The Ultimate Guide to UCaaS in 2023

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) represents the newest generation of hosted VoIP. In this guide, we'll evaluate the top UCaaS service providers.


$385 Billion UCaaS Market Size by 2030

Driven by need for video + audio + collaboration tools

18% Market CAGR Expected

Driven by WFH revolution, cloud utilization, and legacy turndown

200+ UCaaS Providers Available

Countless providers to choose from per G2, making the market hard to navigate

Matt Pinto

Jul 12, 2023


The growth of UCaaS continues to outstrip expectations, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% expected to result in a $385 billion market by 2030. It’s no wonder that UCaaS developments remain a hot topic.

Given Microsoft 365’s indisputable dominance of the workforce productivity tool space, and the integration benefits of staying within that ecosystem, we’re seeing continued widespread adoption of Teams. With that in mind, let’s look at UCaaS from a Teams-centric perspective.

Since Microsoft decided to bundle Teams with 365, several of our customers have been asking questions like, “Should we all just use Teams now?” or, “Can’t we just integrate our preferred UCaaS options into Teams, so we don’t have to retrain?” Our answer to both questions is “yes” – but before we get too hung up on these details, let’s take a high-level look at what UCaaS offerings typically include in 2023.

What is UCaaS?

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a cloud-delivered communications model that brings together six broad categories of communication service.

  • Enterprise telephony

  • Virtual meetings (audio/video/web conferencing)

  • Unified messaging (merging multiple communications platforms into a single interface)

  • Instant messaging and presence (personal and team)

  • Mobility

  • Communications-enabled business processes (using APIs to simplify cross-platform communications and improve workflow)

Typically, you’ll deal with one provider, through a common platform, and their services are licensed to you for a monthly recurring subscription charge.

The provider owns, operates, maintains, and delivers the infrastructure underpinning the services. Standard packages are based around multi-tenancy arrangements, so you’ll share partitioned equipment on the provider’s network and data center, including servers, racks, compute, blades, and common equipment.

Provisioning, management, and performance/usage reporting will usually be accessed through self-service web portals, with differing levels of customer support based on the pricing tier.

UCaaS – A Market Overview

According to leading market analysis firms, UCaaS will continue to gain market share for some years to come.

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The global UCaaS market grew to nearly $105 billion US dollars in 2021, and is expected to triple between now and 2030, rising to more than $385 billion dollars with a remarkable predicted CAGR of 18% (measured from 2022-2030).

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UCaaS is ready to welcome investment acceleration in this market, where global UCaaS spending is expected to grow at a 3.7% CAGR rate and estimated to reach $53.5 billion in 2026. This is being driven largely by IT planners working in mature markets, who are looking to consolidate and support their hybrid working models – UCaaS is expected to play a major role in many strategic communications initiatives with this objective.

UCaaS Market Leaders

Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” is as good a starting point as any, when looking to compare market leaders in any IT sector.

This annual breakdown of providers harnesses Gartner’s undisputed research and consultancy expertise to compare market leaders against a comprehensive set of metrics and dimensions, including (but not limited to) the following.

  • Self-developed UCaaS core software

  • Provider-operated core network

  • User base

  • Geographic serving area and user-base split

  • Sales and support

  • Ability to execute

  • Overall viability

  • Sales execution / pricing

  • Market responsiveness and track record

  • Customer experience

  • Operations

  • Market understanding

  • Marketing, sales, offering, and vertical strategies

The table below provides a handy tally of how many times UCaaS providers have made this celebrated list over the last 11 years.

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Of the many metrics Gartner uses to assess providers, the size of user base is particularly relevant – as the (self-reported) user-base stats below indicate, Microsoft appears to have already passed beyond the system tipping points and achieved market dominance.

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The providers listed above are just a fraction of the teeming masses of UCaaS vendors – aside from the rapid growth rate of the UCaaS market, several providers achieve success by addressing the specific needs of a particular niche market or industry.

Let’s take a closer look at Microsoft’s elephant in the room, along with a couple of the other well-known UCaaS providers.

Microsoft Teams

Four out of every five Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft Office 365, and almost 70% of all organizations use Microsoft Azure for their cloud services.

With this kind of market penetration, Microsoft Teams is an obvious choice for enterprises looking for an UCaaS solution. From a training perspective, users are already familiar with the adjacent Office tools embedded in their workflow, which means it takes much less time to get them up and running with Teams.

Adding Voice Calling to Microsoft Teams allows enterprises to directly access Private Branch Exchange (PBX) services as part of their O365 bundle, too, which is a benefit to anyone currently saddled with a separate PBX instance and equipment.

Microsoft offers a range of different phone system implementations – you can choose an end-to-end cloud-based PSTN service with a calling plan, or if you need to integrate on-premise hardware, they’ll work around that, too.

