Best virtual landlines in 2022: a guide for small businesses

What are virtual landlines, why should you get one, and which are the best UK providers? Read our guide to find the virtual phone number that's perfect for your requirements.

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0 out of 0
Cheapest paid-for plan:
Best feature:
What is it best for?

8×8

GoToConnect

Number People

Virtual Landline

£10

£8.95 per month

£1 per month

£5.95 per month

Sophisticated softphone app

24/7 support

Low-cost plans

No fixed contract

SMEs that would benefit from contact centre integration as the business grows

Small businesses requiring access to round the clock support, that want to frequently collaborate via video conferencing.

Small remote working businesses and entrepreneurs who want a cheap, affordable service whilst working from home.

Small businesses needing a simple, flexible service that doesn't tie them down via a contract

We think the best virtual landline for small businesses is 8×8. An established, reputable player in the telephone systems game, 8×8 has designed a sophisticated, easy-to-use softphone app with a host of useful call features including auto-attendant and HD voice calling.

Today's remote world has made virtual landlines an increasingly popular choice for businesses that aren't based in a physical office space, but still need a business phone that their clients and customers can contact.

But there are lots of things to consider when choosing a phone system – more than you might be aware of. The last thing you want is to waste time, and money, setting up a virtual landline system that won’t fit the needs of your business. That's why we recommend selecting the features you need in just a few moments to receive free personalised pricing comparisons for your business,

Read on for our breakdown of the best virtual landline providers, as well as a simple explanation of how virtual landlines work, and the benefits of a virtual landline system for small businesses.

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Top virtual phone service providers UK 2022: an overview

There are many competitors offering great virtual landline systems to small businesses. It’s hard to separate the cream from the crop which is why, using our phone systems expertise, we’ve selected four of the best providers available in the UK to help you make an informed decision moving forward.

The four providers are 8×8, Number People, Virtual Landlines, and GoTo (formerly LogMeIn). Below is a general overview of each of them:

0 out of 0
Cheapest paid-for plan:
Best feature:
What is it best for?

8×8

GoToConnect

Number People

Virtual Landline

£10

£8.95 per month

£1 per month

£5.95 per month

Sophisticated softphone app

24/7 support

Low-cost plans

No fixed contract

SMEs that would benefit from contact centre integration as the business grows

Small businesses requiring access to round the clock support, that want to frequently collaborate via video conferencing.

Small remote working businesses and entrepreneurs who want a cheap, affordable service whilst working from home.

Small businesses needing a simple, flexible service that doesn't tie them down via a contract

Pricing is correct as of 03 February 2022

The best virtual landline providers UK 2022: a deep dive

Below, we've listed the best virtual landline providers a small business can choose, based on their value for money, features and customer service. While we've identified 8×8 as the best overall choice, there are merits to rival providers, such as GoTo, that mean it's well worth considering the needs of your business before taking the jump.

8×8 – Best Overall Virtual Landline

 

Top three features:

✔ Auto-attendant

✔ HD voice calling

✔ Mobile and desktop app

As we mentioned earlier, we think 8×8 is the best virtual landline provider on this list.

This VoIP provider offers incredibly sophisticated phone system packages for the price it costs. Its various packages include a virtual phone number, unlimited domestic calling, and branded video conferencing. Plus, there is the option to include phone system features, such as visual voicemail and personalised greetings.

Businesses that opt for pricier packages could even benefit from contact centre integration, which is great for small customer-centric businesses wanting the potential to scale.

Pros
  • Advanced call management tools
  • Branded video conferencing
  • Free 30-day trial
Cons
  • 8x8 Express plan is limited for international use
  • Technical support can at times be slow

GoTo

Top three features:

✔ 24/7 support

✔ GoToConnect app

✔ Dial plan editor

GoToConnect is a feature-filled virtual landline service, great for small businesses requiring round-the-clock, 24/7 support.

It boasts an abundance of useful features for small businesses to utilise, including HD video conferencing included as standard with every plan.

The GoToConnect app allows you to seamlessly switch between your desk phone, mobile, and desktop app to take calls. Whilst the nifty dial plan visual editor is great for quickly and easily, configuring call routing.

GoToConnect also includes a simplified contact centre workflow for larger businesses – to help employees manage workload and increase customer satisfaction.

Pros
  • Create your own custom call routing and dial plans
  • Join meetings from anywhere with the GoToConnect app
  • HD video conferencing is included with every licence
Cons
  • Less generous feature allowance on the lower-priced tiers

Number People

 

virtual_landlines

Top three features:

✔ As little as £1 per month 

✔ No contract 

✔ Music on hold 

Number People offer an incredibly cheap service compared to other competitors.

There are options to add additional features to make your business more professional, including hold music for customers, auto-attendant menu, and call recording.  You can also set up using any type of number and can even keep your existing number.

Customer service and support are rated very highly on Trustpilot. You can either pay a low cost to forward calls to your destination number (from 1.5p per minute) or use the mobile app to receive unlimited calls free for a fixed rate of £1 per month.

