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Compare Business Phone Lines and Systems

What is a phone system?

A phone system is a network of phone lines that can allow your business to set up advanced features including call handling and transferring, conference calling, call metering and accounting, private and shared voice message boxes etc.

Phone systems are at the heart of most business communications and an essential part of how we all communicate. In the UK, the entire market used to be dominated by one provider and old, expensive options were all businesses could get. However, now there is almost too much choice! As business has evolved so have what our phone systems can do.

However, when you are buying a new phone system it can get confusing seeing so many options and abbreviations, so we have all the information you need to help.

What types of business phone systems are there?

As with most of our own personal phone/broadband when it comes to business telephone systems it can pay to shop around and do a comparison. Many businesses will go to different providers and get quotes, but it can be time consuming and frustrating. Why use a comparison site for your business?

As technology has evolved so has the types of phone systems business can now have. The main ones used today are:

  • Key System Unit (KSU) — Otherwise known as KSU, Key phones or Key systems. This is the most basic type of business telephone system. It’s only suitable for small businesses with no more than 40 phone operators. It’s easy to use — most like your home phone system. No companies advertise this as its outdated and has no scalability so not suitable for most businesses. Everything is manual with it. This is a good option for small one-man-band type companies.
  • Private Branch Exchange (PBX) — PBX based systems are more expensive than their VoIP rivals but can host a diversity of advanced features and is suitable for businesses with over 40 employees too. This was the system favoured by most companies before the introduction of VoIP. With PBX there is usually a high upfront cost for all the equipment, but it does allow you to have more advanced systems like automatic call routing. PBX also has an uninterrupted power supply allowing it to function even if there is a power cut. This type of phone system is suitable for nearly all businesses but as the equipment used to be an up-front cost there is also the option of a hosted PBX phone system. This gives you all the same features but is hosted in the cloud, so all equipment is owned by provider and not on your premises.
  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) — VoIP phone systems have become extremely popular in recent years partly due to how advanced the system can be, but also for how cost effective it is. The line runs over the internet so makes it much easier and cheaper to make international calls. All you need is a computer or compatible device, a headset and an internet connection. It’s the same technology Skype uses so most of us are in some way familiar with it. Businesses prefer this phone system because you can talk to anyone in the world using it at a low cost. It also allows people to work flexibly so employees can work from home or while travelling to clients.

How much does a business phone line cost?

It all depends on 3 key factors –
  • The type of system you want
  • The Features you need
  • How many users

The more advanced you need it to be the more your telephone system will cost. Prices can start from as little as £7.99 per month.

Business Phone System Providers

There are many business phone system providers in the UK so choosing one depends on what features are important to you and what your requirements are for your phone systems. Fill out the form above and our team will be more than happy to help, we can offer bespoke solutions for any type of business, big or small.

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How to choose the best office phone system for your business

With so much choice on the market now choosing a new office phone system can be daunting. There are hundreds of companies all claiming to offer you the best deal on your phone system and at the best price. So how can you be sure you are making the right decision? Using the right technology? Picking the best features? We have made a short and easy to follow guide to help you pick the best office phone system.

Step 1 — Start with what you have

If you already have an office phone system you could save yourself money on the new one by using your existing equipment if you already own it. Most businesses are now using or moving onto VoIP or cloud based office phone systems. This is generally because they are cheaper and allow you and your staff to work from anywhere with an internet connection.

So a key thing to consider if you are going for a VoIP business phone system — How reliable is your current internet connection? You may need to upgrade to a dedicated line if your connection is slow or drops out.

