Best UK VoIP Providers for Small Businesses in 2021

Find the right VoIP provider for your small business with our in-depth reviews and recommendations.

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The last thing you want to do is waste time and money setting up a VoIP phone system that won’t fit the needs of your business, especially after the difficulties small businesses have faced during the pandemic. The last 18 months have made it clear that communications between team members, working remotely or not, is more vital than ever.

Based on our in-depth research, the best VoIP provider for small businesses is bOnline. It offers a feature-filled, small business-centric service that includes an in-depth reporting dashboard and a preset call flows editor – all at a reasonable price compared to other top providers.

But the important question is, regardless of bOnline’s title as our best VoIP provider, is it the right choice for your business?

It isn't the only game in town – RingCentral and 8×8 also have fantastic VoIP solutions. For a handy price comparison, we recommend taking a moment to get personalised VoIP pricing quotes for your business. This service is free, takes just minutes, and there are zero obligations on your part.

Or, if you want to carry out further research, read on for our review of the best VoIP providers. We’ll also give you some top tips on choosing the service most suited to your business’s needs, and explain the benefits of using a VoIP phone system.

Compare VoIP Telephone System Quotes Do you already have a VoIP Phone System? It only takes two minutes

The top UK VoIP providers: an overview

According to our expert research, the top VoIP service providers in the UK are:

  1. bOnline
  2. RingCentral
  3. Lily Communications
  4. 8×8
  5. Berry
  6. Dialpad
  7. 4Com

Whether you’re searching for the best support, pricing, scalability, or more, we’ve profiled each of these top VoIP providers for small UK businesses to help you find the best match for your priorities.

We've assessed their different offerings, highlighting the features, prices, and pros and cons of each. If you'd like a more specific idea of how much a VoIP phone system could cost your business, you can check out our dedicated VoIP costs page. But for now, we’ll speed things up with a general overview of each provider:

VoIP providerBest forCheapest package
bOnlineSmall businesses wanting tailored, affordable service plans offering excellent all-round features£5 per user/month (pay as you go)
RingCentralSmall businesses with teams who need unified communications to collaborate with ease£7.99 per user/month
LilySmall businesses that are new to VoIP phone systems, and/or require dedicated customer supportPricing unavailable - bespoke quotes only
8x8 Small businesses looking to scale in the future£8 per user/month
BerrySmall businesses wanting to customise their phone system with multiple featuresPricing unavailable - bespoke quotes only
DialpadSMEs with sales departments, who need to provide coaching and feedback to their employees using live call coaching features£12 per user/month
4ComSmall businesses who want the flexibility of no fixed costs or set pricesPricing unavailable - bespoke quotes only
You can compare leading UK VoIP providers using our custom built comparison tool

Pricing is correct as of 24th August 2021


The best VoIP providers UK: a deep dive

 

 

bonlinebestvoipprovider

Cost:

Pay as you go = £5 per user/month

Unlimited = £9 per user/month

Unlimited calling & video = £16 per user/month

bOnline has received countless telecoms business awards in recent years. It champions itself as the UK’s number one small business VoIP provider – and we definitely agree. This VoIP software provider has already helped support over 50,000 small UK businesses, with 1,800 businesses added monthly – a testament to its growth and popularity.

Features

So, what makes bOnline so great? For one thing, it offers 50+ features – including unlimited calling, a reporting dashboard, a digital phone line, and a mobile app. You’ll also be able to try out the service free for 30 days. The reporting dashboard is a unique bOnline feature that some providers don’t offer, or offer only on a premium plan (which isn’t cost effective for small businesses). It uses infographics and processes real-time data, so you can interpret insights and make business decisions based on call volumes and durations.

You can also preset call flows, a function offered only by bOnline. This allows you to customise call flows to your business, directing customers through the appropriate contact channels. This feature is especially handy if you don’t have an existing PBX system, auto-attendant, or receptionist.

You can set up the bOnline VoIP hosted system in just two minutes, with no engineers, installations, or IT buffs required (a piece of cake compared to 4com and Lily, both of which have lengthy onboarding processes that can take weeks).

Verdict

For us, bOnline wins the title of best VoIP provider for small businesses because it is built specifically for smaller operations. In the larger picture of telecoms companies, bOnline doesn’t have the operational capacity and technical ability of 8×8 or RingCentral. But we write reviews for startups and small business owners – and bOnline is the best product for our readers.

