Jive Communications and Phonebooth, when you compare the two, have radically different business models. Phonebooth offers a flat $20 per user per month, with very few options, and a sharp contrast in features compared to most other VoIP providers. Jive’s website certainly lacked the flair of Phonebooth, but when you watched the videos, Jive Core, the Jive GUI, was simple and easy to understand. Jive has a hefty feature set, at a comparable price range. In fact, Jive recently lowered their price so that customers with over 50 users are $19.95 each, the same price as Phonebooth. So what will you get for $20 a month? Let’s see the chart for the tale of the tape, as we compare Jive and Phonebooth.com

Features/Services Compared Jive Communications Phonebooth
Monthly Cost of Cheapest Service $19.95/mo (51+USERS) $20.00
Amount of Employees Per Suggested Pricing Tiers 1-4, 5-9, 10-24- 25-49, 50+ n/a
Monthly Price per Extension, Unlimited U.S. & Canada Plans Tier 1: 1-4 users, $29.05/mo
Tier 2: 5-9 users, $25.95/mo
Tier 3: 10-24 users, $23.95/mo
Tier 4: 25-49 users, $21.95/mo
Tier 5: 50+users, $19.95/mo
Call Group/Simultaneous Ring Unlimited Unlimited
Call recording $0.02/min, no setup fee in Beta, currently unavailable
Cloud integration Microsoft None
Conference Bridge Up to Ten Up to Eight
Fax Options, Paper No paper fax support No paper fax support
Fax Options, Paperless Unlimited No paperless fax support
Group Paging/Intercom Free n/a
International Rates Per Country Per Minute Per Country Per Minute
Metered Plans n/a n/a
Mobile App Compatibility Compatible with SIP clients None (see article)
Number Porting $15.00 $25 for PB free
On-Hold Music Choice of eight, plus option of custom music Option of up to five custom music files
Overhead Paging Compatible n/a
Prepay/Contract Option Option of free phones w/ 3 year contract n/a
Professional Voice Actor Option n/a n/a
Setup fee Free Free
Softphone Compatible with SIP clients 2 softphone licenses per seat
Switchboard Software for Live Receptionist n/a n/a
Tech Support, Online Tech support & sales chat Online forum & blog
Tech Support, Phone 24/7, US Based 24/7, US Based
Toll Free $4.95/mo $1/number + 2.9c/min
Trial n/a Accepts application to PB Free, otherwise n/a
Virtual # $4.95/mo, 1 included free 1 included, $1/mo
Voicemail Transcription n/a Unlimited

Shared Features: Standard Call Features, Advanced Call Hunting, Auto Attendant, Conference Calling, Call Analytics, Call Rules, Call Park, Desktop Integration, find me/follow me, Dial-By-Name Directory, Click2Dial widget, Enhanced Voice Mail, Find Me/Follow Me, Holiday/Custom Scheduling, Music, Web Portal

Jive Exclusive Features: SIP credentials, online fax, intercom

Phonebooth Exclusive Features: Unlimited Voicemail Transcription

First, and this is a very important feature, Phonebooth has NO support for faxing. Not paper faxing, not fax to email, not email to fax. If you want to send or receive a fax with Phonebooth, you have no choice but to use a separate fax service, such as e-fax. Phonebooth does not even have a recommended fax or paperless fax provider. Jive, for its part, only supports paperless faxes, but paperless fax is included, and is free, unless you want to pay for a dedicated fax number.

Jive does not have their own app, but they do support SIP, as do most VoIP providers. Phonebooth does NOT give out SIP credentials. It came as a huge surprise to me when I found out that Phonebooth has an entire sister company, Phonebooth Mobile, for business phones. The mobile phone category was an entirely different class of business solutions, not an add-on for their existing service; in fact there wasn’t even a hyperlink from Phonebooth.com to Phoneboothmobile.com. In fact, it looked like Phonebooth on Demand was becoming an add-on for Phonebooth Mobile.

One area where both Jive and Phonebooth were evenly matched was technical support. Both offered 24/7 US-based phone support; Phonebooth had a forum, which included a suggestion box for new features, and Jive had online chat support. Jive had online support tickets.

In terms of initial capital investment, Phonebooth had fair deals on IP phones on their website, and Jive had the option of free or discounted phones with a three year contract. Three years is a long commitment, though.

Phonebooth offers a great toll free plan of $1 for the number and 2.9 cents per minute. Jive toll free is $4.95/mo, the same price as a virtual number. Both companies give you two local numbers to start with.

Jive offers call recording for 2 cents a minute, with no activation of setup fee. As of this writing, call recording is in Beta for Phonebooth, and unavailable to the public.

Phonebooth also lacked in any sort of cloud integration, and would not support Microsoft Outlook. Jive does.

Phonebooth had one serious Ace up their sleeves: Voicemail Transcription. As we’ve seen in our videos, VMT can save you a lot of time compared to listening to voicemail—up to 300 hours per year, they claim. Plus, if you don’t check your voicemail, you might miss out on crucial information.

The Final Bell: Phonebooth certainly is lacking in a number of features, but what they offer, they offer as much as you can handle: Unlimited minutes, auto attendants, voicemail transcription, and unlimited 8-way calls. Jive offers a hefty feature set at a price only slightly higher than Phonebooth, but also eschews some tools that established businesses need to in order achieve that low price. Both companies have their own private network with superior HD voice.

If voicemail transcription is your favorite, then Phonebooth is your choice among all other VoIP providers. Phonebooth also has a great GUI, and that has led them to be the choice of internet-based services like Pandora and Living Social.

Jive Communications, though, has a stronger feature set, and the price is comparable, especially if your company has over 50 users, or is willing to sign a three-year contract.

My ruling? If you have under 10 employees, Phonebooth is the choice for you. The larger your company is, the more I’d lean toward Jive.

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