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3CX PBX cloud based business phone system

Before signing up to a new phone system, read this first

Back in 2015 and with the continuing rollout of the NBN, we were on the lookout for a phone solution suitable for our busy medical and trade customers and with the expectation it could suit our smaller single line customers with scalable features. For our busier clients we needed features similar to the Commander systems ie multiple lines and phones, line hunt, ring groups, custom messages, voicemail and call transfers. For our smaller clients, their phone system needed work from any location – car, office or home with some or all of the above features. The system had to be affordable and easy to maintain, and without the need for proprietary hardware or specially trained technicians.

A big ask. Does such a phone system exist?

We spent many hours (months in fact), looking into and testing various IP phone and PBX systems. 3CX was on that list. Interestingly, as we progressed through the various providers, they all fell short with the scalability or hardware that was locked and extensions that meant extra monthly $$. We continually asked for recommendations, the phone providers either knew nothing or were telling us not to use 3CX. The many reviews we were reading were all positive. In fact, they were brilliant.

So what’s the problem? We decided to take a closer look at 3CX.

Let’s start with some of the simple features.

Easy Installation and Management
A good phone system should be easy to deploy and manage. Tick.

Can I recieve and make calls during internet or power outages?
This is a question we get asked a lot. The answer is yes. That’s a BIG tick.

3CX works not only on most IP phones, it also has an app for your Apple or Android device. During power or internet outages, simply switch your mobile phone or tablet to your main phone line and it’s business as usual with the same ability to take multiple calls, transfer and route those calls!

True mobility
A good phone system should work across a number of devices. Tick. Businesses today are on the move with business owners choosing to run their admin from a single central location and quite often from their home. A phone system should offer the ability to answer and make calls regardless of where the staff are physically located. Remembering physical offices are a cost a business needs to wear and often pass on to their customers. The more mobile office is an option many are choosing, especially when starting a new business or setting up in a new area.

Compliance with Australian Privacy Principles
Using a Microsoft Azure Instance hosted in Sydney or Melbourne, any phone data is compliant with the Australian Certified Cloud Services List, Australian Privacy Principles and Data Sovereignty. Another big tick.

In other words, your data is covered by Australian laws, not overseas. Perfect for medical doctors, allied health, specialists, disability and aged care providers.

Messages to inbox
Instead of having to dial into a voicemail system to check for messages, a good phone system should have the option to deliver those messages and faxes directly to your email inbox. Tick.

Web Based Video conferencing
A good phone system should include easy video web conferencing. Tick. Easy video web conferencing is the next shift in communication technology. 3CX offers a HD quality real-time video conferencing solution that is simple, secure and can be run from the 3CX app or from your browser. No need for invitees to download any apps or sign up.

So far so good. We dug deeper…

A good phone system should be affordable. Tick.

3CX is better than affordable for the small business. The 3CX software has no monthly or annual fee for up to 4 lines. You pay only for the cloud VM instance which is around $8-$30 per month depending on your Google or Microsoft Business plan and usage. How do they do this? We went looking for the catch and dug even deeper. Similar to a Google Workspace Essentials account which is free for small business, 3CX allows the small businesses with 4 or less lines to use the software for free. A more accurate comparison is to the original Skype which started as an open standards software communication app. 3CX is an open standards software IP PBX.

Open standards means the software is made available to the general public and is developed (or approved) and maintained by a clever bunch of people via a collaborative and consensus driven process. The software is yours to use. You aren’t locked in to any contracts or providers. All you need are compatible lines which can be purchased from a number of providers, and the rest is yours to set up and manage in any way you want, for however mobile you want to be, and how and where the calls are to be routed.

In other words, you don’t pay for the software (for up to 4 lines). You only pay for the lines and if you use the cloud version of 3CX, you pay a small amount for the VM hosting. There are no ads or advertising links in the software. Yep, no ads. For businesses needing more than 4 lines, the small subscription fee 3CX charges is dirt cheap for these larger setups.

Who is this software best for?
With today’s business operating remotely and with staff working from multiple locations (ie office, car and home), 3CX is for every Australian business. From the sole trader to medium to larger companies, 3CX has a simple user interface which anyone with a little technical knowledge can set up and customise to do exactly what you need. As your business grows or changes, 3CX can be scaled up or down to include many of its powerful features, yet inexpensive enough to cover those on a tight budget.

