RingCentral is a cloud-based phone system for small businesses that provides Voice Over IP (VoIP), faxing, and other communication services.

Based in San Mateo, CA, RingCentral was founded in 2003 and has earned several prestigious awards over the years, including PCMag’s Editor’s Choice. The company aims to provide small businesses and professionals with communication services once reserved to large corporations that could afford buying, deploying, and maintaining complex phone systems.

By using cloud based technology, RingCentral eliminates the need for on-premise hardware. Customers don’t need to purchase expensive private branch extension (PBX) equipment, as the role of the PBX is taken over by RingCentral’s datacenters. RingCentral works with conventional analog phone sets, VoIP sets, and PC softphone applications. The versatility and simplicity of the system enables customers to deploy RingCentral solutions almost instantly and without the assistance of a specialist.

RingCentral features

The advanced cloud technology harnessed by RingCentral enables the service to deliver cutting-edge features that would otherwise cost you thousands of dollars.

The array of features that RingCentral puts at your fingertips is amazing, and they are all easy to set up and configure. In most cases, you will not require the assistance of a specialist to deploy your RingCentral solution, as it always happen with conventional PBX systems.

Let’s start with the core phone service, arguably the most important feature in any communication solution. RingCentral gives you one toll-free or local number with every plan you purchase, with additional numbers being available for a small fee. You can even select a vanity (personalized) number for about $30. Each plan offers a number of virtual extensions, which you can of course extend if required.

RingCentral supports caller ID (both incoming and for making calls), voicemail, predefined greetings, call forwarding, answering rules, call screening, call logs, and many other features. For an extra fee, you can even have your own digital receptionist, which greets callers and allows them to look up persons and dial their numbers based on their name.

RingCentral has many features that are appealing to corporate customers, including the auto-receptionist, the music on hold feature, and the virtual PBX that allows remote teams to work as if they were in the same room.

Supported devices and applications

RingCentral works with VoIP phones (desk phones or conference phones) from various manufacturers, including Cisco, Avaya and Policom (buying a Policom set from RingCentral’s site will give you a $50 rebate). After you set up your plan online, installing the handset is as easy as plugging it in and making a call – no other hardware or technical expertise is required.

RingCentral works with “regular” analog phones and faxes too, but you will need to purchase a special adapter that connects the set to the Internet.

You can even use RingCentral without a phone, by installing RingCentral’s web phone application on your PC or Mac. For non-stop mobile access, you can use RingCentral’s smartphone app, available for iPhones, Blackberries, and Android phones.

RingCentral products and plans

RingCentral offers a range of products that are tailored made to cover the communication needs of small businesses and professionals. The three products offered by RingCentral are:

1. RingCentral Office

A complete business solution, ideal for accommodating remote workers and teams.
RingCentral Office is available in three tiered plans, based on the number of users. The cheapest plan supports up to three users and costs a monthly $49.99/user, while the biggest plan, which supports 20+ users, is available for $24.99/user per month for the two year contract.

2. RingCentral Mobile

A communication solution designed for mobile workers, such as sales representatives or budding entrepreneurs. The Mobile product provides smartphone apps for all major platforms.

The cheapest Mobile plan costs $9.99 per month and gives you 100 local, long-distance, or toll-free minutes, 10 free extensions, and free Internet fax. The 1000-minute ProPlus plan costs $24.99 per month, while the top of the line ProBusiness plan gives you unlimited local and long-distance minutes for $29.99 per month.
Note that the RingCentral Mobile fees described above are for a 2-year contract. If you want to pay as you go, the prices are slightly higher.

RingCentral Fax

An online fax solution that provides PC forwarding, fax-to-smartphone services, email to fax conversion, and other related services.

RingCentral Fax is available in four plans, depending on the number of pages offered. The cheapest plan includes 500 pages and costs $7.99 per month, with the most expensive including 2500 pages for $49.99 per month.

Some features will cost you extra, such as additional extensions, additional phone numbers, and international minutes. Nevertheless, RingCentral’s tariffs are some of the most affordable we’ve reviewed. Plus, the flexibility of the tiered plans, the fact that you don’t require an extensive subscription plan, and the free setup and technical support mean that RingCentral delivers the best bang for the back.

The bottom line

RingCentral gives small businesses the opportunity to have enterprise-level phone communication services for the cost of an average cell phone plan. RingCentral’s customers benefit from all the advanced telephony features they need to run a business in a professional manner, with no need for costly hardware or dedicated administration services.

The cloud-based phone services delivered by RingCentral are the ideal solution for small businesses and professionals that need a flexible and easy to use communication solution.