Phonebooth is a division of Bandwidth.com, Inc., which was founded in 1999 and is among the top growing telecommunication companies on the Inc. 500 list. Their OnDemand virtual phone service is affordable, and they have the features that businesses need without the same frills and confusions of other virtual phone service providers. While they do offer a great price and included features, some of those features may be too basic for companies more familiar with cloud-based phone services – or those in need of more advanced cloud-based phone options. A cloud based phone service provider that offers affordable plans with zero commitment, aimed at accommodating businesses as they grow.
- Unlimited auto attendant
- Unlimited voice transcriptions
- Unlimited group conference and groups
- No contract
- 24/7 support
- No fax options
- Limited line options
- No chat or email support
- No scalability
- Lack of extras
- No add-ons or expandable features
- No cloud integration
- Vague on SIP credentials
- No customized greetings
Pricing/Minutes/Contract: (Rating: 6/10)
Phonebooth offers a straightforward pricing plan that is easy to understand. There’s only one plan with the ability to add additional lines. Their $20 per month per user nationwide and long-distance plan provides users with unlimited calling, two free numbers, unlimited auto-attendants, groups, transcriptions, and group conferences with two free bridges. This price doesn’t include the added fees for toll-free numbers and ported numbers.
They are affordable upfront, but you still need to purchase phones. Phones through the company start at $69 per month and while they say you can bring your own device, you may have to configure them to the Phonebooth system.
While their pricing is straightforward and requires no contract or long-term commitment, Phonebooth hides the fact that they have fair use limits on their unlimited plans. These fair use limits mean that once you go over so many minutes within the “unlimited” plan, you will then be charged a per minute fee. While most unlimited providers have fair use limitations, Phonebooth isn’t clear about how they price out or portion out unlimited fair uses – which means some businesses could be in for a lot of surprises.
Call Management: (Rating: 4/10)
Call management, like pricing, is straightforward and simplistic. Phonebooth offers call routing without the use of mobile apps. There are very few call management features, ideal for those needing a no-frills cloud based phone service option. Although auto-attendant is among the few call management features, users are unable to record customized greetings, leaving the service feeling cold and less personal.
Compared to other providers, Phonebooth is severely lacking on management tools.
Available Numbers: (Rating: 6/10)
Toll-free numbers are available at an additional charge of $1 per month plus $0.029 per minute (something they don’t readily advertise), but all plans come with up to two free phone numbers. To add an additional number you will pay $1 per month per number in addition to the $20 per month per user fee. Vanity numbers are not available directly from Phonebooth. International numbers are not offered with Phonebooth either.
You can port a number for free to Phonebooth, but expect that port to take about three weeks to finalize.
Advanced Features: (Rating: 3/10)
Again, Photobooth offers a low-price point but lacks many of the feature-full offerings of its competitors. Advanced features are either lacking or non-existent. The features they consider to be “advanced” include HD voice, auto attendants, voicemail to email or phone, conference calling, and a web-based interface. These are extremely basic and are offered standard with most of their competitors. They don’t offer faxes, analytics or anything that really makes them stand out – and once you factor that in, their prices are not necessarily “affordable” anymore.
Usability/Ease of Use: (Rating: 7/10)
Because of their straightforward pricing and feature listing, Phonebooth is relatively easy to use. All that is really needed is an IP Phone in order to begin using their services. Most everything is automated, leaving little customization options and expertise required among its users. There may be an increased learning curve for those using an existing virtual phone. That being said, the attractiveness and guides available online are limited compared to some companies, which may make it less user-friendly than other cloud based phone services out there.
Help & Support: (Rating: 7/10)
Phonebooth offers 24/7 customer support. Users can call, utilize their help center, or browse their FAQs. Some users report frustrations with customer service, and the fact that there is no email or live chat support is troublesome for those that prefer those venues of communication – or when their phones are down and they cannot call out. However, phone support is always an available option, which is a plus considering the cost of their plan. Additionally, a Phonebooth community portal helps users connect with other users to solve and troubleshoot common problems.
Phonebooth Pricing and Plans
Phonebooth offers only one plan priced at $20 per user, per month. This plan comes with 2 free numbers, unlimited auto attendant, unlimited groups, unlimited voicemail transcriptions, unlimited groups, and unlimited conferences.
There are no other options available and there is not much to build upon or improve upon from their basic account level.
