Business Lines & Call Packages Explained

  • analogue
  • isdn

What are Analogue lines?

Analogue lines are your traditional connection still used by many Northern Ireland businesses to conduct voice calls. This is a standard telephone line with a phone number that is 6 digits in Northern Ireland. This phone number is then prefixed with a 5 digit area code, such as 02890 for Belfast numbers.

You can request a special number, though these are difficult to find, and they do usually come with an additional charge.

Analogue lines are perfect for:

  • Standard Voice Lines
  • Burglar Alarms
  • Fax Machines
  • Broadband Connection
  • Making Calls
  • Business Entry Systems

There are normally two charges associated with the standard installation of an analogue line:

Installation- This is a one off charge to have the line installed by a BT Openreach engineer
Line Rental- This is a monthly charge. This is to cover the ongoing maintenance of the telephone line

You can call us on the number above to find the latest pricing for analogue telephone lines. 

Analogue Line Uses

Analogue lines can be both way working, incoming only and if you prefer outgoing only.

Outgoing Only - For example if being used with a burglar alarm, they would be outgoing only. 

Incoming Only - Incoming only lines are normally used where there is a high number of incoming calls, and they don't want those lines being used to make outgoing calls, as the priority is on making sure the call is answered. A doctor's surgery is a very good example of that.

Both Way Working - If used for a fax machine the line would have to be both way working. That is because the line needs to be able to send and receive faxes.

Auxiliary or Additional Lines

Most businesses will have at least one analogue line as their main number. In addition to that they will most likely have another line that they will use for both their Broadband and fax machine.

Sharing that line does help keep the running costs down, though my not be suitable for every business. (If the fax has a heavy use, it will slow the Broadband down a lot)

What happens if a customer calls a business and the main line is being used?

The simple answer is that the caller will get a busy tone, and they will have to call back. That does of course assume that they potential customer will call back and not go somewhere else.

To avoid this happening, many businesses opt to have a second line installed with the same number as the main number.

In other words if your phone number was 02890 400 400, then there would now be 2 lines against that number. That means that 2 calls can be answered at any one time and so on. This will work on any type of phone system including a traditional phone system, or a hosted cloud telephone system.

Capacity Planning

The fancy name for this is capacity planning. In smaller businesses this is not a difficult task to do. With larger businesses it can get complex as this can vary a lot depending on the number of calls, and also fully understanding the peak periods of calls.

One of our account managers at Fenix can help with that. If you feel you may be losing business due to missed calls, please feel free to give us a call, and we can discuss this with you, and get you the best solution.

Calls and Call Packages

The other cost that any Northern Ireland business needs to consider is of course the cost of calls. A business can pay for these in one of two ways:

  1. PAYG - stands for "pay as you go."
  2. A call bundle

Pay As You Go

This is the simplest method of call billing to understand. You simply pay for the call and that charge will vary depending on where you are calling, what device you are calling and how long the call lasts.

For example a local 5 minute call to a landline number will be a lot cheaper than a 5 minute call to a mobile in Spain.

Call Bundles

This is where a bundle of minutes is sold at a set price. The business can then use these minutes until they are used up. If and when the bundle is exceeded, the calls are then charged at what is called an out of bundle rate.

The advantage of a call bundle for a business is that businesses have a "certainty" of pricing, rather than leaving it to not knowing how much their monthly bill is going to be.

Which Is Best Call Pricing For Your Northern Ireland Business?

It depends exactly on the nature of the calls that you are making. Below I have explained what are called call classifications which will help you understand how the Telecom's industry classify call types.

  • Local Calls - these are calls to local number landlines - with reference to N.Ireland any call to a N.Ireland landline is classed as a local call. Generally speaking these are cheap calls.
  • National Calls - As the name would suggest these are calls to National phone numbers. With reference to N.Ireland these would be calls to GB and include area codes 01, 02, 03 etc. These are normally charged at the same rate as local calls.
  • Non-Geographic Calls - These are calls to numbers such as 0844, 0845 etc. Some businesses prefer to use those type of numbers as they are not associated with a specific geographic area. The price of these calls can vary a lot but will be more expensive than local/national calls.
  • UK Mobiles - These are calls from your landline to any mobile network in the UK. These used to be very expensive and varied across the different mobile networks. They have now dropped in price and for the most part they apply to all of the big networks. They are more expensive than a local or national call.
  • European Calls - These are calls to both European landlines and also mobiles. For example a call to France, Italy, Spain, Germany etc. These calls to both landline and mobile can vary a lot between the different European destinations
  • Rest of the World Calls - These are usually calls to other destinations outside the UK & Europe. Typically calls to the USA and Canada are classed as rest of the world calls.

It depends exactly on the nature of the calls that you are making. Below I have explained what are called call classifications which will help you understand how the Telecom's industry classify call types.