Home Telephones Sipgate

So - you’ve started a business.

You’ve dotted the i’s, you’ve crossed the t’s, and now you’re ready for success.

The thing is, when you start being successful...

… it’s likely because you’ve got more customers.

And more customers means a greater chance of your phone ringing off the hook!

They could be granting you more sales, they could be calling to combat a query, or they could be armed with a complaint.

Whatever’s on the other side of the phone call, there’s no doubt about it: you need to get your telephone needs in order.

You need VoIP.

someone using phone
You need a telephone that suits your business.

Question is, who can provide that for your business?

German VoIP provider, Sipgate (or sipgate).

No clue who this company is? Not even sure what VoIP is?

Well, that’s why I’m here - this article is going to review every single side to sipgate.

You see, it’s all well and good to find a company that can provide a service that may benefit to your business, but knowing if it's any good?

That’s the real challenge.

Determining if they’ll suit and support your business is no easy feat, especially if you aren’t an expert in VoIP technology.

Lucky for you, I know someone who is…

(Me!)

This article will include:

- What VoIP actually is

- The products and services they can provide

- What the buying process is like

- The customer service on offer

- And what their customers have to say about them

Or, if you just want an answer - and you want it now - I’ve included a final verdict which takes all of that into account.

Chapter 1

What Is sipgate?

You own a business, right?

You know the ins-and-outs of your industry, and you know your product like the back of your hand.

But can you say the same for VoIP? Didn’t think so…

That’s exactly why I thought we should take things slow-ly to begin with:

Sipgate was founded in 2004, and is one of Germany’s largest providers of VoIP for small businesses and consumers. To perform its services, it uses something called the SIP protocol.

(That explains the name!)

By using SIP protocol for its network, it allows its customers to make low-cost calls both nationally and internationally and provides an incoming geographic number.

However, customers have to use client software or SIP-compliant hardware to access these services.

hardware
Hands up if you have no clue what this is.

Despite dominating the German market, sipgate also has a UK division and focuses its products on EU countries.

The products on offer stretch from a free landline phone number and voicemail box to a hosted business phone system for up to 250 users.

Confused by the techno-jargon?

Not convinced by sipgate just yet?

Then why not put your trust in the customers using their products:

This SME has been utilised by thousands of residential and business-based customers. And with each of these customers, sipgate claims that “innovation and transparency” are their core principles.

Another core message blaring on the homepage of their website is how customers can manage their products online, and that there are no minimum requirements for their products.

Here’s an overview of their current products:

sipgate basic

This is a free telephony service which provides a local phone number for your landline and mobile.

sipgate team

This is a service dedicated to small businesses and includes one package for the entire team, the transferral of your old number to your phone, one phone number connecting offices across the world, and your desk phone now being available on your mobile.

sipgate trunking

This service provides SIP trunking, hosted PBX, and transfers your existing number or books a new number.

sipgate.io

This service is sipgates’ push API which sends the customer metadata every time a call is received.

Aside from the array of products and services currently on offer, 3 were discontinued in 2013: a smartphone app, services in the US and Austria, and sipgate one (this allocated customers a german telephone number and forwarded their calls to their landline or Skype).

Chapter 2

What Is VoIP?

Already confused by this article? Tangled up in the terminology you have no chance of understanding?

student learning about voip
It's back to the books!

Well, I’m here to change that.

There’s no point in me pointing out all the great - and the not-so-great - things about sipgate if you simply don’t understand what I’m saying!

First, let’s define VoIP:

VoIP - or Voice Over Internet Protocol - is a phone service that takes place over the internet. Your voice is converted into digital information, and is then sent over the internet like any other data you might send.

So, what’s SIP ,then?

SIP - or Session Initiation Protocol - is a protocol used in VoIP communications and it allows users to make voice and video calls. SIP trunking is the process which eliminates the need for a physical connection to a phone company. A SIP trunk is installed over an internet connection, replacing analog phone lines. By replacing multiple phone lines into a single point of entry, the charges can be greatly reduced.

And PBX?

PBX - or Private Branch Exchange - is the private telephone network used within a business. The phone system allows users to communicate both internally (free calls between 2 users) and externally using a variety of communication channels. This includes VoIP.