The seamlessness of the Microsoft-based workflow (which includes native integration with their Dynamics CRM) along with the flexibility of deployment and customization on offer means Microsoft’s value proposition is difficult to resist.

Standard Features

  • Apps, bots, and connectors

  • Audio conferencing

  • Standard, private, and shared channels

  • Chat

  • Live events

  • Meetings

  • Mobile and PC app versions

  • Screen sharing

  • Voice

  • Webinars



Certifications and Compliance 

A significant consideration when previewing UCaaS providers, as one of the benefits of using a unified comms solution is the opportunity to offload a greater proportion of your compliance responsibilities onto the provider. Teams has far more certifications than can be listed here, but they include the following.

  • ISO 27001

  • ISO 27018

  • SSAE18

  • SOC 1

  • SOC 2


  • EU Model Clauses (EUMC)

Major Integrations  

Microsoft Office 365, plus hundreds of third-party apps and platforms


99.99% guaranteed by Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Connecting Teams UC to the PSTN 

You have four main options.

  • Calling Plan. Microsoft operates as your PSTN carrier, in an entirely cloud-based solution

  • Operator Connect. If your existing carrier is a member of the Microsoft Operator Connect program, they can assume responsibility for PSTN calling and Session Border Controllers (SBC)

  • Teams Phone Mobile. A user’s SIM-enabled mobile number is also their Teams number. If the user’s mobile network provider is a member of the Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile program, they can manage the PSTN service, too.

  • Direct routing. Connect your SBC to your existing phone system, and you can use your own PSTN carrier


If you’re using Office 365, it’s likely you have Teams – check with your IT administrator and find out which tier or features you can access.

If you don’t use O365, or Teams isn’t in your bundle, you can purchase it through an authorized partner or directly from Microsoft but be warned – Microsoft pricing tiers can be fiendishly complicated, and they change with the wind.

At the time of going to press…there’s a free plan, with limited functionality, or you can purchase the Teams Essentials plan for $4/seat per month. If you want to splash out, there’s Teams Calling Plan at $12/seat per month, or you can add international calling for $24/per month.

Service Area Footprint 

  • Domestic Calling Plan Zone-1 (US): For users in the United States and Puerto Rico.

  • Domestic Calling Plan Zone-1 (Canada/UK): For users in Canada and the United Kingdom.

  • Domestic Calling Plan Zone-2 (EMEA): 28 countries

  • For locations outside of Microsoft’s direct offering there are BYOC (Bring Your Own Carrier) integration options.

Cisco Webex Teams

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A popular, tried-and-tested platform, widely adopted by larger businesses, Webex shines when it comes to user-friendly, feature-rich video conferencing and webinars. They’ve also built a well-deserved reputation for security, with zero-trust E2E encryption, and secure identity.

Microsoft Integration

Impressive. Cross-platform messaging, a Call app that launches with Webex even if you hit the call button in Teams, a variety of Teams Meeting certified Cisco devices, and Webex meetings you can host within Teams.

Webex also integrates perfectly with Office 365, so you can access your SharePoint and OneDrive files and apps from within Webex.

Standard Features

  • Calling

  • Events

  • Meetings

  • Messaging

  • Mobile and PC App

  • Polling

  • Vidcast

  • Webinars

  • Whiteboard



Certifications and compliance

More than can be listed here but includes the following.

  • SOC2 Type II and SOC 3

  • ISO 27001 / 27017 / 27018

  • ISO 9001 certificate

  • Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalog (C5)

  • HITRUST (Webex Teams)

  • FedRAMP (Webex Teams, UCM Cloud for Government)


  • GDPR



  • CCPA

Major integrations 

Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace, plus numerous 3rd-party platforms.

Connecting Webex UC to the PSTN 

You have three options.

  • Cisco Calling Plans. A complete enterprise phone system through a single vendor (Webex Calling), fully supported by Cisco partners

  • Cloud Connected PSTN. Choose from a selection of Cisco-certified providers, available in over 65 different countries

  • Local Gateway. Ideal for enterprises hoping to retain or leverage existing provider relationships and on-premise hardware, while accessing the full range of Webex Calling features for their users.


Again, there’s a free plan with limited functionality, followed by a Standard plan at $25/user per month, which should contain enough features to satisfy most small-to-medium businesses. 

The Enterprise plan, with its extensive feature set, can only be purchased through an authorized Cisco partner through a sales engagement process to help you build a package tailored to your needs.

Service area footprint 

Americas – 14 countries

EMEA – 34 countries

Asia/Pacific – 12 countries


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The OG of UCaaS, Zoom, was everyone’s first port of call during the pandemic. In what was a “right time, right product” scenario, Zoom owe much of their current market position to their agility during the mass adoption of remote working and early UCaaS infrastructure.

