The Best Cloud Phone Systems for UK Businesses in 2024

Man holding internet cloud connected phone

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The best cloud-based phone system available in the UK is RingCentral. It offers users industry-leading features and scalable plans, making RingCentral an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes, though most will find its Premium plan the best value option of the bunch.

Still, RingCentral Premium’s impressive bouquet of features will cost you more than some options. If you’re after a budget-friendly option, we recommend bOnline’s Unlimited Video & Calling plan, which is around £10 less per user, per month.

As of September 2023, BT has stopped selling broadband or PSTN systems in line with the UK-wide ‘switch-off’ scheduled for 2027. This highlights how it’s now crucial for businesses to switch to a cloud-based phone system sooner rather than later.

In this article, we’ll provide a breakdown of the top seven UK cloud phone system providers, including their features, pros, cons, and pricing. Hopefully, this will empower you to find and select the best provider in the UK for your needs and future-proof your business.

Top 7 Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems

Our research team rated and tested 20 different phone systems, highlighting the seven best providers on the market:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

8×8

Vonage

GoToConnect

bOnline

Dialpad

NBC Cloud Voice Complete Mobility

4.7
4.5
3.9
3.8
3.9
3.7
3.3
Best For

Overall cloud phone system

Best For

Unlimited International Minutes

Best For

Small businesses looking to scale

Best For

Desk phone compatibility

Best For

Value for money

Best For

Small customer service teams

Best For

Low-budget small businesses

Pricing

£24.99 per user, per month

Pricing

Bespoke

Pricing

£25 per user, per month

Pricing

Bespoke

Pricing

£13.95 – £15.50 per user, per month

Pricing

Bespoke

Pricing

£24.99 per user, per month

Domestic minutes

1000 inclusive inbound minutes 2000 outbound minutes per user

Domestic minutes

Unlimited

Domestic minutes

Unlimited

Domestic minutes

Zero included

Domestic minutes

Unlimited

Domestic minutes

Unlimited

Domestic minutes

Unlimited

International minutes

Upgrade available for unlimited EMEA calling

International minutes

Unlimited to up to 48 countries

International minutes

Upgrade available

International minutes

Free international calling to 50+ countries

International minutes

Upgrade available

International minutes

Upgrade available

International minutes

Upgrade available

Inbound Communication Features
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Voicemail to Text
  • Localised + Toll Free Number
Inbound Communication Features
  • Localised + Toll Free Numbers
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Voicemail
Inbound Communication Features
  • Voicemail
  • Spam Prevention
  • Localised + Toll Free Numbers
Inbound Communication Features
  • Voicemail
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Spam Prevention
Inbound Communication Features
  • Voicemail
  • Voicemail to Text
  • Customisable Hold Music
Inbound Communication Features
  • Virtual receptionist
  • Voicemail to text
  • Spam prevention
  • Ring groups
Inbound Communication Features
  • Automated Receptionist
  • Voicemail
  • Call Recording
  • Hunt Groups
Outbound Communication Features
  • SMS
  • Call Forwarding
  • Set Caller ID
Outbound Communication Features
  • Call Conferencing up to 500 per meeting
  • Call Forwarding
  • Team Messaging
Outbound Communication Features
  • External Video Calling
  • Custom Call Lists
  • Set Caller ID
Outbound Communication Features
  • Set Caller ID
  • Call Conferencing
  • External Video Calling

 

Outbound Communication Features
  • Set Caller ID
  • Call Forwarding
  • Call Flip

 

Outbound Communication Features
  • External video calling
  • Set caller ID
  • Custom call lists
  • SMS/Chat
Outbound Communication Features
  • Call conferencing
  • Call ID and blocking
  • Voicemail to Email

Prices accurate as of July 2024

Why You Can Trust Expert Market for Phone System Advice

At Expert Market, we are dedicated to helping our readers make informed purchases that can help their businesses thrive. Our publishing team conducts original, independent research into the providers we write about, so our research-backed opinions are independent of financial persuasion.

We’ve conducted an unbiased, user-led product research process to evaluate the best cloud phone providers in the UK market. While we have commercial partnerships with some of the providers we write about on the site, this process allows us to operate with editorial independence. Refer to our methodology section for a detailed breakdown of how we arrived at our top choices.

RingCentral – Best Overall Cloud Phone System Provider

RingCentral Logo on white background
RingCentral
4.7
Pricing £12.99 - £29.99
Why is RingCentral best for most businesses?

