Telnyx vs. Flowroute - In-Depth Guide
Telnyx and Flowroute offer voice and messaging APIs for business communications. So what’s the real difference between the two?
By Odhran Reidy
Flowroute is a SIP trunking and messaging provider offering CPaaS services. Like Telnyx, their offerings help businesses all over the world build communications.
Choosing the right CPaaS provider can make a huge difference to your business, your customer experience and your bottom line. We’ve put together a comprehensive overview to help you understand the differences between Telnyx and Flowroute so you can make the most informed decision for your business communications.
Telnyx VS Flowroute Feature Comparison
Both Telnyx and Flowroute offer Elastic SIP Trunking services and Messaging APIs to enable communications. Unlike Flowroute, Telnyx also offers a more advanced Voice API "Call Control - Programmable Voice API | Telnyx") programmable voice API, enabling customers to build cloud IVR, UCaaS, and conversational AI functionality into their voice communications.
Let’s dive into the key differences between Telnyx and Flowroute’s product offerings in terms of their feature sets, pricing, and developer-friendliness.
SIP Trunking Comparison (VoIP)
Both Telnyx and Flowroute are popular Elastic SIP Trunking providers, but their products differ in some important ways. The table below outlines some of the major differences and the impact they can have on your communications experience:
|Cloud Provider Coverage||Multi-Cloud||Single-Cloud|
|Volume Discounts||Automatic tiered volume discounts||No auto-triggered volume discounts|
|Licensed Carrier Status||25+ countries and counting||US only|
|Encryption||SRTP/ZRTP media encryption and TLS signaling encryption over private network||No media encryption, TLS signaling encryption|
|Call Recording||Native, on-demand call recording||Recording only available through partner services|
|Support||Free 24/7 support over phone and Slack for all customers, no minimum spend commitment||$10k minimum commitment for phone support, $50k for Slack support|
|Identity Services||Add and auto-update CNAM on outbound calls, and instantly lookup CNAM database to identify incoming calls||Assign CNAM records to your numbers for outbound calls|
|Call Routing Data||NPAC-authorized programmatic LRN lookup||No LRN lookup tools|
|APIs||Comprehensive APIs for Numbers, SIP Trunking, Programmable Voice and Programmable Fax||Numbers API|
Key VoIP Features Explained:
Number Lookup Services
Phone numbers are the basic unit of telephony routing, but tooling has evolved to provide advanced, actionable telephony data based solely on looking up a phone number against several telephony databases. These number lookup services form a critical part of next-generation communications in several ways:
- Adding context to incoming and outgoing calls, including identifying the calling party and the location from which they are calling.
- Accurately predicting the cost of a call before the call is made, based on routing data associated with the dialed number.
- Improve deliverability of omnichannel communications like SMS and fax by verifying number types and carrier information before attempting to send messages.
In this vein, it’s important to evaluate whether or not your CPaaS provider offers lookup tools that can enhance your communications experience. Telnyx has a suite of Number Lookup services designed to provide instant, up-to-the-minute information about any phone number anywhere in the world, allowing you to build efficient customer context, accurate billing, and high-deliverability omnichannel communications.
Voice communications are evolving at an unprecedented pace, in large part due to the proliferation of APIs allowing advanced tools to be built around core communications functionality. As such, it’s critical to evaluate your CPaaS provider’s API offering in terms of the breadth, power, and usability of their APIs.
Truly future-facing CPaaS providers should offer a suite of APIs across a broad spectrum of communications products. These APIs should offer powerful communications functionality, not just high-level reporting capabilities. And they should cater to the lived experiences of real developers.
Flowroute’s only voice API offerings allow programmatic control of phone number purchasing, porting, and configuration, as well as exporting Call Detail Records (CDRs). The Telnyx API builds on this functionality, enabling programmatic control of more detailed usage reports and call recordings and programmatic number lookup.
The key area where Telnyx and Flowroute differ in terms of APIs, however, can be found in the Telnyx Voice API"Call Control - Programmable Voice API | Telnyx") voice API. Call Control unlocks a world of next-generation VoIP applications like conferencing, call tracking for analytics, cloud IVR and smart routing for call center applications, and real-time media analytics for conversational AI.
Through local carrier relationships, many SIP trunking providers can offer voice calling and phone numbers in most countries. In order to truly scale compliant, uniform communications across the globe, however, you should closely examine two key features of your provider: their licensed carrier status, and their communications network.