Pros:
  • Free 30-day trial so you can see what the service has to offer
  • Comprehensive CRM integrations with Salesforce AND Hubspot
  • Insightful, easy-to-interpret reporting dashboard to help you identify call trends
  • Unlimited calling option at £9 per month/per user is a great price for the 50+ features you get
  • Brilliant customer service – it’s the only micro business-focused telecoms company rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot
  • Price match guarantee
Cons:
  • Not suitable for medium to large-sized businesses – so be aware of this if planning to scale and grow exponentially

 

ringcentralvoipprovider

Cost:

Essentials = £7.99 per user/month

Standard = £14.99 per user/month

Premium = £19.99 per user/month

Ultimate = £24.99 per user/month

RingCentral MVP has made a big name for itself in the VoIP phone system industry over recent years. It’s a unified business communications product centred around facilitating collaboration and making workflows more streamlined and efficient. You can message, video and phone on any smart device seamlessly, whether that be a mobile, tablet or desktop.

Features

RingCentral’s essential plan comes with 100 inclusive outbound minutes per user/per month as standard, and at only £7.99 per month, it’s a fairly competitive price for what you get. The service can be integrated with hundreds of apps, including Microsoft 365, Salesforce and Google. Keep in mind that integration with Salesforce and Zendesk is only available with the premium plan.

Features on the standard and premium plans include call management (auto-attendant), high-definition voice, and quality of service reports that are great for measuring employee performance. 24/7 customer support is included with all four plans, and the premium plan even comes with a dedicated account manager.

Verdict

Despite RingCentral boasting 24/7 support on all of its plans, customer satisfaction levels are relatively low on review sites like Trustpilot, as technical support isn’t the best and resolution times are often slow. But this is largely due to RingCentral’s popularity, and if you can grasp the app, with its easy-to-use interface and simple functionality, you won’t need much support anyway.

Pros:
  • Out-of-the-box integrations with Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, and more
  • 50+ features, including, auto-attendant, and call recording
  • Supports a wide range of desktop VoIP phones from vendors such as Cisco, Polycom, and Yealink if you’ve already got handsets
  • Can integrate with existing PBX systems
Cons:
  • RingCentral Essentials package is very stripped back feature-wise, and doesn’t include unlimited audio and video meetings
  • Customer support isn’t great – long resolution times for some technical issues

Want to quickly compare bespoke quotes from the best providers in the UK?

You're already sold on VoIP phone software for your company, but now you just need to ensure you get the best possible deal for your small business, as the last thing you want is to be tied into an expensive contract with a poor provider.

This is where we come in. Our free comparison tool will match you with the right provider for your company’s needs, providing you with direct VoIP provider quotes that you can easily compare.

All you have to do is fill out a few details, and we will take care of the rest.

lilycommsvoipprovider

Cost:

Doesn't publish set price plans, instead provides personalised quotes after assessing business needs

Lily Comms supplies over 2,500 businesses across the UK with its award-winning VoIP communications system. Its on-premise VoIP solution enables businesses to adopt a hybrid phone system, meaning they can use their analogue system alongside an internet-based cloud phone system – giving them the best of both worlds.

Features

Lily offers a brilliant hosted VoIP system, with monthly savings of 30-60% if you’re switching from older ISDN or analogue lines. Its VoIP offering comes with a range of features, including call recording, auto-attendant, personalised messages, and the Collaborate platform. Collaborate is an all-in-one unified communications app included free with your VoIP service, and is ideal for teams needing to collaborate frequently – it offers voice calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing and more, all in one place.

Verdict

With a solid five star Trustpilot rating, Lily Communications is a reliable provider that puts a focus on its relationships with its customers. It's up there as the best provider for customer support, promising a maximum four hour response time for any major fault, and providing a dedicated account manager to support you through, from the setup process to any issues/queries further down the line.

Pros:
  • 24/7 support options
  • Dedicated account manager for great customer relationship management
  • Fairly priced – 86% of Lily customers have saved money
  • Microsoft Outlook integration for email
  • Designed to scale – with specific packages suited for businesses of varying sizes
Cons:
  • Pricing is only available on request
  • Customer reviews say setting the system up can take some time
  • Up to a 16 hour wait time for minor faults
On-premise or hosted VoIP?

