Finding The Right Business Phone Plans: A Definitive Guide

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While it may be daunting to try to find the perfect business phone plans for yourself or your organization, the landscape in Canada only has a handful of competitors.

Whether you’re looking for landlines using VOIP (Voice Over IP), business cell phone plans or a virtual phone number, we’ve got you covered.

Keep in mind, this is a Canadian specific guide.

To start, the ‘big 3’ are obviously players in this space, so lets take a look at their offerings.

 

Bell Business Phone

Bell is the pioneer of phone lines in Canada for both residential and business purposes. The infrastructure they have laid is across the country is what originally provided connectivity before wireless and VOIP options became available and you actually needed a hard telephone line. While the days of hard telephone lines has long passed us, Bell still has a very good understanding of the business phone market and provides great solutions for business customers of all sizes.

 

Bell Business Phone Plans

For small businesses up to 20 employees, the Bell Total Connect offering provides a seamless set up across all devices to stay connected.

Here are details on the The Bell Total Connect package:

  1. Starts at $45.95 per month on a 3 year commitment which is a promotional rate
  2. Includes unlimited long distance to Canada & the US
  3. Includes Hunt Groups, which will transfer incoming calls to the next line in your group if it is not answered
  4. Auto Attendant: Press 1 for Sales, press 2 for Service
  5. Voicemail to email
  6. Over 16 other features

You can then pick from a variety of add-ons to build out your business phone system such as:

  • Call Dashboard: Real-time view on incoming calls and employee availability to take a call ($9.95 per month)
  • Call Manager: Queue up to 50 incoming calls on your central business phone number and automatically distribute them to employees ($19.95 per month)
  • Call Manager Agent: Required for each employee you would like to distribute calls to from Call Manager noted above ($9.95 per month)

 

Bell Business Cell Phone Plans

Similar to consumer offerings, Bell business plan prices vary on whether you are purchasing a device or not. The tiers for Unlimited Data plans are:

  • BYOD: Starts at $75 per month
  • Premium: Starts at $95 per month
  • Premium Plus: Starts at $105 per month
  • Premium Ultra: Starts at $115 per month

With BYOD providing the lowest plan price but you bring your own device or purchase one outright and Premium Ultra offering the highest plan price but the lowest upfront device purchase price.

It’s always a fine balance on finding what makes the most sense for your business as devices these days can cost $1,000 and up if bought outwards so a little math should help you find the sweet spot based on your budget and needs.

While Bell offers various different plans, their Unlimited Data plans released in June 2019 are available for both consumers and businesses.

In terms of unlimited business plans, here are the BYOD tier options from Bell:

  1. Unlimited 10 – 10 GB Data – Unlimited Canada Calling & Messaging – $75 per month (BYOD)
  2. Unlimited 20 – 20 GB Data – Unlimited Canada Calling & Messaging – $95 per month (BYOD)
  3. Unlimited 50 – 50 GB Data – Unlimited Canada Calling & Messaging – $125 per month (BYOD)

Once you use your data allotment, speeds will be reduced to 256 Kbps so while data is ‘unlimited’ keep in mind that at 256 Kbps you pretty much can’t do anything more than receive emails which will load very slowly if they have large attachment or images and messaging.

Call Display, Message Centre, Call Waiting and Conference Calling are included.

Bell also offers various other plans such as their Connect Everything Plans, Single User Plans, Push To Talk Plans and Tablet/Mobile Internet specfic plans.

 
 

Rogers Business Phone

Most of you know or may even have used Rogers in some capacity of currently or in the past. They’ve been around for many years and were one of the pioneers of the wireless industry in Canada. They have a strong network that’s been built, scaled and updated to the latest technologies over many decades. Their infrastructure is reliable from a business point of view.

 

Rogers Business Phone Plans

Rogers currently offers the following two plans for business:

  1. Business Phone Basic: Cost is $37.99 and includes no features
  2. Business Phone Pro: Cost is $53.99 and allows you to choose 6 features as well as unlimited North American Long Distance
  3. Promo: If you sign a 2 year term for Business Phone Pro, the price drops drastically to $23.99 per month

What are the features Rogers offers?