Starting Monthly Price - Shared Minutes Plans: Not Offered
Starting Monthly Price(per user) - Unlimited Minutes Plans: $20
Starting Number of Users - Unlimited Minutes Plans: 1
Setup or Activation Fees:: None
Cancellation or Early Termination Fees: None
Unlimited Minutes Per User Plans(Office)
Available Minutes – Shared Minutes Plans
Anonymous Call Rejection
Caller ID/Call Screening
Do Not Disturb
Find Me/Call Routing
Advanced VoIP Features
Voicemail to Email
# of Server Locations: unknown
Use Your Own Device
Purchase Phones?: Optional
Overage Minutes – Shared Minutes Plans
Extensions – Shared Minutes Plans
Phone #’s – Shared Minutes Plans
Plan Details – Unlimited Minutes Plans
Included Local and Long Distance Minutes(Domestic US & Canada): Unlimited
Included Toll Free Minutes: None
Included International Minutes: None
Overage Minutes: 2.9¢
Included Phone #'s: 2
Additional or Add-ons
Cost for Additional Local #'s: $1/month
Cost for Additional Toll Free #'s: $1/month
Cost for Vanity #'s(one time fee): Not Offered
Cost for Virtual International Numbers: Not Offered
Cost to Transfer a Number: $25
Cost for Additional Minutes Packages: Not Offered
Can Transfer Existing Numbers
Toll Free Numbers
What Type of Company Can Benefit from This Virtual Phone Service?
Companies just starting out may find that Phonebooth works for them. With their high per user price and limited features, it is unlikely that Phonebooth will work for larger companies or those that need things like app integration, analytics or even a basic fax service. Also, they cannot accommodate call centers. Businesses that will use a lot of minutes each month should be wary of any fair use policies that are not outright advertised by Phonebooth.
What We Like About Phonebooth
Pricing: With Phonebooth, there is only one plan with one price point and all available features are included in the cost. Instead of offering several plans, users have just one plan that they can continue to add users and lines to.
Unlimited Features: While their feature offering is slim, many features that are offered are unlimited, such as unlimited local and long distance calls, auto attendant, voice transcriptions, groups and group conferences. Since many offerings at this price-point or below charge per minute for local and long distant calls, Phonebooth’s unlimited features help businesses in need of basic VoIP services keep their costs down and save money.
No Contract: There is no contract required to get started using Phonebooth’s VoIP communications services and can cancel at any time. Users will need to have an IP phone, which can be purchased separately via their website at an additional one-time cost, but existing phones can be used.
HD Voice: With HD voice, calls are crisp and clear. Since call quality is important, this feature is an impressive one to boast considering Phonebooth’s low price-point. HD voice is something that is common with most virtual phone services, but not all offer it; therefore, it is still worth noting.
Call Routing: Although there is no softphone or mobile app options, Phonebooth does offer call routing service to ensure you are able to receive your calls from anywhere or while on the go.
24/7 Support: Despite the low monthly cost, Phonebooth doesn’t skimp on customer support. 24/7 customer support ensures users can call or connect at any time, day or night, if there is an issue or assistance is needed.
What we didn’t like about Phonebooth
No Fax Options: While some users may not require fax options, businesses should be aware that there are none available with Phonebooth. If a company is in need of fax related services, this provider is not ideal.
No Scalability: When you sign up for a cloud-based phone service, you often look for a company that can grow with you. While it is true that Phonebooth offers unlimited plans, they lack the ability to add on features that a growing business will eventually need – such as fax or third party app integration. Because they also have very limited call management features, most companies will find that they grow out of Phonebooth’s limited services quickly. Luckily, there’s no contract so companies aren’t forced to stay with a provider that can no longer meet their needs.
Limited Line Options: Although Phonebooth does offer unlimited local and long distance calling; users only have access to two free local numbers. Pricing and information on international calling, toll free numbers, and vanity numbers is difficult to find, making this service less ideal for businesses operating outside a local calling area. They also don’t offer international numbers.
Lack of Extras: Phonebooth offers affordable service and straightforward features, but many of the included extras found in other virtual phone service companies are lacking, such as call block, call rejection, call hold, queues, mobile apps, personal greetings, and software integration. Overall, their call management tools are extremely basic and not impressive.
No Cloud Integration: While Phonebooth operates using cloud technology, businesses that are familiar with and are already using VoIP services will find the lack of cloud integration frustrating.
Vague on SIP Credentials: Since they Bandwidth.com owns Phonebooth, it is able to provide SIP solutions that are equal to traditional phone quality. While they are one of the only cloud based phone service providers to offer this, the company is vague on what their SIP credentials are.
No Customized Greeting: Despite the fact that Phonebooth offers unlimited auto attendant, there is no option to create a customized voice greeting. This almost makes this feature pointless in the first place.
Phonebooth offers no contracts, low pricing, and a no-frills service. They pride themselves on their cost-effective and no-nonsense business plans. While they lack in features, their simplified approach may make them ideal for companies that just want a phone line rather than features.