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The best VoIP providers and phones

Covering the key features, costs, and pros and cons of each, we compare five top VoIP service providers and explore what each system is best for...

The best VoIP providers in the UK include:

01 | Datatel Networks
02 | Gradwell Communications
03 | Lily Communications
04 | Mitel Networks
05 | 8×8 Solutions

Enabling you to make and receive phone calls via the internet (instead of over traditional phone lines), VoIP technology comes with countless benefits; including clearer call quality and much cheaper – or even free – phone calls.

Offering up VoIP computer software, smartphone apps and (sometimes) dedicated VoIP phones in place of conventional telephone systems, there are countless VoIP providers out there – but which one is right for your small business?

To help in your search, we’ve scoured high and low to bring you five of the best VoIP providers in the UK. Read on to find out what they can do, what they’re best for, and the pros and cons of each…

VoIP provider Review Price
Datatel Networks Best for support Prices available on request
Gradwell Communications Best for affordability From £12 per month
Lily Communications Best for ease of use Prices available on request
Mitel Networks Best for modernity Prices available on request
8×8 Solutions Best for scalability Prices available on request

If you’re keen to learn more about VoIP first – including what exactly it is, how it works and the technology’s benefits and drawbacks – take a look at our comprehensive guide to VoIP here.

Datatel Networks: Best VoIP for support

Datatel Networks’ key VoIP system

Datatel Networks provides VoIP software called Horizon, and provides some of the best VoIP phones from manufacturers like Yealink, Cisco and Polycom.

That being said, the software portal is also accessible from mobile devices.

Using Datatel Networks’ Horizon system, you can:

  • Use auto attendant to set up call routing
  • Add personalised hold music
  • Record calls for quality and auditing purposes
  • Partake in conference calls
  • Set up voicemail-to-email services, so you never miss a message
  • Set up mobile twinning – or ‘follow me’ – capabilities, so you can continue making VoIP calls on your mobile
  • Set up disaster recovery
  • Enable remote working and hot desking
  • Run a cohesive communications system across multiple offices (if you have them)

Not only the above, but this VoIP phone system comes with CRM (customer relationship management) integration, enabling you to collate data from your customers, and keep them engaged and buying from you.

This system also enables automated call fraud protection, so you can feel safe in accepting and following up on the calls you recieve.

Datatel Networks charges for phone calls with a fixed monthly charge – however, it does ask that you get in touch with the company in order to receive a custom quote based on your business’ needs.

Why Datatel Networks is best for support

Datatel offers three levels of customer care – Standard, Prompt or Total – depending on your subscription level, each of which provides support, maintenance and repairs to high standards, with rigid timeframes set for the length of time responses should take.

Each service level provides very fast responses to fault reports – even Standard Care promises to respond to reports by the end of the next working day. Meanwhile, the Total Care support line, which is open 24/7, promises that engineers will respond to urgent fault reports within just four hours.

Moreover, Datatel says its customers are always kept abreast of the progress of their fault reports, with regular updates.

Datatel Networks’ pros and cons

24/7 support and repair available ✘ Unclear pricing
VoIP phones available with the package
One simple portal

Gradwell Communications: Best VoIP for affordability

Gradwell Communications’ key VoIP system

Gradwell Communications, also known as Gradwell, provides award-winning VoIP services to businesses of all sizes.

Gradwell provides three set VoIP packages, each of which comes with a free Yealink T19 VoIP phone per user, and enables 16 handy features – including hunt groups, voicemail-to-email services, and queue capabilities.

The Gradwell VoIP package that’s right for you will depend on the size of your business, and the amount of phone calls you or your team will need to make:

  • The standard VoIP package. At £12 per month per user, this package is designed for sole traders or small businesses that are just starting out. It comes with 500 landline minutes.
  • The ‘Plus’ VoIP package. At £16 per month per user, Gradwell’s bestselling package comes with everything a larger business – with multiple sites – will need to make VoIP calls. The plan includes 1,000 landline or mobile minutes.
  • The ‘Pro’ VoIP package. At £20 per month per user, this professional plan is designed for even larger businesses with multiple locations. It comes with 3,000 landline minutes and 1,000 mobile minutes.

The above packages are available on 24-month contracts. However, Gradwell also offers a bespoke plan called the ‘Enterprise’ VoIP package, which can be built to your business’ requirements on flexible contract terms.

For additional costs, you can choose from a range of bolt-ons to add to your Gradwell VoIP package. These include:

  • Keeping your existing phone number instead of gaining a new one
  • Call forwarding capabilities
  • Call recording capabilities
  • The ability to call international numbers at no additional charge
  • Choosing a memorable phone number for your business
  • Voicemail-to-text and voicemail-to-email services
  • Fax-to-email and email-to-fax services
  • Having your business’ number listed on the BT directory enquiries service

Why Gradwell Communications is best for affordability

With a focus on keeping costs low and providing excellent return on investment to its customers, Gradwell provides per-second billing (as opposed to per-minute billing) for both local and international calls.

This means that Gradwell’s call charges are as accurate as possible, and customers don’t end up paying for time that they haven’t used.

Gradwell Communications’ pros and cons

Transparent pricing ✘ Some features cost extra
Free on-boarding service
Free VoIP phones provided
Speedy setup

Lily Communications: Best VoIP for ease of use

Lily Communications’ key VoIP system

Supplying over 2,500 businesses across the UK – including the NHS, Citroen, Specsavers and the Human Rights Commission – Lily Communications offers an award-winning VoIP communications system called Lily Horizon which, as you might have guessed, operates with the same Horizon software as Datatel Networks.

