PBX Review: 8×8 Virtual Office

The hosted IP PBX model just went mass market.

VoIP pioneer 8×8 Inc. is partnering with IP phone maker Aastra USA to market 8×8’s Virtual Office PBX service bundled with the co-branded 8×8/Aastra 6755i IP phone in Office Depot stores across the country. (See our coverage here.)

VoIP Planet, had a chance to test the bundle recently. 8×8 set us up with a small PBX connecting three home offices in different corners of the continent. We were impressed.

The 6755i, a 39-button screen phone, is by no means the cheapest IP phone on the market at $199, but based on our testing, it’s a pretty good one. Most of the time, audio quality on the 8×8 system was markedly superior to what we’re accustomed to on the PSTN.

Prices for 8×8 Virtual Office—which 8×8 first started actively marketing in 2006 and which it says is already in use by over 16,000 businesses—start as low as $4.99 a month (but you pay 5.9 cents a minute for long distance calling with that package.)

In our test system, each phone was provisioned with the $49/month Unlimited Extension plan. It includes a DID (direct inward dial) number, standard PBX features—auto attendant, user-configurable voicemail, voicemail as e-mail, ring groups, one-number access, etc.—plus unlimited calling to landlines in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

The company also charges a $39.99 one-time activation fee, whichever service plan you choose.

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