On-premise VoIP solutions are more expensive than cloud-based VoIP solutions, and usually require either an in-house or outsourced IT team for maintenance. The upside of on-premise VoIP providers is that they can design you a phone system that fits your exact requirements – meaning they're great for niche communication setups. And because you have your own dedicated server, on-premise solutions are even more secure than cloud-based shared server solutions.


8x8voipproviders

Cost:

Express = £8 per user/month

X2 = £19 per user/month

X4 = £36 per user/month

8×8 is an established, reputable player in the telephone systems game, and its highly flexible X Series offers UK small businesses plenty of scalability. Plus, at just £8 per user per month, 8×8 Express is one of the cheapest phone system packages out there.

Features

Businesses using 8×8 VoIP services can take advantage of features like auto-attendant, voicemail to email, and unlimited video conferencing – all available on the Express plan. Once you outgrow the Express package, you can easily upgrade to 8×8's X2 and X4 packages. These are particularly ideal for businesses that have international clients, with package prices including unlimited calling to 14 and 47 countries, respectively. Those who are looking for a unified communications platform are well serviced by the X2 package, while businesses that rely heavily on performance analytics may want to look into the X4 package. Businesses that opt for the X2 and X4 packages could also benefit from contact centre integration, which is great for small customer-centric businesses with the potential to scale.

Verdict

8×8 is an expert in creating VoIP phone systems for a huge array of industries. This VoIP provider also has many different hardware leasing options, making it easy to create a phone system that keeps up with your requirements for both physical and virtual technology. It is an incredibly reliable and reputable company, and offers the best scalable VoIP solution for small businesses by far.

Pros:
  • Advanced call management allows you to direct calls to the right resources during business hours. Outside of business hours, you can route calls to voicemail or to alternate resources
  • Branded Video Conferencing lets you project a professional image to your customers. Customize the entire experience with your background of choice, your logo, and a vanity URL for your meetings
  • Free trial for the first month lets you decide if 8x8 is the right service for your business before committing
Cons:
  • Technical support can be slow at times (according to customer reviews on G2 and Trustpilot) – so don’t expect rapid same-day response times
  • VoIP phones and other hardware are not included in the monthly price
We get it, there are plenty of providers offering similar products, and it can be a pain reading through reviews and analysing comparison tables...

So why not answer a few simple questions about your business using our incredible comparison tool, which will tailor your specific needs to the best VoIP phone providers available.

You'll receive bespoke quotes and additional product information to make it easier to select your best-fit provider. Plus, it only takes a minute.


 

berrybestvoipprovider

Cost:

Doesn't publish set price plans, instead provides personalised quotes after assessing business needs

Features

Berry’s award-winning VoIP system, iPECS cloud, offers a modifiable, flexible product for small businesses. Add and remove users with ease, and be supported with out-of-the-box features like Auto Attendant, ACD, Hunt Group, Pick Up Group, Paging Group, Voicemail, Voicemail to Email, and Music On-Hold.

Although it’s not as tech-forward as RingCentral, Berry has yards on its competitors in terms of customer support – it’s beaten only marginally by Lily Comms in this department. Choosing Berry as your VoIP provider will give you not only an abundance of features and dedicated support, but also reports and analytics to measure performance and quality of service. With competitors like 8×8 and RingCentral, you typically have to pay extra for reports like these.

Verdict

Berry offers a very collaborative system, with instant messaging, screen sharing, and video included, but you’ll need to pay extra for a unified communications solution. And even if you do shell out, it will fall short of the quality and functionality offered by other competitors. Berry also lacks the integration capabilities of bOnline. However, the amazing support provided and features included make it easy to look past the basic iPECS desktop and mobile app interfaces.

Pros:
  • Flexible, business-specific pricing means you won’t be overcharged for a service you don’t fully utilise
  • 24/7 support with a dedicated account manager is great for customers new to VoIP systems
  • Comprehensive call reporting and analytics come included with your plan
Cons:
  • Have to pay extra for a unified comms solution, which isn’t as functional or efficient as other competitors’ products
  • Limited integrations – no CRM systems or Zendesk

 

 

dialpad_voip_provider

Cost:

Standard = £12 per user/month

Pro = £20 per user/month

Enterprise: Bespoke quote

Dialpad is a VoIP provider best suited for softphones. Although you can attach it to hardware, the software-savviness and innovation behind this service is what makes it so attractive for small businesses.

