RingCentral Introduces Cloud-Based Flat-Fee Business Phone Service

Hosted VoIP provider moves from metered model with a variety of charges to one-price-covers-all.

By Ed Sutherland | Posted Jul 27, 2009
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RingCentral recently introduced RingCentral Office, offering flat-fee IP phone service for small business. The $99.99 per month base service includes a four-line system using pre-configured LinkSys phones. (The phones are an extra, one-time expense at just under $90 each.)

Among the features of the new service: four business phone lines with unlimited U.S. and Canadian long distance, unlimited virtual extensions and voicemail, and integrated Internet fax.

"Small businesses are not doing business the same way they were five years or even one year ago, yet they have been saddled with conventional phone systems that are not only expensive to deploy and maintain, but also incur expensive and unpredictable monthly charges," RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis said in a statement.

Key to keeping expenses low is the hosted nature of RingCentral Office and what the San Mateo, Calif. company claims will be "low, simple, flat, and fixed" monthly bills and "zero setup costs" for small companies.

If a business wants more than four hosted lines, they can either pay $24.99 per line per month (billed separately but along with the basic $99.99 fee) for each additional connection or opt for a $179.99 per month RingCentral eight-line plan, according to a company spokesperson.

In a potential sign of RingCentral’s future upgrade plans, the company intends in the third quarter of 2009 to offer the six-line LinkSys SPA962. The hosted VoIP provider currently uses the four-line LinkSys SPA942 IP phone.

Offering a hosted option for businesses seeking a way to cut IP communications costs is not new, of course; new offerings are emerging frequently. Earlier this month we wrote about 8x8 Inc.’s Virtual Office, a service designed to cut costs for larger companies. In 8x8’s case, it teamed up with IP handset maker Aastra USA.

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