Step 2 — List what you need

There is now a diversity of features for office phone systems so it’s always a good idea to make a list. Each company’s needs will be different so take some time to think about what features are most important to your business. You may consider things like:

  • Call Recording
  • Transferring
  • Voicemail
  • International Calls
  • Video Calling
  • IVR System
  • Call Forwarding
  • Call Logging
  • CRM Integration

Step 3 — Get quotes from comparison specialists to get the best deal

When looking to acquire the cheapest business phone line getting some quotes is a key part of ensuring you get the best deal. We would recommend 3 because nobody wants to be inundated with sales calls and emails. This should be enough to give you a good idea of what’s available on the market. When gathering your quotes it’s important to ensure they are like for like. With so many providers offering different extras it’s easy to get quoted for completely different volumes or features, which naturally can change the cost dramatically. Make sure all quotes are giving you the prices for:

  • The same amount of users
  • The same features
  • The same location
  • The same equipment

The final step is deciding what provider to go with and signing the contract. If you opt for a VoIP system installation can be extremely quick and you will usually be offered some conference training on how to use the system itself. Most VoIP providers of business phone systems may do the installation and training over phone or video conference as it’s run on software. Even the least technical among us can be successful in installing it! We hope this guide has helped you with your office phone systems and if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact.

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Why should I compare business phone systems and providers?

As with most of our own personal phone/broadband when it comes to business telephone systems it can pay to shop around and do a comparison. Many businesses will go to different providers and get quotes, but it can be time consuming and frustrating. Why use a comparison site for your business?

  • You can save money – This is the main reason people will use price comparison sites for business telephone systems. BT used to own the entire monopoly for phones but now there are so many providers and with the different types of systems you can often save yourself a small fortune by comparing what’s available.
  • It’s convenient – Let’s face facts who wants to spend hours speaking to multiple companies or re-entering all your business details just to get some quotes on telephone systems? Not me! Just enter your details once and get your quotes.
  • You get a better choice and variety – By allowing businesses to quote otherwise may not have been approached a comparison on business telephone systems will give you a better choice of services.

VoIP Business Phone Systems

What is VoIP?

VoIP simply stands for Voice over IP. Some of you might be thinking “What on earth does IP mean?” Luckily for you, I’m about to explain. All it stands for is Internet protocol. Internet protocol is just a media transport system that commonly runs over normal IP address. This means you can run a telephone service over an internet connection. To receive and make VoIP calls you’ll have to have a VoIP modem at each end. A VoIP modem converts an analog signal to digital signal and back again. Once a phone call is made the analogue signal gets sent to the VoIP modem, the VoIP modem then turns these analogue signals into digital packets that get send over the internet to the receiving VoIP modem. Finally, the receiving VoIP modem turns these digital packets back into analog signals and the analog signals get send to the receiving phone. It does sound long and tedious, but it is done so quickly and seamlessly that you won’t even notice what’s happening.

VoIP features and benefits

VoIP provides cheap and easy to use business phone services. One of the reasons it’s so much cheaper is you bypass the call charges because it’s run over your internet. With VoIP you usually pay a small set up cost and then a monthly amount for your number, so no call charges which can make a hug difference if your business operates internationally. In general VoIP will dramatically reduce your usual telecoms costs and can give you a superior service comparatively with traditional telephone systems.

You usually have two options with business VoIP packages:

  • Hosted VoIP – This is particularly good for small businesses, because it means your provider will maintain all equipment in their data centre. This means you don’t have any expensive hardware to buy and it keeps it all secure and safe for you.
  • Physical VoIP Switchboard – This type of VoIP service involves installing a switchboard into your premises and planning your own disaster recovery and security. Physical switchboards cost money to buy and maintain so will usually mean more upfront costs.

Whatever package you decide is right for you, the other key benefits of VoIP are the added extras you can get. Some examples of the extras are the ability to block withheld numbers, transfer calls straight to your voicemail, video conferencing, ring back, three way calls and much more. VoIP can form an important part of your disaster recovery plan. Because you can redirect calls at will, you can keep on using the same numbers, even if there’s a disaster which puts your company HQ out of action. All you need is an alternative location with an internet connection.

How much does VoIP cost?