Finally, what is an API?

API - or Application Programming Interface - is a set of definitions and protocols for building and integrating application software. API lets your products and services communicate with other products and services.

Phew - that was confusing, wasn’t it?

Now we’ve covered that…

Let’s get to grips with those products!

Chapter 3

What Products Does sipgate Offer?

As mentioned before, sipgate offers 4 products: a residential phone service, a phone service in the cloud, SIP trunking, and telephony API.

Each is suited to different business and personal needs.

Not sure which will suit your business best?

Leave it to me…

sipgate basic

This product gives you a free local phone number from your own area code. All you need is a broadband connection and a VoIP phone or adaptor to use the product.

This service is intended for residential customers, but can be used for business purposes.

someone angry on the phone
It's time to chillax...

Pretty simple, right?

Well, if you thought the ease of use of this product was good, wait ‘til you hear about how much it can save you…

The low-cost rates are staggering, with most falling below 2p/minute for landlines, and 12.9p/min for mobiles.

There are 3 packages to pick from:

UK Call Package

||$||13.14||$|| a month.

This is the cheapest package on offer.

This is a monthly contract which includes calls to landlines and mobiles in the UK.

EU Call Package

||$||19.74||$|| a month.

This includes the UK call package, but also extends to all 28 EU countries.

EU Plus

||$||26.34||$|| a month.

This includes the 2 former packages, but also extends to the 8 additional non-EU countries.

There are no set-up costs on top of these packages, and sipgate basic allows you to call from any device with free VoIP apps.

All you have to do is open up a sipgate basic account, and then connect your phone with a VoIP capable router, adapter or VoIP phone.

Sipgate also has a ‘feature store’, allowing you to add on extra features to support your VoIP experience. Such features include call forwarding, web SMS, and voicemail.

And most of these features are free...

It all adds up to, well, not that much!

sipgate team

This is a cloud telephony service and is intended for smaller businesses.

The product is a hosted PBX, and provides online management of phone services from up to 250 users. It includes fax, landline, and call management.

The features of this service include:

The transferal of your old phone number

The connection of all offices, external team members and home offices

The availability of your office phone via your mobile or laptop

The ability to fax using your browser and upload relevant documents from a laptop or other device

Oh, you thought that was, like, loads of services?

Wait ‘til you hear about the features on offer, too: there are 150 of them.

Fancy seeing all your calls, faxes and voicemail in a single look? What about receiving your voicemails by email? Or would you rather help inform your callers with a call menu?

someone on the phone
(And that's just three of the features...)

Either way, you won’t be stuck for choice...

sipgate trunking

This product allows you to connect your VoIP PBX to the public telephone network by using SIP trunks. Sipgate’s trunking services are intended for bigger businesses that have multiple sites and want to combine their PBXs.

The features of this product include the transferal of existing geographic phone numbers or the booking of a new number, low cost trunking, and the benefits of sipgate team.

There are 6 plans on offer for residential and business customers:

Starter

||$||6.54||$||

Concurrent call volume (calls that can happen at the same time) is 1 in / 100 out.

UK landline calls are 1p a minute for all packages.

UK mobile calls are 9.9p a minute - the most expensive option in terms of call cost.

Regular

||$||11.82||$||

Concurrent call volume is 2 in / 100 out.

UK mobile calls cost 8.9p a minute.

Plus

||$||26.35||$||

Concurrent call volume is 5 in / 100 out.

UK mobile calls cost 8.9p a minute.

Enterprise 10

||$||52.76||$||

Concurrent call volume is 10 in / 100 out.

UK mobile calls cost 7.9p a minute.

Enterprise 25

||$||118.80||$||

Concurrent call volume is 25 in / 100 out.

UK mobile calls cost 7.9p a minute.

Enterprise 50

||$||197.44||$||

Concurrent call volume is 50 in / 100 out.

UK mobile calls cost 7.9p a minute.

Alongside the variety of plans on offer is their flexibility. Need to cut down on your bill that month? Your concurrent call volume doesn’t need to be that high?

Downgrading your plan is as easy as picking up the phone.

(That’s ‘cause it is.)

There are no minimum usage requirements, and there are no setup fees. All you have to do is get on with running your business!

sipgate.io

Keeping up so far?

