Find the Best Business Telephone System in the UK
Choosing the right business telephone system for your company is a crucial decision, since telephones are such a frequent means of communication between customers and employees. Deciding on which telephone system you use can also influence the costs associated with your business communications and the security of sensitive data; not to mention, improvements to the optimisation of daily business operations.
Business telephone systems prices in the UK depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the company, number of employees, features, and the amount of lines needed.
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Business Telephone Systems for Small Business
Fundamentally, the key difference between telephone systems are that some are analogue, whereas others rely on an Internet connection to connect receivers, opposed to a telephone line.
Telephone systems may also be classified as either Key telephone systems (KSU), PBX systems, or VoIP systems.
These three types of phone systems are available as both on premise and hosted (cloud) versions in the UK. Depending on your business’ requirements, some models might be more suitable than others in regards to your communication needs. Business telephone systems installation and maintenance costs will also depend on the type of system chosen. Here is an overview of the different types of business telephone systems in the UK, as well as, each of their prices, advantages and disadvantages of each.
Key Telephone Systems
Key telephone systems are the most rudimentary type of phone system available. They are operated by a switching device called a Key System Unit (KSU), which allow the manual selection of phone lines with the push of a button. A key telephone system is very similar to a home phone system and includes all basic features you would expect.
This type of system allows for a maximum of 40 users, since there is a limit on the number of phone lines. This factor makes the key telephone systems a perfect solution for small business. Key telephone systems can be further classified into Key System Unit (KSU) and KSU-less systems.
The biggest advantages of KSU systems are their easy installation and maintenance. This makes KSU systems the most suitable business telephone systems for small businesses and start-ups.
The disadvantage of KSU systems is that they don’t provide any of the advanced features that PBX systems and VoIP do. On top of that, KSU systems do not offer as much flexibility and mobility for users because of the key system unit. In the UK, prices of key telephone systems can typically range between £100- £200.
KSU-less systems follow the same principle as KSU, with the exception that phone lines are not operated by a key system unit. This means that KSU-less provide higher flexibility and mobility for users of the system. The lack of a KSU makes it a very cost-effective system, as there is no infrastructure to install. Since phones are wireless, it is possible to transfer the system to new office locations.
KSU-Less systems are the cheapest available option with prices starting below £100. The biggest limitation of KSU-less systems is the scalability restriction, as it supports a maximum of 10 users. Therefore, KSU-less are most suitable for small businesses that are not forecasting immediate growth and do not make or receive large volume of calls.
PBX Telephone systems
A Private Branch Exchange phone system (PBX) is a much more advanced phone solution than KSU and KSU-less systems. Among the biggest advantages of the PBX are the advanced features and automatic redirection of calls.The automation of operation is possible because PBX systems function using hardware in the form of a fully programmable switching device. This makes PBX systems a highly convenient choice of phone system for large and mid-sized companies.
On top of that, PBX systems offer uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which means that the system will continue working for a certain period even in the case the electricity fails. PBX systems also provide features such as, call metering for accounting purposes (evaluating cost of calls), and the possibility to connect with other technology like fax machines, modems, and analogue devices.
PBX phone systems can be installed on premise and maintained by an in-house IT technician; alternatively, the system can be maintained remotely from outside the business premises (hosted PBX). The price for a PBXs system with 2 lines and up to 6 extensions in the UK range from around £130, while a system that can support 16 lines and 64 extensions can reach £700+.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol or Voice over IP and is one of the most recent innovations within business telecommunications. VoIP systems are the most advanced telephone system in terms of both functionality and features, while still and providing absolute freedom in terms of the number of users that can be added to the system.
VoIP phone systems use an Internet connection instead of traditional telephone lines to make calls. This innovative way of communicating makes it much cheaper to make long-distance and international calls.
In order to operate a VoIP system, businesses need a computer, Internet service, a phone and a VoIP provider in order to have access to all VoIP functions. When a call is made using a VoIP system, it is sent over the Internet to the receiver where it is transformed into a phone line-friendly format, that way the call can be received by any type of telephone system.
The price of VoIP systems varies depending on the number of users. Normally, VoIP is a more expensive system if compared to other systems, but it is still a great option for business of all sizes. VoIP systems prices in the UK can range from £2,000 - £15,000. If your business opts for a hosted VoIP, the payment is per end user and can be arounds £12 - £30 monthly. In addition, a single VoIP phoneset costs around £60.
The VoIP system also has a hosted version, where the VoIP provider hosts the system, which requires less installation and maintenance costs for the business.
Business Telephone Systems Features
As technology has evolved exponentially over the years, more advanced and complex telephone systems have emerged, making business communication easier, faster, and cheaper than ever. Depending on the model and provider of each business telephone system, it is possible to incorporate some advanced features and upgrades. Normally, business phone system come with the following necessary features for any office environment:
Customized On-hold music
Call Redirect/Forwarding to mobile phones or other local phones
Private & shared voice mail
Integration and Unified Communications
Choosing the Right Business Phone System for Small Businesses UK
These are a few of the reasons why you should acquire a phone business for your small business. In order to choose the right solution for your business, it is important to be aware of the different types of systems available, as well as upgrade possibilities for both lines and features.
Regardless of if you chose Key systems, PBX or VoIP, you will benefit from the features and advantages a business telephone systems can provide your company!
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