Ooma is one of the top names in residential VoIP, and RingCentral is one of the most popular hosted PBX providers. Ooma has expanded into business VoIP with an emphasis on home and small businesses. RingCentral has similarly expanded from unlimited minute plans to also having on-the-go plans that you can tailor for the size of your business. With 28 million small businesses in the US, and 22 millions self-employed, the competition to provide phone services to smaller businesses is fierce. Today we compare RingCentral Professional and Ooma Office.
First, an introduction to the two services. Ooma Office, like its residential counterpart, relies on on-premise hardware. The equipment is not a hulking PBX in a basement somewhere, but a small device that connects legacy telephones to the Internet. The device has more in common with an analog telephone adapter than with old-fashioned PBX boxed. Ooma uses extensions using their devices and virtual extensions that route through other phones, like cell phones. One of Ooma’s unique hardware is the Linx. The Linx plugs into the wall for power, and has a jack for PSTN phones. It connects wirelessly to the Ooma Office Box, so you can have up to five extensions. Ooma does not offer IP phones.
RingCentral Professional only requires a dial tone to make and receive calls. You can use an IP phone, a legacy phone, a cell phone, the RingCentral app, or a softphone. Like Ooma, it gives you the features of a much larger business in a small package.
Comparing Minutes and Extensions:
RingCentral Professional has three tiers, which are Pro, ProPlus, and ProPower. Pro includes 300 minutes for $9.99/mo, with 2 extensions and paperless fax. ProPlus includes 1,000 minutes for $19.99/mo, and adds a dial-by-name directory and a dedicated fax number with 5 extensions. ProPower boasts 1,000 toll inbound free minutes and 2,000 regular minutes, with 10 extensions. All three plans let you add virtual extensions for $2.99/mo, and add additional phone or fax numbers for $4.99/mo each. Pro has web support, while ProPlus and ProPower have both web and 24/7 phone support.
Ooma gives you unlimited minutes monthly, but charges for individual extensions. The $19.98/mo price includes your first phone number and extension. Additional extensions, either real or virtual, are $9.99/mo each. Note that in order to begin the service, you have to pay an upfront cost of $249.99 for the Ooma Office Box, which includes two Linx devices to wirelessly connect legacy phones. Additional Linx devices are $50 each. The Ooma Office Box supports a wired phone connection and up to four Linx devices, which gives you five physical extensions. You can add up to 15 virtual extensions outside the office (i.e. cell phones). Once you’ve reached five phones, you can add additional capacity (lines), up to ten. In total, it’s five calls on hold, five calls in process, and up to 15 calls that go straight to the virtual extensions. Ooma has 24/7 phone support.
Both Ooma Office and RingCentral Professional come loaded with features.
- Caller-ID and Name
- E911 service
- Auto Attendant
- Simultaneous and sequential ring
- Voicemail to email
- Call transfer
- Call log
- Call routing/hours
- Ring groups
- Music on hold
- Conference bridge
- Call forwarding
- Voicemail forwarding
RingCentral does have features that Ooma Office does not, such as:
- Toll Free & Vanity Numbers – $30 one-time activation charge
- Call Queues – Ooma does not support call queues, although the auto-attendant will route calls.
- Softphone – Ooma does not support either a native softphone or a native mobile app
- Integration – RingCentral supports MS Office, Box, and DropBox cloud integration
- Click-to-call – RingCentral supports both outbound Click-to-call and inbound Click-to-call widget, but Ooma does not have this feature yet.
Ooma offers a conference bridge that can support up to ten callers. For 9.99/mo, Ooma Office subscribers can get ten rooms that each hold ten participants. Ooma supports unlimited paperless fax for $9.99/mo, a feature that RingCentral Professional also supports, but it uses up one minute per fax sent or received.
The Final Bell:
When comparing the two providers, it helps to imagine the type of business being best served by this model. Ooma has in mind the home office user. It supports PSTN phones with up to 15 additional virtual extensions. The real power in Ooma Office comes from its Ooma Office Box, which connects legacy phones to the Ooma system, which does all the heavy lifting. The Ooma Box, which comes with two Linx devices, is comparable in price to about two entry-level IP phones. For small businesses that make a lot of calls, it’s a great choice, and can save money compared to expensive PBX contracts. It really bridges the gap between having just a phone or two, and having a business-class phone system.
RingCentral Professional imagines a small, nimble workforce operating anywhere. You can receive calls on a laptop or smartphone app. Actually, the service isn’t tied to any one phone, so you can dial in from home or the office. Unlike Ooma, you don’t need hardware, just a dial tone. Light usage plans come standard with only a few extensions. If you’re a heavy user, it may pay to move up to RingCentral Office.
RingCentral Professional really brings its A-game. You get many of the same features available on the more expensive RingCentral Office. Vonage, Ooma’s closest residential competitor, once offered a PBX-in-a-box system similar to theirs, but later scrapped it, deciding it was better to acquire Vocalocity and use their platform. Ooma makes for great niche product that fits in the pocket between low-minute plans the likes of RingCentral Professional, Phone.com, and Grasshopper, and expensive plans like those offered by RingCentral Office, 8×8, and Nextiva.