The Seven Deadly Sins of Telecoms – Lust

lust

Phone manufacturers are always tempting customers with new features as a means of upgrading their systems, or encouraging them to buy more than they need.  Such as the latest video phones, collaboration systems or presence.  Whilst these can all be useful they do not benefit everyone. 

But lots of people like shiny new toys –  just think how many get an upgrade everytime Apple brings out a new iPhone.  But phone systems cost a lot more than one handset does. Therefore when companies want to get all the latest features they often think that the only way to afford this and to avoid a high upfront cost is to sign a long lease.

Leasing can create a number of problems and so should be used with care.  Some keys points to consider are:

1. Is the lease for hire or purchase?  We met a number of organisations who thought that they would own the equipment at the end of the lease. Only to find that they had paid for a system several times over but did not own it and yet still had to keep on paying.

2. What is the length of the lease?  Telecoms technology changes about every 15 months. Signing a lease for five or more years could mean committing to regular expensive upgrades or consigning your organisation to working with obsolete technology.

3. What is included in the lease? We have seen announcement recordings, training etc included in a lease yet these have no ongoing value to the lease company should the payments be stopped.

4. Check the actual purchase price of the equipment and compare it with the total cost of the lease.  The interest rate should also be shown in the terms.  There have been cases of suppliers inflating the purchase price 6 or 7 times.   Three directors of a company called Business Telecoms were sent to jail in 2011 for conning  small businesses, charities and schools out of hundreds of thousands of pounds http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-13214888

5. We have also seen some companies try to pass off old equipment in the form of a lease.  Read more in our blog on how charities are being scammed. https://www.equinoxcomms.co.ukcharities-being-ripped-off/

This is not to say that leases cannot be good value. For instance they can be worthwhile sometimes, particularly if there is a genuine 0% or very low interest rate.  But they are only a good deal if the businesses genuinely needs those features and if they will help the company.

If you need some advice then please contact us on 020 8912 0845.

Is the PBX making a comeback or have hosted companies lost the marketing plot?

Is the PBX making a comeback or have hosted companies lost the marketing plot?

Over the past few months we have noticed that an increasing number of our clients are interested in installing new PBX systems. Some want to combine these with hosted solutions. Others want PBX alone. This time last year about 80% of our clients were looking for hosted solutions – so what has happened?

I think there are several factors.  Firstly a lot of the PBX pricing has come down, particularly in the sub 100 extension space. Add to that the fact that many manufacturers are offering zero or very low interest deals to counter the opex v capex model advanced by the hosted providers.

Secondly the rapid growth of SIP has also challenged many of the initial advantages promoted as a reason to go hosted. These included:
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  • Free Intra site calls
  • Keep your number if you move
  • Business Continuity

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Nowadays SIP* enables companies to achieve all of these. If FTTC* connectivity is also available the cost of connection is very low, particularly if your PBX is still working.

Yet a look at at most hosted suppliers’ websites shows that they are still talking about the old advantages and have not started to highlight other differentiators such as flexibility, simpler installation and support etc.

As is always the case, a PBX is right for some organisations and hosted is right for others.  Unfortunately the respective suppliers will only tell you that in each instance their solution is the right one.

We offer independent advice on both technologies, so if you are not sure which is right your organisation call us on 020 8912 0845.

*SIP – Session Initiation Protocol

*FTTC – Fibre to the Cabinet

The Seven Deadly Sins of Telecoms – Pride

pride

 

Most business owners like to think they are good negotiators. They think they are onto a good deal because it was a bit cheaper than the last one.  Many business owners are a bit too proud to admit that someone else could negotiate a better deal than they can.

Unfortunately many suppliers use misleading comparison making claims such as ‘on average 59% cheaper than BT’.   More often than not they are comparing their offer with the official BT price list, which bears little relation to what actual offers BT are making.

Alternatively, they may just compare some prices and not look at the whole package. Another favourite is to make the headline comparison look good, but not admit to the fact there are hidden charges such as call set up fees or minimum prices.

The cost of telecoms has dropped dramatically in recent years and, as with mortgages, there are always special deals available. As brokers we know the real cost of everything and all the dirty tricks that can be played.  Hence we can ensure that our clients get a genuinely good deal with no hidden surprises

If you would like us to review your costs for free and benchmark them against the major suppliers call us on 020 8912 0845.