How Much Does a VoIP Phone System Cost? The Complete Guide

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VoIP phone systems are an extremely popular option for business communications. One of the main reasons for that is the money you can save compared to traditional phone systems. But exactly how much does a VoIP phone system cost? 

It can be tough to estimate exactly what a VoIP system will cost you, which is why we created this guide. And we’ll start by highlighting a particularly good option: Nextiva. This VoIP platform keeps costs low while delivering features that businesses of all sizes need.

What Are the Best Tools for VoIP Phone Systems?

Our Golden Eggs are the VoIP phone systems we have rated highest during our team’s research of this category. Each of them is a versatile, effective solution for a wide range of businesses and needs.

Nextiva is an affordable VoIP phone system that’s feature-packed, easy to use, and provides exceptional call quality. Get started with Nextiva today

RingCentral is perfect for mid-size or large organizations that want enterprise-grade features and scalability without limitations. Start your 14-day trial to try out RingCentral.

Ooma works well for small businesses that want to save money on their phone system without moving entirely away from traditional desktop phones. Sign up now to get unlimited calling

More Top VoIP Providers and Phone Systems

Our team has thoroughly researched the best VoIP phone systems on the market today and in that linked post of ours you’ll find reviews for 18 different providers, categorized by common use cases. Find the best fit for you, whether you need a VoIP system to accommodate remote work, boost internal communication, support your call center, or handle international calling. 

How Do I Get Started with Nextiva?

To get started with Nextiva, you first need to request a demo for your organization. It’s a straightforward form to fill out on their website, with fields for your name and contact info, company, and the number of employees in your organization. 

Nextiva signup page

Other options are to call the Nextiva sales team directly or start a live chat with an agent on the Nextiva website (look for the Chat now button in the bottom-right corner). 

For most of you, scheduling a demo will be your best option, as the rep will walk you through the system, how it works, and what plan best fits your needs. 

Sometimes, software demos can feel like an extra step in the sales process, but they’ll ultimately save you a ton of time in the long run because it softens any learning curve and can help remove surprises during implementation. 

How Are VoIP Phone Systems Priced?

Every VoIP phone system has its own unique pricing, but the vast majority of these systems are subscription-based and priced per user per month. 

Often, you’ll get a better per-user rate the higher the number of users you need, and you’ll get a better monthly rate if you pay for a year upfront. Nextiva, for example, lets you save between 20% and 50% when you pay annually as opposed to month-to-month. 

Nextiva VoIP pricing plans

With regards to Nextiva specifically, monthly pricing for 20-99 users starts at $25.95 per user (on the entry level plan). That rate drops to $18.95 when you pay for a year upfront. 

Plans for that range of users go up to $30.95 per user per month for Nextiva’s Professional plan (which unlocks a lot of helpful features) and $40.95 per user per month for their enterprise-grade package. 

Prices go up by a few dollars per user on all plans if you only need Nextiva for one to up to 19 users. If you want to support over 100 users, rates go down by a dollar per user. 

This is pretty typical among the leading options in VoIP providers, though some, like Ooma, offer flat-rate plans regardless of how many users need access. 

How Much Does It Cost to Set Up a VoIP Phone System?

Most VoIP phone providers do not charge any setup fees. That’s because these systems are completely digital and don’t require any hardwiring or installations. It’s as simple as configuring the software with a few clicks. Users can make and receive calls from their computers and smartphones. So, if you already have those items in place, you won’t incur any hardware fees. 

With that said, it doesn’t mean that your day-one cost will be $0. You still need to pay for your subscription to activate the phone system, which—if you’re committing to an annual contract—means pre-paying for the year in one transaction.

Another key startup cost is your internet connection. Your office or workspaces likely already have internet access, but you may want to upgrade it since your phone system now relies on it, too. That also applies to organizations who have a lot of work-from-home employees. You may need to compensate employees for upgrading their internet connection or acquiring new hardware to use the VoIP platform effectively, like new computers or headsets.

For businesses that currently have another phone system in place, you might incur a cancellation fee from your current provider. While this technically isn’t part of the VoIP system cost, it’s still a fee you need to keep in mind during the setup process.

If you want to keep your existing number, some VoIP providers might charge you a one-time fee per extension to port it over to their platform. This can range anywhere from $20 to $50.

How Do VoIP Costs Compare to Traditional Phone System Costs?

VoIP phone systems are often much less expensive than traditional on-premises landlines. Some businesses can save anywhere from 30% to 70% by making the switch to a VoIP provider. 

To truly understand the cost savings, you need to look beyond just comparing the VoIP subscription price and your legacy phone system bills side-by-side. 

Not only are VoIP systems less expensive, but your dollar goes much further. They don’t require hardware, they can work with your existing smartphones and computers, and they often deliver benefits you could never dream of with traditional phone systems, like team collaboration tools, automated voicemail transcription, and software integrations. 

How Much Is a VoIP Phone?