RingCentral came out on top in our testing, just edging out 8x8. Its Premium plan is our pick of its options, providing superb call management features for customer support teams, multiple channels to talk internally and advanced training features to train staff.

Strengths

Integrates with over 102 CRMs - the most out of all the providers we reviewed

Offers SMS, video and chat channels to talk to customers in multiple ways

Advanced staff training features to coach customer service teams

Excellent 24/7 customer support

Weaknesses

Limited minutes per user compared to competitors

Spam prevention only available in US and Canada

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month) (billed annually)
Essentials £12.99
Standard £19.99
Premium £24.99
Ultimate £29.99

Prices accurate as of July 2024.

Overview

After our extensive research, we’ve concluded that RingCentral is the best cloud phone system provider on the market. In particular, we think its Premium plan is the perfect choice for organisations that want to provide large-scale communications or improve their customer service.

At £5 per month, per user less, its Standard plan is also appealing though we weren’t fans of its lack of advanced call-handling features, including whisper and barge, which is one of the reasons why RingCentral Premium is so appealing. Below we’ll go into exactly why else this is, alongside what could be improved by its offering.

What Do We Like About RingCentral’s Premium Plan?

Here are a few key reasons why it bettered the competition:

  • Advanced training features: The foundation of a successful customer service operation is ongoing training. We found that RingCentral offers the best range of training features, including call recording, call transcripts, call whispering and call monitoring.
  • Wide range of customer accessibility: RingCentral allows you to connect with your customers in a number of different ways, including calls, SMS, video conferencing and chat. This makes for a better customer experience overall.
RingCentral's chat messaging platform, showing a conversation and messages between employees - Source: RingCentral
  • Extensive CRM and helpdesk integration: RingCentral currently integrates with at least 102 CRM apps and help desk integrations like Salesforce, Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Hubspot. This allows greater flexibility in choosing the best integrations for your customer service teams. It also comes with ready-made integrations if needed.

What Could RingCentral Premium Improve?

As with every provider we’ve reviewed, there are some drawbacks to RingCentral Premium that are important to highlight.

  • Limited inclusive minutes per user: Most other providers we reviewed offer unlimited domestic minutes. RingCentral only provides 2000 minutes on its Premium plan, which can be limiting for businesses with high call volumes.
  • No spam prevention: While this is offered in the US and Canada, it’s not offered in the UK. Look at Google Voice for spam prevention if this is needed.
  • Pricing scored low in testing: RingCentral Premium didn’t score the highest for price in our testing. For a lower-priced and better-value pick, we recommend looking at bOnline’s Unlimited Calling & Video plan.
What's new for RingCentral? July 2024

In March 2024, RingCentral announced the launch of RingEX™ with RingSense AI, which is a personal AI assistant to supercharge productivity and transform everyday conversations into actionable insights.

8×8 – Best Cloud Phone System for Unlimited International Minutes

8x8 logo
8x8
4.5
Pricing Bespoke
Why is 8x8 the best cloud phone system for unlimited international minutes?

8x8 is a superb cloud phone provider. Its X4 plan came out in second place from our in-depth research. It shone as one of the few providers to have no added fees when calling internationally across a wider range of countries than most too (48 countries in all). Even its lowest cost X2 plan allows for unlimited calls to 14 other countries.

Offering a solid range of integrations, superb training features, reliable customer service and lock-tight security, it was only beaten in our overall rankings by RingCentral Premium, due to the latter's more extensive software integration possibilities. 

Strengths

Extensive range of features, including unlimited minutes and call queuing

24/7 customer support

Excellent security features, including encryption and compliance certifications

Weaknesses

Pricing not available (bespoke)

No spam prevention such as automatic nuisance call screening offered by Google Business Plus and Dialpad Enterprise

Lacks integration with customer-service live chat offered by RingCentral Premium

Overview

Coming in a close second to RingCentral is 8×8. Its X4 plan is the best cloud phone system for businesses with international operations that we’ve tested, offering unlimited international calling across an impressive 48 countries.

And it’s not only the X4 plan which presents an appealing choice for international businesses since 8×8’s lowest-priced X2 plan allows calls to 14 countries outside the UK including Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States.

8×8’s X6, X7, and X8 plans boost back up to 48 countries overall, while also offering a few extra features befitting of contact centres such as skills-based call routing. But for most businesses, we think its X4 plan is the best bet. Here are a few key reasons why the X4 package scored so highly amongst the best cloud phone system plans around.

