Digium is putting a big push on new customer acquisition. The company, which continues to sell its Switchvox Cloud solutions direct to customers as well as through channel partners, has launched the Digium IP Phone Rental Program for Switchvox Cloud hosted phone service, which is aimed at eliminating all upfront hardware costs.

Aimed at small and medium businesses (SMBs), the new program was designed to make it more affordable for companies to embrace a unified communications phone system by combining all services associated with it, including phones, into a single monthly bill. Additionally, Digium is offering a free 30-day trial.

Digium launched Switchvox last March as the hosted version of the company's premise-based business phone system. Paired with Digium IP phones, the service is being touted a tightly integrated user experience. The phones have been purpose-built to work with Switchvox and Asterisk, and according to the company, they provide a high level of flexibility and customization for end-users.

"Digium engineered the phones from the ground up and built the best phones for Switchvox and Asterisk. We deliver a robust, unique feature set and unprecedented customer support unmatched in the UCaaS industry," said Mark Amick, director of product management for Digium, in a prepared statement. "The new rental program allows customers to deploy a world-class phone system with a zero capital investment, substantially lowering the initial cost of entry into a new system."

Switchvox has been positioned partly as an alternative to Microsoft Office 365 and Lync Online. Built on the open source Asterisk IP PBX, Switchvox is Digium technology hosted under the company's Digium Cloud Services brand..

The partner opportunity for cloud-hosted unified communications could be large, but going up against the Microsoft juggernaut isn't an easy task. Providing a single subscription fee for everything could be enticing for some customers, particularly those that may be wary of Office 365 and Lync.