While both Telnyx and Flowroute offer phone numbers and voice calling in most countries, Telnyx is the only provider that has a global purpose-built IP communications network with a private MPLS fiber backbone, with ten multi-cloud points of presence (PoPs) across the globe (five in the US, three in Europe, one in Asia and one in Australia), and additional PoPs planned for South America, Asia, and Australia. While Flowroute has PoPs around the world, the interconnections between these points rely more heavily on the public internet than a private backbone, limiting your security and quality.
Aside from local network presence, licensed carrier status in a country is a rubber-stamp on a VoIP provider’s ability to offer full telephony services in that country with guaranteed regulatory compliance and access to local telephony assets and numbers. Telnyx is a licensed carrier in over 25 countries across the globe, whereas Flowroute holds a license in the US only.
Bottom Line: When choosing a VoIP provider, it’s important to consider advanced communications capabilities like number lookup tools and programmable voice APIs, and it’s critical to choose a provider who will enable you to scale unified communications across the globe with ease, instead of limiting your growth with a sub-standard network and regulatory blunders. With this in mind, Telnyx emerges as the obvious choice thanks to advanced number lookup tools, a next-generation programmable voice API, and a global IP communications infrastructure encompassing local presence, regulatory expertise, and global scale.
Messaging Comparison (SMS API)
Flowroute and Telnyx both offer Messaging APIs that allow customers to build programmable SMS and MMS messaging into their applications and communications infrastructure. By offering a highly configurable, developer-friendly API, both providers enable businesses to connect with their customers through highly-engaging channels like SMS without the need for a deep understanding of telecoms.
There are, however, some key areas where messaging solutions offered by Flowroute and Telnyx differ. This table breaks down some of the major differences and their effect on your business:
|Short Code SMS/MMS||Full short code support, including vanity short code numbers and short code porting||Not supported|
|Hosted SMS||Full hosted SMS and MMS support via portal or API||Not supported|
|Alphanumeric Sender ID||Send messages from custom Alphanumeric Sender ID via API||Not supported|
|Smart Content Handling||Opt-out management, smart URL handling, and automatic message queueing to avoid rate-limiting rejections||Basic content handling with rate-limit rejections|
|Deliverability||Primary and Secondary Webhook URLs, Number Lookup and DLRs||Callback URLs and DLRs|
|Number Pooling||Number Pool with Geomatch and Sticky Sender||No number pooling features|
|Messaging API||Advanced send / receive / retrieve functionality by number, number type, and messaging profile||Simple send / receive / retrieve functionality|
Key SMS Features Explained
In any SMS or MMS application, deliverability (i.e. the percentage of your sent messages that are actually delivered to their intended recipient) is of utmost importance. If your message deliverability is low, your intended recipients aren’t getting your messages. This limits the performance of your SMS campaign and wastes your money.
In this regard, it’s critical that your SMS provider takes proactive steps to provide the highest possible deliverability. While there are steps that you can take as a customer to maximize your deliverability, your provider’s tools can unlock massive amounts of message throughput while keeping your deliverability high.
Telnyx offers a comprehensive suite of tools to maximize your deliverability, including:
- Number Pool to use multiple numbers in an outbound campaign. Using one number to send a high volume of messages can trigger spam filters on underlying SMS carriers, severely reducing deliverability.
- Geomatch to match the area code of the sending number to the recipient number in a number pooling campaign, to increase open rates and further boost deliverability.
- Sticky Sender to ensure messages sent to a customer’s number in a number pooling campaign come from a single sending number - this allows your customer to have a single stream of communication with your business and boosts message engagement.
- Number Lookup tools, to identify and remove any landline or non-SMS-enabled numbers from a campaign recipient list.
- Short Codes pre-approved by underlying SMS carriers for high-throughput texting without the risk of spam filtering.
- Primary and Secondary Webhook URLs to avoid losing inbound messages.
- Delivery Receipts (DLRs) on detailed message detail records (MDRs) to find failed messages and identify low-deliverability patterns.
Flowroute only offers a small subset of these features (DLRs and once-off callback URLs for inbound messages with no secondary/failover option), limiting your deliverability.
Smart Content Handling
One limitation of SMS messaging is the limited media that can be contained within a message. Including URLs in a message can trigger spam filters and harm your deliverability. Long message content that needs to be broken up into two or more SMS messages sent in quick succession can fall foul of carrier throughput limits. Non-compliant messaging campaigns without proper opt-out/unsubscribe functionalities can incur penalties from underlying messaging carriers.