3CX is the best PBX software we have worked with
We don’t make recommendations lightly nor are we paid any commissions to recommend any names mentioned in this page. We simply recommend what we know works. 3CX stands out from the crowd and is by far the best PBX software we have worked with. In short, it’s a hidden gem.

3CX covers the 6 essential bases:

1. It’s for every business; new startups on a budget, the sole trader, medium and large businesses
2. There are no contracts
3. Extra extensions and devices are free to add
4. You get to choose the lines you want from your preferred Internet or VOIP providers
5. It works during power and internet outages
6. When hosted on the Azure platform using Australian datacentres, it’s compliant with Australian data laws

The biggest benefit is – this phone system is yours to customise, add to, route calls, add voicemails, add lines. It doesn’t come with any steak knives, you won’t receive a free facial scrub or scented candle in the mail (not ever, sorry guys), the advertising or sneaky subscriptions don’t exist.

Over 600,000 customers worldwide use 3CX, and it’s not hard to see why. In a world where so many want maximum profits for minimum service provided, 3CX is a welcome change. Choose your lines! We use the all Australian Mates (Letsbemates) Internet and their unlimited lines. Internode, Spintel, iiNet, MVoice are others.

Reviews and Awards
With more features than you can poke a stick at, 3CX has racked up an impressive number of brilliant reviews and prestigious awards. We mention some of the more recent ones at the bottom of this page. To see a full list visit their website page 3CX Reviews and Awards

Some serious people are using 3CX
Pepsi, Boeing, American Express, Harley Davidson, Mitsubishi and more …

So why aren’t our friendly ISP’s recommending 3CX?
Simple. They want to sell you their cut down PBX systems and charge you for any phones, extensions and updates.

Personally tried and tested
We started by setting up our own phones and a single Medical Clinic client and continued with the probing and testing, looking for the ads or catchy subscription. There were no further cost and not a single ad appeared anywhere. We successfully converted more clients.

Our lines weren’t tied to a single phone or location. We could make or take business calls from anywhere! Fast forward years later, the 3CX system continues to be one of the most powerful business tools and knocks the socks off even the most die-hard sceptics. And to this day, not a single ad appeared and each installation was converted to a free 4 line fully working PBX after its trial period.

For businesses requiring systems where the data is stored locally on Australian based cloud servers, we use Microsoft Azure to host the 3CX phone system, ensuring compliance with the Certified Cloud Services List

How 3CX works

3CX is dead simple to install and manage right out of the box. There is no per extension licensing, you can use almost any SIP/VOIP line. You don’t need a server or any special hardware, the hosted version lives in the cloud (Microsoft or Google). Almost all desktop IP phones will work providing they have the ability for SIP accounts and are not too old, headsets will work, any iPhone or Android will work as long as the OS isn’t too out of date. Your PC and tablet can be used as a phone. Users can make and receive calls using some of the nice IP phones or the app installed on their computers, tablets and mobiles, even while travelling. Take your favourite headsets and extension anywhere, your customers won’t know you’re not in the office!

Below are just some of the SIP/VOIP phones and devices you can use. Use your mobile phone or tablet. There is also a client app for your computer and notebook, just add a headset or earpiece!

The brains of the system is a simple Web Management Console which can be accessed from any PC, from anywhere, even from a smartphone. That’s the part we love as IT support people, we can manage and make changes to any customer phones remotely. It’s so easy.

Need to move premises or change your ISP? No problem, just move your office stuff and the phones will continue to work. When changing ISP’s you can port your lines to the new ISP and apply the new settings, or if your lines are independent of your ISP, they will continue to work. It’s a truly flexible system.

