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Telephony APIs: Tropo vs Twilio

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I've been playing around with a few of the bigger name phone/SMS systems over the last year.  Twilio, Tropo and Nexmo.  Nexmo's customer service left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn't get a good feel for their documentation so I've really focused on Twilio and Tropo.

I like them both a lot.  Twilio is way cheaper but has some limitations that Tropo does not (and vice versa)

Anyway, I made a comparison chart of the two for my own use, in case I ever get the chance to build a real-world app, I'll be able to recommend the better service.

Comments welcome; tgm I know you've done some work in this space.

Twilio is probably the better choice in most cases but basically it boils down to Twilio doesn't do voice recogition and Tropo does. I like Tropo's API a little bit better but Twilio has much better account management. I'm surprised that Tropo hasn't bothered to spend much time in that area which is why now I generally recommend Twilio unless you want/need voice recognition.

There's also Plivo to look at.

It's late but I can explain more later if needed.

Not a bad list micah. I'd probably add a few things like SMS rates and MMS ability (Twilio wins there too).

Couple of the biggest gripes I had working with Tropo (which I did quite a bit of before) is that their logs are awful to deal with which goes to account management. Last time I checked they're still FTP and you need to parse them. And probably the biggest one is the lack of knowing what happened to the call end. Twilio sends a POST at the end to a URL while Tropo does nothing for you and if it chokes for some reason you're SOL. To compensate for this we added a special "endcall" that each application was sent to to get a rough idea of when the calls were done. They do have an API now to check on the status but then you have to write some kind of cron thing and that's just ugly.

It's also worthy of note that Tropo has two kinds of APIs. Single page (which is pretty straight forward) and the WebAPI which acts a bit more like tradition HTML forms, do something, POST, do something, POST, etc.

We worked closely with Tropo early on at one of my old jobs and they're pretty good (backed by Voxeo) and they also have a telephony client with Phono that you can leverage which is pretty cool too. If they did a bit more on account management like Twilio, added MMS, and dropped their prices a bit I think they'd be back in the game. They don't really do as much marketing though like Twilio.

They used be a lot closer in the past but Twilio has really been running away with this one IMO. If they ever change their infrastructure to support voice recognition they could put this one away but that would be tough I think since that's not what they've built it for.

Awesome feedback. Thanks!

You mentioned Plivo, I've looked at Nexmo and I know there a dozen other similar services.  I feel like (mostly from advertising and google search results) that Twilio is the market leader and Tropo is right up there with them.  Do you feel like that's a safe assumption?  Are there preferred vendors for stability and trust that worth looking into?  I honestly have no project lined up to use ANY of these services, but if I was going to pitch an idea and a client wanted some vendor vetting, is it worth looking into any of the other services?

Not sure why I'm bumping a year+ old thread on a topic most people don't care about....

but anyway, Tropo dropped their prices to match twilio as of the beginning of this year.  That is, $1/mo per number and $0.0075/min incoming and $0.015/min out going.    WAY better than $3/mo + 3-cents in and 3-cents out per minute.

This price drop in combination with their better features (especially speech recogintion) make me want to switch gears completely on the projects I've been messing with.


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