Smartphones vs. Business Phone Systems: The Total Cost of Ownership Paradox

By Digium Content Marketing Team
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Smartphone vs. Business Phone Systems

Upgrade, Recycle, Upgrade, Recycle…

A recent study by Gartner found that 60 percent of consumers are replacing their smartphones because they are interested in additional functionality, or they “just want” a new device. The worldwide recycled smartphone market is estimated to grow to 120 million units by 2017, with an equivalent wholesale revenue of around $14 billion. That’s a lot of cash generated by technology barely past its prime. If you mentally count the number of mobile devices you have collected over the past several years, and add up your total investment, you’ll probably be shocked by the amount you’ve spent on them; but that is the price we pay for connectivity and advanced features, right?

Ultimately, we all want immediate access to information- a single device for our camera, music player, GPS, email, social media, and of course, our phone. So, expensive or not, consumers are willing to incur the sunk cost associated with changing mobile devices frequently just to gain the latest features and capabilities available. But how does this theory apply to business technology purchases?

If individual consumers want the latest smartphone features (and will pay big bucks for them), is it really a surprise that businesses want to improve their communications too? Similar to the mobile phone, businesses want a single interface to access their phone calls, emails, chat, CRM system, caller location services, and all the other features a Unified Communications (UC) system can offer. We all want to live in a world where our tools and devices at work are as useful as the ones we personally own.

Total Cost of Ownership Paradox

Now let’s consider the initial investment and total cost of ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of a business phone system. Frequently replacing a phone system in order to access the latest features and capabilities does not make sense financially or logistically, especially for SMBs. Neither does paying for additional features. Doing this would certainly surpass the hundred, or even thousands, of dollars a consumer might be willing to sink over time. This is why it’s essential to implement a phone system that grows as your business grows.

The large majority of phone system providers require costly add-ons and licensing for additional features and capabilities. It’s like having a separate device for your camera, MP3 player, GPS, and phone- each having its own separate requirements for functionality and costs for upgrades. One Digium customer, Clear Creek Telephone & Television, experienced this phenomenon when upgrading their phone system. This company saw competitive solutions that were five times the cost of Digium’s Switchvox, and included add-on costs for additional features above the basics, which added hundreds to their initial investment and TCO.

Unlike individuals, companies have more than a significant other to consult when making a hefty technology purchase. While you may go sell your old smartphone online and anticipate buying the new iPhone 6, I encourage you to think differently when it comes to your business phone system. Consider one that will evolve as your business communication needs evolve- protecting your total cost of ownership and not nickel-and-diming you with every additional feature on the front-end investment.


More than just a business phone system, Switchvox is an award-winning IP PBX that delivers powerful Unified Communications tools, mobility applications, and robust calling features. Even better, all features are included for one, low price.


Check out our ROI calculator to see how much you can save with Switchvox

There's One Comment

  • Dale Schoen says:

    I’ve never thought of this at all! Cora has hit the nail on the head – why do we pay extra for features for our UC solution? Wake up Avaya, Shoretel, Cisco! Digium’s got this all figured out.

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