Gradwell Wave review: Capable cloud-hosted VoIP
Easy deployment and great call features make this a likeable cloud VoIP service – and it’s good value
Gradwell is an established name in the UK communications market, but its Wave VoIP service is a recent arrival. We first reviewed it back in March 2020 and were impressed with its smartly chosen set of call-handling capabilities; since then, Gradwell has added several new features, making it a pleasingly well-rounded service.
Onboarding is swift. On setting up our test account, we provided an initial list of users and Gradwell created these for us, allowing us to hit the ground running. We opted for Yealink T42S handsets – the company also offers alternatives from Poly and Snom – and these too arrived rapidly, with their MAC addresses already added to our account.
Provisioning was a breeze too; all we had to do was plug each phone into our PoE switch, assign it to a user and reboot, and it was ready for action. Wave doesn’t currently offer personal web portals for users, but there are free mobile apps for Android and iOS, with desktop softphones for Windows and macOS currently in development. Users without handsets can also make and receive calls using the browser-based softphone, which works in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
For everyday administration, a web-based console provides access to Wave’s call-handling features. Hunt groups, conferencing, call queues and voice menus for inbound calls are all available, and for the latter you can record custom voice prompts from a phone or upload WAV files to the portal. Call queues offer hold music, an option advising callers that they’re being recorded and messages that encourage them to stay on the line.
One thing that’s notably improved since the launch of Wave is the initial setup of your VoIP account. A new wizard runs you through providing payment details, choosing from a large range of available phone numbers and creating additional users as required.
Defining business opening hours has been simplified too, and the software is smart enough to know the appropriate bank holidays for your selected region. Enhanced out-of-hours controls now allow you to add exceptions using custom voice messages, and set up call-diverting rules to another Wave user or an external number. One-off rules can also be easily added for special occasions.
Pricing depends on how many inclusive minutes of calls you want. The entry-level Wave 100 option costs £10 per user per month and includes 100 call minutes to landlines and mobiles each month; Wave 1000 starts at £13 and ups the monthly call minutes to 1,000, while Wave 3000 costs from £18 per month and gives you 3,000 monthly call minutes.
Calls outside of your allotted minutes naturally cost extra, but to help you avoid any unexpected bills, it’s now possible to set a daily limit on call costs; if this is exceeded, the system can raise an alert or block further calls from being made. You can apply international call restrictions too, with custom exceptions permitting specific users or devices to call abroad.
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One last feature of note is the ability to store recordings of all calls in an Amazon S3 bucket – potentially useful for legal purposes. The service can be enabled on a per-user basis, with monthly fees starting at £2.35 for six months of recording retention, going up to £15.05 for the maximum storage period of seven years.
While Wave isn’t the most feature-packed VoIP platform around, it’s evolving fast. Gradwell tells us that it plans to add integrated videoconferencing services soon, with support for both point-to-point and multi-user video calls. Other features on the drawing board are personal web portals for users and integration with Microsoft Teams.
Wave is a compelling choice for SMBs that want a hassle-free, cloud-hosted VoIP service. It’s a cinch to deploy, provides a wealth of call-handling facilities and thoughtful management tools help you keep tight control of costs.
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