Telnyx has built an advanced messaging content handling engine with multiple capabilities to ensure messages are delivered in full and messaging campaigns are compliant:
- By default, any number which sends a message to your Telnyx number consisting of an opt-out related keyword (e.g. stop _or unsubscribe_) will be automatically be added to your account’s opt-out list and will not receive further messages from your account.
- Customers attempting to send more messages than their throughput rate limit will automatically have their messages added to a queue and sent as soon as their throughput limits allow. This helps to ensure that long messages requiring multiple SMS parts are sent in quick succession and are delivered whole.
In the world of SMS and MMS, there are a variety of number types that can be used to send and receive messages, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. While Flowroute only offers standard long-code and toll-free numbers for messaging, Telnyx also offers short codes and alphanumeric sender IDs, giving businesses more flexibility to choose the number type that best suits their needs.
Short codes can be critical for high-throughput deliverability, as they are pre-approved by underlying SMS carriers for high-throughput texting based on their use-case and as such are less susceptible to spam filtering. Alphanumeric sender IDs, while more likely to fall foul of spam filters, can provide an instantly recognizable business name along with SMS communications to your customers.
In addition to offering a wider variety of number types for SMS, Telnyx also allows hosted SMS, enabling customers to enable their existing numbers for Telnyx SMS while keeping their existing voice provider.
SMS is one of the most lucrative areas for API-driven intelligent marketing, with over 5.2 billion unique mobile subscribers in the world, and engagement rates six to eight times higher than email marketing. As such, developers are scrambling to create more and more advanced applications to reach this huge base of highly engaged customers with SMS marketing campaigns.
With such high stakes surrounding the development of intelligent SMS applications, the importance of a developer-friendly SMS API cannot be understated. Flowroute’s messaging API allows for basic sending and receiving functionality as well as looking up message detail records (MDRs). The Telnyx messaging API, on top of these capabilities, offers advanced features to make developers’ lives easier, including grouping messaging settings by profile to configure large groups of numbers with ease, and sending messages using Number Pool.
The continued development of an API to respond to evolving standards and best practices is also a critical part of ensuring compliance with SMS regulations and continued ease of development for businesses. Telnyx recently re-built their API from the ground up to be more powerful, more uniform, and more developer-friendly.
Bottom Line: Your messaging provider should offer the highest possible deliverability through special messaging features, smart content handling, and a wide range of number types, and should empower your developers to build and iterate quickly with a powerful, developer-friendly API. Through this lens, it’s clear that Telnyx should be your provider of choice for SMS and MMS messaging.
Universal Communications Services
Aside from offering standard CPaaS services like SIP Trunking and Messaging, your communications provider should empower you to build true universal communications. This can involve emerging technologies like WebRTC, IoT and multi-cloud network infrastructure. Here’s a comparison of how Flowroute and Telnyx approach these services:
|Virtual Cross Connects||Private, direct multi-cloud VXCs||No VXC support|
|Cellular IoT||Telnyx SIM cards on a private LTE network||No Cellular IoT products|
Key Universal Communications Features Explained
Virtual Cross Connects
Any CPaaS provider is only as good as its network, and if a provider is truly willing to stand behind its network’s scalability and power, it should allow those benefits to stand on their own.
While there is no shortage of networking companies offering virtual cross connects to various cloud services, Telnyx is the only CPaaS provider with a network powerful enough to support this advanced functionality. Because the Telnyx network has built-in redundant multi-cloud interconnects to AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud across our global network, we can offer this best-in-class connectivity to our customers, empowering them to build and deploy private connections to the cloud.
The Internet of Things (IoT) relies upon a wide array of devices that can reliably communicate with one another. As such, SIM cards offering 4G LTE connectivity from major telco players have become popular additions to IoT devices. Building IoT communications in this manner, however, is fraught with issues.
Major telco players will run your IoT device’s communications over the public 4G LTE network, potentially exposing it to packet loss and malicious attacks. At Telnyx, we believe network privacy is central to any communications, so when using our cellular IoT SIM card, your communications run on a private LTE network.
What’s more, SIM cards from these players are often sold with cell phone usage in mind. That means they’re priced on a flat monthly fee for the tens of gigabytes we all use streaming video, making video calls, and browsing social feeds. The problem is, IoT devices don’t use anywhere near that volume of data. In fact, most IoT devices simply send instructions and statuses to other devices on their networks, often on the order of a few kilobytes. Using a regular telco SIM with these data volumes will result in you paying eye-watering amounts each month for gigabytes of data that go completely unused. At Telnyx, our wireless data prices work on a pay-as-you-go model, so you’ll only pay for the modest amounts of data used by your IoT devices to communicate with one another.
