For years, BT had a virtual monopoly on new business phone services. They controlled the infrastructure, issued the best hardware and had the most flexible telecoms packages – or so the myth goes. Was it ever true? Maybe once, but certainly not now. BT are now just one of many telecoms service providers that new businesses can turn to, and are not always the most flexible, fairly priced or technically advanced.
So if you are a brand-new business looking for a cheap and convenient phone service, don’t automatically turn to BT. Look at their services by all means, but explore your other options as well. There may be other solutions that are more suited to your needs as a start-up.
As a competitor of BT it would be easy for us to try and sing our own praises in this article. We could mention that our contracts are more flexible, our prices lower and our options wider than BT. This may be true, but it isn’t the primary purpose of this article. To illustrate your different options, let’s take a look at the different types of business telephone line you can choose:
Analogue Telephone Line (PSTN)
Analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) lines are the standard phone connections used by millions of businesses and individuals around the country. PSTN lines use a switchboard to create a circuit of connections between different landlines. Simple, effective but limited. For instance, a PSTN line can only be connected to a single telephone number. Nevertheless, standard phone lines are a requirement for most fax machines and franking machines, as well as the old-fashioned analogue modems.
ISDN Telephone Lines
There are two types of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) telephone lines commonly used by businesses: ISDN2 and ISDN30. Both types of line allow the seamless transfer of calls from one phone line to any other number without the mediation of a switchboard, and also have flexible numbering options. ISDN2 lines can accommodate up to 8 incoming lines, arranged in pairs of two. ISDN30 lines are for businesses that need more than eight telephone connections – accommodating up to 30 paired voice lines without needing additional cables or power connections.
SIP / VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol ‘phone lines’ allow users to make phone calls over the Internet, bypassing the telephone network altogether. Voice traffic is encoded into data files that are passed over the IP. This means there are no restrictions for telephone coverage and VoIP phones can be linked to any UK telephone number. This is ideal for companies that relocate from one local area to another, as they can take their local geographic code with them.
As VoIP phones rely on a fast and effective data network, they ideally need a special Internet connection, although they can be used with standard broadband at a pinch. Session Initiation Protocols (SIP) are VoIP connections that stream voice and other types of data via a private SIP trunk, or data exchange (IP-PBX). Sip trunking allows seamless integration of landlines, mobiles and Internet connectivity.
Why Pay More?
Why this diversion into business telephone lines? The reason is that for many businesses, VoIP is a far more cost-effective solution than traditional telephone lines. BT and other major telecoms providers do provide VoIP services, but they normally tie you into telephone line rental on top of whatever other services they provide. This means you automatically pay a hefty monthly fee and setup charge for obsolete or second-rate technology, increasing the overall expense of your telecoms system.
Not all providers do this. We do offer ISDN2 or ISDN30 phone lines if they suit the needs of your business, but we also specialise in cloud-based VoIP telephony that operates through our own sip trunk, or virtual PBX. All voice calls and Internet data are transferred through an intuitive web portal, giving you complete integration and control over your telecoms – without the expense and infrastructure required to support cumbersome phone lines.
Get Off To The Best Start
We remember what it was like to be a start-up. No doubt you have a ‘to do’ list the length of your arm, and your new business phone service is just one of your tasks. Going to BT may seem like the easy option, but it may be easier to choose an alternative service from the outset, rather than be tied into an inefficient and expensive contract.