What Do We Like About 8×8’s X4 Plan?

  • Popular software integrations: 8×8 integrates with popular CRMs like Salesforce, Freshdesk, Copper, Hubspot, MS Dynamics, Zendesk and Zoho. CRM integration is important as it helps provide a better experience for your customers. There’s also support for external video conferencing platforms and it has an iOS/Android app, too, even though it does lack live chat integration.
man on screen in an office on right hand-side, inside 8x8 software
Expert Market's Matt Reed tests out the video conferencing capabilities of 8x8's software - Source: Matt Reed (Expert Market)
  • Excellent Security: 8×8 has all major security features like multiple compliance certifications, multi-factor authentication, password rules, and TLS/SRTP encryption. Protecting your internal data and that of your customers is crucial to the success of your business.
  • Lots of training features: 8×8 offers a lot of features its competitors don’t have like custom call lists, auto dialer, call whispering and analytics and reporting. Out of all the providers we tested, 8×8 had the joint-most features available, alongside RingCentral Premium and Vonage Max.
  • Compatible with a broad range of third-party desktop phones: Including Polycom, Cisco, Panasonic, and Yealink, ensuring that it is simple to set up. 8×8 also offers onboarding support with its Customer Success Managers, helping new employees adapt to the communication system used by your business.

What Could 8×8 X4 Improve?

It’s not all plain sailing for 8×8 though. While it’s an overall excellent provider, it has some drawbacks.

  • Missing live chat software integration: While you’ll still have integration with external video conferencing tools and the ability to use 8×8’s iOS or Android apps, it does lack live chat functionality, which could limit certain businesses.
  • Unclear/potentially high pricing: 8×8 doesn’t show its pricing plans anymore, meaning you need to speak to a sales representative. However, in our research, 8×8’s higher-cost plans, including the X4 package, were among the most expensive per user, per month. The upside of this is the range of features and integrations you have access to.

Vonage – Best Cloud Phone System for Small Businesses

Vonage logo
Vonage
3.9
Pricing £10-25
Why is Vonage best for small business?

Compared to other providers, Vonage offers the best value for money for small businesses. It provides a wide range of training features given its monthly cost, particularly on its Max plan, with all packages offering unlimited inbound and outbound minutes (except for the basic Express tier).

Strengths

Best value for money for small businesses

Easy to scale with advanced training features

Comes with spam prevention - one of the few providers with this feature

Weaknesses

Limited security options

Missing some important outbound communication channels

Less seamless integration with all third-party software

Pricing
PlanStarting price (per user, per month)
Express £10
Core £18
Pro £20
Max £25

Prices accurate as of July 2024

Overview

We always look for providers that offer excellent value for money, especially for small businesses, and Vonage is the best fit for that criteria.

Its cheapest plans are extremely cheap compared to the other providers on this page, coming in at just £10 per month, per user for its Express plan and £18 per month, per user for its Core plan.

The downside to those packages is that they don’t come with great call management, team communication or integration options. As such, we think you’ll be better served by its Pro plan (£20 per month) for advanced calling options like call monitoring, unlimited call queues and a virtual receptionist, or for those requiring call recording and other software integrations like CRM, its Max plan which costs £25 per month, per user.

For us, Vonage Max is the best comparison to the other provider plans we feature on this page. Below, we detail exactly what impressed us about it and where it could do a little better.

What Do We Like About Vonage’s Max Plan?

  • Excellent pricing: Vonage’s Max plan is a similar price to the above 8×8 and RingCentral options, coming in at £25 per user, per month. However, we found it offers better value for money given its extent of features which means you won’t end up spending more for add-ons. For instance, it includes CRM integration, unified communication features like video conferencing and team messaging, and unlimited inbound and outbound minutes by default.
  • Superb training features: For improving the skillset of staff, Vonage Max matches our top two (RingCentral Premium and 8×8 X4) by providing a large extent of tools. Namely, call recording, monitoring, barging, and whisper functionality, as well as analytics and reporting functionality, are all included.
  • Spam prevention availability: Despite the rise in spam calling and texting, very few cloud phone providers offer spam prevention – Vonage does, however, which gives it an advantage over more expensive providers like 8×8.

What Could Vonage Max Improve?

Vonage, despite being good value for money, has some drawbacks.