A summary of just some of the features

Add 1 or 100 lines
For lines there are multi channel VOIP lines that  allow for 2-100 direct in-dials or concurrent calls, or 2-100 people in a call queue. The other option for the small business is a simple VOIP line (called a single line) or 2. A simple line will allow for one active call and one call on hold. When one line is busy the next incoming call can be handled however you choose. 3CX gives you many options. For example one option is the same way as a ‘call waiting’ incoming call, the user can place the original call on hold and take the new incoming, another is the call can be automatically forwarded to the next line or to a ring group or line hunt, or to voicemail which tells the caller you are busy, please leave a message. Or to a combination of the above by way of setting a ‘forward to on timeout’ rule for each extension or ring group.

Remember you can add as many VOIP lines to 3CX as you want however the software is free for up to 4 lines, which is plenty. Most small businesses we find work well with 2-4 lines, remembering you can have as many extensions as you want. The number of lines (or active callers or callers in a queue) you want is entirely up to you.

Unlimited extensions
Set up unlimited extensions, that is, an unlimited number of phones within your office system, regardless of how many lines you have. Extensions don’t need to have their own line as you will all be sharing the incoming and outgoing lines. The extensions allow the receptionist or other staff members to transfer the calls to other users, no matter where they are. Users can even transfer calls to outside numbers.

Attended or unattended transfers
Calls can be transferred to other extensions or numbers by selecting the extension or dialling the number and talking to the person first, or just blindly transferring without talking first. The choice is yours. Or if you want a moment of peace, simply select ‘away’ on your phone and calls will automatically go to voicemail.

Voice Mail to inbox
Voice messages can be sent to any email inbox as a notification only or with the message file attached. We can set up different voicemails for different extensions, out of office hours, holiday days etc. Listen to your voicemail before you get to the office from your mobile or tablet!

Automatic office hours
Set up your usual hours and any lunch breaks to automatically send your calls to voicemail, this works for after hours calls and during holiday periods nicely. You will still get email notifications of these voicemails as soon as they are recorded. Great for the people who tend to walk out and forget to divert or undivert phones!

Call Queues
Limited staff and a high volume of calls? Keep your callers in a queue while you finish your other calls. 3CX has this option however keep in mind each call on hold uses half a line. You will need to factor in the lines to have the extra calls waiting in a queue. The other option for businesses with limited lines is Ring Groups.

Ring Groups
A ring group allows you to direct calls to a group of extensions. Ring Groups work in a similar way to line hunt. If the extension is busy or not being answered quickly, w can set up any phone or extension to ring to a group of other users (extensions). This option saves your business the monthly cost of a line hunt.

IVR/Digital receptionist
The digital receptionist feature allows your phone system to answer phone calls automatically and present callers with a menu of options. For example, “For sales press 1. For support press 2 or wait on the line to be transferred to the operator.” A digital receptionist is also known as an auto attendant or IVR.

Video/Web conferencing
Create Web conferences with 3CX WebMeeting. These’s no special software required. The other user doesn’t need to be a part of your 3CX system. Simply send them an invite, when they click it they enter the conference immediately in a Web Browser window. It’s that easy.

Automatic backups
Backups can be set to happen on any days and at the hour you choose. The system emails you to let you know it’s happened. One less thing to worry about!

Thinkinspire and 3CX

This is where we come in. We can install, configure, problem solve and teach you how to use your 3CX phone system including managing the simple interface.

3CX Reviews and Awards

The more recent ones as detailed in their website page 3CX Reviews and Awards

3CX has garnered recognition from industry-leading publications and tech insiders. Positive reviews, awards and special recognition are being published across the web and below is a selection of some of the most recent.

MKB Award
3CX Named a Perfect Match for SMEs in MKB Awards
3CX has been recognized with a 100% approval rating for the system’s bullet-proof ability to meet the needs of modern SMEs in the 2021 MKB Business & IT Partners Awards. The editorial boards of Winmag Pro magazine and entrepreneurial platform, Baaz, annually review software and hardware products to find exceptional solutions for SMEs. This year, the experts congratulated 3CX for creating a sophisticated UC system that’s easily tailored to the needs of SMEs.

Winmag Pro award
3CX scores 9.3 in WinMag Pro’s rating
3CX earned an outstanding rating of 9.3 in the latest review by WinMag Pro magazine. The Dutch publication congratulated 3CX for providing the most well-rounded business communication solution that embraces innovation. Together with the consistent product developments, add-ons available and the competitive pricing, the company successfully manages to stay ahead of the curve.