Here are a selection of the most useful features, on top of regular things such as voicemail and call display

  • Call Transfer: Transfer your current call to someone else
  • Line Hunting: Incoming calls will be routed to next available line in a group
  • Simultaneous Ring: Incoming calls can ring up to four additional land and mobile lines at the same time
  • Toll Block: Block outgoing calls to long distance numbers

What about Rogers Unison? We’ll get to that a little below after we discuss some of their wireless offerings as Unison needs to be added on top of a wireless plan.

 

Rogers Business Cell Phone Plans

Rogers has their new offering of unlimited data plans which extends to businesses as well called the Infinite plans. These are hands down the best value. If you’re looking to also purchase devices for yourself/your employees, plans work the same way as they do for consumers, for example looking at the Infinite + 10 plan:

  • No Tab: $75 per month
  • Premium Tab: $95 per month
  • Premium+ Tab: $105 per month
  • Ultra Tab: $115 per month

No Tab means you bring your own device or purchase it outright while Ultra Tab allows you to purchase the device at the cheapest price (sometimes even $0) however it is essentially subsidized by an entire plan. We’ll leave this to you to decide where it would make most sense for your business to land.

In terms of unlimited business plans, Rogers has 3 options:

  1. Infinite +10 – 10 GB Data – Unlimited Canada Wide Calling & Messaging – $75 per month (No Tab)
  2. Infinite +20 – 20 GB Data – Unlimited Canada Wide Calling & Messaging – $95 per month (No Tab)
  3. Infinite +50 – 50 GB Data – Unlimited Canada Wide Calling & Messaging – $125 per month (No Tab)

Every additional line of the same plan is $10 cheaper, so Infinite +10 additional line is $65 per month (No Tab), Infinite +20 additional line is $85 per month (No Tab) and Infinite +50 additional line is $115 per month (No Tab).

Data use is unlimited however it will be reduced to a speed of 256 Kbps once you pass your monthly allotment. 256 Kbps will not allow you to do much besides very basic email and messaging.

Voicemail, call display, group calling and call waiting are included.

 

Key Features Worth Pointing Out

Rogers Data Manager: Rogers has built a portal through which you can log in and allocate, add, block data usage for any of the lines on your account as well as receive alerts when employees are near their threshold.

Rogers Unison:

What is it? Rogers coins it as offering traditional business phone features in a truly flexible solution.

Some of the main features:

  • Auto Attendant: Press 1 for Sales, press 2 for Service
  • Hunt Groups: Incoming calls will keep getting transferred to those on your team until someone answers
  • Dual Persona: Assign multiple numbers to a single line
  • Call Pull: Switch between your devices while on a call
  • Receptionist Console: Digital console for receptionist to manage calls, no desktop phone required
  • Voicemail to Email: Get an audio file of your voicemail instantly emailed to you
  • Simultaneous Ring: Ring multiple devices at the same time

 
 

TELUS Business Phone

While TELUS may have joined the race after both Bell and Rogers, they have definitely made huge strides to become a national player part of the top 3 big telcos, especially after their merger with BCTel in 1999. Having a large presence in the Western provinces, TELUS has invested billions of dollars in laying out its fibre optic network to offer excellent phone/wireless/television/internet services among other offerings.

 

TELUS Business Phone Plans

TELUS offers a robust list of features for your business phone needs in the office along with Canada/US/International minutes add-ons. They offer 3 plans as outlined below however pricing will be provided when you contact them so that they can customize the right service for your business.

  1. Office Phone Basic
    • One calling feature
    • $0.07 per minute for Canada/US long distance
    • Discounted international long distance rates
    • Toll free number is $2.95 per month plus $0.07 per minute
  2. Office Phone
    • Unlimited calling features
    • 150 minutes Canada/US long distance
    • Discounted international long distance rates
    • Toll free number included plus $0.07 per minute
  3. Office Phone Plus
    • Unlimited calling features
    • Unlimited Canada/US long distance
    • Discounted international long distance rates
    • Toll free number included plus $0.07 per minute

Here are some additional tips on calling internationally.
 
Features offered by TELUS for business phone:

  • Call Management: Track, schedule and manage your calls as well as accessing your voicemail through your phone or TELUS secure website
  • Long distance add ons and discounted international rates
  • Toll free voice and fax calls
  • Call Routing: Route calls to different numbers based on a schedule or the caller’s area code
  • IP Trunking: Essentially run your voice calls through your high-speed internet access, main benefit is allowing you to scale easily and efficiently
  • Business Connect: Allows you to have unlimited Canada/US VOIP calling, use the portal hub to manage your business such as changing call handling rules, videoconferencing, set up to toll free numbers and more. Starts at $15 per month per user.

