Wildix vs. NEC

Wildix vs. NEC

Over the past few decades, there have been numerous brands exiting the VoIP space: Panasonic, Samsung and Toshiba are just there. Some have disappeared because they have seen diminishing returns and have realised that their models no longer apply. And others, such as Nortel, have simply gone bankrupt.

NEC is one of the former, with its physical PBX business disappearing from all markets except for Japan. While it didn’t give a reason for the exit, it’s likely because it too realized it was behind in the market, losing out to those with more advanced solutions. Its partners were given a year’s notice that it would no longer be accepting sales after December 31, 2024.

So with that in mind, what has NEC got to offer (outside of Japan) to MSPs? Let’s drill down into it with our Wildix vs. NEC comparison.

On-Prem Solutions

So let’s take a look at on-prem. NEC is stopping sales after December 31, 2024, and it will not deliver anything after March 31, 2025. After that, MSPs will receive software support until March 31, 2026. This means, there could be as little as a year of real support on a hardware PBX. This creates a problem for those considering purchasing a physical NEC system: Do they hope that there won’t be any issues, or do they choose something else?

From our perspective, an end-of-life product is not a good investment.

As for Wildix, we have a unique mix of products that use the same system. You can choose an on-prem hardware solution, you can virtualize it, or you can use our hosted solution. While we generally recommend choosing a cloud solution for your own growth, we have those options because our partners require them. Around 22.5% of our PBXs are hardware-based, with the rest in the cloud. Yet hardware PBXs account for 41.8% of our users — they tend to be our biggest accounts.

Offering a hardware PBX makes us stand out from other cloud providers.

Even better, our system has been developed to run as effectively on a PBX as it does in the cloud, resulting in the same user experience wherever you are. Failover options provide continuity of service, as well.

Cloud Solutions

NEC and Wildix both offer cloud solutions. Wildix doesn’t differentiate between cloud and hardware in its lineup, but NEC does: it calls its solution UNIVERGE BLUE. Let’s look at how they’re structured first.

Solution structure

Since the announcement, NEC has been trying to move its partners to UNIVERGE BLUE. This sounds simple enough, but the issue is that UNIVERGE BLUE is actually a rebadged Intermedia solution. So the support tree looks like this:

End-user → Partner → NEC → Intermedia

This creates problems when trying to get technical support for a level 2 issue. The more players involved in a solution, the longer it takes to resolve.

Wildix, on the other hand, owns its solution, and it develops it through a dedicated development team that can directly assist partners if needed. So for Wildix partners, the support tree looks like this:

End-user → Partner → Wildix

The result is typically much faster support directly from those with direct knowledge of the system.

In addition, it means that Wildix solutions are much more homogeneous between cloud, hardware and virtualized PBXs. There is no real cross-linking between NEC’s physical products and its cloud solutions.

Go-to-market model

The go-to-market model for NEC UNIVERGE BLUE is a mix of channel and direct sales. As a result, it’s directly competing with its own partners. This is typical of many UCaaS vendors, who seek to get as many direct customers as possible as it means they can keep more of the margin generated.

This means that their models look like one of these two:

Partner + NEC + Intermedia

NEC + Intermedia

In the second instance, there’s no room for a partner solution. Given that it’s relatively simple to set up a basic UNIVERGE BLUE PBX, many end-users will end up going directly to the vendor.

Wildix, on the other hand, is channel-only. As a result, we support our own partners without having a conflict of interest or marketing. For example, when end-users look up Wildix to find out who we are, there’s no incentive for us to convert them to a direct sale. The partnership margin looks like this:

Partner + Wildix

This makes our services much more reliable for margin generation compared to NEC UNIVERGE BLUE.


Both Wildix and UNIVERGE BLUE offer the basics of UCaaS: collaborative software with text, voice and video, as well as file sharing. Both share presence information and can offer fax services.

The recurring complaint about UNIVERGE BLUE is that its offerings are limited. There’s no real development happening by NEC/Intermedia, and the system is highly static. It’s designed as a turnkey solution that simply does the basic stuff while adding a few extras in — and it’s relatively expensive, too. Adding intercom or security systems is tricky with UNIVERGE BLUE, and that can break a deal. These are all pain points our partners have had when using this solution.

If that’s all you need (even though it’s at a relatively high price point), then it’s definitely an option — and there is a place for simple solutions within the market. But if you need to integrate other products (CRMs, ERP software, any number of patient/customer management systems), the lack of a truly open API starts to hurt potential sales. And enterprise customers are traditionally not very comfortable with the limitations of UNIVERGE BLUE.

Wildix, on the other hand, has a highly flexible solution that delivers over and over again. It’s usually possible to integrate almost any system you can think of — and if you need a plain PBX, it excels at that too. We’re involved with big-name brands, including leaders in retail, manufacturing, travel and recruitment because we can offer that flexibility.

Like most Intermedia solutions, UNIVERGE BLUE says it offers a lot, but the actual results are underwhelming, according to our partners. It’s dogged by statements that it’s unreliable, the proposed solutions don’t work and that uptime remains an issue. We can’t see that improving with NEC pulling out of the hardware market and having even fewer resources available to improve the system.

Wildix, on the other hand, delivers what you expect: A solid platform, 99.999% reliability, ease of installation, a solution that bends to your needs and all the services you could want.

Wildix vs NEC: The Bottom Line

Ultimately, Wildix offers the best of both worlds, delivering hardware and software that partners and end-users need. Since NEC is exiting the hardware PBX market and leaving behind a relatively basic solution that they don’t even control, it’s hard to say that NEC’s outlook is bright.

If you’re on UNIVERGE BLUE, come and see what Wildix offers instead. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

For more information about Wildix or to book a demo, visit our book a demo page today!

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