Last year we have put together a blog post that focused on the Twilio best alternatives options for 2018 , this is a follow up blog post to talk about alternatives you have at the beginning of 2019.
Twilio continued to impress and grow in 2018 and continues to a good job marketing CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) APIs and SDKs to the developer community, we noticed some of the worth noting actions Twilio did in 2018:
- Twilio rolling out turn-key contact center solutions such as Twilio Flex
- Twilio Low-code / No Code Visual builder (Studio)
- Twilio acquiring SendGrid (press release)
- Twilio API support for Whatsapp
- Twilio price increase across the board
Many businesses apps and services still relay on Twilio as of January 2019 , such as smart cars management with programmable wireless, ride-sharing apps like Uber and features like two-step verification when accessing our emails and web pages. These services are mostly powered by CPaaS APIs like Twilio, Nexmo, Plivo.
I have spoken to so many Twilio and other CPaaS providers customers from enterprise to developers to find out how they use it and why they want to badly migrate out of the these platform, almost in every discussion two things always came up. First, Twilio starts out affordable but when the customer traffic starts to grow they start feeling furious to migrate out of the platform to save a considerable amount of money every month. Second, developers and enterprises that bet their business model on top Twilio APIs start getting a direct competition from the company with products like Twilio Flex and they think this is the start only for Twilio to start competing directly with service providers and enterprises businesses that trusted the company.
Almost every CPaaS Provider out there is competing in the market by either slightly better pricing, SLA etc.. and trying to win the developers attention in order to win the API stickiness into their apps and win the traffic (Voice, SMS, Lookup…) however even by end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 none of the existing CPaaS providers are giving the freedom and peace of mind to developers and companies not to feel the lock down with Price, Quality, Others.
We continued to monitor and try different CPaaS providers then we realized that none of these popular CPaaS providers or Communications APIs and SDKs providers is perfect enough and switching from one to another as an alternative is not a solution, in fact its a full waste of time. Why ? because each CPaaS provider have their strength and weaknesses specially on the carrier connectivity side of things and pricing.
For example while Twilio is strong in North America, Nexmo is stronger in EU and Unifonic (sms) is strong in KSA and so on, so who wants to integrate with many different APIs, SDKs in one application “YUCK!”.
The Solution (Restcomm Open Source)
After deep research and development we have realized that what the community needs is one API, SDK for Voice, Video, Messaging, WebRTC that allows us to use any SMS, Voice, Video, Wireless, Messaging channel/connection that we want including Nexmo, Twilio, Plivo and others. So the way to solve the problem was we needed to build Voice, Video, Messaging, WebRTC APIs and SDKs from scratch that will interact with our backend infrastructure to complete the transaction, while its totally possible to build it we realized that to do it right and scale it properly we need a couple of years and a few million dollars to get the job done right until we came across the Restcomm open-source project and realized that it has all the stacks needed that empowers most of the successful CPaaS retailers out there like Twilio, Nexmo , it is also used by 80% of the top telecom companies in the world with their state of the art open-source stacks like (GMLC, USSD, SMSC, JSS7, SIP servlet, JDiameter) so it has been tested well enough to scale.
You can easily realize this by simply studying the API documentation of Restcomm and compare it to Twilio, it will become obvious the the core technology used is the popular open-source Restcomm which is backed by TeleStax .
TeleStax the company behind Restcomm open source project took out the complexity of Restcomm setup and configuration by offering an easy way to start and scale your CPaaS Platform in the Cloud which solves the API Layer of the problem, next what you need is to use Restcomm Cloud BYOC (Bring your own Carrier) feature to connect to Voice, SMS Carriers.
Once that is done you’re ready to add as many SMS & Voice carriers as you need including Twilio, Nexmo … and let your application interact with one single API and you can manipulate connectivity and routing on the application level, you can also use TelecomsXChange platform to instantly connect your restcomm cloud account to 300+ carriers (No minimum commitment) around the world at wholesale prices (Costco membership model)
No prepaid billing and rating engine, you have to bring your own or by integrating with Restcomm Restful API and web-hooks or use JDiameter for real-time charging with Diameter server which is not too straight forward, however restcomm partner echo system can provide you with a solution if real-time billing is a major concern for you.
