RingCentral is one of the leading VoIP providers for businesses. It’s a fairly advanced business phone service that offers key features that many large businesses and enterprises need. But when you’re running a startup or small business, a RingCentral alternative may be a better fit for your team.
RingCentral’s product and business model caters to “mid-market” companies. These are businesses that aren’t Fortune 500 companies but also aren’t small businesses with just a few dozen employees.
Even though RingCentral is cheaper than landline phone systems, it’s still more costly than other VoIP services that offer the same amount of (or even more) features. And it’s hard to use. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT person on the team.
In this post, we’ll go into the details of what RingCentral offers, why it might not be the right fit for a startup, and what startups and small businesses can use instead.
Is RingCentral the best virtual phone system for your business?
RingCentral supports many must-have cloud phone system features. From basic call management and text messaging options to a contact center add-on that helps teams provide customer support, the platform is optimized for professional use. But with RingCentral, small business owners may end up paying a lot without getting a ton in return.
Here’s why RingCentral isn’t suited for modern startups and small businesses.
RingCentral’s starting price is $29.99 per month per user, but that only includes basic features. Advanced features like video conferencing, call recording, integrations, and 24/7 support are locked behind higher-priced plans and additional fees.
If your business has a few dozen employees, RingCentral can cost more than $1,500 per month if you want to use all their features and the call center solution.
For a small team, you probably don’t want to spend so much money on your phone system every month as the costs can quickly add up.
There are plenty of RingCentral alternatives that are much more cost-effective for startups to use and easier to adopt. After all, you’re not just looking for a laundry list of features. You want a service that works and that your team likes to use.
As a product that launched 20 years ago, RingCentral has kept the user interface and aesthetic of the early 2000s web products. Not a big deal for you? Think again.
A recent study showed that 55% of employees would rather use their own phone than a desk phone. Those employees use products like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram for their personal communications. They’ll want to use a simple and slick service for work. Providing anything else results in them using their personal cellphone numbers (and you wasting money on a service nobody actually uses).
RingCentral can also leave a lot of room for error when sharing a phone number with your team. Since you can’t tell when someone else is about to send a text message or on an active call, you may accidentally reach out to the same client twice. On the flip side, some RingCentral alternatives — like OpenPhone — allow you to see when a colleague is viewing a conversation, typing, or on a call.
Like other VoIP services, RingCentral can work on mobile devices and computers. RingCentral also sells desk phones that can be used with its service. If your business currently uses desk phones and wants to switch to RingCentral, you have to ensure they support your phone in the first place. And there’s an additional cost to switch to a RingCentral desk phone.
Due to COVID-19 and the rise of remote work, many businesses are now switching off of desk phones and using their personal mobile devices and work computers to power their VoIP services.
Best features locked behind expensive plans
For modern businesses, key features like CRM and Slack integrations, real-time analytics, APIs, and 24/7 support are much needed. With RingCentral, they lock all these features behind their higher-tier price plans. If you want to integrate Salesforce, Hubspot, or another CRM with RingCentral, you have to sign up for the Premium plan, which starts at $44.99 per user per month.
Slack is a tool used by many small and growing businesses. RingCentral’s Slack integration is very limited, however. You can integrate Slack to start video calls with teammates, but that’s it — it doesn’t add any extra benefits for your phone calls. When integrating Slack with your phone system, you want an integration that can send you updates about calls through Slack and even provide voicemail transcriptions in case you can’t check your voicemail.
Unresponsive support compared to RingCentral alternatives
Due to its size, RingCentral’s customer support team is unable to effectively support all of its customers. Based on publicly available reviews, it can take days to even get a response from the support team. In addition, 24/7 support is locked behind higher-tier price plans. Here are some examples of how customers feel about RingCentral’s support:
Best RingCentral alternatives
Many RingCentral alternatives offer more features at significantly lower costs. Here are ten service providers that are better suited for small businesses and startups:
- Google Voice
- Zoom Phone
Keep reading as we look at each of these in more detail below.
1. OpenPhone vs RingCentral
OpenPhone is a feature-rich business phone system built specifically for startups, small businesses, mid-market businesses, and individuals. Simply put, OpenPhone has the same features as RingCentral, but with a modern user experience and at a better price point. (You can save up to 66% by switching to OpenPhone!)