Features

When we talk about software innovation, we mean the fact that Dialpad’s entire cloud-based platform is powered by AI. The voice intelligence software that comes with Dialpad captures action items, provides coaching, takes notes and even analyses sentiments in real time whilst you are on a call.

This voice intelligence is great for call centre managers or sales managers, who, using the VI Call Summary feature, can quickly find specific “coachable moments” on which to focus their attention when providing performance feedback.

Dialpad comes with all the standard call management features, plus integrations with helpful apps like Salesforce, Google, Slack, and Zendesk. It also comes with a 14-day free trial, which is useful if you just want to sample what’s on offer. A recent addition, video conferencing is also now available for free on the basic plan. Dialpad takes the crown for coaching and training – live call coaching allows managers to listen in on calls and take over when needed, providing real-time coaching and sales recommendations.

Verdict

What lets Dialpad down is its reporting, which lags way behind competitors – although this provider is currently adding more features and working on improvements. Unlike 8×8, RingCentral and bOnline, you can’t analyse the quality of calls with Dialpad, nor schedule reports for future release. Instead, you’ll just have the option to print or export old reports in a CSV format – which is a fiddly delimited text file exported into excel.

Pros:
  • The user experience is really good, and switching from devices (like mobile to desktop) is easier to do than with competitors like 8x8
  • The voice intelligence software is incredibly useful in providing feedback and highlighting weaknesses or pain points for employees during calls with customers – perfect for a sales-focused business
  • There are lots of integrations
  • Live call coaching is an excellent addition, which competitors only offer in premium plans
Cons:
  • Reporting and analytics are basic and lack customisable features, which isn’t great for businesses needing to measure their quality of service
  • The standard plan is more expensive than other competitors
  • Integrations (besides Microsoft and G Suite) and 24/7 customer support are not available with the standard plan – support is only available five days per week

 

4comvoipprovider

Cost:

Doesn't publish set price plans, instead provides personalised quotes after assessing business needs

4Com offers its own VoIP system through its HiHi series of phones. The HiHi is a tablet phone that slots into a docking station. It offers businesses flexibility by giving employees the option to take their HiHi phone home or move desks, simply by taking the tablet out of its docking station

Features

Businesses can use the HiHi VoIP phone for calling, video calling, instant messaging, call recording, and reporting. Businesses can also upload social media and customer relationship management (CRM) apps onto their HiHi device – although it's worth bearing in mind that the device doesn't have the same level of processing power as popular devices like Samsungs or Apple tablets. The HiHi phones also come with ‘HiHi Connect’ and ‘HiHi There’ apps for unified communication across your business (instant messaging).

Verdict

4Com tailors its VoIP package to the unique needs of your business, which is why it doesn't have any prices advertised. There are no fixed costs or set prices, making it ideal for companies that may experience fluctuating or lower call volumes. In other words, you won’t have to pay for something you don’t need. 24-hour fault reporting is included, but 24-hour support is an extra cost.

Pros:
  • Pricing is determined according to needs and usage – making 4Com a very cost-efficient service
  • HiHi phone models are versatile and easily portable – can be used as both a phone and tablet
  • HiHi2 phone system comes with beneficial features including call recording, call reporting, and on-hold marketing
  • Will install additional broadband lines to improve the number of concurrent calls you can make, which is good for scalability
  • Bespoke, personalised training is provided in-office to your employees, so everyone can easily get to grips with your new phones and software
Cons:
  • Unfixed pricing is not so good for a business needing to make lots of calls
  • 24-hour support is available, but not included in the standard cost – you must pay extra for it
  • Tablets aren't designed to support heavy-duty software
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Choosing a VoIP provider: our top tips

We’ve identified five of the most important qualities in a VoIP provider. Keep these in mind when searching for the best VoIP provider in the UK to match your business’s needs:

Support – what type of support is available, and how can you access it? For example, is assistance available 24/7? Is there any time difference to take into account?

