Shared Voicemail/answer machine

I want to direct an unanswered incoming call (office number) to a recorded voicemail message (sorry we are unavailable right now) with the incoming message shared/sent to all extensions.

  1. I dont want to use an existing extension as that would be a personal message. Virtual/Custom Ext???
  2. How do I send 1 voice message to multiple extensions? or is it even possible?
    Any help would be appreciated

Yes, either of those two options would be fine for a standalone voicemail.

Not really. You could, without extra modules, use one/any/all of the following options.

  1. Send an email alert with the voicemail attached. It can go to a single email that is a mail list or forwarder to multiple emails. You can also add multiple emails.

  2. Setup BLF on each of their phones to monitor this general mailbox. If it has messages it will indicate it’s “BUSY” and they can login and check the voicemail.

  3. If you use the UCP you can give them each access to that voicemail to check the messages.

I’m sure more ways can be found but those three jump to the top of my head quickly.

Voicemail blasting is used for this. What I have done for my PBX is make a system recording and upload that to the PBX. Then create an announcement under applications and set the ‘Destination after playback’ the voicemail blasting. In the voicemail blasting, set this to beep only so that the system recording will be played to the caller and then they will hear a beep.

@brian4 A little clarification will help. Is the goal to have a general mailbox that multiple users can work from or you just want every user to have that voicemail dropped into their voicemail box?

The first option means that users will be notified there is a voicemail for said mailbox so they know who the voicemail is for. The second option, VMBlasting, is more for broadcasting of messages like “Meeting is at 4pm today instead of 3pm” for people in the office. While it would work for what you are doing, the users would receive that voicemail in their mailbox with all their other voicemail and may not know right away by the alert that it was the specific mailbox.

Again, both would achieve the goal of getting the message to all the users but it’s how the message is stored, organized and notifications are handled that could impact which one is the best way to go.

Of course, if you’re willing to purchase a commercial module you may want to look at which is specifically designed to notify multiple users about a single voicemail and track/keep alerting until it is handled (listened to/deleted/etc).

It depends upon what you mean by “with the incoming message shared/sent to all extensions.” If you mean that the voicemail message is emailed to all users, you can set-up an email distribution list outside of FreePBX (Gmail will do that) and then have the voicemail message emailed to your Gmail account. FreePBX only supports one email address for emailing VMs. I’d configure your non-extension extension to delete the messages once the email is sent to prevent it from filling up.

If you mean that the voicemail shows up on everyone’s phone, you can do that easily, a couple of ways.

Let’s say that you make Extension 259 the fictional extension that calls will be routed to.

You can then go into the extension configuration for all of the other phones in your office, find the mailbox field (under the advanced tab). If the phone already has VM, you would add “&[email protected]” (without the quotes) to what’s already in the field. If the particular extension doesn’t have it’s own VM, just delete what’s there and add [email protected] to that field. Now, that phone will show VM whenever 259 receives a VM, as well as their own.

Another way to do it is to create a second extension for each of your users that has no VM, register it to the last line button for each phone, change the mailbox field to “[email protected]”. That will allow the phone to more easily distinguish between VMs in 259 and their own personal VM.

Just to clarify the above option, if you want to monitor a VM using BLF, you have to set your BLF to *98 + the extension number, and not the extention number by itself. That’s an elegant option that I had had not thought of! It differs from the approach I suggested in that it won’t blink the phone’s VM light and won’t show you the number of messages on your screen, but will give you a single button to press to show you the VM. I believe that this feature only works if you have the FreePBX distro and doesn’t work with non-FreePBX sponsored Distros (like RasPBXand PIAF).

IMO voicemail blasting isn’t working as a “shared voicemail” because everyone gets these voicemail individually, and no one knows if someone took care.

VS if you have a BLF key that monitors another VM, the team knows that when it’s green = no new messages, red = new message(s)

Also I think you can do this with phone apps.

You would be incorrect in that. FreePBX (regardless of distro or not) writes out hints for voicemail boxes in the dialplan like it does for almost everything else you can track (CF, FM, DND, etc) because this is something that Asterisk does and FreePBX is using it. The only way for voicemail hints to not be generated is if you disabled them in the Advanced Settings.

Those other distros are forks and thus use FreePBX so unless those distros made modifications the feature is there.

Refer to


Subscribe to hint *98XXXX where XXXX is the mailbox extension.

The MWI BLF feature was distro only until recently. It’s part of core asterisk now. Can’t find the announcement at the moment.

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I wasn’t aware that the feature had been merged with Asterisk back in April of 2019.

The Wiki page on this feature, which hasn’t been updated since September 14, 2015, still says that:

“In version 2.11 and above, your FreePBX Distro, PBXact, and Sangoma PBX GUI software allows the creation of busy lamp field (BLF) hints for voicemail boxes.”

Also, the tooltip for this feature still reads:

“Setting this flag with generate the required dialplan to integrate with res_mwi_devstate (res_mwi_blf) which is included with the Official FreePBX Distro . It allows users to subscribe to other voicemail box and be notified via BLF of changes.”

This discussion ties in nicely with the other recent posts that I’ve been making about the documentation being out of date, and that you often have to scour the forums, the blogs, and other resources to find updated information.

This leads to yet another question: If the code was added to asterisk to support it, was a corresponding change made to include the code in all versions of FreePBX, or is the relevant FreePBX code still only included with the Distro, PBXact, and Sangoma PBX?

Many Many Thanks for the input. I have setup a virtual extension (500), I have left an unavailable message and left a caller message, I have setup a BLF key on another extension with *98500. I have gone in and enabled “create voicemail hints” I can press the BLF key and I can retrieve the caller message however at no stage does the BLF blink or even light up on the other extension.
I am using 2 Yealink T28 handsets.
I am running FBPX 14
Any suggestion please.

Edit: I have changed the firmware on the 2 x T28’s and I now get a situation where the BLF appears green when there are no messages and red when there are messages however the BLF light does not blink. Is this normal or is there another setting I need to set?

from bash

asterisk -V
fwconsole -V

The Changelog for 16.7 mumbles about res_mwi et al. I can’t find anything more specific than what I posted.

The operation of the lights is a function of the phone.

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