Software Suggest – Best Software 2021 Award
3CX Named the Best Software 2021 by SoftwareSuggest
3CX has been awarded the title of ‘Best Software 2021’ by SoftwareSuggest. The PBX phone system was recognised for delivering a unified communication solution that meets business goals while keeping user experience at the forefront. The report exposed how the unified communication solution embeds more than 100 unique features available to its users today, numerous options for integrations and competitive prices.

Digital Award Logo
3CX Makes’s Top UC Software List and more!
3CX has been named as Best Unified Communications Software Company 2021 by The communication system made the list based on 3CX’s ability to help improve collaboration between onsite and remote staff, and was recognized for its seamless CRM integration, and inclusion of multiple communication channels on a single platform. What’s more, 3CX was also named as one of Digital’s Best VoIP Phone Services and Best Web Conferencing Software.

Comms Business Awards 2020
3CX Gets Gold at the Comms Business Awards
3CX has just been named UC Platform Supplier of the year at the 2020 Comms Business Awards. Fighting off fierce competition from 8×8, Gamma, and more, the judges felt that 3CX’s commitment to the channel, affordable pricing, and innovation pipeline made us fit for the top spot. Every year the Comms Business Awards brings together the best of the ICT Channel, and we’re proud that the 3CX Communications solution was recognized by these industry leaders.

PC PRO Excellence awards 2020
And PC Pro’s Business Software of the Year 2020 Goes to…
This year we made PC Pro’s 2020 A List, and now, in their Technology Excellence Awards, 3CX has yet again been selected as winner of Business Software of the Year. Taking into consideration the hurdles that 2020 presented, 3CX is recognized for its rich feature set, ease of deployment and management, and unrivalled flexibility which have helped countless businesses adapt to the challenges brought on by Covid-19.

Software Suggest
SoftwareSuggest Reviews 3CX: Full-Featured, User-friendly & Low Cost
Software discovery and recommendation platform, Software Suggest reviews 3CX describing it as a 3-in-1 phone system that is easy to use and affordable. The review outlines how 3CX is able to scale with any sized business without ever being heavy on the pocket. SoftwareSuggest was also enthusiastic about the flexibility in deployment options, highlighting that you can even install on a mini PC or Raspberry Pi.

2020 mkb award logo
MKB Proof 2020: 3CX Bags an Award for Best SME Solution of 2020!
Every year Winmag Pro and Baaz distinguishes the top business solutions for SMES in the MKB Proof Awards and, once again, 3CX has been recognized for being the best in business communications! After rigorous testing and research, the editors awarded 3CX for its flexibility, reliability, usability and functionality. Find out more here.

3CX is awarded a 5-star review from PC Pro and earned a spot on their A-list
PC Pro Honors 3CX on it’s 2020 A-list
3CX has once again been selected as one of PC Pro’s top picks in software, with a place on the PC Pro A-list and a 5 star review. Thanks to its versatility, ease of management, full range of UC features and excellent call handling functionality, 3CX has been highly recommended by the publication as a great solution for business communications.

Invest Cyprus International Investment Award
3CX Wins Invest Cyprus International Investment Award
The Invest Cyprus International Investment Awards is an annual event that brings together Cyprus’ leading entrepreneurs, politicians, investors and service professionals to honor foreign companies in Cyprus for their contribution to the Cypriot economy. In the 2019, 3CX was honored with an award for choosing to invest in Cyprus and expand operations in the capital Nicosia.

3CX is awarded a 5-star review from PC Pro and earned a spot on their A-list
PC Pro’s A-list Sees 3CX Awarded with 5 Stars!
PC Pro is the UK’s number 1 IT publication and the most trusted when it comes to product reviews and recommendations. The PC Pro editorial team has selected 3CX to receive a 5-star review and a place in their A-list products thanks to its value for money, easy installation and management and excellent communications feature set.

3CX Leads the Way in Communications with Distinctions from G2 Crowd
3CX Leads the Way in Communications with Distinctions from G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd is one of the most recognized providers of independent, unbiased user reviews for software products and services and has named 3CX as a Mid-Market Leader! Following their Winter 2019 Report, G2 Crowd has awarded 3CX with a total of 8 distinctions including Highest User Adoption, Easiest Admin, Mid Market, Best Meets Requirements and #1 Overall Vendor.

