Overview: This is the last in our series of seven blogs where we do an in-depth review of 8X8, a national hosted PBX provider, and TeleDynamic Communications, a local San Francisco Bay Area-based hosted PBX provider. Today, we will summarize our hosted PBX research results. While we specifically compare 8X8 to TeleDynamic, much of what we found would be true in comparing any national hosted PBX provider versus a local hosted PBX provider.
The two organizations take an entirely different approach to dealing with the equipment required to support a hosted PBX solution.
8X8 sells the minimum equipment required for a hosted PBX, which are the telephones that go on the desks. They offer two brands of phones, Cisco and Polycom. They do not sell Ethernet switches and sell only three low-end models of firewalls that are designed for small offices. It is clear that 8X8 does not want to be in the equipment business, but rather leave that to the customer or the data vendor. TeleDynamic goes a different route, providing Ethernet switches, routers, and firewalls in addition to the telephones. They specialize in products that increase the reliability and voice of hosted PBX. Teledynamic also has a wider selection of telephones, offering Polycom, Digium, Aastra and Yealink products. Additionally the company will support other brands of customer-owned SIP phones, making them the choice for customers who wish to change hosted PBX providers.
Internet & Data Circuits
Very similar to the hosted PBX equipment comparison, 8X8 stays clear of involvement in the data/Internet circuits that are required for hosted PBX, while TeleDynamic gets heavily involved.
For customers with quality voice-capable circuits, 8X8 is a fine choice. They have proven that their VOIP service (hosted PBX) can reliably work on a wide variety of data carrier circuits. In fact their service must work on an array of circuits as they defer these choices to the customer. And they serve customers throughout the U.S who utilize a myriad of regional carriers. As a result, 8X8 has valuable knowledge on how to provide quality service on a hodgepodge of circuits.
TeleDynamic, being a local hosted PBX provider, has a depth of knowledge about data circuit providers in their service area. The company provides consulting, order management and testing of Internet circuits as part of its total hosted PBX solution. In addition, Teledynamic points to the superiority of their “resilient voice/data network” which they provide by engineering two circuits to work in tandem, providing redundancy.
Implementation & Installation
Once again, the comparison is similar in that 8X8’s approach is for primary participation by the customer or their data vendor to provision the service, while Teledynamic’s approach is providing a total solution. I think we are seeing definite pattern here with two contrasting hosted pbx delivery models being evident.
8X8 has perfected the art of shipping telephones to customers and working with them to complete the installation. Out of necessity, they must be successful in working remotely with customers and local IT support personnel to deliver quality hosted PBX service.
TeleDynamic has a unique advantage in that they are physically close to their customers and they are on the customer premise for a portion of the installation process. This translates into the customer having less responsibility and work in the hosted PBX installation process.
The comparison of support provided by 8X8 versus TeleDynamic is best addressed by specific support elements, as follows:
Standard Support hours
8X8: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM
TeleDynamic: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Emergency Support hours
TeleDynamic: 7 X 24
On Premise Support
8X8: No on premise support
TeleDynamic: Provides on premise support
Defective Product Replacement
8X8: Defective product needs to be shipped to 8X8 for replacement
TeleDynamic: Defective product can be replaced on premise or by shipping to Teledynamic for replacement.
Hosted PBX Service Level Agreement (SLA)
8X8: No hosted PBX SLA.
TeleDynamic: Provides hosted PBX SLA (upon request)
Comparing 8X8 with TeleDynamic, 8X8 has superior standard support hours. TeledDnamic scores higher in emergency hosted PBX support, on premise support, delivery of replacement equipment and a guaranteed service level agreement.
A comparison between 8X8 and the local hosted PBX provider TeleDynamic Communications is a bit complicated. 8X8 charges by the extension and TeleDynamic charges by the extension and by the call path (each call path supports one simultaneous call). In some instances where customers have a high volume of calls, 8X8 can be more affordable. In situations where the volume of phone calls is more typical, TeleDynamic hosted PBX pricing becomes attractive. Lastly, in offices with a high quantity of telephones and a low quantity of calls, TeleDynamic’s pricing structure provides a much lower cost hosted PBX solution.
Both 8X8 and TeleDynamic offer multiple year contracts up to five years in duration. The price declines the longer the contract duration. 8X8 contracts automatically renew (auto renew) while TeleDynamic expired contracts roll to month-to-month after the initial term.
8X8 has a “phone cancellation fee” and customers get charged $60 to $200 per phone if they wish to decrease the number of phones on the 8X8 service. There is a large price to pay for decreasing the number of phones under contract with 8X8.
The last major pricing difference is 8X8’s early termination fee (ETF). This is the amount legally due to 8X8 upon a customer cancelling a contract. 8X8’s contract terms are that the customer will pay the entirety of their total contract cost whether they keep or cancel the service. TeleDynamic does not have an early termination fee at the time this article was written.
Business Reputation and References
8X8 and TeleDynamic Communications both have a long history in business and both hosted PBX providers are profitable.
8X8 gets Yelp’s three-star rating, while TeleDynamic earns a four-star rating from Yelp.
The Better Business Bureau reports 25 8X8 complaints, while in that same time, TeleDynamic has had no registered complaints
In comparing 8X8 and TeleDynamic Communications, you get the impression of two very different companies in the hosted PBX industry.
8X8 is the obvious choice for customers who wish to work with a large company with a well-recognized brand. 8X8 does an excellent job in remote implementation of their service. 8X8 is a favored choice for a customer with a national footprint.
8X8’s cookie cutter approach means less flexibility and customization, but also results in consistent performance and less specialized support requirements.
For customers with strong IT skills who thoroughly understand how to engineer voice-ready VOIP networks, the 8X8 “ship and remotely support” approach presents manageable installation challenges.
TeleDynamic Communication’s turnkey hosted PBX solution is a better fit for customers who need to rely on a total solution from their vendor. From recommending and implementing voice-enabled routers, firewalls, Ethernet switches and quality voice/data circuits, TeleDynamic delivers a complete hosted PBX package. With companies having downsized their IT staff and decreased their budgets for outside IT support, TeleDynamic provides the necessary professional services to implement a reliable and resilient VOIP hosted PBX solution. Their value lies in their ability to transition voice services to the cloud (virtual PBX) without a major disruption to their customer’s organization.
TeleDynamic is a local provider, with offices and support personnel in close proximity to their hosted PBX customers. While remote support is a wonderful service, there are still times where it is necessary to visit the customer’s site to provide service.
In closing, the 8X8 and TeleDynamic comparison is the classic choice of big versus small, and choosing between personalized local service and a large national organization. There is no single right or wrong answer, but rather what fits the needs best.