It's how your phones get out of the cloud that counts - TechCentral

It’s how your phones get out of the cloud that counts

There seems to be a new buzz phrase around the telephone block these days, namely “mobile PBX”. It has taken the spotlight from “cloud-hosted PBX”, and rightly so. Cloud-hosted PBX was and still is a brilliant idea: Move all your clunky, costly telephone equipment from your own server room and balance sheet to somebody else’s. Capex becomes opex, and all that.

Cloud-hosted PBX has tons of advantages — an incredible overload of features, instant new-version roll-outs, economies of scale … but the ideas on how to get the cloud stuff connected to and talking to your deskphones  were at first not that innovative. Voice over IP was the standard option, which is a great idea in theory — if you have endless, perfectly shaped bandwidth at your beck and call.

Wait, did you say deskphones? Oops. Nobody wants those relics anymore because offices that are half full cube farms are so uncool, and many people are working from home, or more exotic locations if they are lucky. As this shift happens, more and more people are now wanting (and needing) to use their primary device (their smartphone) as their business device as well.

The cloud-hosted PBX solution to this is to give them a software-based IP phone client, or “softphone”, to install and run on their smartphone. Effectively, this would give you a “mobile PBX”. Unfortunately, in practice this is where things have started to get really messy.

The perfect world

In a perfect world, a VoIP softphone should work like a dream, but in the real world of GSM (Sim card) data signals, this is not the case. Cellphone data (like most data services) is only a best-effort service, and your signal can range from 5G (blisteringly fast) all the way down to 2G/Edge (unusably slow). Because of this, VoIP softphone performance has become hated by users across the globe – it is not consistent or reliable enough on a smartphone.

Not too long ago there was a thing in telecoms called Pots … the “plain old telephone service”. This was basically the old telephone landline, and it did only one thing incredibly well: voice telephone calls. GSM (or cellphone) voice is the modern-day equivalent of the Pots network – it just carries voice calls and does so incredibly well.

Voice, incredibly well done

A few years ago, some guys from Trabel in Cape Town saw that mobile PBX was going to be a big thing that everyone wanted, but they realised that the VoIP softphones were letting the whole show down. And so they got down to work, building a real mobile PBX with proper voice quality.

Trabel’s new solution is called NoPBX. And what makes all the difference is … how it gets out of the cloud. Instead of using a VoIP data channel from the PBX in the cloud to your smartphone handset, NoPBX uses the modern-day equivalent of the bulletproof old Pots – real GSM cellular calls. The result is superb call quality on every call because GSM quality is managed and guaranteed by the mobile networks to the highest possible standards.

NoPBX is a true pay-as-you-go, PBX-as-a-service offering: You are freed of all of the traditional PABX “infrastructure” costs, including data lines, data connection management and shaping, firewalls, routers, and IP phone devices. None of these is necessary anymore — you just need your existing smartphones running the free NoPBX smartphone app, on either Android or iOS.

Another enormous benefit of NoPBX is that it works anywhere there is a GSM voice signal, no data required, and there are no charges to transfer calls between employees, no matter where they are in the country. Your employees are therefore always in touch when they need to be and can be free to work from wherever they wish, not only from home where the company-funded data line is located.

Trabel makes several additional bold claims about NoPBX: that it is the simplest cloud-hosted PBX in South Africa, that it is the easiest and quickest to set up, and the easiest to manage, with the lowest total cost of ownership. As an instant solution for any business starting up fast, scaling fast or just wishing to contain costs and work remotely, it certainly ticks all these boxes.

For more information, or to trial a NoPBX solution today, visit

About Trabel
Trabel (Pty) Ltd is a South African technology development company founded in 2019, based primarily in Cape Town and operational throughout South Africa. NoPBX is a cloud hosted PBX-over-GSM solution, with Android and iOS connectivity. More information can be found at and

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