Range – how many products and services does the provider offer? Can it accommodate your business’s needs, both now and in the future?

Knowledge – how easy are the provider’s products to use? What level of technical know-how is required for set up, training, and use?

Price – does the provider offer products that suit your budget? At what level do they market their offering, e.g. budget, standard, or premium?

Reputation – is the provider reputable? Is it an established brand in the industry? Does it have a good Trustpilot rating?


Will my VoIP provider supply phone handsets?

Depending on your business needs, you’ll want to check if your VoIP service provider can supply VoIP phone handsets. Having to spend extra on finding this hardware yourself can be a pain, especially when you’re already spending a lot of money per user for the software itself.

Always research each VoIP software provider first, as you’ll often find the software is only compatible with certain VoIP phone models. Once you've chosen the right software, you'll be able to work with your provider to find compatible VoIP phones that match the needs of your business.

Most VoIP providers offer you the option to lease your handsets (great for upgrading) or purchase them outright (more cost-effective in the long run). If not, there are lots of VoIP handset providers out there you can purchase from directly. Some of the best VoIP phones are made by Grandstream, Yealink, and Cisco. Check out our best office phone system for small business review to learn more about specific VoIP handsets.

Tips for choosing the best VoIP phone for you

Your phones play a key part in your business communications on a daily basis, so it’s worth considering which features are most important to you when choosing a device. Some top priorities might include:

  • Call management – will your phone handset allow you to put multiple lines on hold, transfer calls at the touch of a button, set up call diverts, and programme short keys to regularly used internal and external numbers?
  • Flexibility – does your business require only set standard features, or are you looking for phones that can provide custom functions?
  • Phone types – will you need physical phones, or is a softphone application more suitable for your business operations? Are touch screen phones ideal for your team’s functions, or will basic handsets be better?
  • Movement – if you plan to use your phones on the go, such as with a headset on a sales floor, would you prefer a cordless phone over a corded one?

Next step: roundup and comparison of the best VoIP providers

As mentioned earlier, the best VoIP provider for small businesses is without a doubt bOnline. Although an underdog in the telecoms industry, this company’s offering brushes aside its competition with ease.

bOnline is the best provider because it offers the whole package, specifically tailored to small businesses. For starters, you get 50+ features included as standard, including unlimited calling and an incredibly user-friendly mobile app.

The reporting dashboard is an excellent, customisable feature that produces real-time data, and you don’t have to be signed up to the premium package to access it – unlike with competitors like 8×8. Other competitors, like Dialpad and RingCentral Office, focus so much on other features that their reporting functions get left in the dust.

There are plenty of other reasons why bOnline is the best provider, but in a nutshell, it is simply the most small-business friendly. Whilst larger providers are more focused on enterprise-level features.

VoIP providers Berry and Lily Comms pride themselves on excellent service, but the reason they don’t make the cut as the best overall provider is that they fall short of the technical capacity to offer the software savvy features larger providers like RingCentral and 8×8 can. 4com successfully balances the offering of customer support and technical savviness with its innovative use of the HiHi tablet, but there simply aren’t enough features for it to compete with bOnline for the best provider title.

Regardless of our opinion, you should always compare VoIP providers before signing on the dotted line. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a contract with a service that doesn’t fulfil the needs of your business, even if it is, generally speaking, a great product.

This is where our custom-built comparison tool comes in. We've partnered with some of the best VoIP phone system suppliers to help you get the best service for your business. Simply provide us with a few basic details, and providers will be in touch with bespoke personalised quotes for you to compare, along with further details about why the service they offer would best suit the needs of your business.

Top tip!

When it comes to choosing your VoIP provider, you should consider what features you need and whether the provider offers them as part of its service.

It’s always best to conduct thorough background research on your chosen provider. Look up its Trustpilot and/or Which? ratings, and read reviews to see what it does and doesn’t do well.

However, if you want to save time researching, our custom-built comparison tool can help pair you with the right service provider for your business needs. It only takes a few minutes to receive bespoke personalised quotes and further information, and best of all, there's zero obligation on your part.

Ross has been writing for Startups since May 2021, specialising in sustainable business and telephone systems. He also runs the successful entrepreneur's section of the website.

He's previously written for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME and is passionate about music, sustainability, and travelling. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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