3CX wins MKB Best Choice award for 2018
3CX Claims WinMag Pro 2018 Best Choice Award
The WinMag Pro Best Choice Awards have bestowed 3CX with yet another award: MKB UC Best Choice 2018. The Dutch magazine’s annual awards have again recognized 3CX for the innovation, affordability and overall quality that we offer to the UC market. 3CX focuses on improving all aspects of our product to increase usability, manageability and affordability for end-users, administrators and channel resellers, something that the WinMag Pro editorial team has acknowledged once again with this title.

And the winner is…3CX! Best Enterprise Telephony System at Comms National Awards
3CX has been awarded with the title of “Best Enterprise Telephony System” in the Comms National Awards 2018. CNA is one of the biggest and most respected awards programs in the industry and has once again recognized 3CX for its contribution to the channel. Our commitment to the continuous innovation of our product and to the 3CX Channel Partner Program has once again placed 3CX amongst the leaders of the UC industry.

funkschau award 2018
German magazine funkschau awards 3CX as Best ICT Product 2018
3CX is honored to be recognized by funkschau, one of the most important German publications in the ICT industry, as their ICT Product of the Year in the UCC Solutions category. More than 7,000 readers participated in the magazine’s reader’s poll which landed 3CX another award for it’s innovation and development in the UCC industry. Over the last year, 3CX has significantly grown in the UCC market with it’s on-premise and hosted solutions and has taken strides forward in becoming one of the top solutions in the world.

Comms Business Awards
3CX software given special recognition at this year’s Comms Business Awards
3CX has been recognized for its innovative channel products, receiving the “highly commended” recognition as part of the 2018 Comms Business Awards. We always strive to provide our partners with the best UC solutions by constantly updating and improving our product offering. Building fruitful partnerships with our channel partners is vital and receiving recognition as one of the best, by the UK’s leading ICT Channel media outlet, Comms Business, is a great honour.

IT pro award
3CX gets 5 stars from IT Pro Editor’s Choice Awards
IT Pro, one of the leading online sources for technology news and advice for businesses has recognized 3CX with a 5-star editor’s choice award. They tested and recognized 3CX’s innovative product as the perfect choice for SMEs due to the super-easy setup and provisioning, great management tools, excellent call handling options and affordability. IT Pro editor Dave Mitchell, commented that “We were extremely impressed with how easy it was to deploy 3CX Phone System and the range of communications features on offer.”

Brand of the Year, Trophies of Distribution
3CX has received the title of Brand of the Year 2017 at the Trophies of Distribution in Paris, France. The French magazine Distributique, in collaboration with IT Partners, celebrates the very best distributors and vendors in the market and, after counting the votes of French resellers, 3CX took home the trophy.

Technology Reseller 2018 Award
2018 Editor’s Choice Award, Technology Reseller Magazine
The UK’s Technology Reseller Magazine has recognized 3CX’s software PBX for it’s high levels of innovation, design and functionality by selecting it for the 2018 Editor’s Choice Award. According to the magazine, 3CX was chosen for “making it simpler than ever to implement, manage and use its software-based unified communications platform”.

WinMag Pro Awards 2017
3CX Goes for Gold with Two Best Choice Awards from WinMag Pro
WinMag Pro has awarded 3CX with the Best Choice and Editor’s Choice award 2017 for Unified Communications. The awards were deliberated by the WinMag Pro editorial team and were presented to 3CX for its high scores across all criteria including price, usability, functionality and overall quality. Editor Peter Guldenpfennig commented that 3CX scores well across the board and that ” One of the highlights is the inclusion of WebRTC technology, which makes the phone system of 3CX a definite UC solution when compared to other products on the market.”

3CX Triumphed at Technology Excellence Awards: Wins Business Software of the Year
3CX has been awarded the title of Business Software of the Year 2017 by one of the UK’s biggest I.T. magazines, PC Pro. The Technology Excellence Awards B2B winners were decided by the PC Pro Editorial team who reviewed several products in the category and decided that 3CX came out on top. A PC Pro Editor commented that the phone system is “Mature, feature filled, excellently supported with rapid feature improvements, and tight integration with quality phones.”

