Overview: This is the last in a series of seven blogs where we summarize our review of national hosted PBX provider RingCentral, and local hosted PBX provider TeleDynamic Communications. While this particular hosted PBX provider comparison is between RingCentral and TeleDynamic, many if not most of the differences would be the same in comparing any national hosted PBX provider against any local hosted PBX provider.
RingCentral and TeleDynamic take different approaches in dealing with the equipment required to support a hosted PBX solution.
RingCentral offers only the telephones that go on the desks. They sell Cisco and Polycom phones. They do not sell the network components that are required to make hosted PBX to work, such as Ethernet routers, switches and firewalls. RingCentral is only in the phone business and leaves everything else to the customer. They do make a few recommendations for equipment, but it is pretty clear the customer is on their own.
TeleDynamic offers a full product line, providing Ethernet switches, routers, and firewalls on an as-needed basis as well as phones. They also represent products that increase the reliability of hosted PBX. TeleDynamic offers a wider selection of telephones representing Digium, Yealink, and Polycom devices.
Lastly, TeleDynamic offers traditional premise-based PBX solutions while RingCentral has only one product line – hosted PBX. There are times where a hybrid solution makes the most sense, but RingCentral must pass on this business.
Internet & Data Circuits
Much like their hands-off approach to equipment, RingCentral does not get involved in the Internet circuits that are required for hosted PBX, while TeleDynamic considers it a valuable component of their offering.
For customers with existing high quality voice-capable circuits, RingCentral is a good option. Their hosted PBX has shown to work on a wide variety of Internet circuits. In fact their service must work on a variety of circuits as they have no control or input on type and quality of circuits with their hands-off approach. RingCentral serves customers throughout the U.S thus must deal with a plethora of Internet providers. Subsequently, RingCentral has knowledge (and probably some unhappy stories) on how to provide service on a variety of circuits.
TeleDynamic, as a local hosted PBX provider, has considerable experience with Internet circuit providers in their service area. They provide consulting, order management and testing of Internet circuits as part of their total hosted PBX solution. In addition, TeleDynamic argues the superiority of their “resilient voice & data network” which they deliver by setting up two or more circuits working in parallel, thus providing redundancy.
Implementation & Installation
We are starting to see a pattern here with two contrasting hosted PBX delivery models emerging. Once again, the comparison is similar in that RingCentral’s approach is for the customer or their data vendor to be responsible for provisioning the service, while Teledynamic offers a total solution. RingCentral has perfected the process of shipping phones and utilizing the customer as their remote hosted PBX installation technician. They really have no choice, as RingCentral has no field personnel. They must be able to work remotely with customers and IT vendors to deliver their hosted PBX service.
RingCentral does not provide value-added services such as equipment installation, cabling and on premise vendor and carrier meetings. Teledynamic does offer these services.
Lastly, TeleDynamic has the advantage being physically close to their customers and that allows them to be on the customer premise for the crucial portions of the implementation. This means that the customer has less involvement and work in the hosted PBX installation process.
The comparison of support provided by RingCentral versus TeleDynamic is best addressed by specific support elements, as follows:
Standard Support hours
RingCentral: Around the clock, seven days a week
TeleDynamic: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Tech Support Location
RingCentral uses a foreign-based customer support center. TeleDynamic’s customer support center is based in Hayward, CA.
On Premise Support
RingCentral: No on premise support
TeleDynamic: Provides on premise support
Defective Product Replacement
RingCentral: Defective product needs to be shipped to Ring Central for replacement
TeleDynamic: Defective product is replaced on premise or by advance replacement via local shipping.
Hosted PBX Service Level Agreement (SLA)
RingCentral: They do not provide a hosted PBX SLA
TeleDynamic: Provides hosted PBX SLA (upon request)
For ongoing support, RingCentral has superior support hours. TeleDynamic scores higher in the areas of non-foreign support, on premise support, delivery of replacement equipment and a guaranteed service level agreement.
RingCentral has a complex pricing structure that ranges from $22.99 to $64.99 per user, with a whopping 36 different price points. Items that determine the final customer price are the size of the customer, features required, contract duration and whether the customer pre-pays a full year in advance.
To compare RingCentral and TeleDynamic Communications pricing can be challenging. RingCentral charges by the extension and TeleDynamic charges by the extension and by the call path (a call path supports one simultaneous call). In rare instances where customers have a high volume of calls, Ring Central can be more affordable. Where the volume of phone calls is more of a typical business, Teledynamic hosted PBX pricing becomes attractive. And 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. The Teledynamic solution is very attractive to startup companies and organizations with large R&D staffs in comparison to Ring Central’s pricing.
RingCentral provides one and three year contracts, and TeleDynamic provides one, two, three and five year contracts. RingCentral contracts automatically renew for the original term unless the customer provides a 30 day notice while TeleDynamic expired contracts automatically go to month-to-month after the initial term.
Early Termination Fee
RingCentral requires the customer to pay for all unused service for the remainder of the contract. They also have a mystery “applicable disconnection fee” in their terms and conditions that has no further explanation. TeleDynamic’s early termination fee is 50% of the remaining contract value.
Business Reputation and References
RingCentral was founded in 1998 and TeleDynamic Communications was founded in 1979.
Ring Central had an IPO in early 2014 and is public. Since their start, they have lost a total of $143,000,000. TeleDynamic is privately held and is a profitable business.
RingCentral earns a Yelp two star rating, while TeleDynamic earns a four rating.
The Better Business Bureau reports 52 formal RingCentral complaints, while TeleDynamic has no registered complaints.
RingCentral has a very unusual approach in dealing with unhappy customers. If a customer disparages RingCentral (in private as well as public), the company has the right to terminate service. So, RingCentral customers must beware that their phone service may be discontinued if they say anything unkind about their provider. This writer knows of no other hosted PBX provider that disconnects unhappy customers.
RingCentral wins on brand recognition while TeleDynamic scores a big win on service reputation.
National hosted PBX provider RingCentral and local hosted PBX provider TeleDynamic Communications are two very different providers.
RingCentral has much greater brand recognition and is much, much larger than TeleDynamic. As such it is the choice for businesses who consider those traits important. RingCentral does a very good job in remote implementation of their service. RingCentral may be a favored choice for a customer with a national footprint.
However, RingCentral’s approach means less flexibility and customization, but then again, that can also translate into less specialized support requirements for the larger customer.
For companies with strong IT skills who understand the complexities of designing a voice-ready VOIP network, RingCentral’s remote implementation process should not present a challenge.
For companies who do not have the in-house skills to implement an end-to-end voice-quality data network, TeleDynamic Communication’s value-added hosted PBX solution is a better fit. The company delivers a complete package, including consulting and implementing voice-enabled routers, firewalls, Ethernet switches and voice/data circuits. Many organizations today have limited IT staff and decreased budgets for outside IT support and for them, TeleDynamic provides the required professional services to implement a reliable and resilient VOIP hosted PBX solution.
TeleDynamic is a local San Francisco Bay Area provider, with sales and support personnel in close proximity to their customers. While remote support is a wonderful from a cost perspective, nothing replaces a timely on premise customer visit to resolve a problem. RingCentral is also located in the San Francisco area but maintain no local service personnel.
In summary, comparing RingCentral and TeleDynamic is a classic choice of big versus small, name brand versus a local provider, and kid glove treatment versus a generic implementation. There is no single right answer for every company.