To see how OpenPhone compares to RingCentral, below is a table comparing OpenPhone and RingCentral’s pricing and features:
|Price per month||$13 per user||$29.99 per user|
|SMS, MMS||✓||SMS only|
|Voicemail to text||✓||✓|
|Set business hours||✓||✓|
|Text message auto-replies||✓||X|
|Call recording||✓||Upon upgrade|
|Auto-attendant (phone menu)||✓||✓|
|CRM integrations||Upon upgrade||Upon upgrade|
|iOS and Android apps||✓||✓|
|Desktop apps for Mac & Windows||✓||✓|
On top of everything listed above, OpenPhone offers many powerful features for modern business phone systems including:
- Toll-free, Canada, and US numbers
- Lower international call and text rates compared to most traditional providers
- Crystal-clear audio quality
- Business hour settings
- iOS and Android mobile apps
- Browser-based and desktop apps
- Shared phone numbers for customer support
- Multiple phone numbers tied to one account
- Call forwarding and call routing
OpenPhone’s features aren’t the only great thing about it. It’s also a service that constantly implements customer feedback into the product, whereas RingCentral’s feedback boards have hundreds of feature requests that have been abandoned for years. (Check out our changelog to see what we’re up to.) As a result, OpenPhone customers rave about our service:
“We switched to OpenPhone from RingCentral during the COVID pandemic since it allowed us to work remotely without missing any calls. It allows us to have better customer service levels, quicker responses as anyone can respond to customers in real-time while traveling. We have tried other services over the years, and they didn’t have the same level of support we are getting with OpenPhone.“ — Amira Harris, president and owner, Aisle Travel™
“Way better pricing, Way better customer service, and a phone system that is always improving its functionality to better serve its customers!! That is why I switched from RingCentral to OpenPhone!” — Bob Richey, owner, Party Magic Entertainment
How to switch and port your number from RingCentral
- Create an OpenPhone account.
- Submit your porting request through the OpenPhone app.
- If desired, keep your RingCentral contacts by exporting your RingCentral contacts as a CSV file, then importing your RingCentral CSV into OpenPhone.
2. Ooma vs RingCentral
Ooma is another RingCentral alternative that allows you to manage calls and send text messages through US local numbers or through a complimentary toll-free number. With its affordable low-tier plan, you can access a mobile app that includes an auto-attendant (IVR), virtual faxing, and an overhead paging system.
Unfortunately, Ooma’s cost-effective plans — which are still far pricier than OpenPhone — come at the cost of robust features. The service doesn’t offer any integrations or analytics at all. Plus, you have to upgrade to even get access to Ooma’s desktop app.
If you do choose to upgrade, you can access the following features for less than the cost of RingCentral’s most basic plan:
- Video conferencing
- Call recording
- Voicemail transcriptions
Find out more about how these two platforms compare by checking out our Ooma vs RingCentral guide.
3. Dialpad vs RingCentral
Dialpad is a newer business phone solution compared to some of the providers mentioned here. It offers unlimited text messaging and calling in the US and Canada, voicemail greeting and transcription, and G Suite and Office 365 integrations. You can also get a fax add-on at an extra cost on the basic plan that’s priced at $15 per user per month, but if you need more integrations (for Zapier, Slack, or CRM), you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro plan.
Comparing Dialpad vs RingCentral, RingCentral offers more advanced features, but you’ll need upgrades to access them. You get unlimited calls and texts in the US and Canada, voicemail transcriptions, and document sharing on the Essentials plan (base plan) that costs $19.99 per user per month, but no integrations or MMS support.
Dialpad’s most basic plan will give you access to some features that are only available on higher-tier plans on RingCentral such as:
- Call recording
- Analytics and reporting
- MMS support
- G Suite and Office 365 integrations
Keep in mind with Dialpad you can only have on office location as a maximum with their Standard plan. Then they require you to upgrade. Their next tier plan gives you the option to text internationally and a few other features you likely already expect like the ability to sign up for multiple phone numbers. However, they require you to have at least three users on your account to access their higher-tier plan. 😬
4. Grasshopper vs RingCentral
Both Grasshopper and RingCentral have a pricing structure that’s difficult to grasp. In summary, Grasshopper follows a line-based structure, while RingCentral’s pricing is user-based. Getting Grasshopper’s Solo plan at $26 per month gives you access to all Grasshopper features, but only one phone number and three extensions. Additional phone numbers cost $10 per month each.
On the flip side, RingCentral’s Essentials plan is pretty barebones and allows up to 20 users at $19.99 per user per month. Plus, you pay an extra $15 per month each for additional phone numbers.
If you’re an enterprise user, RingCentral makes more sense. Grasshopper is a good alternative to RingCentral if you want more features for a small team. Also, Grasshopper’s Solo plan offers features that cost a lot more on RingCentral because they’re available only on the Standard or Premium plan:
- Voicemail transcriptions (upgrade required on RingCentral)
- Auto-replies (unavailable on RingCentral)
- Auto-attendant (upgrade required on RingCentral)
However comparing Grasshopper vs RingCentral, both are legacy phone solutions where customers experience issues with clunky interfaces and collaborating on communication with their teammates.
5. Nextiva vs RingCentral
Nextiva offers essential features like unlimited calling in the US and Canada, team messaging, voicemail to text, and apps for mobile and desktop. Getting started with Nextiva though isn’t simple. They require you to contact them first before you can even send any SMS messages. If you do though, you still won’t be able to send MMS messages.
Nextiva offers only Outlook/Google Contacts integrations on their base plan; RingCentral offers no integrations on the base plan. There are four pricing tiers for both services, but if you need Slack, Zapier, or CRM integrations, you’ll need to select one of the higher-tier plans.
Nextiva offers more value to small businesses, but its pricing is as complex as RingCentral’s. Both platforms require smaller teams to pay more per user, but Nextiva comes out more pocket-friendly at a starting price of $14.95 per user per month.
