Competitive SOHO VoIP Solutions Great for Consumers

SOHO stands for small office and home office, and refers specifically to business telephone packages catered to customers operating out of and under that description. Traditionally, phone systems were way too expensive and impractical for either of the two, though the features were of course desired. The introduction of VoIP has changed all this, with many major providers offering feature-rich, unlimited packages, generally in or around the $20-30 per month range.

SOHO VoIP systems most typically include an auto attendant, voicemail to email, find me/follow me, and other basic features. The attraction of these packages is essentially that any business of any size, whether it be one employee or more, can customize their network to receive and handle calls in the same manner a large company’s IP PBX might. SOHO packages are especially alluring, since they are cheap, and arguably could be utilized without any hardware besides a PC, using a softphone or the like. Also, many providers will supply an ATA (for a monthly fee) and sell/provide IP Phones directly to consolidate all facets of VoIP implementation into one place, making things easy on the customer.

Prices remain competitive and low for SOHO VoIP, being many providers aggressively market towards small business – there is a wide open market and demand for these packages. The amount of perks and flexibility with SOHO VoIP is the biggest selling point, and as providers are aware of this, they are constantly vying to bring the easiest, cheapest, most versatile VoIP services for small and home offices. The following are some examples of major providers and what they might offer under their competitive small office/home office packages:

Compare ​SOHO VoIP Providers & Plans

​Provider Nextiva Vocalocity 8x8, Inc. RingCentral Jive
​SOHO Service Package Connect 360 ULTD. Unlimited Extension Virtual Office Unlimited (4)User Unlimited Jive
​Price $22/month $25/month $30/month $30/month $22/mo (unlimited extensions)
​Minutes Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Inbound (2500 outbound/user)
​Contract Month-to-Month Month-to-Month Month-to-Month Month-to-Month Month-to-Month
​International Rates Metered Rates Metered Rates 9 Free
Countries
Metered Rates Metered Rates
​Tech Support US-Based
Mon-Fri 9AM-9PM EST
US-Based
9AM-9PM EST
US-Based
8AM-Midnight EST
US
& Outsourced
24/7
US-Based
24/7
ATA Available for sale Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
​IP Phones For Sale Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hardware Support SIP/BYOD SIP/BYOD SIP/BYOD SIP/BYOD SIP/BYOD
​Cost of Setup Free Free $39.99 Free $200
​Cancellation Fee None None $59.99 None None
​Satisfaction Guarantee 30-Day Trial w/ Full Refund (up to 500 minutes) N/A 30-Day
(Customer must pay
S&H plus
incurred charges)
30-Day
Trial
w/Full Refund
N/A

See Also:
Small Business VoIP Start-Up Guide
Upgrade to VoIP, There’s No Reason Not To
Business VoIP Buyer’s Guide: 10 Questions to Ask

8×8, Inc: Setting Up Auto Attendant & Call Groups

8×8, Inc. offers a lot of great features that may be accessed in the Account Manager Portal. Once users are accustomed to navigating the menus within, they'll find the ease of use along with the amount of options to be a driving force for their business. There's a lot to be said about a dedicated, completely digital and on-screen way to manage and customize your business VoIP phone service. In this video, there are detailed instructions and menus to get you started by setting up your auto attendant and call hunting groups to make sure calls never go unanswered and are addressed/directed properly in the event they do:

Also included with 8×8 service, is Virtual Office, a refined dashboard where users can log on and tap into their office infrastructure and even dial out through the softphone. Not limited to only these features, the 8×8 customer can schedule meetings, and hold conferences via the webcam and microphone ready program. In my next video, I'll showcase some of the finer features of the web-based dashboard such as setting call forwarding and initiating videoconferences. Stay tuned…

See Also:
Vocalocity vs. 8×8 – Comparison Chart
8×8 VoIP Technical Walkthrough & Installation
8×8 Signing Up For the Phone Experience