This is where things get really complicated. By lucky enough, sipgate.io is intended for your IT team, leaving the complex tech to the people that know understand it!

team on a break
Look at that team bonding...

In easy to understand terms, here’s what the product can do for your business:

You can receive call metadata in your CRM, letting you know who’s picking up the phone and giving you a ring.

You can see detailed statistics regarding your call volume, utilisation, and the waiting time your customers have to face on the phone. Hold music ‘n all.

You can inform your customers and collect data without involving an agent. Menus can be used to route calls.

You can control your calls - from accepting them, to blocking them and automating voicemail answers.

This product can work for each and every call you make and take.

Mobile? Check.

Landline? Of course.

Incoming and outgoing? Do you even need to ask?

You don’t need to be the IT guy down the corridor to know that this technology is top-notch. The devils in the detail, and nowhere is this more true than with sipgate.io!

Question is, how much does it actually cost to reap the rewards of this tech? There are 3 packages on offer, all of which differ based on the cost of webhook calls beyond the free quota.

S

This plan is free.

With infinite REST API calls and 100 webhook calls included, you’ll only have to fork out 4.9p for every extra webhook call you make.

L

||$||6.54||$||

On top of the services included in the S package, it is 2.9p per additional webhook call.

L

||$||39.55||$||

On top of the services included in the S package, it is 1.9p per additional webhook call.

Convinced, yet?

To add sipgate.io as another pitstop on your business’ road to success, you can add it as a feature to sipgate basic or sipgate team.

Chapter 4

What’s The Buying Process Like?

Sipgate puts transparency at the forefront of everything it does for its customers.

No, really, it's in big bold letters on the home page of its website.

And clarity for customers - whether they’re hunting down VoIP for their home, or looking for in-depth call statistics for their business - defines their website.

That means opting for one of these services and clicking ‘add to basket’ is a simple and swift procedure!

(Even if they don’t actually have an ‘add to basket’ option.)

A page is dedicated to each service, and gives a brief introduction to what the product on offer does.

sipgate product page
Can't say no to a freebie!

Following this, each benefit or feature is outlined in a similar way, breaking down everything you need to know.

Fancy more information?

They provide that, too. Each section comes armed with links to further explanations of complicated concepts.

sipgate product page
You simply never stop learning...

On top of this, they also have ‘tours’ for some products which breaks down the complex down further. Not only does it provide more basic explanations, including how VoIP works, it also provides a brief outline of how the product works for your different devices.

It then goes on to explain how you actually get this product.

What you need, and what you need to do are explained clearly; all you have to do is sign up to open an account, and follow their simple instructions to ensure your tech is ready for its transformation.

Still not 100% ready to take the plunge?

Then dip your toe in the water with their frequently asked questions sections.

Dotted on most pages, it provides even more information to help you make your decision.

Chapter 5

What Customer Service Does sipgate Offer?

Let’s recap:

You know the products inside-out.

You know which one should work best for business.

And you might even be considering signing up to get started right now!

One problem:

What if something goes wrong?

What do you do? Who do you tell? And how do you tell them?

customer service at bar
Bill, please...

A business might be only as good as its products, but how it supports it customers always comes into the equation.

So, how does sipgate fair?

There is a help section

Got an issue? Have a question?

Then try your hand at the help section.

The sipgate basic help section, for example, is split into recent articles that might provide insight into your query, and links to wider problems.

For example, if you have a query about a product or prices, then you’d click on ‘Products & Prices’ to find your answer.

You can submit requests for specific answers

“What if they haven’t covered the problem I’m facing?”

Then hit the ‘submit a request’ button.

You’ll be asked to fill out a form, and will receive an email with a response to your issue.

You can see if sipgate is up and running

Maybe you don’t have a question…

Instead, you want to know if sipgate is actually working!

Easy.

Just click ‘status’ - it’s at the bottom of every page.

Not only will it tell you if the sipgate website and telephone system is operating normally, it will tell you which days it was working up to the current date...

There is an FAQ section for each product

Sipgate doesn’t just provide answers to your questions and issues as they arise, they solve them before they flash up.

Most webpages come with an FAQs section, demystifying their tech before you’ve even signed up for it.

