When I see an ad like this — filed with “limited time offers!” “special pricing!” and “Only $this many dollars and 99 cents!”, including all their exclamation points at no additional charge! — my mind spins off in a different direction and begins to dissect the offer with a strong, defensive bias.
Sangoma did a great job running the FreePBX project, which makes Asterisk (a FOSS project) quite user-friendly and manageable. You’re one DuckDuckGo search and a click or two away from downloading an ISO and taking a look: Spin it up in a VM / VPS and see for yourself! You can run a surprising number of calls with relatively little CPU power and bandwidth. To give a sense of scale, you can fairly easily run a phone system for your house on a Raspberry Pi and your existing internet connection without impacting your ordinary streaming activities in the least.
When paired with a SIP service provider, you’re halfway there. Individual inbound lines with their own full, 10-digit numbers (DIDs) can run under $1.50 per month plus fractions of a cent per minute for calls.
At the user end, that S505 model phone looks like it’s retailing for around $150. The odds are that you don’t need anything that pricey. Ordinary user-class office desk phones run around $50. Of course, soft clients (software-based telephone programs) are an alternative to a physical phone altogether.
So, what do you gain with such a plan? Sangoma’s commercial offerings do include some proprietary capabilities (modules) that benefit users as well as administrators, and several of them are specific integrations with Sangoma phones. Recurring service and support calls are predictable. There’s no capital investment in equipment up front that might require amortization versus straight expense over time. Plus, uptime is their problem, not yours. Maybe there’s some value in leaving PBX configuration a mystery…
So if you’re flush with solid cash flow and can’t be bothered with supporting the tech, something like this might make sense for you. If you’re starting something new, you’re scarce on funds, or even if you have a more DIY mindset, custom uses and integrations, or perhaps heightened security concerns? Know that you’ve got very reasonable options.
What’s most interesting to me? Just knowing my personal response to the advertising tells me where my focus lies: My bias is toward helping folks with bespoke integrations and specialized deployments, plus the occasional chipping in for Good Causes 🙂