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Thursday, 23 Feb 2023 | 9 min read

What is the best phone system for a small business?

A business phone, which forms part of a business's phone system

Looking for a phone system for your small business? The new standard of phone connectivity is through the internet, utilising Voice over IP (VoIP) technology. 

There are several ways to connect a phone system to the internet. In this article, we'll run through them all. So if you're starting a business and looking for the best phone solution, or rethinking your phone system, you're in the right place! 

Business phones

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What is the best phone system for small businesses?

Phone systems aren't one-size-fits-all. The best phone system for your business depends on how you use (or plan to use) your phones.

There are three main types of phone systems: SIP Trunks, Single-Line VoIP, and Hosted PBX. All do the same job in giving businesses the benefits of VoIP technology over the nbn. The differences lie in the method of connection and capacity for multiple phone lines. 

Here's a simple table that will help you to choose a phone system that suits your business best:

How can I decide the best phone system for my business? 

A quiz to help business owners determine the best phone system for their business. Question 1: Do you need the capability to have 2 people on different phone calls at the same time? If, no nbn phone might be best for your business. If yes go to question 2: Would you like to use your existing legacy phone system? If yes, SIP trunks might be best for your business. If no, hosted PBX might be best for your business.* Your legacy phone system must either be SIP capable or upgradable to support SIP. If you aren't sure, contact our team of business phone experts for a free consultation.

What are the different phone system types for businesses?

Are you looking to learn more about each phone system? Here's an overview of the three business phone systems. We cover what they are, how they work, and the advantages of each - so you can make an informed decision about which phone system is best for your business.

SIP Trunks

 The pros: Utilises your existing phone infrastructure.

The cons: Higher install and upkeep costs. Potential bandwidth issues, impacting call quality.  

What are SIP Trunks? 

SIP trunks enable your business to connect to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) through the internet. SIP Trunks allow your business to take advantage of VoIP through your existing telephone infrastructure.

When is SIP Trunks the best phone system for small businesses? 

If you've already got a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hosted at your business, SIP trunking is a convenient option that uses your existing legacy phone system.

If you don't have any existing PBX infrastructure, then SIP trunking will require a significant investment in an IP-enabled PBX (i.e. A phone system that connects to the internet). In this case, SIP trunks won't be viable for your business.

 Find out more about Aussie Broadband's SIP trunks here

Hosted PBX

 The pros: managed for you, no need to bring, own and maintain any existing infrastructure.

The cons: managed off-site, lack of control.

What is a hosted PBX phone system? 

Hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a phone system hosted and managed entirely in the cloud (in the same way as a standard internet connection). Despite the lack of hardware, it still gives businesses all the features of a traditional PBX phone system: such as voicemail, call forwarding, call routing, and conferencing.

When is hosted PBX the best phone system for small businesses? 

Hosted PBX is the way to go if you're setting up a business phone system from scratch. Since you don't need to install any physical hardware, you'll save time and money on installation costs.

A hosted PBX phone system is managed off-site for you. While that does take complete control away from your business, you won't need the in-house expertise required to manage an internal phone system.

Find out more about Aussie Broadband's hosted phone systems here

 

nbn® Phone/Single-line VoIP

The pros: Simple, plug-and-play setup.

The cons: It only supports a single-line connection, so you won't be able to take two calls at once.

What is single-line VoIP ?

Single-line VoIP (or nbn® phone) allows your phone to connect to the internet like any other internet-enabled device. As it's just a single line, there's no other system required. 

When is single-line VoIP the best phone system for small businesses? 

If you need a cost-effective single phone line for your business, nbn® phone is the simple solution. With minimal setup, a single-line nbn® phone will dial you into the benefits of VoIP faster. All you need to do is connect your new business phone to the internet.

And while SIP trunks and hosted PBX phone systems require installation, a single-line nbn® phone only needs to connect to the internet. So if you only need a single phone line for your business, you won't need to pay to install a complex system you won't use. 

If you're a smaller business, an nbn® phone is a more professional alternative to relying on a mobile number as your primary contact method.

Find out more about Aussie Broadband's nbn® Phone system here

 

What to Look for in a Business Phone System Service Provider

Generally, industry standards categorise business voice network providers into three "tiers".

Tier 1 providers are the largest and most established voice network providers. To be classified as tier 1, a business voice provider must own extensive network infrastructure and offer the highest Quality of Service (QoS) standards. QoS standards ensure consistent, reliable call quality, even when there's a lot of traffic on the network. Customer service is also an essential factor that contributes to tier 1 status. 