You can contact someone via the contact page

You’ve flicked through the FAQs, you’ve searched hard in the help section, and you’ve even checked the status.

Let’s face it: you’re officially stuck.

But don’t worry - you still aren’t out of options!

A contact page is also listed on the website, as well as their social media profiles.

Fixed tech is simply a tweet away...

Chapter 6

Customer Reviews

I’ll be honest: I’m a VoIP expert.

I know the technology industry like the back of my hand.

I can explain some of the most testing topics, and de-complicate the complex.

And sure, my verdict might be a handy tool for those considering sipgate, but knowing what everyone else thinks is pretty important, too!

customer leaving a review on laptop
Is sipgate's online rating on-trend?

Knowing what other customers have experienced - whether they mirror your situation or are perpendicular to your business needs - is key to deciphering what it's actually like to be a customer.

So, to make your hunt for the next tech solution to your busy that much easier, I thought I’d beat you to it.

No more trawling through TrustPilot, and no more adding up star ratings…

(That’s my job!)

First, here’s a quick overview of what the internet thinks about sipgate:

Positives Negatives

Good value for money

Poor network speed

Great features

Customer service are difficult to contact

Customers tend to stick with then for many years

Not for those with limited VoIP and other tech knowledge

All of the positive reviews cite the benefits of VoIP

Takes time for customer service to solve issue

They have a TrustPilot rating of

“So sipgate’s got some pretty happy customers, then!”

Well… the reviews are pretty polarised.

54% give it the top-spot of 5 stars, and the rest award it 3 stars or less.

It’s between glowing reviews, and glum records of poor customer service; amazing VoIP, and a mess of technical terms.

someone looking confused
Just your everyday customer - who may or may not be a model.

The positive reviews on one hand celebrate the wonders of VoIP, and cite its low cost and high quality calls around the world.

The ability to keep in contact with clients around the world is also frequently mentioned, confirming its a go-to for business customers!

In fact, most customers claim that they’ve used sipgate for long periods of time, with one stating they’ve stuck with them for over 15 years.

The low cost of these products are also a popular feature, with “free” probably being used the most.

One the other hand, the negative reviews specifically attack the customer service.

New to the world of tech?

Then many would discourage you from using sipgate; many reviews claim that the products can be tricky to setup if you aren’t clued in on technology.

And if you do happen to need customer service to help you figure it out, you’ll be just as stuck!

Actually contacting customer service was the first challenge. No numbers, nor any clear way to find out who to contact and how to contact them was flagged up in many reviews.

someone looking confused
It's gonna be ok.

But if you did manage to send them an email or give ‘em a ring, they would probably take a while to solve the issue at hand.

Then again, some claim that once a customer service operator was contacted, their expertise was very useful and solved the issue quickly!

This is actually confirmed by the fact that each negative reviewer was contacted for more details of the case.

The jury may be split…

But what do you think?

Does customer service matter to your business?

Or could you take on the tech by yourself?

Chapter 7

Our Verdict

It’s all come down to this.

We know what products on offer, and we know what the rest of the world thinks of ‘em.

But what do we think?

Our rating:

Pros Cons

A variety of products

Not consistent navigation for each product

Great value for money

Difficult to navigate the website

Awesome resources of information on their website

Information was limited and in pieces across the website

It’s official: we love sipgate.

Great products, great prices, and the wealth of information on their website confirm they are a top provider of business solutions.

You want to find out whether sipgate basic will work for your business, for example?

You can find the answer.

Unfortunately, actually finding it is not easy.

Sure, the webpages are clear and informative, but it can almost feel like the basic explanations are in pieces across the websites.

For example, sipgate basic has a tab which allows you to ‘tour’ the product. It goes into depth about basic concepts such as VoIP, and how the product can work for each device.

someone using compass
Just follow your heart... and the site map.

So useful, right?

Unfortunately, the other products do not have this feature.

Sure, they have much more in-depth navigations, but the lack of consistency can make comparing the options difficult for potential customers that are lacking in technology knowledge.

The same goes for their customer service and support:

It might have a lot of information on offer, but you will have to go to a lot of trouble to find it.

Sipgate really does have it all - but finding it all?

That’s the problem.