Pros
  • No contract ties, commitments or initial payment required
  • Make instant changes to your plan via the Number People mobile portal
  • Forward calls to your destination number, from 1.5p per minute
Cons
  • High-maintenance top up plan could soon prove tiresome

virtual landline

virtual landline

Top three features:

✔ Contract free

✔ Auto-attendant

✔ Time of day routing

Virtual Landline is a great option if you’re looking for a simple virtual landline service.

You sign a rolling monthly contract, download the softphone app, and start using your mobile phone or tablet as a landline – easy!

That being said, it doesn’t offer as many features as 8×8 virtual landline products and isn’t the most suitable provider for scaling up your business. 

Pros
  • Monthly rolling contract means you have the flexibility to cancel at any time
  • £5 welcome call credit on all plans
  • Global standard plan comes with 400 inclusive minutes
Cons
  • Cannot make any outbound calls with the basic plan

What is a virtual landline?

Virtual landlines are a cloud-based telephone service. As long as your device has an internet connection, people can reach you via the same number whether you’re at the office, at home, or even abroad.

In a nutshell, it’s a virtual bridge between your caller and your real number.

They have become increasingly popular in recent years, due largely to the fact the COVID pandemic has shifted the way we work. In fact, 16% of companies are now fully remote in 2022.

By using a virtual landline, your customers and clients have the perception you’re working from a flashy, professional office in London, when in reality you could be sat at home in your back garden, dipping your feet in your paddling pool.

Check out our virtual landline FAQs section below for more clarification on virtual landlines.

What are the benefits of virtual landlines?

  1. Virtual landlines mean you have the freedom to choose your own number.
  2. You can use your cloud-based number wherever you have an internet connection.
  3. Because your phone number is cloud-hosted, you don’t need to think about line rental.
  4. Even if you're a one-man-band, having a landline will bolster your professional image.
  5. As long as your receiving device has a signal your customers can always reach you.
  6. If you miss a call, you can have voicemails sent straight to your emails.
Types of virtual number

  • Toll-free numbers UK 0800 and 0808 numbers are business phone numbers that your business is charge for, not your customers.
  • Geographical numbers – These are numbers that contains a specific area code for each UK city, for example, the area code for Leeds is 0113, whilst for Coventry, it is 024 
  • National UK numbers These numbers are not divided geographically, and are charged at normal local calling rates
  • Mobile numbers – Telephone numbers that are capable of receiving instant text messages (SMS)

Remember – the number you choose could influence whether your customers get in touch with you or not. For example, you may receive more phone calls from your target area if the phone number you choose features that particular area’s area code. 

Can I get a toll-free number on a virtual landline?

Yes, you can. If you have a 0800 or 0808 number, people know that they can get in touch with your business for free (which is why they are defined as toll-free numbers).

Virtual landline suppliers charge different rates depending on the number of inclusive inbound minutes you require, and the number of outbound minutes you require, so it's a good idea to check out different provider deals before purchasing. 

What features should a virtual landline service have?

Regardless of which provider you choose, you want to ensure the service you set up for your business includes these important features:

Call management

Set up your virtual landline so it tells you when someone is calling from your virtual landline number. You can then choose to reject or take that call

Call forwarding

You can choose to divert the incoming call to several numbers at the same time, meaning the call will be answered by the first person to pick up

Auto attendant

Set up limited auto-attendant functionality with a virtual landline. Give your provider up to three separate numbers, and they can set up an auto-attendant that’ll give your callers three options when they phone up

Set time of day calls

Turn your virtual landline on and off at set times. That way, you only receive certain calls when you want them

Top Tip!

When it comes to choosing your virtual phone service 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. If you want to save time on research, 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, free of charge.

Next steps: Comparing the best virtual landline providers

We’ve covered some of the best virtual landline providers in the UK, as well as highlighting what to consider when making the decision and the benefits of opting for a virtual landline system.

As we mentioned earlier, our best virtual landline provider for small businesses is ultimately 8×8, with its advanced call management, branded video conferencing, easy-to-use app, and reasonable pricing which includes a free month’s trial.

Although the other providers offer great benefits, including GoTo’s GoToConnect service, with its brilliantly innovative and time-saving Dial Plan visual Editor and HD video conferencing included with every licence – making it runner up after 8×8 in the best virtual landline provider race.

Regardless of our opinion, you should always compare virtual landline 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.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why should I use a virtual landline?
    Using a virtual landline number has a whole host of benefits. It can help you to avoid the monthly costs of a traditional landline, appeal to customers in a target location (using a local virtual landline number), and benefit from VoIP features, including an auto-attendant, and call forwarding.
  • What is the difference between VoIP and virtual landline systems?
    VoIPs are more sophisticated: they are usually linked to software that offers businesses things like an auto-attendant and call management, improving the customer journey. In comparison, virtual landline numbers are call-forwarding: that means they are linked to your mobile, or your current office number, and automatically forwards calls to your mobile or office phone system for a small charge.
  • How do I set up a virtual landline voicemail?
    You’ll need to do this through your provider. It’s relatively simple, and should include accessing your voicemail, entering your account details, and creating a voicemail password.
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Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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