Phone System Review: ShoreTel vs. Mitel

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: September 09, 2011

Choosing the right Unified Communications (UC) solution for your small business can be a complex and research intensive task. Finding a solution that will fit your business’ needs without going overboard in terms of budget can be a tall order for small businesses looking for the best Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system or UC solution. Both ShoreTel and Mitel are well regarded providers of VoIP and UC solutions for businesses of all sizes. With pricing that comes in slightly lower than Cisco, Avaya, and several other well known providers, these two telephony vendors are often compared to one another.

ShoreTel vs. Mitel

ShoreTel – ShoreTel is known for both their UC hardware and software, and more recently for the service aspects relating to UC communications. Their full service UC suites encompass voice, data, video, and mobile communication and strive to create the perfect solution for all of your business’ communications needs. Advertising a lower TCO than Cisco and Avaya, ShoreTel is often referred to because of the technical complexity of their systems.

Mitel – Mitel is known for the adaptable and scalable nature of their various UC solutions and the unique “freedom architecture” that they employ. Offering versatility and endless variation when it comes to deployment and implementation on any network, Mitel offers an array of comprehensive communications and collaboration software and equipment. Mitel has a focus on creating an “in-office” environment anywhere and allows users to customize everything from mobile and remote extensions.

The Pros and Cons

ShoreTel – ShoreTel is often favored because of the complexity of its networking and communications solutions. Similar in nature to some of the larger and more expensive business communications solutions, ShoreTel’s systems are also easy to use and feature rich. Scalable from very small business environments up to extremely large companies with thousands of users, ShoreTel solutions can grow with your business. ShoreTel is slightly more expensive than Mitel’s comparable systems, and some complain that many of their solutions operate on Microsoft servers.

ShoreTel Pros:

  • Advanced Hardware and Networking Equipment
  • Extraordinarily Scalable
  • Lower TCO than Many Other Providers
  • Feature Rich
  • Long Hardware Life

ShoreTel Cons:

  • Higher Price Point
  • Microsoft Servers

Mitel – Mitel is touted by many as the cost effective alternative to the comprehensive solutions from larger providers. Their innovative approach to complete UC solutions that allow for extreme mobility and changeability has given them a slightly larger adoption rate than ShoreTel in many areas. Mitel offers its solutions to be deployed as local premise-based, virtualized environment, or cloud hosted solutions and offers a wide range of hardware components to go along with their systems. Many users prefer Mitel handsets and believe that they last longer and outperform competitors. Mitel is sometimes criticized for the slightly less technically complex nature of their systems.

Mitel Pros:

  • Variety of Deployment and Service Options
  • Wider Adoption Rate
  • Superior Hardware
  • Lower Price Point
  • Versatility

Mitel Cons:

  • Less Complex Network

The choice between Mitel and ShoreTel is a matter of organizational preference for most small and medium sized businesses. These two competitors are often compared because of the similarities between their UC offerings and the high levels of service and hardware quality from both. Choosing between the two will likely be a matter of finding the options that best fit your business’ specific needs.

Featured Research
  • The New SMB Phone Systems Comparison Guide

    Does your small or medium-size business need a new phone system? Then you're in luck! Our new, updated comparison guide helps you cut through superfluous information and narrow down your list of solution providers. Get the latest data on phone system features, pricing, and performance metrics in an easy-to-use format. more

  • How UC Can Help Your Business Survive the Holidays

    The holiday season is filled with frenzy and excitement for businesses and consumers alike. Consumers prepare gift lists, compare brands and prices, and begin shopping with a vigor that is not present most other times of the year. For many businesses, the holiday season accounts for a large profit bump at the end of each year, and companies strive to exceed their goals and keep customers happy during this rush late in the year. more

  • [Infographic] Switching Phone Systems

    There are a lot of possible reasons you might want to switch to a new phone system. The old one might cost too much or be too troublesome to operate and maintain. It might not be flexible enough. It might not be reliable enough. Or it just might not have the kinds of features and capabilities that you need in today’s competitive business climate. more

  • Business VoIP on a Budget

    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems represent the next innovation of telephone connection and communication by making it possible to conduct calls over a broadband internet connection, rather than an analog phone line. more

  • [Infographic] The Advantages of Unified Communications

    Did you know that according to 8x8, the tangible ROI of a unified communications solution for a 10,000-person enterprise is approximately $15.5 million? This isn't the only way unified communications can improve your business. more