Major Integrations

Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, plus numerous third-party platforms

Standard Features 

  • Phone

  • Mail and Calendar

  • Meetings

  • Mobile and PC App

  • Team Chat

  • Whiteboard

  • Workspace Reservation



Certifications and Compliance

There are more than can be listed here but includes the following.

  • ISO 27001

  • SOC 2 Type 2

  • SOC 2 Type 1


  • CSA STAR Level 2

  • FedRAMP Moderate

  • DoD IL4

  • StateRAMP

  • CJIS

  • Common Criteria

  • UK Cyber Essentials Plus

  • iRAP

  • ACN

  • ENS

  • BSI C5

  • SIG

  • CAIQ

  • TruSight

  • CyberGRX

  • FISC

Connecting Zoom UC to the PSTN

You have three options.

  • Zoom Native. A fully cloud-based PBX with PSTN numbers and connectivity across 48 different countries

  • Cloud Peering. A cloud-based PBX accessed via a SaaS platform, using the carrier of your choice

  • Premises Peering. Again, a cloud-based PBX – and again, you choose the carrier, but you’ll connect via an on-premise SBC.


Tiers for Zoom are straightforward and reasonably positioned – along with the limited free plan, there are the following.

  • Pro, at $149.90 per year (per user)

  • Business, at $199.90 per year (per user)

  • Business Plus, at $250 per year (per user)

  • Enterprise, to be negotiated either with Zoom or a Zoom-authorized partner via a sales engagement process

Service area footprint

Asia-Pacific – 24 countries

Latin America – 19 countries

North America – US (including Puerto Rico), Canada

EMEA – 48 countries


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RingCentral Office is an increasingly popular cloud-based PBX for businesses.

Along with business SMS, fax apps, and call auto-attendant, RingCentral Office also provides mobile apps for iPhone and Android.

Standard Features

  • AI-powered contact center

  • Always-on security, privacy, and reliability

  • Cloud phone system

  • Conference Room Solutions

  • Global solutions for every business size

  • HD Video meetings

  • Integrations and APIs

  • IT and business analytics suite

  • PC and Mobile Phone app

  • Native integrations with Microsoft Teams

  • Stress-free webinars

  • Unlimited team messaging



Certifications and Compliance

There are more than can be listed here, but includes the following.

  • ISO 27001 Certificate

  • ISO 27017 Certificate

  • ISO 27018 Certificate

  • ISO 22301 Certificate

  • SOC 2+ FINRA CSR, HIPAA Report

  • SOC 3 Report

  • C5 English Version

  • C5 German Version


  • Cyber Essentials Plus

  • SOC 2 Type 2

  • PCI Certificate (as a merchant)

  • Engage Voice PCI Certificate

  • Engage Voice PCI AoC

  • Contact Center EU - PCI Level 1

  • Contact Center EU – AoC PCI Level 1

  • Contact Center EU - Matrix of Responsibility PCI Level 1


Major Integrations

Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace, plus numerous third-party platforms

Connecting RingCentral Office UC to the PSTN

  • Ring Central Native Calling, with PSTN and telephone numbers

  • Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC). This solution for multinational customers operates in a similar manner to Zoom’s Cloud Peering service, using a SaaS to manage the PBX functionality in the cloud. PSTN calls are routed to and from the cloud network via a Gateway, a piece of on-premise equipment purchased by the customer.


There’s no free plan here – just a straightforward set of tiers, beginning with Core ($30/user per month), progressing to Advanced ($35/user per month), and culminating in the fully equipped Ultra ($45/user per month).

Service Area Footprint 

North America – US (including Puerto Rico) and Canada

EMEA – 27 countries

APAC – seven countries

Latin America – seven countries

Choosing the Right UCaaS Provider for Your Business

With hundreds of viable UCaaS providers and platforms from which to choose, selecting the right solution for your business rests on an effective vetting process. 

There are some common questions that should be part of any UCaaS procurement process.

  • What does the implementation process involve?

  • What is the typical duration and timeline for implementation?

  • Are there any additional or hidden costs associated with implementation and training?

  • What types of physical phones are supported?

  • Can our existing phones and hardware be integrated with this platform?

  • How much bandwidth is required for quality voice calls?

  • Are there any additional costs outside the basic license fees?

  • Does the platform have a native contact or support center? If not, what are the options for adding contact center functionality to this UCaaS platform?

  • What (if any) kind of analytics does the platform provide? Are there any HR/productivity integrations available?

  • What is the process for post implementation Move, Add, Change, and Disconnect (MACD)?

  • What is the timeline for different instances of MACD?

  • What platform integrations are possible with this platform and legacy analog services, like fax, elevator, and alarm lines?

If you’re preparing to move to a UCaaS provider, Lightyear’s telecom operating system can help you with the procurement and lifecycle management of the exciting set of combined services. Our platform is backed up with the expertise and savvy of experienced industry professionals who will guide you through these processes.

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