Last updated on 01/18/2014…

RingCentral and 8×8 are both heavyweights in business VoIP, but who is the undisputed leader? In this edition of Head To Head, we take a second look at both RingCentral and 8×8, and compare two large-scale business VoIP providers. Both RingCentral and 8×8 are pushing their customers in the direction of unified communications and collaboration. Simply having a phone number is not enough. 8×8 and RingCentral specialize in top-to-bottom communication infrastructure.

The very things that make 8×8 and RingCentral such great services also work against them when trying to compare the two. Search for “RingCentral Softphone,” and you end up in RingCentral Mobile features. Search for “8×8 International Calls” and your first result is 8×8 Mobile.

Features/Services Compared 8x8, Inc
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Monthly Cost of Cheapest Service $19.99/mo $19.99/mo
Amount of Lines Per Pricing Tiers <5, 6-20, 21-50, 51-100, 101-500, 500+ 1, 2-19, 20-99, 100+
Monthly Price per Extension, Unlimited U.S. & Canada Plans $19.99/mo, (offers price match) 1 User: $34.99
2-19 Users: $29.00
20-99 Users: $21.99
100+ Users:$19.99
Free Mobile App Compatibility iOS, Android iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Tech Support Hours & Location 8AM-Midnight Eastern, US-Based 24/7
US and Outsourced Centers
Fax Options/Prices – Unlimited US/Canada Fax $40/month, $30 fee, $60 fax machine
– Metered fax: $16/month, $30 fee, $60 fax machine
– Unlimited fax extension: $40/month, $30 fee, fax included in above plan
– Metered Fax extension: $15/month, $30 fee, fax included in above plan
– Fax 500, $7.99/month: 500 Pages, $0.59 add’l pages.
– Fax 1000, $19.99/month: 1000 pages, $0.59 add’l pages.
– Fax 2500, $49.99/month: 2500 pages, $.0.39 add’l pages. Send faxes by email or PC
– Fax ProUnlimited, $39.00/month, unlimited faxes
– Other options: Add’l fax numbers $4.99/month. Vanity number $30 fee
Conference Bridge/Virtual Conference Up to 20 callers at once, free Unlimited callers via softphone (bandwidth permitting)
On-Hold Music Choice of over 100, plus option of using professional services (min $63) Choice of 15, plus option of uploading your own MP3s
Toll-Free Number $9.99 activation fee plus:
150 minutes/month $4.99
1,500 minutes/month $39.99
5,000 minutes/month $94.99
20,000 minutes/month $359.99
50,000 minutes/month $849.99
1000 toll-free minutes included (phone number NOT included)
Switchboard Software for Live Receptionist $19.99/mo, $9.99 fee n/a
Suggested Phone Model Polycom IP 550 Polycom IP 335
Cost of Number Porting Free Free
Virtual Extensions $9.99/mo, $19.99 fee, $0.029/min if forwarded to PSTN # Professional: 5 extensions, Business Plus: 10 extensions, Business Power: 20 extensions, Business Premium: 100 extensions
Option to have greetings recorded by professional voice actors Yes Yes
Setup Fee Free Free
Money Back Guarantee 30 Days, no s/h refund, user responsible for charges incurred No-risk 30 day trial for up to 20 users. 20+ user plans offer up to four user refunds
International Calling, Unlimited $79.99/mo, $39.99 fee, Unmetered n/a
Yearly Discounted Cost $350/yr, $39.99 activation fee Up to 33% savings
White Glove Service Professional Installation Service, $175 for two extensions, $49.99/ add’l hard phone installation Implementation advisor phone support, free
Softphone $9.99/mo, $9.99 fee, 200 out-of-network minutes/mo Part of Mobile Upgrade, $9.99/mo
Overhead Paging/Intercom (Does not include equipment costs) Third party equipment compatible, $59.99 equipment charge for adapter, $9.99 activation fee, no ongoing fee Third party equipment compatible, each zone counts as extension
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8×8 offers a “professional installation” package. For about $50 per phone, you can have a specialist help with on-site setups, covering everything from unboxing to making test calls. Both RingCentral and 8×8, Inc. offer free over-the-phone walkthroughs, but only 8×8 offers on-site installation.

I took a detailed look at the on-hold music and professional voice actor options. 8×8 promises over 100, while RingCentral offers about 15 on-hold and ringback songs. They both give you the option of your own music. 8×8’s web site had a direct portal to their voice recording store, which had samples of over dozen voices in different dialects (e.g., English, Australian, Spanish w/translation). RingCentral, on the other hand, had a video. Buying a professional voice from 8×8 may cost you more, but the process itself has a more professional feel to it with 8×8.

RingCentral had per-minute per-country rates, which, don’t forget, are very cheap. 8×8, on the other hand, had a few different options for international calls. The unlimited extension plan offered free calls to the U.S., Canada, and a handful of other countries in Europe. The global extension included unlimited calling to 35 more countries. Aside from cell phones, there’s a good change that a typical business won’t even need the global extension because the unlimited extension covers France, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.

RingCentral, for their part, offers 24/7 tech support, and BlackBerry Mobile compatibility, which 8×8 do not. I found the experience of dealing with 8×8’s and RingCentral’s site easy. If you can get a good understanding of exactly what options you need and don’t need, 8×8 is probably for you. If you want a little more simplicity, go with RingCentral. RingCentral is, of course, at the highest level of large-scale business VoIP. But if you find yourself getting bogged down with options, RingCentral is the way to go. You won’t need to get someone to come to your office and take a phone out of a box. That part’s easy.

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