  • Fewer software integrations: While Vonage Max does provide integration with Salesforce, Slack and Office 365, amongst other popular CRM and productivity tools such as calendar invitation integration through its Vonage Integration Suite, the range and depth of other integration possibilities are somewhat lacking. Namely, video conferencing applications can’t integrate with Vonage, though your mileage will vary depending on the complexity of your workflow.
  • Less secure than other providers: While it offers spam prevention, Vonage lacks in other security areas. Key security features that are missing include multi-factor authentication and password rules.

GoToConnect Best Cloud Phone System for Hardware Integration

GoTo logo
GoToConnect
3.8
Pricing Bespoke
Why is GoToConnect the best for hardware integration?

GoTo offers a range of cloud-based products – including GoToConnect, its VoIP system. Overall, we found it to be the best option for instant hardware compatibility, connecting with more phone brands than any other provider we tested.

Founded in 2003 and based in Boston, Massachusetts, GoTo was formerly known as LogMeIn Inc. before its rebranding in 2022.

With tens of millions of users, over $1.3 billion in annual revenue, and a global workforce of more than 3,500 employees, GoTo is one of the largest SaaS companies in the world.

And it has plenty of other benefits besides desk phone compatability, along with a few downsides, that you can read about below.

Strengths

Integration with more phone brands than any other tested competitors

Greater array of communication channels like SMS than all other tested VoIP options

International calling to over 50 countries included

Weaknesses

No included calling minutes leaves it a poor value for money choice

Lowest scoring security measures with no password rules or user permission controls

RingCentral, 8x8, and Vonage offer more extensive training features

Prices accurate as of July 2024

We found that GotoConnect is one of the best providers for integrating with your current phone hardware. Let’s explain why and look at some of the other benefits we found.

What Do We Like About GoToConnect?

  • Wide hardware compatibility: Our research found that GoToConnect could connect with more phone brands than any other provider we tested, making it an easy choice to integrate into your existing hardware setup.
  • Free international calling: GotoConnects Standard and Premium plans both come with free international calling to 50+ countries. This is the highest number of countries of any provider we looked at in our research, although this calling isn’t unlimited like 8×8’s X4 plan meaning you could run out of minutes.
  • Great for international teams: Integration with various types of hardware and expert tools for internal communication makes it a prime candidate for businesses where staff are spread across remote locations.

What Could GoToConnect Improve?

GotoConnect, while great for international teams, has some drawbacks.

  • Less customer support than competitors: GotoConnect doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support like some of its competitors like 8×8 and RingCentral. It also doesn’t have a live chat feature which also limits the hours in which you can get help.
  • Limited software integration: There isn’t the same level of integration as other providers. you won’t have access to external live chat, analytics, video conferencing, many workspace integrations or CRMs (besides Salesforce). We wouldn’t recommend this provider for businesses that already have a well-established and broad software infrastructure with lots of moving parts. If this is something you need, we recommend RingCentral or 8×8.

bOnline Best for Medium-Sized Organisations On a Strict Budget

bOnline logo
bOnline
3.9
Pricing £15.50
Why is bOnline best for businesses on a budget?

bOnline offers the best value for money of all tested VoIP providers, earning a perfect score of 5/5.

That's one point higher than the next closest competitors, NBC Cloud Voice Complete Mobility and Vonage Max, and all thanks to it offering unlimited inbound and outbound minutes at a far cheaper price than most VoIPs we've seen.

Strengths

Great option for small businesses, offering amazing value for money

Unlimited users and unlimited domestic minutes.

High customer score in our own testing and on customer review site Trustpilot.

Weaknesses

Limited range of security features, lacking things like user permissions, multi-factor authentication, and compliance certificates

Less training features than other providers, missing spam prevention, call whisper and barge

CRM and helpdesk integrations are £5 per month extra.

Pricing
PlanPrice (per user, per month)
Starter £7
Unlimited calling £13.95
Unlimited calling + phone £15.50

Prices accurate as of July 2024

Overview

bOnline offers plenty of cheap plans, including its absurdly cheap £7 per month, per user Starter plan, but its Unlimited Calling plan is our pick of the bunch.

It is much cheaper than other providers’ similarly feature-rich alternatives and offers a good range of features for medium-sized businesses all with unlimited calling. Unlike its Starter plan, it also offers on-demand call recording and HD video calling, too. Let’s take a look at the main benefits of this plan compared to others we’ve assessed.

What Do We Like About bOnline’s Unlimited Calling Plan?