 

TELUS Business Cell Phone Plans

TELUS offers it’s Easy Share plans for business which provide a base plan and shareable data among all users. They also offer discounts for each line starting with your 5th line. Similar to their consumer offerings, their plan prices vary depending on how much you want to pay for each device. In addition, TELUS has extended it’s unlimited data plans to be available for businesses as well! We’ll focus on those as we believe they provide the best value.

TELUS offers the following 4 tiers in each unlimited plan type. The starting price for the first plan which includes 10 GB of data is:

  • BYOD: $75 per month
  • Premium: $95 per month
  • Premium Plus: $105 per month
  • Platinum: $115 per month

So similar to Bell and Rogers, BYOD means you bring your own device or purchase it outright, affording you the cheapest plan price while Platinum allows you to purchase a device at the cheapest price possible by paying a higher price for your plan each month.

Current TELUS unlimited plans in the BYOD tier are as follows:

  1. 10 GB Data – Unlimited Nationwide Calling & Text – $75 per month (BYOD)
  2. 20 GB Data – Unlimited Nationwide Calling & Text – $95 per month (BYOD)
  3. 50 GB Data – Unlimited Nationwide Calling & Text – $125 per month (BYOD)

Unlike the Easy Share plans, data in the unlimited plans is not shareable.

Also, data is unlimited but will be reduced to a speed of 512 Kbps (Bell and Rogers are 256 Kbps) . While it’s higher than the competitors, 512 Kbps will only allow for light email and messaging, possibly light browsing.

Voicemail 10, call display, conference calling, call forwarding and easy roam are all included.

 

So this new tier of unlimited wireless business cell phone plans from Bell, Rogers and TELUS are exactly the same price at all 3!

 
For those of you in Quebec, you will also want to check out the Videotron Business plans as they have some competitive offerings for both landlines and cell phone plans.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba rate plans are also looking to be cheaper than what is noted above.

 
 

Besides the ‘big 3’, there are still many other options for business phone plans from local providers specialized in landlines.

However, keep in mind that many of these telecommunication brands are ‘resellers’ of infrastructure and bandwidth from larger providers. While this is completely normal and fine, it’s just something to be aware of and a question to ask when looking at providers.

While core functionality is similar between all 3, your needs will define which telecom below is the best fit. Features such as setting up an auto-attendant, forwarding, voicemail to email and integration with mobile devices are becoming common among all players.

 

Here’s a look at a few business phone providers:

 

Vonage

One of the pioneers in the voice over IP space, Vonage started back in 2001 offering cheaper residential phone service. While their focus on business solutions has only become prominent in recent years, they’ve been around for a while.

They offer a variety of scalable solutions for small businesses all the way up to enterprises. If you need a robust solution, Vonage can probably handle your needs. They also offer the hardware that you’ll need.

 

Primus

Another long-standing teleco provider, Primus has been around for about 20 years, similarly offering residential and business services. They are a reseller of a telecommunications services and as of 2016 counted over 23,000 businesses as their customers.

Their solutions primarily support small to mid sized businesses and they offer hardware as well.

Currently, they’re promoting their hosted phone system for $21.95 per month per user with a minimum of 5 users along with some type of free hardware offer.

 

Thinktel

Thinktel is a division of Distributel, another long standing telecom company that’s been around since 1988. They have a very strong presence in Canada, with the ability to cover 90% of the total Canadian population. They have offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton and over 400 employees.

They also have major network points of presence in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton, so no matter the size of your business, ThinkTel is an independent service provider that can provide a custom solution for your business at an affordable price.

 

So there you have it. You’re equipped with all of the information you need to take your next step of deciding what type of service you need with companies to go check out in detail.

 
Have you used any of the services mentioned above?

Is there a service you’ve used or are thinking about that I missed?

 

Either way, let me know in the comments below!

Related:
Should I Get A Virtual Phone Number?

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Shawn Gant

My 2 passions in life: snowboarding and all things digital! Always interested in exploring new tech developments.

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