Brilliant business comms at zero cost

3CX V20 screengrab
(Image credit: 3CX)

They’re two of the most dangerous words in the English language: “per user”. See them next to a software licensing price and watch your monthly costs rocket, and it’s as true for communications solutions as it is for every other service you pay for. If not worse, with dangerous hidden T&Cs designed to make it tricky to escape a contract’s clutches.

3CX has the answer in the form of the all-new 3CX V20. As you’ve become used to with 3CX, the service is free forever for up to ten users. And that includes all the features highlighted below.

In short, where others are charging $20 per user per month for their communications platforms, 3CX is offering you a full service for free. And where others tie you into long-term contracts with phone numbers owned by the platform, making it hard for you to move away, 3CX keeps things simple. You own the numbers, you decide the calling package.

And if you want to take advantage of 3CX’s most advanced contact centre features, 3CX SMB costs just £195 for a year. No contracts, no hidden extras and no gotchas either.

What’s new in V20?

There’s never been a better time to start using 3CX, as it has just been upgraded to version 20. More than two years in the making, 3CX V20 includes a rewritten Call Manager to deliver the best call centre features; a new native Windows softphone (more on that below); plus a new Admin Console, replacing the former Management Console.

3CX has enhanced security in this release, too. It has completely rebuilt the network to be both hardened and isolated, making it as secure against attacks as possible, and backed that up with new EDR monitoring tools and off-site 24/7 monitoring staffed by threat-hunting specialists. 

And it has enhanced the product security features with password hashing, locking down the web client by IP address and enforcing 2FA where Google’s single sign on architecture isn’t already in place.

Then there’s the new native 3CX Windows softphone, which adds extra security as it’s deployed via the Windows store. Like the existing iOS and Android apps, you can run it in conjunction with the web client and, rather than a simple call notification, it comes with a proper answer dialog. As a native softphone it also allows for audio control to be independent from the browser.

What you get for free, forever

Whether you choose the 3CX Free service or the paid-for 3CX SMB V20 package, everything a small business needs for a comms system is there. That includes full integration with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, plus Live Chat – that is, 3CX’s WordPress integration to help site visitors.

You even get unlimited videoconferencing on top of free calls. That means the only fee you need to pay is for the external numbers you buy. See our box, “Choosing the right SIP trunk” for more details on this.

You also enjoy full use of the web client, the new Windows softphone, plus the iOS and Android apps. As per 3CX’s long-standing promise, this is free, forever, and your licence covers up to ten users.

Advanced features

As stated right at the top of this article, 3CX doesn’t want people to fall into the trap of long-term contracts with per-user pricing. That’s why the advanced, paid-for version of 3CX SMB V20 costs a fixed yearly fee of £195 for up to ten users and £295 for up to 20 users.

So, what do you get for your money? The answer is a more managed product designed for more demanding users, such as multi-level interactive voice response (IVR). While the free version of 3CX does offer IVR, mutli-level means you can direct callers to the sales or support departments (for example) rather than directly to one number.

You will also benefit from call queues, reporting tools and the “Barge in, Listen or Whisper” feature. This means a manager can monitor an agent’s call, and intercede where necessary – such as “whispering” into the agent’s ear, while the caller won’t hear a thing.

And while the free version of 3CX includes up to three deskphones, 3CX SMB provides any number of deskphones and backs it up with support. You get SMS/MMS support, too.

Choosing the right SIP trunk

You need a SIP trunk to place calls to external numbers. You also need a SIP trunk to have a number on which your customers can call. To let you keep full control of your phone numbers and negotiate the best call rates, 3CX doesn’t have built-in numbers. Instead, you have the freedom to choose any one of 3CX’s supported SIP trunk providers.

You’ll find a full list of providers – including 3CX’s preferred choices of fuse2 and Gradwell – at The 3CX team makes sure that all templates from listed SIP Trunk Providers are updated and tested with every release, which ensures smooth implementations and migrations for users.

Take a look and you’ll discover how much cheaper it is to run a SIP channel than a traditional ISDN phone line – and how much lower the call charges are.

Not only does 3CX offer you a state-of-the-art next-gen phone system, it also gives you an opportunity to save thousands per year on your telecoms charges.

Too good to be true?

The catch? There is no catch at all. 350,000 customers worldwide have used 3CX’s service to make it the leading PBX VoIP provider in the global telephony market. In the same way WhatsApp revolutionised text messaging, 3CX wants to revolutionise business communications – and make it fair and freely available to all.

What’s more, 3CX is always looking to the future. With V20, it has laid the foundations for deep integration of AI. Starting with call transcription and reporting, it has created the ability not just to transcribe calls but also analyse and report on them. It’s a space to watch in the coming months.

And AI is just one example: this is a secure and expandable architecture designed for improvements. Join the 3CX forum and follow the company on your favourite social media platform to discover its ongoing plans – with Microsoft Teams integration, extra reporting capabilities, multi-tenancy and advanced mixing features during video conferencing just a few of 3CX’s planned upgrades.



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