  • Low pricing: Offering unlimited UK landline and mobile calls, mobile and desktop apps, on-demand call recording, and 1-1 HD video meetings, the Unlimited Calling plan is priced at a comparatively bargain-priced £13.95 per user per month. For £15.50 per user, per month, you can also get an IP desk phone packaged for each user, too.
  • Extensive call management features: With custom call routing, call queues, and ring groups all included, bOnline competes with the best cloud phone systems on this page at a much lower monthly cost.

What Could bOnline Unlimited Calling Improve?

bOnline has some drawbacks also – here are the main ones we discovered in our testing process.

  • Limited range of security features: bOnline lacks some of the important security features that other providers offer, such as spam prevention, user permissions and multi-factor authentication. This could be an issue as you must protect your customer’s data and personal information. For a more secure provider, look at Google Voice or 8×8.
  • Integration costs extra: While bOnline offers more integrations than some of the competitors we tested, it costs £5 extra to use them. This includes £5 each month for call recording, HD video conferencing and CRM integration respectively. Most other provider offers integrations as part of the overall price.
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Dialpad Best Cloud Phone System for Small Customer Service Teams

Dialpad
3.6
Pricing Bespoke
Why is Dialpad best for small customer service teams?

After taking into account all our testing parameters, we found Dialpad to be a solid choice for customer service teams with less staff but still experiencing high call volumes. Namely, it's Enterprise plan which combines unlimited inbound and outbound call minutes with integration across a high number of CRM systems.

Across all Dialpad plans, its conversational AI feature accurately transcribes phone calls in real-time, flags whether or not the conversation is negative or positive, automates post-call summaries, including highlights and action items, and enables you to create tips and advice that appear on the screen when certain keywords or phrases are spoken on a call.

Strengths

Great customer support, including user forum, knowledge base, and live chat

Offers the joint-best range of call management features alongside RingCentral

Solid array of hardware integration options, only beaten by GoToConnect

Weaknesses

Poor amount of training tools (scoring 2/5) compared to competitors, making it difficult to train and scale workforce

Lacks multi-factor authentication

Only one local number per user

Pricing
PackagePrice (per user, per month) (billed annually)
Standard £12
Pro £20
Enterprise Bespoke

Prices accurate as of July 2024

Overview

We found Dialpad’s Enterprise plan to be the best choice for teams with small staff numbers, but are still experiencing high call volumes.

Other Dialpad packages are still worthwhile choices, including its $15 per month, per user Standard plan which provides unlimited calling, SMS and team messaging, Google Workspace/Microsoft 365 integration and real-time analytics. However, Dialpad’s cheapest plan does miss out on CRM system integrations offered by its Pro ($25 per month, per user) and Enterprise (Bespoke) plans.

No matter which option you pick, Dialpad has plenty of AI features to enhance calling. That includes Voice Intelligence, providing real-time transcriptions, call summaries, and action items from voice conversations, and Real-Time Assist which leverages AI to detect specific keywords or phases during a call and automatically provide relevant information to the user.

But let’s re-focus on why we think Dialpad Enterprise is the best of its plans for small to medium-sized businesses, starting with what we like about it.

What Do We Like About Dialpad’s Enterprise Plan?

  • Great for small customer service teams: With unlimited inbound and outbound call minutes, integration with a high number of CRM systems, and robust call management features, businesses with small and static numbers of employees will massively appreciate Dialpad Enterprise’s core functionality. With limited training features, as we’ll come to, it isn’t the best for larger teams or those that are changing size regularly, however.
  • Great customer support options: Dialpad can be reached via phone or live chat, and it has a knowledge hub. It doesn’t offer email support. If this is something you require, consider 8×8 or RingCentral, which can be contacted via email.
  • Wide range of call management tools: Only matched by RingCentral Premium here, Dialpad Enterprise is one of the top choices for call management. It automatically screens nuisance calls, as well as more expected features such as ring groups and call routing options.

What Could Dialpad Enterprise Improve?

Here are some drawbacks to Dialpad, including:

  • Subpar training features: When choosing a cloud phone system for your business, we recommend choosing one that can accommodate your business’s growth. Dialpad has comparatively low scalability potential due to a lack of training features for new staff. It lacks some key features for larger teams, such as call monitoring, barging and whisper functionality which most providers can offer at least one of.
  • Fewer communication channels than competitors: Despite Dialpad Enterprise offering SMS support, which the majority of other providers we have tested do not allow, the remaining communication channel options are a little underwhelming. Chiefly, we were disappointed that participant numbers for video conferencing are limited to ten or fewer people at a time.

