includes all features of Standard Plan plus multi-site support, automatic call recording, single sign-on, voicemail to text, custom app development and deployment, integration with Zendesk, Desk.com and Salesforce.

Ultimate

  • No. of Users: Unlimited
  • Cost: From $49.99/ user/ month
  • Video and Audio Meetings: 200 people/ meeting
  • Toll-free Minutes: 10,000

Includes all features of the Premium Plan.

All the RingCentral Office plans include unlimited calls to the US and Canada, unlimited business SMS, mobile app access for Android and iOS devices, visual voicemail, HD voice, voicemail to email, instant messaging, file sharing, chat rooms, 24×7 customer support and integration with Google, Box, Okta and Microsoft. RingCentral offers all business users a 30-day free trial.

So, overall, as a business phone system, RingCentral offers unlimited calling, a variety of features, scalable plans and the mobility you require for your business. RingCentral offers 24×7 tech and customer support and it also allows you to port your existing number or create a new vanity number for your business. RingCentral offers you the option of either purchasing or renting IP phones that can be just plugged in and is then ready to make calls. So, it is not very surprising that with all this on offer, RingCentral is a firm favorite with both big, as well as, small businesses.

Other Business Phone Options You May Like To Compare


Other Providers Below I No Longer Use Or Recommend (too expensive, and lock you into contracts!)

CenturyLink

The 2nd largest communications provider to global business customers, CenturyLink serves customers in over 60 countries. It is a complete service provider which offers communication solutions to businesses, enterprise, medium and small and also for homes. CenturyLink offers solutions for the internet, TV packages, residential and business phone systems.

CenturyLink landline business phones are ideal if you:

  • Conduct conference calls regularly.
  • Require your phones to work even in the case of internet or power outages.
  • You use the phone lines for credit card transactions, fax machines or alarm systems.

Advantages of Centurylink Landline Business Phone Services

  • The voice quality of CenturyLink phone services is crystal clear and the connection is completely secure.
  • CenturyLink phone services offers unlimited local calls at a very low per month price.
  • The phones remain functional even if there are power and internet outages.
  • Offers a wide range of calling features.
  • CenturyLink offers international calling plans and you can make unlimited calls to over 100 countries.
  • Offers advanced features and extra extensions with additional PBX hardware.

Features of CenturyLink Landline Business Phone

CenturyLink’s phone services offer a wide range of features such as caller waiting, call waiting ID, hunting, business voicemail, last call return, 3-way calling, personal ringtones and inside wire maintenance.

CenturyLink Landline Business Phone Pricing

  • Pricing packages for landline phones start at $20 per month.
  • 1st line + internet (for 2 years), you get E-bill and Autopay.
  • The service is also available at a standalone pricing and you can also opt for additional lines if required.

AT&T

The world leader in communications, technology, media and entertainment, AT&T Inc. is a Fortune 10 company. AT&T Communications provides various communication services including broadband, video and mobile services to over 3 million companies and consumers based in the US. In 2017, the revenues of AT&T Communications were around $150 billion.

AT&T Communications offers dependable phone services that are perfect for your business. The phone service from AT&T offers value and reliable service. It makes use of call management features that are flexible and the AT&T Unified Messaging feature integrates voicemail along with email. With AT&T, you can save money by bundling the phone and internet service. The AT&T phone services enable you to expand your business capabilities.

AT&T allows you to utilize your existing landline business phones and take advantage of the several calling features it boasts of. The phone service also offers a VoIP-based option that combines the features of analog phones and offers more functionality that is not available on conventional landline phones in order to boost productivity. AT&T has a user-friendly website which allows you to manage the calling features, voicemail, call preferences, etc.

AT&T Business Phone Features

  • The AT&T business phone offers standard calling features such as call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, 3-way calling, call transfer and other advanced features such as:
    • Voicemail: It provides a common voicemail box for both the AT&T and office numbers.
    • Voicemail to text transcriptions and notifications.
    • Locate Me: Allows the incoming calls to ring on several landline or wireless phone numbers simultaneously till the call is answered or it is forwarded to voicemail.
    • Flexible Name or Caller ID: Gives the option to display the caller ID number and name of any of the additional lines on the outgoing calls.
    • Call Logs and Click to Call: Allows you to use your PC like a mobile device and see all calls, also the missed ones and lets you call the number easily with just a click.
    • Web Portal: Lets you manage the features of your phone system, make modifications to the service, run reports, etc.

Why Choose the AT&T Business Phone System?

  • AT&T offers competitively priced, flexible services to meet the communication requirements of your business.
  • The innovative solutions, features and tools are designed to meet the requirements of your small business or home-based office.
  • AT&T can also purchase solutions required by you from another service provider if required.

AT&T Pricing

Local Unlimited Calling

  • Cost: From $60 / month

Includes unlimited local calling, caller ID number and name, 12-month agreement, includes 1 phone line and you can add up to 9 lines additionally.

Unlimited Local + Long-Distance Calling

  • Cost: From $75 / month

Includes unlimited local and long-distance calling, caller ID number and name, 12-month agreement, includes 1 phone line and you can add up to 9 lines additionally.

Overall, AT&T’s phone service for small businesses depends completely on the type of your business and what are your growth plans for your business in the future. Also, the service depends on the location of your business. AT&T is ideal if your business requires a basic phone service in a local area. If you require long-distance calling and international plans that are cost effective, you may not be able to find it with AT&T and in addition to your monthly fee, you may have to pay an international rate too.

While several businesses today are moving to VoIP-based phone systems like RingCentral that offer several benefits including features, tools, several pricing plans, customization, flexibility and scalability, many small businesses are still using landlines like AT&T and CenturyLink. Although landlines are outdated, they still offer unmatchable reliability. So, the choice of the right phone system for your small business really depends on the requirements of your business and the growth plans in the future.

 

 

 

 

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