Here are some things that the sales person on the other end of the phone doesn’t want you to know – but really, you should.
What they don’t want you to know
We feel that more than ever, there are some pretty misleading and sometimes slightly immoral sales pitches currently happening in the telecoms industry; especially in regards to cloud or “hosted” telephony and the ISDN switch-off. In this article, we'll be addressing those issues so you're ready for when the next sales person calls up.
"BT are switching off ISDN next year"
For many people, being told that BT is going to switch off their telephone lines tomorrow, next week, or next year is quite a daunting concept. Don’t let it be, because it’s not true. BT will not be stopping your lines tomorrow and your business will not come crumbling down.
The truth behind the matter is that BT WILL eventually stop serving ISDN lines, and alternatives WILL have to be discussed and thought about. Will it happen tomorrow though? No. Currently the date has been set that BT will stop selling ISDN lines by 2020 - but the switch-off won’t happen until 2025. …I’m sure we can all agree that’s still some time away and that the dates could still be pushed back even further if the infrastructure is not built in time.
“Hosted telephone systems are cheaper”
Although this is somewhat true on the short-term, when compared to the typical lifespan of a telephone system (10 years), hosted is not always cheaper. This is especially the case when there are a larger number of users.
Typically we do not recommend a hosted telephone system for businesses over 20 users based purely on pricing.
Many salespeople will tell you the cloud is the future and that you need to move to VoIP. Although this is somewhat true due to the ISDN switch, it may not be the best option for everyone OR you don’t need a brand new system – I will elaborate on this further.
Firstly, a Hosted Phone System may not be best for you if:
- Your business prefers to pay outright for products.
- You have over 20 users.
- You have poor internet speeds (without access to higher speeds).
Lets compare an on-premise PBX system and a hosted phone system…
With the On-Premise PBX system you have to take into account that items will generally cost more upfront. Of course, on new installations, we can generally offer finance packages to help spread the costs over a term.
Although this would change from one business to another, the general idea for an on-premise PBX is you will need:
- The PBX system
- Your handsets
- Your telephone lines
This can all add up to a scary cost, but once financed over a (for example), 3 or 5 year term, can become much more manageable. If or once paid fully/ outright the only cost you would incur would be your monthly line rental fees, call charges and support (which is recommended but optional).
In comparison to this, a basic hosted phone system generally only requires the following:
Now, on some deals, you may be able to take internet at X price, and get the handsets free, which in some instances if you’ve reaches a certain threshold of handsets can actually be more cost effective – even if you don’t end up using the internet line.
The main difference between the hosted system and the on-premise PBX telephone systems are that you will never own your system. Effectively you are leasing it for the duration of the contract: 12, 24, 36 or even 60 months are standard lengths. Similar to a lease car, at the end of the contract, you can choose to renew (and get new hardware) or terminate. If you terminate you will have to return the equipment or keep your handsets if you have paid them upfront (which are generally tied down to a particular service provider’s network). However, this will vary from VoIP provider to provider.
For small businesses and start-ups this can be the perfect solution as the upfront costs are low and users can be added and removed easily.
A positive for the hosted telephony solution is that many companies offer free support with the phone system. Please not that this does not apply for all re-sellers.
Things to take into consideration before signing a contract for a hosted telephone system:
- Minutes in bundles – Are they included? How much is included? What are the call charges if you go over your allocated minutes?
- Contract length – A 12 month contract will be more expensive per month than a 50 month contract however once you’ve signed the contract you will be “locked in” by many businesses.
- Support costs – Here at T2K we offer free lifetime support to all of our hosted customer along with access to our ticketing system and support desk. This is not the same however for all resellers. Make sure their support is reasonably priced, or free.
- Setup fees – a phone system for £5.50 a month sounds great, but many resellers will add on setup fees for each phone with a not so generous price tag.
- After Introductory offer pricing – Check that the pricing received on your original order does not increase if it is an “introductory offer”. A phone system could start at £5.50 per user per month for the first 12 months and then increase to £30 per phone thereafter.
“Your telephone system is outdated and won’t support VoIP”
In many cases this can be true. This would be considered legacy equipment and can become expensive to maintain. That being said – don’t let the salesman fool you. If your system is a Mitel MiVoice Office 250, Mitel 5000 (HX chassis), Mitel MiVoice Business or Mitel 3300 you can switch to SIP (VoIP) telephone lines.
Some systems will be able to do this straight out of the box depending on which version firmware you are running. Even if you do not have the right version – not all is lost.
On a Mitel 5000 for example, you are able to use SIP even if you are quite a few firmware versions behind. You may need to consider new licences for the handsets and some firmware upgrades. If your handsets are not IP compatible, this may also be something to consider however this is quite unlikely. On the long run this could save you a lot of money compared to a new telephone system; especially if you have paid off any finance or your system was bought outright.
If you are moving to SIP trunks from a Mitel, you will also find that you can make HUGE cost savings, compared to ISDN lines. Keeping a few ISDN lines as backup lines will make your telephone system a “hybrid” and extremely resilient. Not only that, but using SIP lines will make it future-proof for years to come and you won’t have to worry about the “ISDN switch-off”.
To wrap up, as with any contract you may be taking out, regardless of the telephone system, we advise proper due diligence. Exactly the same as other tech; both the on-premise PBX systems and the Hosted telephony platforms have their pros and cons – but which suits you and your business best?
If you’re looking for professional and honest advice from a telecoms company with over 30 years’ experience – get in touch.
Here at T2K we offer free on-site demo’s to display products and can guide you with the best suited and most cost effective solution for you. Get in touch today on 0808 202 3200 to have a chat.