While you don’t need equipment with a VoIP system, since you can make and receive calls from your computer or mobile device, VoIP desk phones are an optional cost some offices may want to consider. 

If you want traditional desktop phones that are VoIP-compatible, you can usually expect to pay anywhere from $90 to $400 per phone, depending on how sophisticated the hardware is. Most VoIP providers, Nextiva included, can sell this equipment to their customers.  

Nextiva VoIP Desk Phones landing page

You can also get cordless phones, conference call hardware, and headsets. All of these give you and your staff the ability to handle calls using hardware you’re familiar with. 

Alternatively, you can potentially convert your existing analog phones to VoIP phones by using an adapter. Adapters typically start around the $200 range.

If you’re thinking about adding any of these hardware options, you can always discuss this with your VoIP provider when you’re going through the demo or sales process. 

Can I Get a VoIP Phone System for Free?

It may surprise you, but there are some decent VoIP phone system providers that offer free plans. These solutions typically work by adding a line to your existing devices though an app.

For example, Google Voice uses VoIP technology so you can make and receive calls from anywhere, like on your phone. 

Google Voice webpage with headline that says "A smarter phone number" and examples of Google Voice on a laptop and mobile phone

Platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, and Zoom also offer free VoIP calling capabilities. 

With that said, the vast majority of free VoIP phone systems are designed for personal use or solopreneurs and aren’t appropriate for teams larger than two or three members. They’re fine making occasional calls without using an existing phone number. 

You can also try out paid VoIP platforms without risk by signing up for a free trial. This will obviously be limited, and it’s not a long-term solution, but it’s a good way to test out a tool before you sign up for a paid subscription. 

What Are Toll-Free Minutes?

You’ll often see the term “toll-free minutes” when you’re comparing VoIP phone providers and plans. This can sometimes be a bit confusing, as you might see toll-free minute restrictions on plans that are advertised for “unlimited” calling. 

Nextiva VoIP features with red boxes around unlimited calling within the U.S. and CA and toll-free minutes

Toll-free numbers use area codes like 800, 888, 877, 866, and such. While once the “toll-free” element was important (because, historically, phone companies charged people extra for making calls outside of their local area code), now it’s more of a sign of trustworthiness and professionalism to have a toll-free number for your business. 

While many of your customers may not necessarily care about calling your 800 number compared to your local number, there are some good use cases for getting a toll-free number.

For example, you can use different toll-free numbers to track advertising engagement. You might have one number that’s presented on a TV ad, another number advertised on the radio, and a third number on your website. This makes it much easier to track the source of your callers and know which marketing channels are driving the most calls. 

Regardless of your reason, if your business or call center wants a toll-free contact number to give to customers or prospects, be mindful of VoIP plans that limit toll-free minutes while providing unlimited calling to your local phone numbers.

How Much Does International Calling Cost on VoIP?

Most of the best VoIP phone service providers offer free calling within the United States and Canada. But larger organizations with an international presence may run into additional costs making or receiving calls to other locales. 

You can use your toll-free minutes for inbound international calls. But, for outbound calling, most VoIP phone providers charge you per minute based on the location you’re trying to reach. 

Nextiva’s international rates, for example, range quite a bit. Calls to France or the United Kingdom are just one cent per minute, calls to China run six cents per minute, and the like, up to rates as high as 72 cents per minute when calling Finland or the Marshall Islands.

Nextiva international calling rates webpage with a list of rates for countries that begin with the letter A

It’s in your best interest to search for the specific countries where you’d be making the most calls when you decide on a VoIP provider. Then, you can estimate your total costs based on how much you’d be calling those countries each month. 

Most VoIP providers publish their international rates publicly, so you can shop around and compare those costs from different providers.Rates are often similar across providers, but even a one-cent difference could be big if you constantly need to contact your European headquarters or India-based call center, for example. 

Why Are Some VoIP Providers More Expensive Than Others?

Going with a cheap VoIP plan might be fine for personal use. But you shouldn’t evaluate systems based on cost alone for business purposes. 

Many VoIP providers offer more than just basic telephone services. You’re getting an all-in-one solution for phone, video calling, team chat, SMS, and internet fax. You can’t really compare these rates to phone providers that are only allowing you to make and receive voice calls. 

These all-in-one packages are great for businesses that want to handle all communications from a single provider. But, the more communications-adjacent functionality it can handle (like video conferencing or faxing), the more expensive it’s likely to be.

Other aspects cause some VoIP providers to cost a good bit more than their peers. For one, security features and always-available support may only be available on some providers’ highest-priced plans. Or, they may come standard, but cause the entry-level plan to cost a good bit more than the comparable plan from another provider.

On top of that, there are unique needs that some providers address. Call centers are a good example, as RingCentral has separate plans for contact centers that have custom pricing while Nextiva has a separate call center add-on to their main VoIP platform that runs either $50 or $100 per user per month. 

Expect to pay more if you want things like call recording features, a wide array of software integrations, auto-dialers, collaboration tools, or other useful elements of a VoIP system that go beyond voice and video calling.

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