BT has teamed up with a US company, RingCentral, to offer an internet-based phone system that small businesses can set up themselves easily without needing to invest heavily in hardware.
RingCentral's software works with mobile, landline and VoIP calls. Businesses can configure a virtual PBX through a web-based interface, and perform tasks such as assigning voice lines, configuring voice mail and interactive menu options.
Customers can either use a real telephone to answer or make calls or their PC through RingCentral's "Desktop Call Controller". That interface lets users see call logs and launch calls with a single click by a contact's name, among other functions.
Voice mail messages can also be delivered to a user's email, and then played through a PC's speakers. Another feature is fax software that can send faxes from Microsoft's Office applications or from a mobile phone. Businesses will get a "0800" or "0844" main phone number, and calls can be routed to up to 50 extensions.
Pricing starts at £15, excluding VAT, per month. Calls are charged per minute, rounded up or down to the nearest 30-second increments, the companies said. A full table of charges is available on BT's website.