Is it finally time to get your employees a work number? There are many great reasons to connect your small business with a mobile network. That leaves only one problem — what’s the best small business cell phone plan? We hope to answer that in this article. There is not one plan to rule them all. Rather, each plan brings its strengths and focuses to the table, and it is all about finding the plan that gives you everything you need at, hopefully, the lowest possible price point. Before we begin, let’s talk a bit about dual-SIM active phones and how they are a potential alternative to giving a work phone to all your employees.
Dual-SIM Active Phones
The idea behind Dual-SIM Active phones is pretty simple. The phone is configured in a way that can hold two separate numbers on a single device. Imagine combining two phones with their accounts (regardless of the service provider or plan). That’s a Dual-SIM phone. Your employees are about to have two numbers. They either need a work phone and a personal phone or both numbers on one phone. Two phones are the traditional way to separate business from leisure, but carrying around two phones is less than ideal.
The first dual-SIM phones gained popularity as phones grew more complex and could handle two lines in one. There are a few triple-SIM and quad-SIM compatible phones, but they are more of a novelty than a practical device. Most newish phones are dual-SIM compatible, and bringing your devices into the plan will save you on hardware costs.
There is nothing new about a phone just for business, but with a Dual SIM active phone, you can utilize that SIM card on your regular phone. Since it is a different number and a separate account, your employees can customize their notification settings, like leaving their phone on do-not-disturb at night or on vacation while keeping your personal line active.
This is also a great way to combine accounts if you travel internationally.
International SIM Cards
If some but not all of your company travels or communicates internationally, you can tailor their specific plan to be the best for international communication. This gets less viable as your company grows, but it is a way for tiny businesses to save money while giving out the best service to each of their employees.
Does Your Small Business need a Phone Plan?
Small business phone plans can do a lot of good for your business, but they have downsides. The major one is, of course, the cost to get all of your employees phones and phone plans, but at some point, not having one is doing far more harm than good. Let’s jump into some pros and cons of getting a phone plan for your small business to help you figure out whether or not to purchase a phone plan.
Added Running Costs
Business phone plans can get expensive. An additional $10 to $30 a month per person is hard to fit into a budget that’s already balanced on a thin edge.
Reimbursing Phone Expenses
Some states require employees to reimburse workers when they use their phones for the business. This means that no matter whether or not you get a small business phone plan, you will have to reimburse your employees for phone usage.
The major reason to find the best small business cell phone plan is to increase your company presence. If employees travel around the country on business or need to make a lot of business calls, having a separate number for work only is a great boon. It provides an essential separation for your employees. Their personal number is for non-work-related items, and their work number is always work.
Alternatives to a Business Cell Phone Plan
There are, however, other ways to outfit all your employees with cell phone numbers. If your small business is only a handful of employees, you can create a regular phone plan tailored to your business needs.
How to Choose a Small Business Cell Phone Plan
Many factors affect the best small business cell phone plan for your company, and we will discuss those factors in the abstract in this section and specifically in the next section to provide what assistance we can in your decision. It is ultimately up to you to figure out the best plan for your situation, and we hope that we can point you in the right direction.
Why Does Your Small Business Need a Cell Phone Plan?
Cell phone plans become an item your business needs when your employees have to communicate a lot at work on work items. There is a point where there are better options than a personal phone. Work phones help the company and the employees separate their work time from personal time.
Tailor the Plan to Your Company
There are a ton of plans out there, all offering a different set of benefits. Before you purchase any lines, hardware, or communication-related equipment, analyze your company's needs. Every big purchase should be thought through beforehand to maximize chances of realizing, after the fact, that your investment could be more viable or that there is a better option in something else. Isolate what a plan offers and think about how each offering is essential. If your company is entirely domestic, you don’t need to prioritize international calls and texts as part of the plan. If your employees use their phones on the go, then it’s critical to find a plan that has a lot of data built-in to ensure that they can use their phones when they need it.
Price for Lines and Hardware
The price associated with the plan is a big piece of this puzzle. Before picking the best small business phone plan, you must know how many lines you will need. Many of these providers have multi-line discounts, but a bulk line discount won’t do you much good if you don’t qualify. If you only need a handful of lines, there are a different set of top providers than if you need dozens.
Different plans offer discounts on lines and hardware, and others allow customers to bring their own devices. Many providers offer significant incentives to join their service in exchange for long-term contracts with their company. At this junction, it is up to you to do the math. Will this contract become increasingly painful as time goes on? If that’s the case, the discounts, credits, and hardware are not worth it. If you think the contract length is acceptable, on the other hand, then you’ve got a pleasant money-saving prospect in front of you. In our analysis of the best small business cell phone plans, we discuss each one’s deals and discounts and what’s necessary to receive eligibility.
Lots of business phone plans have limited international options. If your brand is global, that changes things. You will likely want to find a company that has talk and text with the countries where you do the most business. Focus on a plan that allows you and your employees to operate effectively at home, during travel, and at their destinations. Larger carriers, while more expensive, usually have comprehensive international plans, making them excellent choices for companies that do a lot of travel.
Last but not least is mobile data. Does your business use much mobile data, working on the move? If that’s the case, you need a plan with unlimited data. Unlimited data has a slight chance of being limited if the network is congested. You want high-quality service no matter what to ensure that your employees can use their phones anywhere, anytime.