NBC Best Cloud Phone System for a Low-Budget Small Business

National Business Communications NBC Cloud VoIP solutions logo
NBC
3.3
Pricing £24.99
Why is NBC best for low-budget small businesses?

While not as comprehensive as other VoIPs on this page, NBC's Cloud Voice Complete Mobility plan presents an appealing price point and feature set for businesses with smaller numbers of staff. That's because it provides solid call management features and internal communication channels together with unlimited calling. As a result, it earned an average score of 3.3 out of five.

That score is lower than many options on this page. Those looking to expand their teams may be disappointed with its depth of training features - hence our limited recommendation to smaller teams - while a similar lack of CRM integrations could pose a problem for businesses relying on several types of software. But for small businesses looking for a lower-priced VoIP solution, this is one to consider.

Strengths

Great value with no hidden fees and unlimited calling

Call management features that compete with the best cloud phones like Vonage Max and 8x8 X4

Wide range of communication channels, including mass participant video calling

Weaknesses

Notable lack of software integrations with popular CRM like Salesforce

Subpar training features compared to the advanced tools on RingCentral Premium and 8x8 X4

Prices accurate as of July 2024

Overview

NBC’s Cloud Voice Complete Mobility is one of the best packages if you are running a small to medium-sized business and the low budgets that tend to entail. While NBC’s Cloud Voice Call Centre Basic package is just £10 per user, per month, we think Cloud Voice Complete Mobility’s accompanying desktop and mobile applications are a more apt, feature-rich comparison to the other cloud phone providers on this page.

Let’s look at the plus points of NBC’s Cloud Voice Complete Mobility plan for smaller UK-based businesses.

What Do We Like About NBC Cloud Voice Complete Mobility?

  • Solid value for money: While, on the face of things, NBC has a similar price point to our favourite providers on this page at around £25 per month, it does so without any additional costs. Granted, that’s because it offers a more streamlined package of features, but it still means you’ll avoid any sneaky costs required from extra payment.
  • Extensive call management features: NBC offers all the essential call management tools you’ll need. That includes custom call routing, call queues, and hunt groups, paired with unlimited inbound and outbound minutes. We found it only missed caller ID and voicemail screening; with those in place, it would have achieved a perfect score.
  • Several communication channels: Team video and call conferencing for large amounts of users, number porting, and alternative numbers are all crucial features NBC provides for efficient internal and external communication. As with most UK cloud phone providers in the UK, there is no SMS or e-fax functionality but besides that, you’re all set.

What Could NBC Cloud Voice Complete Mobility Improve?

However, there are some areas where NBC’s Cloud Voice Complete Mobility plan could do with some improvement:

  • No software integrations: A key absence in NBC Cloud Voice Complete Mobility’s service is the lack of integrations with popular CRM systems like Salesforce and other software applications. This could be a significant drawback for businesses that rely on seamless integration between their VoIP system and CRM tools and see NBC score the joint-lowest score in this category (alongside side Google Business Plus).
  • Poor extent of training features: Call monitoring, barging, and whisper controls, available from providers like RingCentral Premium, 8×8 X4, and Vonage Max, are all missing with NBC. While these are advanced tools, and the basics like call recording are present, this lack still earns NBC the joint-lowest score from our tested cloud phone providers.

How To Find the Right Cloud Phone System for Your Business

If your business uses the phone for casual customer engagement, then a cheaper system with basic functions will fit the best. But if you have a customer service department or a call centre, then you’ll need an advanced, comprehensive system that can be customised to the needs of your business.

Here are the best ways to find the right cloud phone system:

  • Contact your current VoIP provider (if applicable) Contact your current provider to see if you can upgrade to a better system. Your provider may have added new products or features that weren’t available when you first signed up.
  • Contact a new provider If any of the providers on this page meets your requirements, contact them to see if you’re a good fit. You don’t need to contact them directly, you can check out their website and other reviews.
  • Get recommendations Ask other business leaders in your industry what system they use and if they would recommend it. This is one of the best ways to find out what systems are or aren’t working for your industry.
  • Use our quote tool – Use our free quote comparison tool to be matched up with the right providers. Give us a few details about your business and we’ll link you to a provider that is suited to your needs. You’ll then be contacted by the trusted supplier to provide you with obligation-free quotes.

