3CX is a software based, cloud hosted telephone system used by businesses across the UK. 3CX is often advertised as a ‘free telephone system’, but how free is it really?
As a 3CX authorised reseller and partner, we’re often asked about the differences between the free licences and the paid for licences. In this blog, we’ll look into the Startup Free licence, what it is, the benefits, limitations and features of the licence and what options are available for your business.
Is 3CX Free?
3CX offer a ‘Startup Free’ licence for businesses that have fewer than 10 users, and who want to make no more than 4 simultaneous calls. However, this Startup Free licence is limited. Below is a breakdown of the free and paid for licences that appears on the 3CX website:
While the 3CX Startup Free licence may be free, there are other costs associated with a telephone system that your business must factor in. These include:
- SIP Trunks
- Call costs/minutes
- International calls
The main cost are SIP trunks. The 3CX licence may be free, but you will still have to pay for SIP Trunks, which are essentially the ‘virtual telephone lines’ that allow your 3CX phone system to make and receive calls (they’re very important!).
Unfortunately, 3CX’s Startup Free licence only allows you to choose from a select couple of SIP Trunk providers, which means you can’t shop around and pick the best and most cost-effective option for your business.
However, when you choose an upgraded 3CX licence, you are welcome to choose your SIP Trunk provider freely, opening up far more options for your business.
The lack of SIP provider choice is not the only limitation that comes with the 3CX Startup Free licence…
Limitations of 3CX Free Licence
While the Startup Free 3CX licence is listed as ‘free forever’ (which is accurate), there are significant limitations to this licence, including:
- No more than 10 users
- No more than 4 simultaneous calls (including internal calls)
- No number porting
- No custom configuration and admin portal
- No hardware/deskphones etc
- Locked to only a couple of specific SIP Trunk providers
- No ability to select a telephone number
- Limited system support for technical questions/problems
All of these limitations make it difficult to use the Startup Free licence as a genuine business telephony platform, especially for well established businesses or businesses looking to move an existing telephone system to 3CX.
For well established businesses, we’d always recommend a Pro Licence, which is still significantly more cost effective than a regular telephone system, and allows you to build a telephony solution that better meets your requirements.
The Startup Free licence is exactly that, a licence for startups with minimal capital and looking to save costs wherever possible.
How to Setup a Free 3CX Phone System
Setting up a business telephone system is no easy task. While 3CX does pride itself on usability and simplicity, you’ll still need good knowledge on telecoms and connectivity to confidently setup your telephone system.
To setup your 3CX Startup Free licence, visit https://www.3cx.com/ordering/pricing/ and select ‘Get Free’ underneath the ‘3CX Free’ package. Once selected, you’ll be prompted to sign up and setup your system.
If you have an existing telephone system, and you want to migrate this over to 3CX’s free licence, this won’t be possible—as number porting is disabled on the free user. Businesses that want to migrate to a 3CX solution should get in touch, and our technical team will be able to assist with the porting and licences that you’ll need to get up and running.
For more information on how 3CX can benefit your business, speak with a member of our team on 03331 301 021, or email firstname.lastname@example.org