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What is a Centrex phone system?


Centrex phone systems is an enterprise telephony solution which comes as an alternative to private branch exchange systems. Centrex is actually a short form of Central exchange: with Centrex phone systems, enterprises do not own their private phone network, but get all the same features and functionalities from the Centrex provider, that is, the telecom provider.


All features such as call transferring, conference calling, voicemail, direct inward dialing (DID), cost-accounting monitoring, self-managed line allocation, sharing of the same system among multiple company locations are supported.


With a typical Centrex setup, the company only needs to install new phones to support the features - and sometimes they don’t even need to. The central exchange is hosted on the phone company’s premises, and all calls to, from, and within the company “network” are switched and directed from there. All servicing, maintenance and upgrades of the Centrex phone system are dealt with by the telecoms provider.


Sometimes, the phone company may install the Centrex phone system equipment directly on customer premises. In more modern setups, wired installations are no longer needed and Centrex phone systems have become cloud-based - effectively becoming what others call cloud-based phone systems.


Modern systems are much cheaper to install than PBX phone systems, and in fact, more often than not, they even offer more control on the configuration and setup of the enterprise telephone system than a PBX would. 


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