Despite the continued growth of futuristic communications technology, the phone handset stubbornly remains a fixture of most communications solutions. Frameworks like WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) aim to change that by allowing more web-enabled devices to make and receive phone calls. The first stable release of the WebRTC specification was officially launched in late 2017, since then it’s gained popular use in many VoIP applications like web dialers and click-to-call systems.
Bottom Line: The communications world doesn’t start and end with phones. Your CPaaS provider should embrace emerging technologies like Virtual Cross Connects, Cellular IoT, and WebRTC and empower you to build the next generation of communications experiences. Through this lens, Flowroute is much more of a traditional communications provider, offering none of the advanced universal communications features boasted by Telnyx.
Flowroute Pricing VS Telnyx
Price is a critical factor in every communications platform decision. Here’s how Flowroute and Telnyx stack up on pricing:
Elastic SIP Trunking Pricing
|60-second local inbound call||$0.0035||$0.005|
|60-second local outbound call (US48)||$0.005||$0.00833|
|60-second toll-free Inbound call||$0.015||$0.01505|
|Outbound SMS message from long-code number||$0.0025||$0.004|
|Outbound SMS message from toll-free number||$0.0055||$0.0075|
|Inbound SMS to long-code number||FREE||$0.004|
|Inbound SMS to toll-free number||$0.0055||$0.0075|
Additional Fees and Charges
Both Telnyx and Flowroute charge additional carrier fees for SMS and MMS messaging, which are dictated by the underlying messaging carriers.
In addition, Flowroute charges a Carrier Cost Recovery Fee, “used to defray the costs of taxes and surcharges incurred in conjunction with its sale and purchase of telecommunications from carriers used to support Flowroute’s non-interconnected VoIP service.”, and a Universal Service Fund charge “on non-exempt accounts for interstate and international telecommunications services.” It is not clear from Flowroute’s website what these charges are or how they are applied to customers.
Note: Flowroute pricing is based on information from flowroute.com/pricing-details/. All information correct as of 07/09/2020. Telnyx is not associated with, sponsored or endorsed by Flowroute.
Why Developers Choose Telnyx Over Flowroute
We trust your judgement. With Telnyx, you’re not limited by an underpowered API, poorly configurable phone numbers or obstructive telephony protocols. Our APIs, telephony assets and our Mission Control Portal all offer you complete control over your communications, so you can develop with ease. In fact, our configurability is a hit with both developers and enterprise customers - check the sources below for some examples!
"Telnyx gives us the ability to have more control over the features they offer than other carriers. It is because of that control that we are able to better support our clients." — Small Business Telecoms AdministratorRead the full review on G2
Our purpose-built global IP network and licensed carrier status in 25+ countries mean you can build your voice applications to be global first - without needing to worry about local regulations and bureaucracy. And, our partnerships with Tier-1 carriers worldwide mean your calls will connect first time, every time. Our global footprint takes the worry of telephony off your mind, letting you focus on developing innovative communications experiences.
"With Telnyx, we’re able to get coverage all over the world through one API and one point of contact." — Dayton Turner, VP of Enterprise Product at OomaRead the full case study
Advanced Communications Features
We’re on a mission to make universal communications possible for everyone. When you build with Telnyx, you can leverage emerging technologies like cellular IoT and WebRTC to develop innovative universal communications experiences. Because we’re committed to democratizing communications, we’re also empowering our customers to tap into the power of our global private communications network with Virtual Cross Connects.
"We intend to use the Virtual Cross Connect product in the near future to interconnect our sites to Telnyx instead of using the public internet. This will increase reliability and get us closer to our goal of removing our voice traffic from the internet." — Anthony Totarella, Systems Administrator at LightspeedWatch the video case study
Ready to make the switch? Sign up for a Telnyx account today! Or, speak with one of our migration experts to plan your approach.
See how a developer built multi-factor authentication with ease using Telnyx SMS (Reddit) https://www.reddit.com/r/msp/comments/hmgjyx/the_mega_struggle_with_mfa/fx9wlby/?context=3
Read a review of the Telnyx API from a small telecoms enterprise (G2) https://www.g2.com/products/telnyx/reviews/telnyx-review-3983427