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Telecoms providers: Phone systems, a necessary addition to your business phone line?

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Telecom providers now propose much more elaborate solutions than a simple phone line and desk phone for their business users. Because these business users often need to install several phones, with several collaborators, each having his or her own extension number, they may enjoy the benefits of modern phone systems. The good news is that most telecom providers now can offer complete phone system, with all necessary hardware, software, installation and servicing. Interested businesses should learn more about how these systems work in order to understand why they may well be precious additions to their equipment.

 Phone systems

What are phone systems?

Simply speaking, a phone system is basically a private phone network installed for a company or organisation, allowing each correspondent in the network to easily reach any other correspondent both within and outside the network, and be reached himself as easily. Every correspondent has an extension number, and intra-network calls are free.

How phone systems work

Modern phone systems do not need operators to switch calls from one correspondent to another. They rely on automatic switching, using what is called “Private Branch Exchange” or PBX systems. PBX systems are on premise systems and therefore require the installation of telephone (trunk) lines, a computer with enough memory to manage calls, telephone sets, and generally a central user console or switchboard.

System types

With the introduction of internet-based telephony, several new phone systems have entered the market:

- IP PBX or PBX systems: these systems rely on the internet to carry both voice communications and other data transmissions. They require the installation of IP Phones and a gateway to convert signals;

- Cloud-based systems or virtual phone systems are hosted systems: they do not require any hardware installation as all operations can be accessed by a computing device connected to the internet.


Commercial aspects

Especially since the introduction of VOIP, many providers have entered the market of enterprise telephony. They usually provide not only the line, but also all the equipment needed by business users, allowing them to enjoy a modern phone system without having to buy all the hardware and software - equipment rental or leasing is usually part of the monthly fee.


Most telecom providers are now offering modern systems for both large corporations and small enterprise use. Major mass-market providers include:

- BT;

- Vodafone;

But more specialised B2B players abound, including:

- Ring Central

- Cloud direct,

- Vonage,

- SIPgate,

- Voicehost,

- and many many others.

Plans and models

Rather than buying the whole PBX phone system, which coud be worth hundreds of pounds, companies can lease or rent it. Most providers will provide all three options. Complete on premise systems may be rented for as cheap as £40 per month, and hosted, cloud-based systems for as cheap as £20 per month.  Prices will rise not only depending on usage, but also depending on the number of users, and this may also be true for cloud-based phone systems.