Help Me Design A Small Business Phone

For those that like to tech tinker, help me conceptualize a replacement for my small business phone setup. Maybe using extend and my old Moto G5s+? I have a quality access point with strong wifi.

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In business 5 years with Comcast providing internet, TV, and phone. Phone details: 2 office phone lines (3 physical desk multiline phones). Only one office number is published to customers, the second number used only as a roll over or second out going.

Contract ends this year and would love to minimize Comcast and save money. Keeping Comcast internet and I already have a loose plan to stream video to business TV’s.

No voicemail necessary. However, I currently use a cloud system called Tresta to manage phone calls when we are unable to answer the phone or closed. (No Comcast pickup during business hours >> forward to Tresta where they customer has options or loops back to the front desk if we are not closed).

I believe it’s possible to setup a cell phone with Tresta that can also act as the business phone. But whatever the setup, it needs to be solid.

Anyone interested in helping a small business semi-techie think through this, I would be very appreciative. Ask your questions if interested and you need more info.

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Hi @tamu_bu,

Tresta is one that’s managed to slip by me. They have a lot of features. How many of those do you use regularly? In particular, do you use the text messaging capabilities?

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Very basic by design. No text. No voicemail. The only features used are the attendant and schedule options. If the caller reaches the attendant during business hours, they are forwarded back to the main Comcast business number after about 45 seconds. The attendant has options for directions, hours, etc. When we are busy at the front desk, I like have the caller have the info options while they hold. If interested, you can call the main line outside of business hours (10-8 central) to understand the “closed call flow”. You can find the number at dbatlr.com

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You could use CallJoy to replace the call direction piece of things. I’ve implemented it in a couple of places and it works pretty darned well.

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That is a possibility. Tresta works well for me and seems less expensive though. My big curiosity currently is whether a republic phone with home extend and a few hand sets could replace my Comcast phone lines and 3 multiline phones?

Would the republic phone and extend be rock solid reliable?
If the line is busy, would I be able to forward the caller to the Tresta attendant?
Is there a way to include the combination of the republic office/extend and Tresta that would mimic a multiline, small business setup?

I’ve found the extend home to be as reliable as my internet connection is. If your internet connection is rock solid, then I would expect the extend home to be as well.

Republic offers only one type of forwarding and that’s what known as voicemail forwarding. That means that all non-answer situations, whether busy or just plain no answer, would be forwarded to the same number.

You’re never going to be able to have more than two active calls at a time (one on the cell phone and one on the extend home). Also, I would point out that Republic’s extend home and cellular service aren’t particularly designed for business use (hence the name extend HOME).

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Looks like call joy is being shuttered. https://www.google.com/amp/s/searchengineland.com/google-to-shutter-calljoy-virtual-agent-for-smbs-on-july-22-336518/amp

Well, that’s interesting. It says July 22nd but I haven’t heard anything from the two business I set it up for saying they got notice and when I call them their CallJoy menu still picks up. :man_shrugging:

Are the Comcast phones IP or analog phones? How much do you may Comcast? Perhaps, more to the point, how much would you save by decoupling phone service from Internet? Do you know what your MOU (minutes of use) is both inbound and outbound?

Candidly, I don’t think Extend Home is a viable option for your use case. There are, of course, other options in the market.

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Embarrassed to not know whether the phones are ip or analog. In the tech room there is a box that looks like a router and is probably for the phones. It’s septate from the internet gateway and seems not to be connected to my network. The phones do not have Ethernet lines so analog?

How much to save? As much as possible without losing reliability. The screen shot shows my current spend at about $95 per month pretax.

No idea on usage minutes. Very little outbound though.

I would look at business class services. Services such as Phonebooth offer prices ~$20/month/user and include auto-attendant features.

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To add to @cbwahlstrom’s pointing you to Phonebooth.com, a quick reminder that Phonebooth’s IP/CLEC nationwide backbone is the same one used by Republic wireless … Bandwidth.com was the parent of both endeavors.
Here is direct link to side by side compares
https://www.phonebooth.com/VoIP_Service_Providers

Bandwidth remains the corporate parent to Phonebooth, however, I cannot concur with those suggesting it. The content on Phonebooth’s website is still copyright 2014 and has been largely untouched since then. Candidly, that’s probably the last time the feature set was updated. Phonebooth is in what Bandwidth calls maintenance mode similar to Anywhere’s current status with Republic. Phonebooth also requires use of IP phones, so if the OP’s current phones are analog they would need to be replaced.

Dialpad, which is actively developed, easily beats Phonebooth on features and generally matches or beats it on price. Dialpad is a Bandwidth wholesale customer.

It’s important because depending on the answer, it may be a factor in choosing which service to migrate to or whether to migrate at all. How do they plug in? Via a standard telephone jack? Or, via an Ethernet cable?

I see you’re budgeting for an “equipment fee”. Is that for the phones, something else or both? Do you own the phones?

Understood and I should have been more precise. Would your cost for Comcast Business Internet increase if you unbundled the phone service? If so, by how much?

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@tamu_bu, I humbly will defer to the update by @rolandh who has consistently maintained his knowledge of Bandwidth and its ‘children’ and all things cellular. I was not aware of the ‘maintenance mode’ status of Phonebooth

I used to think that, but they also provision Grandstream and Linksys ATAs. For fun I set up an account with an old HT502 I had laying around. They do seem to have a number of links that no longer work on their website, and DTMF isn’t working correctly with the HT502.

Most interesting! Nevertheless, I stand by my assessment of Phonebooth as being in “maintenance mode”. Bandwidth has made the correct, for them, decision to largely get out of the retail business and focus on wholesale.

The free version of Phonebooth has been retired, RingTo is no more and Republic has been spun out as an independent entity. The paid version of Phonebooth continues to operate mostly as a concession to existing clients whose needs it still meets. New clients are, of course, accepted, however, Bandwidth is certainly putting no effort into marketing it or developing new features for it,

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