When purchasing a phone system in Seattle, or any city, it is imperative to decide how many extensions or DIDs (Direct Inward Dials) that you’d like to set up with phone forwarding – whether calls are routed there immediately or after a delay. If you don’t consider this wisely, you may end up using more phone lines than you previously thought and potentially doubling your monthly service price.

When a system has phone forwarding – to a cell phone, or any out-of-network number – it uses two phone lines: one into the system, and one to the other device; in this example, staff member’s cell phones. Many people don’t realize this because it is very tempting to believe that once the call has been transferred to the cell phone that it is no longer using your phone system. One day in the future this may become reality but until then, it is simply far too convenient to be true. In order for this to happen every communications carrier would need to work with each other to trade off calls on a network level. For example, when you receive a call from a Comcast customer on your phone system that is setup with Qwest phone lines and you forward that call to your staff members AT&T cell phone, (still following?) Comcast and AT&T would need to “re-invite” each other without Qwest being in the middle. This is by no means impossible – it would just take a lot of companies working together and the only benefit would be that their customers would be able to use less phone lines than they currently use. This would lower their profits and would cost millions of dollars to merge to a standard system among all carriers. So, don’t spend too much time waiting for this to happen. In the meantime, you need to find a system that minimizes these costs with more logical phone forwarding.

If you only want to set up phone forwarding for a single mobile, most carriers will allow you to forward to that number after a certain amount of rings for an additional cost. The cost is usually about the price of a standard phone line. Nevertheless, if you are like most businesses, your needs can not be served by only forwarding to one specific cell phone number. You need each extension to forward to a specific staff member’s cell phone blast calls to your entire sales staff on their desk phones and their cells. You may also want multiple staff members connected on cell phones simultaneously. The only way to make this work is to use a 3rd party phone system with your service, a PBX, and let it do the forwarding to the cell phones. Since the phone system can’t distinguish what the lines are being used for, you have no other choice than to supply it with two lines for every one conversation that you would like to be forwarded. For example, with a standard PBX phone system and a traditional carrier, let’s say you want to have the capacity to be on four simultaneous calls. So, you need four lines right? Well what if these calls could not only be taken on the desk phone, they could also be taken on that staff member’s cell phone when their extension or DID is not answered? You would need four additional lines because as I explained above, you need two lines each time this happens. Your monthly bill just doubled. You need a cloud based solution like SoundLine MBX where the system and the service are combined. With SoundLine’s MBX, or Multi-Branch Exchange, you can add extension-specific forwarding to each line for an additional $5.00 a month per line. This is about 1/8 the price of a standard phone line and combined with SoundLine’s eliminated surcharges comes out to be the same price, or less, as a standard analog phone line. So, with SoundLine, you can easily expect your bill to be half of what it would with analog service with simply more logical phone forwarding and not being forced to pay full price for lines that just sit there and forward.