How Do Cloud-Based Phones Work?

Cloud-based phones use cloud servers to make and receive calls as well as other phone features, like voicemail. Cloud-based phone calls are converted into data packets and transmitted over the internet. This makes cloud-based phone calls cost-effective and fast, which is why they’re a popular choice with businesses.

Cloud Phones vs. Traditional Phones

Using the internet instead of physical phone lines to make and receive calls, cloud phones are a different proposition from traditional landlines. They also don’t need a hardware infrastructure, which means you can just download the software onto devices like a desktop computer or laptop to make and receive calls as long as you have an internet connection.

Cloud-based phone systems are typically much cheaper than traditional phones. It’s also much easier to scale your business up or down with a cloud phone system as the provider can quickly install or uninstall virtual phone lines.

Can I Use My Own Devices With a Cloud Phone System?

Yes, cloud phone systems offer you the flexibility to use your own devices rather than being limited to proprietary phones. There are several ways you can use your own devices with the system:

  1. Softphones: Cloud phone providers offer desktop and mobile apps that can transform your computer or smartphone into a virtual phone. This will allow you to use all of the phone system’s features.
  2. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): Many providers allow you to connect your own desktop IP phones or conference room phones to the cloud system. However, they must be compatible with the system.
  3. VoIP adapters: You can connect traditional analogue phones, fax machines, and other devices to the cloud phone system using VoIP adapters or IP gateways.
  4. Mobile integration: Your mobile phone can often be integrated with the cloud PBX to make and receive calls through the system.
  5. VPN phones: Some providers support the connection of remote phones via an on-site VPN router or IP PBX gateway for full integration.
  6. Limited integration: Options like call forwarding to mobile phones or sending incoming calls to user-defined numbers.

Each provider’s capabilities may vary, but most allow you to use your own devices in some form. However, it’s worth noting that native IP phones (offered by the provider) usually offer tighter integration and access to advanced features.

Cloud Phone Systems and Integrations: What to Look Out For?

Here are some of the most common and desirable integrations to look for when evaluating a UK cloud phone system:

  • CRM Integration: Tight integration with popular CRMs like Salesforce, Zoho, and Microsoft Dynamics to enable features like click-to-call, call logging, and customer data pop-ups.
  • Accounting Software: Integrations with Sage, Xero, and QuickBooks to synchronize contacts, capture call logs, and associate calls to clients/projects.
  • Email Integration: Connecting with email platforms like Gmail and Outlook to enable calling from within your email.
  • Internal and External Live Chat: Connecting with messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams helps maintain communication among your team.
  • Calendar Integration: Syncing calendars to display busy or available statuses, schedule calls, and set reminders.
  • Web Conferencing: Integration with web conferencing allows you to seamlessly initiate and join virtual meetings.

It’s important to check that the cloud phone provider you select can integrate with the software you already use. Cross-check the included third-party integrations of the provider with your existing software for a smooth transition.

How Can I Switch Cloud Phone System Providers?

When switching from one cloud phone system to another, assess the limitations of your current provider by looking at call volume, number of users, features, and cost.

  1. Compare providers using our free quote comparison tool. Once you’ve completed the form, you’ll be contacted directly. You’ll be able to ask questions about the products and receive transparent information about the provider before you switch.
  2. Once you’ve chosen the provider, we encourage you to install the free trial or demo to test call quality, reliability, and features.
  3. Before the switch, backup important data from your current provider.
  4. If you’re switching from one cloud-based system to another, you might not have to change your hardware. Ensure you confirm this with your new provider for a smooth transition.
  5. When transitioning from a traditional landline, tell your provider about the hardware you have and ask what hardware is needed. When making the switch to a cloud phone system, you might need less hardware, but you’ll need a strong internet connection and devices. The devices include laptops, desktop computers, or smartphones.
  6. To keep your current phone numbers, these need to be ported to a new provider. This process can take a little time, so it’s important to plan.

Typically, a new cloud phone provider completes the switch within one working day. So, it’s best to try and schedule this on your least busy day to prevent any major interruptions.

How We Test VoIP Phone Systems and Services for Businesses

We tested 20 market-leading VoIP products and services, evaluating them in terms of functionality, usability, cost, security options, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to UK businesses.

Our rigorous testing process involves us scoring and rating each provider across eight main categories of investigation. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting’ to ensure the product’s final score reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers.

