I have been looking into hosted VOIP for a little over one year. My company is spread across the US (http://protravelinc.com/) with offices from 4 people to 250. I do not have an IT staff that can support the phone systems we have and I need VOIP to attract the best talent in travel. Also this is an excellent opprotunity to upgrade all my switches, routers and add redundancy into an aging and non redundant network held together with SonicWALLs and slender GPOs. I have been through literally 37 different vendors from huge companies to startups. I have done ROIs and TCOs until I can recite them. I know everything that can happen to a VOIP call from a warble to a drop.
I narrowed it down to 2 companies.
Company A has a nation-wide network with PoPs in all the NFL cities and uses a Nortel/Cisco platform. From the outset they have consistently given me inconsistent answers. I am constantly having to ask the same questions over an over. Do we own the phones at the end of 5 years? Are there really VOIP guys on the ground in all the NFL cities? Company A also has a very easy to understand payment plan. In a nutshell give me X dollars per seat we'll give you phones, switches, routers and T1s.
Company B is a New York centric company that is highly regarded in the trades. They run a Cisco/Cisco platform. They have PoP through a 3rd party. They were originally asking us to purchase our own switches and phones. They are plain speakers and are all techs who know their products. They have a system and they run it. They don't deviate from it very much but they made several consessions to get our business.
In the past week I have come to find that Company A either confused or being less than truthful. I will not own the phones at the end of five years. Which is good and bad. Good because I won't own phones at the end of 5 years and bad because I'll be paying for them forever. I have also come to find they do NOT have VOIP guys on the groud everywhere. They will need to outsource some of their jobs. I have no problem with contracting... I have been a contractor! Why it has taken a year to get this answer is my problem. There are other smaller issues.
Initially I thought Company B was infintely more technologically skilled than Company A. I think now Company A may be more technologically adept with a better network but I simply don't have any confidence with them. At the end of the day I suspect either company can do this job. I just don't think I can deal with Company A.
The sad part is if Company A had been prompt and correct with their answers I'd probably already be using them.