If you’re okay not having access to the following features, Nextiva is a great alternative to RingCentral and saves you money:
- Additional phone numbers
- Group text messaging
- Slack and Zapier integrations
Learn more about how these two platforms stack up in our RingCentral vs Nextiva guide.
6. Phone.com vs RingCentral
Phone.com is an easy-to-use business phone service that uniquely boasts HIPAA compliance with its mid-tier plan — the cost of which still makes it a cheaper RingCentral alternative.
Phone.com does offer a basic plan for just $12.99 per user per month, but all you’ll really get are one phone number, 300 minutes, and 1,000 texts monthly — usually far from enough for business use. And if we’re being honest, its mid-tier plan isn’t so impressive either, beyond the HIPAA compliance. You’ll only get unlimited calls, texts, and video conferencing (with 25 people).
The reason Phone.com makes it on this list is because its highest-tier plan is the same price as RingCentral’s basic plan — and you’ll get a number of features that RingCentral lacks. These include:
- Call analytics
- CRM integrations
- Advanced video conferencing features
- Voicemail transcriptions
Learn more about how these two platforms compare by checking out our Phone.com vs RingCentral guide.
7. Google Voice vs RingCentral
Google Voice’s platform isn’t the most feature-rich service but comes with almost all the basic features including unlimited calling, voicemail to text, and call recording (but no option to auto-record all calls).
Google Voice’s base plan costs $10 per user per month and upwards for business users. However, there’s also another cost you should factor into this pricing; Google Voice’s business communication features are only available if you have a monthly subscription worth $6 to Google Workspace.
We’ve never been fans of RingCentral’s complex and expensive pricing, but if you don’t mind spending more between Google Voice vs RingCentral, RingCentral will get you access to more features like:
- Slack, Zapier, and CRM integration
- Desktop app
- Unlimited SMS to Canada
8. RingCentral vs Zoom Phone
Zoom is a staple for video conferencing, but over the years Zoom has evolved to include UCaaS features, including VoIP phone solutions. Zoom Phone comes loaded with features including voicemail transcription, unlimited auto attendants, call recording, and hot desking.
Zoom Phone’s interface isn’t that great. Users have complained about the unintuitive Salesforce integration. While Zoom’s feature portfolio gives RingCentral a tough fight, unlimited outbound calling is only available on the Unlimited and Select plans, which makes Zoom restrictive in terms of one of the core functions of a VoIP system.
The Unlimited plan is priced at $180 per user per year (or $15 per user per year), which is still lower than RingCentral’s base plan. Plus, you’ll also get access to the following additional features that only come with an upgrade on RingCentral:
- Call recording
- CRM integration
- Hot desking
9. RingCentral vs GoToConnect
But admittedly, though GoToConnect has cheaper starting prices than RingCentral, it is still pricier than all the other alternatives on this list. You need to pay $24 per user per month for a starter plan that’s missing VoIP must-haves like call recording and voicemail to email.
If you upgrade to the next-tier plan, you’ll only save 99 cents per month compared to RingCentral, but you will get:
- Audio conferencing
- Real-time predictive analytics
- Video conferencing with 25 simultaneous webcams
10. Vonage vs RingCentral
Like RingCentral, Vonage has pretty basic low-tier features. You get access to a mobile and desktop app with unlimited calling, SMS, and team messaging. But for the same price as RingCentral’s cheapest plan, you can become a premium user to connect to a desk phone and unlock:
- Video conferencing
- CRM integrations
- An auto-attendant feature
But buyer beware: Vonage for Business does hide a lot of extra costs, like monthly fees for voicemail transcriptions, on-demand fees for call recording, and more add-on services. You could end up paying just as much as (if not more than) you would for RingCentral if you don’t keep an eye out for potential charges. Check out our guide on Vonage vs RingCentral for more info on how these two providers compare.
How we ranked RingCentral alternatives
We ranked the best RingCentral alternatives based on six factors:
- Reliability – System issues like downtime can put a blemish on your reputation. Over time, it can lead to lost customers and directly impact your top-line.
- Value for money – How much does the VoIP system return for each dollar invested? Does it save you enough money by reducing costs or offering better functionality?
- Budget – Low pricing shouldn’t be the most important thing on your list, but you still need to steer clear of cost overruns.
- Third-party integrations – Integrations can simplify workflows and bring together data into a single space. Does your VoIP system have an integration for the tools you use regularly at the company?
- Ease of use – Complex systems are a recipe for low buy-in and increased spending on training the staff. The result could be a lower ROI. Is your VoIP system easy to use or does it have a steep learning curve?
Customer support – Is customer support easy to reach? Can they offer quick solutions when you most need them?
OpenPhone: The best RingCentral alternative
If you’re looking for a RingCentral alternative, look no further than OpenPhone. ✨ With OpenPhone, you can give your business communications an upgrade by centralizing your calls, texts, and team messages. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the features your business needs at a low cost — without hidden fees.
Ready to make the switch? Start a free trial of OpenPhone today.
Emily is a freelance business and marketing writer based in the desert, though her writing is anything but dry. Her passion is writing compelling, human-friendly content that helps growing businesses perform better.