Scoring Criteria with Respective Weighting

  • Call Management (25%): an analysis of a given platform’s call management features, including call routing functionality and the presence of a virtual receptionist.
  • Communication Channels (20%): assessment of the tools available within a VoIP platform for internal communication, including team messaging, video conferencing, and SMS capabilities.
  • Training Features (20%): the ability of the VoIP service to support the training of employees, from call review features like call recording and call data reporting, to live call coaching features like call barge or call whisper tools.
  • Pricing (10%): the pricing structure of VoIP systems, such as monthly subscription fees, call rates, setup fees, and any additional charges for add-on features or services.
  • Software Integrations (10%): the VoIP service’s ability to connect and integrate with external software systems, such as integration varying CRM, helpdesk, and external video conferencing platforms.
  • Hardware Integrations (5%): the ability of a VoIP service to integrate with different phone brands.
  • Customer Support (5%): the extent of assistance and resources provided by the VoIP service provider to customers including technical support, online resources, and access to customer support representatives.
  • Security Options (5%): the measures and features implemented by the VoIP service to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and protection of voice communications and data.
The Best Cloud Phone Providers in the UK: Our Verdict

Our research shows that RingCentral Premium is the top cloud phone system for businesses in the UK. Scoring an impressive overall 4.7/5 in our research, slightly higher than second place 8×8 X4, it has a generous range of software integration possibilities and call management tools, while it is easily scalable due to an extensive range of training features. It is a hyper-functional cloud phone system that can mould smoothly into your business’s communication game plan.

The only downside is that given its price point, you may expect more than 1,000 inbound and 2,000 outbound calling minutes per user, per month it is offering. Should unlimited calling minutes be an important consideration, we recommend choosing 8×8’s X4 plan. It also performed exceptionally well in the same areas as RingCentral Premium and only came behind due to slightly less software integration potential.

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FAQs

Why is everyone switching to a cloud based phone system?
The main reasons people are switching to a cloud based phone provider are:
  • Increased scalability: As your business grows, new cloud phone ports can be easily bought and installed with zero interruption to your business operations
  • Cost savings: Cloud based phone systems can save your business a lot of money on phone calls, especially if you make them frequently, with some even making inter-site communication entirely free
  • Easier long-distance calling: If you run a business with multiple sites or home workers who are frequently on the phone, a cloud based phone system will ensure easy communication as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection

Despite its numerous advantages, many are switching to a cloud based phone system now in time for the “The Big Switch Off” in early 2027, when UK landlines will officially be phased out.

How does a cloud phone work?
Because a cloud phone system is hosted in the cloud, your data is stored securely on a server that you and your team can access via the Internet.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to how a cloud phone system works:

  1. The cloud phone provider hosts the PBX software at their data centres, not on-premise.
  2. Your office phones connect to the cloud PBX over the internet, not on-site wiring.
  3. When you make a call, your phone sends the call over the internet to the cloud PBX.
  4. The cloud PBX handles call routing and features like transfers or voicemail.
  5. The call is sent to other office phones or to external numbers.
  6. VoIP technology allows voice data transmission over the internet.
  7. You manage the system via a web portal, not an on-site PBX box.
  8. Phones can connect from anywhere with internet access.
Is a cloud-based phone system VoIP?
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is a technology that carries phone calls over the internet, rather than over traditional landlines. All cloud-based phone systems utilise VoIP tech to make calls over the internet.

That said, it’s important to understand that not all VoIP systems are cloud based. Some can be hosted on your own servers, rather than in the cloud.

Learn more in our comparison of the best VoIP providers in the UK.

How much is a cloud mobile phone?
This depends on which mobile phone you want, and which cloud phone system you choose. Cloud phone system prices range from £8 per user, per month to over £100 per user, per month – but you’ll need to factor in the cost of the mobile phones you choose. Alternatively, your employees can use their personal smartphones to access the business cloud phone system when they’re working remotely.
Written by:
Matt Reed is a Senior Writer at Expert Market. Adept at evaluating products, he focuses mainly on assessing fleet management and business communication software. Matt began his career in technology publishing with Expert Reviews, where he spent several years putting the latest audio-related products and releases through their paces, revealing his findings in transparent, in-depth articles and guides. Holding a Master’s degree in Journalism from City, University of London, Matt is no stranger to diving into challenging topics and summarising them into practical, helpful information.
Reviewed by:
James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.