Twilio Alternatives For Developers
Developers looking to migrate away from Twilio and do not want to get into efforts or traffic is too small for building their own version of CPaaS using Restcomm Cloud, one option is that they can use any of the CPaaS enabled service providers by Restcomm , or stay with Twilio until the time is right to migrate.
The list of alternative CPaaS enabled providers alternatives across the world is growing, in the next section we will talk about some service providers in different regions that use Restcomm Cloud to offer CPaaS alternatives to Twilio in those regions.
Other commercial alternatives for devs that don’t care much about carrier flexibility:
- Dreambox.ae/cpaas (Full Stack CPaaS with Virtual Numbers in UAE and other countries in middle east)
- Nexmo.com (Slightly lower price, can’t bring your own carrier )
- SignalWire.com (FS based: Reasonable pricing – Cant bring your own carrier)
- Plivo.com (FS Based: Reasonable pricing – Cant bring your own carrier)
- Bandwidth.com (Strong in US only, Minimum spend to get an account and can’t bring your own carrier)
- Unifonic.com (SMS Only – Strong offering in KSA mostly)
For Service Providers
Middle East and North Africa
Dreambox, a communications platform as a service (CPaaS) company founded on Contact Center based in Dubai, UAE. on April 21st, 2019 announced new self-service capabilities that enable app and enterprise developers in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) to easily access Dreambox APIs, and add communications and security into their web and mobile applications in minutes.
Visit www.dreambox.ae/cpaas for more details.
Restcomm makes it easy for service providers to white label and lunch CPaaS services and plug it to all the legacy protocols (SS7, SIP , SMPP ….)
For example Telecom Indonesia has recently launched its amazing CPaaS offering on top of Restcomm Open Source Cloud infrastructure, for service providers Restcomm makes it easy and simple to offer white-label free environment for service providers to meet the customer demand of CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) APIs, SDKs and Visual designers.
Telin CPaaS: http://neuapix.com/aboutus
Telecom Indonesia Launches CPaaS using Restcomm Cloud.
in the US reputable CSPs like MetTel and Teli have also launched their cpaas using Restcomm to serve enterprises who appreciate their long standing white glove relationship and better standing with Tier 1s. being on good terms with tier 1s reflects in the qos , delivery rate and traffic blocking filters
Teli Press Release: https://www.restcomm.com/teli-opening-new-markets-with-advanced-cpaas-offering/
It’s also worth mentioning that companies like SignalWire (By FreeSwitch Open Source Community) was also born in 2018 to compete directly with Twilio un-acceptable premium pricing and lock down environment. I won’t be surprised that signal wire would offer an additional easy CPaaS enablement platform in the near future.
Asia – Japan
In Asia there has been lots of momentum by companies adopting Restcomm Open Source Cloud CPaaS to quickly catch up and offer communications as a service to developers like LignApps in Japan offering programmable IoT wireless as the main differentiator in their CPaaS offering.
My Personal Thoughts on Twilio in the beginning of 2019
My Personal opinion
I do significantly respect the market that Twilio created, i think Twilio brilliantly took lots of innovation credit and stood on the shoulders of the Restcomm (AKA Mobicents) open-source community without giving back any significant contributions back to the community, and this type of behavior makes me question the values and DNA that the company standard for, however still Twilio did a great job marketing and packaging it to developers which also counts for them for creating the massive CPaaS market we see today, additionally the acquisition of the Send Grid for 2 Billion gets me really questioning about their telecom vision and innovation future, for 2 billions Twilio could have reshaped the whole telecom industry world-wide with things that no one can imagine today.
Let me know what’s your opinion. Where did I go wrong ? Will Twilio still dominate the CPaaS market in the future ? Did they contribute back significantly to the open-source projects they stood on the shoulders of ?Would love to hear telecom professionals feedback on this topic.