Phone Systems: Pricing And Technical Differences

All the traditional 'box-on-the-wall with a bunch of handsets on the desk' type systems are gradually being replaced by Internet-based telephony as we head down the road of all things being connected ...

So, now, your voice goes over Internet Protocol (VoIP). By the way, SIP is a technical variation of VoIP, but in essence, one in the same standard, but the delivery method differs. But did you know, there are vast differences between the fifty-plus IP systems currently on the UK market? One difference is pricing.

Most VoIP vendors have a 'price per connection/user', where each licence includes an internal call licence and an outside line (old school terminology):

- Example 1: Taking one of the most common systems deployed in recent times which is Horizon from Gamma Telecommunications (only sold via channel partners), if you had one hundred and fifty users, then all one hundred and fifty users have the facility to call out from the system at the same time and you pay for one hundred and fifty 'connected' users. All calls are included so not bad if you are an 'outbound' call centre making a lot of sales calls (just hold that thought there for a minute).

The second pricing structure is based on a 'concurrent' call. A call is defined as internal or external. Three concurrent calls could be a person making (or taking) an outside call and the other two (for example), on different floors in a building, talking to each other.

  • Example 2: Taking the same one hundred and fifty people in a building ... fifty are outbound sales so need a line each, another fifty only take internal calls (on average, twenty-five concurrent calls at any given time) and the other fifty are very occasional users of the phone.

    In example 1, pay per user would cost (on average) £2,092.50 per month (+ VAT). In example 2, 75 concurrent call licence + 60 SIP channels, hosting and ongoing monthly support would be around (on average) £1,545.00 per month (+ VAT) saving around £547.00 per month on subscription fees. If you sign up for 36 months (average contract length these days), the total saving is around £19k over the term on the concurrent call methodology.

    "Now, for the technical part!"

    Not all software VoIP/SIP-based systems are the same! All the glossy brochures show the same image as flows: A VoIP handset, a laptop/PC with a desktop app showing a smartphone with an Android/iOS App showing on the screen.

    The performance and call quality of each of these types of systems all depend on the computing power of the outsourced server (hosting capacity). Are the 'hosts' based in UK datacentres? Do the 'hosts' have integrated add-ons, such as call centre operations (these are usually bolt-ons as in example 1, so the costs may rise significantly).

    The decision of which phone system to deploy should be based on how you operate, not the price.

    If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.