A complete VoIP phone system designed specifically for small businesses, the Lily Horizon package comes with easy-to-use VoIP software, accessible through a simple web portal.

Using this portal, you can:

  • Transfer, record, park and hold calls (with hold music)
  • Bar particular numbers or anonymous callers
  • View your call history
  • Use auto attendant to set up call routing
  • Establish hunt groups to distribute calls across the team
  • Perform group phone calls
  • Set up automatic callbacks
  • Set up notification emails for when you miss a call
  • Enable your staff to display when they’re free to take a call using lamp keys
  • Manage your phone system preferences

…And plenty more!

The Horizon package includes hardware-based VoIP phones from a range of manufacturers, including Cisco and Polycom. That being said, the software’s also accessible via mobile, so you and your team can continue to make VoIP calls and access the portal on the go.

Like many VoIP phone systems, Lily Horizon is fully-hosted, meaning that it’s hosted in the cloud rather than in your business’ premises – this means you won’t lose any important settings or data should something happen to your computer hardware.

Why Lily Communications is best for ease of use

With one simple, comprehensive web portal, Lily’s Horizon package makes it easy for you to manage your VoIP call settings and view performance and customer data on one easy to use platform.

Lily Communications’ pros and cons

VoIP phones available with the package ✘ Unclear pricing
Designed for small businesses
One simple portal

Mitel Networks: Best VoIP for modernity

Mitel Networks’ key VoIP system

Often referred to as Mitel, Mitel Networks offers a number of VoIP communication systems for business operations.

For small businesses in particular, Mitel recommends its MiCloud Office system. Eschewing the traditional nine-to-five office setting, MiCloud Office was designed with today’s more mobile, flexible workforce in mind, and is – as Mitel says – primarily “millennial-focused”.

Designed for use through smartphone apps and PC softphones (rather than for use with hardware-based VoIP phones), MiCloud Office comes with a dazzling variety of features, including:

  • Unlimited local and long-distance calling
  • Call transfers, forwarding, recording, parking, and holding (with hold music)
  • Caller ID for both inbound and outbound calls
  • Business SMS
  • Video chats and group chats
  • Real-time reporting and call analytics
  • Conference bridge call-ins and outs
  • A user portal
  • Voicemail-to-email services

Impressively, MiCloud Office also enables integration with CRM (customer relationship management) apps, which can help you to keep your regulars happy, engaged and buying from your business.

If you’d rather use a physical phone than a softphone, MiCloud Office also comes with ATA (analogue telephone adapter) compatibility, enabling you to easily convert your existing conventional phones into VoIP phones to be used with the MiCloud software.

Alongside MiCloud Office, you might also choose to purchase MiTeam – a smartphone platform designed to help remote team members collaborate, communicate and view data in one place. This could be a great solution for you if your team’s made up of freelancers or staff who work from home.

Mitel Networks doesn’t provide a standardised pricing structure, and instead asks that you get in touch with the company to request a custom quote.

Why Mitel Networks is best for modernity

The UK workforce is enamoured with flexible working, and today more and more employees are either choosing to work from home, or vetoing traditional nine-to-five hours to work at times that suit them best (think parents with school runs and childcare to think of).

With this in mind, MiCloud Office and MiTeam’s focus on mobile productivity is a forward-thinking one, enabling this modern, flexible approach to business.

Plus, with today’s smartphones becoming as powerfully clever as computers, the appeal of using them – instead of cumbersome desktops and laptops – for work is only going to get stronger.

Mitel Networks’ pros and cons

Dedicated offerings for small businesses ✘ Unclear pricing
Future-proof mobile technology
No hidden costs
Speedy setup

8×8 Solutions: Best VoIP for scalability

8×8’s key VoIP system

A leading provider of cloud communications and customer engagement technology, 8×8 serves businesses of all sizes – but has a special focus on setting small businesses up with VoIP systems.

8×8’s primary VoIP product is the X Series cloud-based solution: a full software system which not only incorporates VoIP voice calls, but also video chats, meeting dial-ins and collaboration tools.

X Series comes in four different plans – however, features from each can be mixed and matched to create the most useful package for you:

  • X2: The basic integrated communications package
  • X4: 8×8’s bestselling plan, X4 includes all the features of X2, plus tools for unlimited global calling
  • X6: All the features of X4, plus tools designed to boost your business’ speed and efficiency
  • X8: All the features of X6, plus tools designed to improve the experience your customers have while communicating with you

Due to the customisable nature of 8×8’s X Series plans, the company does not present one-size-fits-all pricing, and instead asks that potential customers get in touch to discuss their needs and request a bespoke quote.

As well as X Series, 8×8 also provides a cloud-based virtual office system, so small businesses who don’t yet have a long-term, dedicated premises can keep in seamless contact with customers from any location.

NB: 8×8’s VoIP packages don’t come with any hardware like desktop VoIP phones. These can, however, be bought separately from 8×8.

Why 8×8 is best for scalability

8×8 shows a particular dedication to scaling with your business. The company makes it easy for you to buy additional hardware-based VoIP phones as your team grows – if you choose to use VoIP phones instead of softphones – and make changes to your package as needed.

8×8’s pros and cons

Dedicated offering for small businesses ✘ Unclear pricing
Customisable packages ✘ Hardware must be bought separately
Easily scalable
One month free when you sign up

What’s next?

Now you should have an idea of what some of the best VoIP apps, software and providers in the UK look like, and what they can offer your small business.

However, if you’re still not 100% sure which is right for you, the best thing to do is speak directly to VoIP system providers. We can help you there.

Simply fill in the form at the top of this page, and you’ll receive custom quotes from the phone system suppliers that can provide what your business needs. This process is free and fast – get started today!

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