Best Small Business Cell Phone Plans
- Pricing: $25 to $50 per line per month
- High-speed hotspot data and mobile data
- Scam Shield
- Full-flight Wi-Fi sessions
T-Mobile is the best phone plan for small businesses with remote teams and lots of travel. They have a great suite of international communication and provide at least unlimited texting and 5 GB of high-speed data to almost a dozen countries. Alongside their international communication options, the high domestic data cap may be the best part of this small business cell phone plan. Its most expensive package has unlimited data, which is almost a must if your employees are always out and about.
If this is only for the office, a plan like this is not likely the right one. Unfortunately, many of its best features are locked behind their most expensive methods. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer. (Note: All of these costs are based on plans with at least six lines)
- Business Unlimited Select is $25 per line per month and comes with unlimited talk, text, and data, 50 GB premium data, international texting and data, and scam shield.
- Business unlimited Advanced is $30 per line per month and has 100 GB of premium data, 50 GB high-speed hotspot data, and 4 full-flight Wi-Fi sessions.
- Business Unlimited Ultimate is $40 per line per month and has unlimited premium data, 100 GB high-speed hotspot data, premium scam shield, and unlimited full-flight Wi-Fi sessions.
- Business Unlimited Ultimate+ for iPhone is $50 per line per month and has everything. 200 GB high-speed hotspot data and Apple Business Essentials with AppleCare+ on top of everything else.
- Pricing: $30 to $60 per line per month
- Unlimited calling in North America
- Team messaging
- Doc sharing
Following T-Mobile is Ring Central, a small business cell phone plan that’s best for businesses with a lot of team collaboration. They have a lot of intrateam communication features like messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing. Alongside these features, Ring Central has a great suite of call management features, letting teams make the most of their meetings and capitalize on the next steps.
There is such a thing as too many features, however. There is reputedly a long training time before teams are comfortable utilizing the suite of features to the max. Ring Central has four plans on its website, and the prices stay the same between one and twenty lines.
- Essentials is $30 per line per month for unlimited calls and texts within North America and basic call management features.
- Standard is $38 per line per month and adds on internet faxing, unlimited audio and video conferencing, and call recording.
- Premium is $45 per line per month and includes automatic call recording, multi site management, and customer relationship management.
- Ultimate is $60 per line per month and completes the feature package for device status reports and unlimited cloud storage.
- Pricing: $30 to $45 per line per month
- Unlimited mobile hotspot data
- Spam block
Verizon Wireless offers reliable options for small businesses all over the country. This is the best small business phone plan for teams who work in various locations or do a lot of domestic travel. Verizon’s high-speed network covers almost the entire country, ensuring that your team has access no matter where they are. Their plans offer affordable service and hotspot data, but have fewer additional services and integrations with other products.
- Start. $30 per line per month, their least expensive plan, comes with unlimited talk, text, and data. Each line receives 5 GB of high-speed data before the speeds are slowed down. This plan does not grant access to Verizon’s 5G ultra-wideband, but their nationwide 5G network is open to all users of this plan.
- Plus. $35 per line per month adds 100 GB of premium data and the 5G ultra-wideband network. This also adds their spam filter and other business securities.
- Pro. $45 per month per line grants unlimited premium network access and unlocks discounts on their tablets.
- Pricing: $19-$33 per user per month
- Video meeting tools
- Toll-free number and minutes
- Third-party integration capabilities
Nextiva is an amazing VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) offering three plans and a very powerful business plan for interested parties. Nextiva provides a suite of communication features, including video, text, voice, and other channels, together in an easy-to-use app. Users can download the Nextiva app on any device, including phones, tablets, and computers, so team members can communicate through any of their devices. This helps reduce the operating cost of your business because your Nextiva purchase covers other possible business plans for communication, like Zoom or Slack, among others.
There are excellent features to allow integration for third-party features like Google, Salesforce, and more. Unfortunately, those features are locked behind the high-tier plans which may not be right for your business. The VoIP service lets your employees use their own devices and download this app, much like dual-SIM phones. The three plans that Nextiva offers are:
- Essential. Starting from $19 per user per month, this plan comes with unlimited voice and video calling, toll-free numbers and contact integration.
- Professional. Starting at $23 per user per month. On top of the essential plan, users get unlimited conference calls, screen sharing, mobile/desktop SMS and the auto-attendant feature.
- Enterprise. This robust plan starts at $33 per user per month and grants your team call recording, Microsoft Teams integration, voicemail transcriptions, and all the other miscellaneous features that Nextiva offers.
This phone plan is great for small businesses that don’t need separate devices and allows multiple team members to share the same number.
- Pricing: $30 to $40 per line per month
- International Roaming data and texts
- Active Armor Mobile Security
- AT&T Business Fast Track
AT&T is a strong option for your small business phone plan. They have the standard suite of features for each of their lines. We like their unlimited high-speed data for each line, but the mobile hotspot data leaves something to be desired. Even 40 GB of high-speed hotspot data goes quick if your employees use their devices often on data. If not, the hotspot data is not a big deal.
The best part about this plan is all the security features. Their ActiveArmor security service blocks spam and fraud calls, and if you have a higher-tier plan it adds more features to keep your employees and your business protected.
As a major wireless network, AT&T has a ton of deals and discounts on hardware so you can better outfit your employees with the devices they need to work effectively.
- Starter. Costs $30 for unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data 5 GB mobile hotspot data and SD video streaming.
- Performance. Costs $35 starter features and 40 GB mobile hotspot data with HD video streaming
- Elite. Costs $40 for performance features and 100 GB mobile hotspot data, advanced mobile security features, UHD video streaming, and AT&T Business Fast Track
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