There are only a handful of tier 1 voice providers in Australia, and they uphold the gold standards of business phone systems. So while tier 2 and tier 3 service providers can offer cheaper, no-frills solutions to price-conscious businesses, tier 1 networks offer the highest quality and most comprehensive service.

Aussie Broadband are a nationally recognised, tier 1 voice services provider. As a tier 1 provider, our network infrastructure spans multiple data centres across Australia. Meaning, we can make changes and solve issues quicker than providers that rely on external suppliers for their network. With complete control over our network and service standards, you'll only ever need to deal with Aussie Broadband for your business voice needs.

In the event of a service disruption or outage, The network's built-in redundancy backups ensure continuity of service through multiple backup channels. That way, you won't miss any important business calls.

As a tier 1 voice provider, Aussie Broadband has the network and know-how to deliver the best phone system for your business.

 

How much does a business phone system cost?

The cost of nbn® phone starts from the cost of an internet connection, with pay-as-you-go costs when you make calls. Plans with unlimited calls to Australian numbers start from $10/month.

SIP Trunks start from $10/month for a pay-as-you-go plan and $60/month for plans with unlimited calls to Australian numbers.

 

Aussie Broadband pay-as-you-go call charges:

  • Calls to other Aussie Broadband services (Including the Aussie Broadband call centre) are free.

  • Calls to local and national numbers cost a flat rate of 15c.

  • Calls to Australian 13 and 1300 numbers cost a flat rate of 35c.

  • Calls to Australian 1800 numbers are free.

  • Calls to mobile numbers cost 22c per minute on nbn® phone systems and 15c per minute on SIP trunks.

  • Calls to international numbers vary in cost, depending on the country you're calling. Click here for the full list of international VoIP call rates.

Note: Receiving incoming calls is free.

Hosted PBX phone systems come all inclusive of local, national and mobile calls. The cost of a hosted PBX phone system will be the monthly cost of the handsets you choose. Handset costs start from 25/month for a softphone and $30/month for a physical handset. 

Apart from the ongoing monthly costs, also factored into the cost of your business phone system is:

  • The cost of your internet connection. If you want to avoid your phone line competing with your internet for bandwidth, the price of a dedicated voice over nbn® service is an additional $89/month. 

  • Setup costs: The cost of hardware installation for setting up SIP Trunks or physical hardware on a hosted PBX is $499. There is no connection fee to set up a single-line VoIP.

  • Hardware & Accessories: These include analogue adapters, VoIP gateways for SIP Trunks, and accessories such as headsets. 

 

Want clarity on the cost of a business phone system that meets your needs?

Head over to our voice plan builder.

The plan builder lets you select from Aussie Broadband’s range of phone systems, voice hardware, accessories, and support packages. The result is an accurate quote for a business phone system that meets your specific requirements.

You’ll also get the opportunity to see how changing your phone system requirements impacts its overall cost. This way, you can weigh up the benefits of additions (such as the ability to have two employees on the phone at the same time) against how much extra they’ll cost your business. 

Once you’re happy with the quote, you can place an order there and then! But if you need more information before making a decision, our friendly business support team is here to help. You can reach them seven days a week from 8am to midnight on 1300 480 905.

Customise your business phone system

Use our voice plan builder to create the perfect phone system for your business, and get an instant free quote.

Build your business phone system

Find the perfect phone system for your small business

 Every business is different. The perfect phone system will depend on your business's needs and existing phone infrastructure.

Consider what you need your phone to do for your business. Do you rely on phone calls to generate and do business? Or do you need a connection to your business that can take the odd call from a customer, client or supplier?

Aussie Broadband’s voice plan builder lets you build a personalised business phone system, giving you clarity on your options and how much it will cost to build and maintain a business phone system. 

The plan builder lets you select from Aussie Broadband’s range of phone systems, voice hardware, accessories, and support packages. The result is an accurate quote for a business phone system that meets your specific requirements.

Contact our business support team if your business has more complex needs or you want to learn more about business phone systems. Our business consultants will guide you through your options and help you find the perfect phone system to suit your business's needs and goals. You can reach them seven days a week from 8am to midnight on 1300 480 905.

If you know what phone system might work best for your business and want to look at pricing specific to your size and needs, visit our voice plan builder

Tags:Hosted PBXBusinessPhone systems

Written by

Michael Hayman Headshot

Michael Hayman

Content Writer

Michael is Aussie Broadband's marketing copywriter. Michael is responsible for content marketing within Aussie's growing business segment, which includes writing and editing web content, marketing collateral, and business editorial blog art...

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