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Components Of A Business Telephone System

A Business Telephone System is made up of the following components:

Base Unit

This controls the whole telephone infrastructure. This is the heart of your system. Your base unit determines the features you can add to your system, the number of phones it can handle and the number of lines it can handle.

Handsets/Desk Sets

This is the actual unit that you use to make/receive a call. This makes your telephone system tick. There was a time when handsets only came in a single color – black. Now handsets come in a wide range of colors, sizes, styles, capabilities and of course, prices. These units are broken down into Basic, Mid-Level, Executive/High End, Receptionist Sets and Conference Table Units. The cheapest are the basic models and the most expensive ones can reach up to $1,000. With the advent of technology, hands-free headsets and wireless units have been developed.


Wiring is probably one of the most important things (if not the most important) to consider when installing a business telephone system. If you are planning for growth then you may need to plan ahead. Check where you may install extra lines or an extra unit in the future. Investing now can save you a lot of money punching holes in the ceilings and walls.

Installation and Initial Configuration

This is the most time consuming part of a BTS project. Ask your provider if the installation is included in the package and if they will provide trainings for your employees.

If you are just starting up or already have a small business working, you may think about getting a telephone system that meets just your basic communication needs. But a small business can easily move up to a mid-sized business or even expand into a large, full-scale business. When it reaches this point, you may want to add features to your system that you did not use before. Depending on the system that you have in place, sometimes you need to have a brand new system installed altogether if you want to add advanced features.

Key and PBX Systems

The prices for these types of systems are broken down into the following:

Central Control Unit. This determines how many outside lines, extensions and accessories you can have. This is what you need to think about when expanding. Prices can range from $500 up to thousands of dollars depending on what you want.

Handsets. Handsets vary from Basic ones which are the cheapest, to Executive Models which can be priced up to $1,000. Determine what types and styles you need in your organization – a headset, mid-range phone, a receptionist phone or an executive one.

Accessories. A Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) will take out the biggest chunk of your BTS budget. This can run up to thousands of dollars but if it will make your business better then it is worth the investment.

Most basic features come free with a BTS so ask your provider where you can save money on.

Installation. It is best to take installation of a new BTS into consideration when you are just starting up your business to save on installation costs. You get the most savings on installation if you are moving into a building that is under construction or refurbishment because your provider can work with the existing internal works. No need for drilling holes that may cost you extra.

Training. Depending on where you are, training may or may not be included in your package cost. For those who do not offer free training, the cost is determined by the length of time the trainer spends teaching your staff. Sometimes, they charge an additional fee for extra staff to be trained.

Maintenance. The ideal set up when it comes to repairs is to fix the problem remotely. Most providers will have this kind of set up but sometimes you just need an engineer to come to your office to fix the problem. This is where the cost comes. Some contracts will have a service/repair/maintenance package included in them but for a limited time only. It is best to establish the cost of these services before committing to a new business telephone system.

Getting a business telephone system in place is a huge investment so do your research, ask around, ask questions to your suppliers, make a list of pros and cons and review the best package that will suit your present and future business needs.

Author: Yazz

Yazz is a trained telecommunications engineer with a diploma in telecommunications. He has spent the last 15 years working for Telefonica, one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world.