Guide to Buying a PBX Telephone

Buying a PABX Office Telephone Switchboard System

The purchase of a modern PABX Telephone System or Switchboard Solution represents an important process for any modern business. The incoming voice solution for any business is often the first impression a customer or supplier has of that organisation and it is critical that it is a favourable one. The below guide will assist you in the decision making process when choosing to buy a telephone system.

Enquire Now

View PBX Phone Switchboard Systems To Purchase by Size and Price



(1-4 Staff)



(5-30 Staff)



(1-4 Staff)

Below is a detailed guide to buying a PBX that also includes information about renting PABX Switchboard System. It is important for businesses to understand that a PBX telephone system has many varied components and multiple setup options therefore proper planning is essential when preparing to change, move or update your PABX solution in order to avoid disruptions and downtime within your organisation. Below we provide useful information to assist you when considering buying or hiring a PABX Switchboard System.

3 Critical Questions to Ask When Beginning the PABX Buying Process:

  1. How many users must the PABX telephone system accommodate? i.e. How many people will need a telephone device/handset/Smartphone PABX App or have access to one?
  2. Do you have existing cabling at your office location or will your site require new PABX telephone cabling?
  3. Does the site have existing landline connectivity i.e. Existing Telkom/Neotel/VOIP infrastructure or telephone lines already in place or will you require new VoIP connectivity with your VoIP PBX System? If so, how many lines does your business require? i.e 4 concurrent telephone lines.

Once you have answered these basic questions internally, you can then begin to refine the switchboard solution down to more exact needs and features required by your business or organization including, but not limited to:

guide diagram
guide diagram 2

Which PBX Switchboard System Brand Should I Buy?

This is a personal preference and our consultants can guide you on which PABX telephony hardware provider best suits your needs and budget. Ultimately, all PABX brands offer very similar general features, but once we understand exactly what your organisation’s needs are, we can advise on which PBX switchboard brand is right for you and your organisation’s telephony needs. Browse some of the range below: Hosted Telephone System Panasonic Telephone Systems Samsung Telephone Systems NEC Telephone Systems

Buying an Office Phone System Outright vs Renting your PABX Switchboard Phone Systems

Again, this decision comes down to the circumstances and the stage that your business may be at, at the time of purchase. PBX telephone systems in stable companies not expecting large amounts of staff growth or change, can typically be purchased or bought outright. In cases where the system is purchased outright, the business would then accept that updates and changes in technology or the size of the system will incur further capital outlays as opposed to making changes when renting the system, which can be done with a simple adjustment to the monthly rental cost.

Renting a PABX telephone system offers a number of advantages including the ability to add changes to the size and capabilities as a business’s telecommunications requirements change in the future, essentially allowing greater flexibility. Rentals also allow for the PABX system to be upgraded regularly as they age and the technology dates, ensuring the company always has access to working, modern telephony systems. Read more on the advantages of Renting PBX Systems.

guide diagram 3
guide diagram 4

IP PBX System vs Analog PABX Phone Systems?

Traditional analogue PBX solutions work perfectly well for standard installations where additional add-on functionality and features are not required. Analogue telephone systems perform well in almost all standard environments and most end users will be unaware as to whether they are using an analogue or IP PBX system. Therefore, where cost and simple functionality are the key considerations, we recommended an analogue solution.

The alternative is an IP PABX solution, these run via existing or new IP CAT 5 or CAT 6 “computer” cabling. The advantages and disadvantages of an IP PBX system include:

IP PBX Advantages

  • Extension numbers can be programmed remotely and extension numbers follow users even when moving around the building or organisation via the IP address of their PABX phones
  • Easy remote maintenance and programming, maximum uptime
  • No need to re-cable the building if existing computer network can be used, great for time and cost savings
  • More sophisticated integration features with unified PBX communications solutions allowing remote branch setup, integration with hosted video conferencing and more
  • Seamless integration of transferring calls for businesses with multiple sites or branches.

IP PBX Disadvantages 

  • Cost is higher than that of an analogue PABX solution
  • VLAN switching equipment may need to be purchased depending on site requirements

Moving Your PBX System

A large component of the cost of a PABX solution is the infrastructure, cabling and labour required to get the PBX solution in place within an organisation. Often, connectivity suppliers require significant lead times to have voice solutions installed and as such proper planning is required. Don’t leave this too late!

Before embarking on a change of your unified communications telephone system, make sure that you have consulted with your account manager around all potential snags and delays. These could include: PBX connectivity availability i.e is there the ability to access VoIP or GSM services nearby, number porting, cabling, access to new buildings, user setups and more, amongst an array of other issues to be considered when preparing for a new PABX telephone solution or a system relocation.

guide diagram 5

United Telecom’s Services: What Can We Help You With?

United Telecom’s assists with the full spectrum of commercial telecommunications requirements from small business PBX systems to corporate unified communications rollouts, our services include:

  • PABX / PBX relocations and installations and reinstallations
  • PABX / PBX maintenance and service contracts. Monthly/Quarterly/Annually
  • PABX / PBX Switchboard Cabling
  • PABX / PBX Switchboard Consulting
  • PBX / PABX Hardware and software solutions
  • PBX Call Centre solutions: Hosted and On-Premise
  • VoIP Packages
  • Unified communication solutions
  • Video conferencing
  • Connectivity including voice (VoIP) and data
  • Number porting
  • Wireless LAN setups
  • Fixed – Mobile convergence

For expert advise around buying your next PBX Office Telephone System chat live with our consultants or call us on 086 001 8500.

Got questions? Contact our experts today.

South Africa Map Outline

We service the following locations in South Africa

Western Cape: Cape Town, Belville, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Vredendal, Hout Bay, Green Point, Bloubergstrand, Durbanville, Melkbosstrand.
Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth, Knysna, East London, George.
Kwa-Zulu Natal: Durban, Pinetown, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Ballito, Port Shepstone, Pietermaritzburg, Umhlanga, Westville, Hillcrest, Amanzimtoti.
Gauteng: Johannesburg, Vereeniging/Vaal, Sandton, Midrand, Pretoria, Centurion, Randburg, Roodepoort, Germiston, Alberton, Edenvale, Menlo Park.
Free State: Bloemfontein, Welkom, Bethlehem.
Mpumalanga: Witbank, Nelspruit.
Northern Cape: De Aar, Kimberley, Repra (Upington Area).
North West: Klerksdorp, Mafikeng.
Limpopo: Phalaborwa, Polokwane/Pietersburg.
Outside South Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique.

What Our Customers Say

“Once we approved the installations we were kept up to date daily with the levels of progress on our various sites and were very impressed with the final installation”

Spear Properties


Get In Touch

Head Office

19 Trinity Close
Cambridge Commercial Park

Tel: 086 001 8500


6 Edison Way
Century City
Cape Town

Tel: 086 001 8500


12 Sookhai Place
Derby Downs Office Park

Tel: 086 001 8500


We're the experts so that you don't need to be!

icon for VoIP phone system beginner's guide

PBX Phone System
Beginner's Guide

hosted PBX resources icon

Voice & Hosted PBX

PABX installation icon

PABX Relocation and

PBX phone system resources/blog icon

PBX Phone System