VoIP can start as low as £10 per channel per calendar month. This obviously varies from provider to provider and depends on what features you need. But regardless it is still much cheaper than a ISDN line. In most packages the amount you pay will also include a certain number of minutes, but if you go over the set number of minutes then it will only cost you a few pence per minute, but once again this does depend of the providers package terms. Some VoIP providers might charge 2p a minute and some might charge 5p, it just depends on the provider preference. One upside of VoIP is you can make free calls to other VoIP users all over the world. Whether you’re sending a call to India or Australia, it is free as long as they have a VoIP system on the other end. This would be extremely helpful if your company has offices in different countries.

Most VoIP providers will also offer free and impartial advice with regards to fixing your VoIP system. Most of them are 24/7 so whenever you need help they will always be there. So all you’d need to do is ring up, explain what’s wrong, and they should sort out your problem in no time at all.

A self-hosted VoIP system can cost more than the traditional hosted system. This is because with the Self-hosted system you’ll have to source all the equipment and keep up on maintenance yourself. This is one of the reasons most company will opt for the hosted service, another reason is because it is easier to manage, and some company won’t have a tech savvy person to set up and maintain a self-hosted VoIP system. But if you do have the budget and resources to implement a self-hosted VoIP system then you shouldn’t have any problems.

VoIP quotes

Before getting your VoIP quotes you must make sure you have a stable internet connection. If you have an unstable internet connection then you must get it sorted before implementing your VoIP system. If you did get a VoIP system whilst having poor internet connection then this would not be ideal. The main reason for this is your calls will constantly cut out, which would obviously be extremely annoying, and it could also lose your business if you’re unable to make/receive phone calls. So if you are thinking about getting a VoIP system but have unstable internet then there are a few things you can do. You can either speak to your current internet provider and see if they can do anything to make your internet better, or you could look elsewhere yourself. The best type of internet to run a VoIP system on is a Leased Line. Leased Lines are uncontested fibre lines that go straight from the exchange to your premises. This means you’re the only person using the line and it won’t cut out as it is coming directly from the exchange point. It has a one-to- one contention unlike broadband who can anything from a 50/1 contention or 100/1 contention. With broadband you’d be sharing the connection with other people in your area. You could also use a business grade internet, but a leased line would be ideal. So, after reading this if you’re thinking “a leased line would benefit my business” then look no further! We compare the top 15 leased line providers, so don’t hesitate to run a comparison if you’re considering it.

There are a few details you’ll need to give because the comparison can be run. These are postcode and address, contact number, full name, company name, and email. The providers will need your postcode and address so they can give you the most accurate quotes possible. If you didn’t provide your postcode and address then you wouldn’t get the most accurate quotes possible. Lastly, they need your contact details (number, full name, company name, and email) so they can contact you to give you your quotes. Without these, obviously, they wouldn’t contact you.

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Cloud based Phone Systems

Simply, Cloud Telephony is a telephone system held in the cloud rather than physically in your office. Your employees or users then access the cloud telephony system through a standard IP handset or a soft phone, which a screen-based virtual phone. Calls are made and received over a broadband or internet connection. From there they can be routed to the destinations and can call other users of cloud telephony, mobile phones and any other type of telephone line.

Cloud telephony means no costly PBX maintenance or upgrades. The provider would be responsible for the hardware and software, including system upgrades so it can offer a much cheaper alternative to your traditional phone lines.

As well as giving your organisation access to low-cost and free IP calling, a cloud telephony system puts various smart call management features at your fingertips. You can integrate mobiles too which is handy for any businesses that have employees working from home.

The key thing to have a stable system is ensuring you have a stable internet connection, if you are on a poor broadband connection you may have to upgrade before getting cloud telephony in place.

One of the most important facts about cloud telephony for many businesses is the level of control cloud telephony solutions gives you. Your organisation’s entire communications, across multiple sites and countries, can be managed easily, right down to the individual user level, through a simple interface.

We can run a free comparison to show you how affordable these solutions can be for your business. So to get your tailored business telephony quotes regardless of type fill out our online form and one of our experts will get a quote sent over to you.

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