We still pay ATT for many landlines to our headquarters office but it seems most staff are using personal cellphones as their primary way to make and receive calls. I receive very few calls on my extension.
Are their any good articles or publications to read to consider new options?
Cell phones are not really an alternative for an organization that relies on office phones. They lack basic PBX features such as being able to transfer calls, park calls, forward calls, see if a phone is being used at the moment, transfer to voicemail, auto-attendant will multiple options and announcements, call recording, call queue, call center supervision, etc. There are too many to list.
As an IT provider I have not seen a single organization that has stopped using a business phone system in favor of cell phones.
That being said, analog lines are no longer an only option to be able to connect your phone system to outside world. There is a PRI, which has been a standard for reliable business phone service. There is SIP, which is a Voice over IP (VoIP) protocol that provides great savings over traditional phone company charges. There is hosted VoIP, where the phone system is not in your office, you don't need to pay for it or for a phone service, all you need is an Internet connection and a monthly fee per extension. Some companies even switch their phone service to Skype for Business that they have with their Microsoft Office 365 subscription. They use their computers to make calls with headsets.
There a ton of options out there, depending on what features your organization needs, what budget you have, how many users you have and what you current phone bill is.
If you tell me how many phone extensions you have and maximum number of users on the phone at the same time I can give a ballpark of what you can expect to pay with different option
TypeATechnology, my organization is looking to make changes regarding our phone system and I would be interested in your thoughts.
We are reaching the end of a 5 year contract for a T1 line that gave us a whopping 3 mbps internet. We have 11 lines although for the life of me I can’t figure out what half of them are ever used for. We have an in house PBX and a phone on every desk, even though we are primarily a volunteer based organization with only 6 or 7 people on the payroll. Many of our volunteers only come in during the spring and summer months.
We have been paying about $650 per month for the T1 because that was our only option. To bring high speed cable or fiber to our location was routinely estimated at $50,000 for running the cable.
We were recently offered free fiber installation with higher internet speeds for about half of the T1. This (to me) is a no brainer. The question is what to do about our phones. We use our free G Suite for as much as possible so I’m very interested in using Google Voice to provide phone numbers to all of our volunteers and staff as needed. However, we still need to have a way to direct calls from our main number to these GV numbers, rather than extensions.
So I’m trying to work out the best way to provide voice mail options to all that need it without paying 45 bucks a month, per line, for people that aren’t around half the year while still providing at least some PBX business phone options for the paid staff.
You should talk to a phone consultant, but I have some ideas that may help:
- See if you can downgrade to a "fractional T1" from your provider. If you can you could only pay for the lines you need and cut your costs. Your provider may let you do that rather than completely lose your business. (And you might be able to negotiate a lower cost per line as well.)
- The other option is to get some VOIP boxes that will plug into your PBX and function like trunk lines to replace the T1 lines. I think you could use Google Voice numbers with these or pay for SIP accounts. Just make sure your new Internet will have enough bandwidth to support the voice phone traffic & your Internet needs.
Using your old PBX may limit you from some VOIP features, but everything else should work as it does now, as long as the Internet connection does not go down. :-)
P.S. I think a number of your current T1 lines are dedicated to your Internet usage.
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