MKB Proof Award 2016
MKB Proof 2016: 3CX listed on the best SMEs solution for 2016
3CX has been awarded with the MKB Proof 2016! WINMAG Pro and Baaz Magazines expert editors, have included 3CX IP PBX to the best business solutions for SMEs 2016. All products and services have been tested and approved 100% by the expert editors and selected based on the quality, price/ performance, durability, functionality and usability. Read more here

Frost Sullivan Awards
Frost & Sullivan Awards 3CX for Innovation and Performance
Frost & Sullivan, a global leader in the information and growth consulting industry has awarded 3CX for its market leadership and price/performance offering. “3CX is on the cutting-edge of technology,” the award note said, adding that 3CX software-based Phone System “excelled in terms of user features, architectural flexibility, ease of use and management”. Read more here.

3CX Named as One of CRN’s 2015 Top Tech Innovators
3CX been named one of the IT industry’s leading tech innovators by CRN®. The 2015 CRN Tech Innovator Awards recognize standout companies that have brought to market hardware, software or services that have substantially impacted the industry. 3CX WebMeeting took top honors in the Software Productivity category. Read more here.

Comms National Award
3CX Wins “Best SME On-Premise System” Award at Comms National Awards 2015
For the second year running 3CX has won one of Comm National’s massively prestigious awards within the telephony category. In 2014, up against a dynamic set of competitors, 3CX won “Best Enterprise On-Premise System” and due to its constant innovation of the PBX and its groundbreaking partner system, in 2015, 3CX has gone on to win “Best SME On-Premise System”. Read more here.

Mittelstand 2015
3CX Wins “Most Innovative Product” Award with 3CX WebMeeting
3CX Phone System has beaten the competition to win the award for the “Most Innovative Product” in the category of Unified Communications with 3CX WebMeeting. The award ceremony was held at this year’s CeBIT, in Hannover, Germany, one of the largest IT expos globally. Read more here.

CNA Awards 2014
3CX Triumphs at Comms National Awards 2014 Winning ‘Best Enterprise On-Premise Solution’
3CX has beaten the competition to win the award for ‘Best Enterprise On-Premise Solution’ at the Comms National Awards 2014. 3CX Phone System was chosen for its high-quality Unified Communications solution and excellent partner program Read more here.

Network Connectivity Services
3CX Featured in the CRN 2014 Network Connectivity Services Partner Program Guide
3CX has been included in the prestigious CRN 2014 Network Connectivity Services Partner Program Guide (PPG), which highlights the service providers and technology vendors whose offerings provide the underpinnings of today’s mission-critical network connectivity solutions. Read more here.

Channe Program CRN
The 3CX Partner Program is recognized as being an elite IT Channel Program by CRN
3CX has been selected by UBM Channel and CRN as a 2012 Emerging Technology Vendor. 3CX Phone System drew praise for being innovative, easy to manage, and because it works with any SIP IP phones and runs on a standard Windows system. Read more here.

CRN 2012 Award Page
CRN Awards 3CX as an Emerging Technology Vendor for the Second Year Running
3CX has been selected by UBM Channel and CRN as a 2012 Emerging Technology Vendor. 3CX Phone System drew praise for being innovative, easy to manage, and because it works with any SIP IP phones and runs on a standard Windows system. Read more here.
– Everything Channel, August 2012

CRN 2011 Award Page
3CX Named a 2011 CRN Emerging Technology Vendor
3CX has been selected by Everything Channel as a 2011 CRN Emerging Technology Vendor. The annual list features the most innovative vendors who not only deliver technology that is easy to use, but can generate the high margins solution providers require. 3CX has been added to the list due to its robust product, 3CX Phone System. Read more here.
– Everything Channel, August 2011

3CX Receives Unified Communications Magazine 2009 Product of the Year Award
Technology Marketing Corporation announced that they have named 3CX Phone System for Windows as a recipient of its 2009 Unified Communications magazine Product of the Year Award. Read more here.
– Unified Communications Magazine, April 2010