Why is the pricing so annoying? $1,375 (over 25 years) for the PBXact ISO over an appliance

I was looking in to PBXact, as the way it includes many of the commercial modules is appealing to me. What I am disappointed in, is that Sangoma is not transparent about pricing, and the pricing seems off.

If you want a PBXact 25 appliance, you’ll pay $645 dollars. Even though it includes a long term license of the included features, you have to pay for at least a bronze support contract to receive updates after the first year. Where does the PBXact website tell you this? It never does. After 25 years, the total cost of the appliance and the minimum support contract is $1,875.

I personally find the FreePBX backup system as quite poor and would much prefer my own installation within my own hypervisor like Hyper-V. Thankfully, Sangoma does offer PBXact as an ISO, but it is $450 for the base ISO, and then an $8 one off fee for each user. For 25 users, this is only $5 more than the PBXact 25 appliance… but the sales person was not at all transparent about the different support contract price until I asked about it… which turns out to be $105, and $1 for each extension, totalling $130.

This means that even though I only want the software updates, which would be the same regardless of if I am on an appliance or my own ISO, over 25 years, the ISO costs $3,250 - $1,375 more than the appliance.

What idiot makes these prices up? Now I’m thinking of either sticking with FreePBX or going elsewhere, as I can’t trust the backup solution for the appliance, yet I’m not paying unnecessarily extortionate prices for the ISO. I can’t see any good reason for such a significant price difference when I only want updates. I do have some understanding that supporting an ISO is slightly different than thier own hardware - but that much of a difference? Nope.

Indeed, the value you get for such a small amount of money is crazy. :slight_smile: Also, I think bronze support packages are only available through partners, not direct. Not 100% certain about that.

Exactly what value I do get, paying $1,375 more just because I want to host the software on my own hardware, when there is no difference between the software updates? Would you like to pay $55 more just for the sake of it?

Every commercial modules has annual support fees. Doesn’t matter if it is PBXact or FreePBX using commercial modules. You pay for the module, get a 25 year use license and if you want continual support and updates for the module you pay the annual fee for the module(s).

It doesn’t, the Terms and Services for PBXact tell you that.

Automatic Updates. If covered under a POMPs with auto updates you have the ability to set the system to check weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly for new updates and the system will than install them. You can also turn off auto updates and just check manually any time you want for updates and have the update installed.

“POMPs” means Peace of Mind Packages which are Sangoma optional Support Contracts that can be purchased and renewed yearly.

It isn’t the annual support fee itself that is the issue. I’m fine with paying a fee to support development. It is specifically that there is a $55 difference simply because the software is being used on my own hardware rather than an appliance.

The website should be transparent about it without having to dig in to terms and conditions Other Askterisk solutions and 3CX don’t hide their pricing.

You get the flexibility of paying for the exact number of users you want.

If you really want a 25-user server, I will note that it is not unheard of that someone will find the appliance a bit “constraining” and migrate their license to a VM later on.

Even before considering the 1$ per user, there is a base bronze support renewal cost of $130 which is required to recieve updates. An appliance is $75. I don’t see how the ‘flexibility’ with the exact number of users justifies that, when if you purchase 25 users with the ISO, the initial cost - without considering support/updates - is $5 more than the appliance anyway. Sure, you can pay less for the initial ISO if you have less users, but you’ll soon lose that benefit to the minimum $130 recurring fee anyway.

I’d rather have the appliance model of paying for 25 users but having the lower recurring contract fee on an ISO than their current model

Why do you need PBXact? I guess we should ask this. Is there something you need that a FreePBX distro with the full module package can’t do?

There are features within Call Recording Reports, Park Pro, Page Pro, and Voicemail reports. Could I manage on FreePBX? Probably, yes. But the features are nice to haves, and I’m also happy to support the development financially by buying PBXact, just not when the pricing seems so odd. Instead of Sangoma getting at least $645.00 and a recurring $75.00 out of me, they’re likely to get nothing.

I guess they could argue that the ISO costs more to support, as the appliance gives them a predictable hardware platform to work on. Whether it really costs that much more is a different question.


I would agree if it was about support. Providing support to hardware you know, and when you can take out hardware as a variable when providing support, will certainly be easier than hardware you don’t know, but I believe the bronze support contract doesn’t actually include support credits. Software updates wouldn’t be different between versions, and considering the varying amount of hardware that the free FreePBX ISO is installed on… I don’t think the difference in renewal cost seems fair, and the sales rep for my area couldn’t provide any clarity as to why the pricing is different for just updates.

So you’re saying there are two different versions of these commercial modules? That if I go and purchase Park Pro on my FreePBX distro box, I won’t have the same features as you?

No, not sure where you got that from? As far as I understand, FreePBX commercial modules and the features included in PBXact are the same. But I don’t really see why that is relevant? If someone wants PBXact - regardless of their reason or the features they want - and they install on an ISO, they’re paying $55 more just for the sake of it.

None of the prices you’ve stated are of any substantial cost compared to enterprise systems, or even “competitors” like 3CX. It is truly such a small insignificant amount compared to what you could be paying. You (or I or most people in this forum) have no clue the cost of business, truly. If you think the cost is too high, don’t use the product. If you think there is a better product, that is more cost-effective, use that.

If you want to stick with the project, here are some ideas:

  1. Buy the FreePBX modules or PBXact software
    2 Make recommendations to the people who can do something: How to open a Feature Request - Support Services - Documentation (freepbx.org)
  2. Contribute code to the project: Code License Agreement - FreePBX OpenSource Project - Documentation
    FreePBX-Contributed project overview - FreePBX GIT

If you want to use the platform and only contribute what you deem that the devs/company deserves, use FreePBX and code the dialplan custom for what you need that is not included.

So you think it is right that simply because I am hosting the software differently, a significant difference in the recurring fee is right? I’d rather both Appliance and ISO based were the same rate, even if the higher rate, than for there to be a difference simply because I chose to host with an ISO.

  1. Buying from Sangoma would support this silly pricing model
  2. Not really a feature and highly unlikely anything would be done - People have been making excellent feature suggestions for years that never turned to anything
  3. That’s only suitable if you have the skills to do so, and not everyone does

(“$5 shoes, buy a a pair and get 45% off”)

More like buy some shoes, but buy the left shoe for $130 and the right shoe for $75

I reckon hosting in your own environment can present all sorts of time-related costs and complications for Sangoma’s support teams, when trying to provide you with critical and urgent support on god knows what hardware. Perhaps Sangoma have thought it through after all? How annoyingly silly of them to charge a little bit more.

1 Like

As mentioned, I do not believe that the Bronze package actually comes with any support. Only the next level up do I see any credits being given… meaning the package is only for software updates.

Appliance or ISO… it’s the same software updates being sent.

FreePBX ISO’s get installed on probably hundreds of thousands of different hardware combinations… same software…

I’d sooner provide an end user with a level of paid support for the Official FreePBX Distro on an appliance or VM we know and trust, than an ISO download struggling along in a 10 year old Dell tower they found for a tenner at the local boot sale. I’d probably charge less for it too, although (fortunately) it’s not something I have to worry about. Perhaps charging a little more on the upfront for an ISO is more palatable than charging a higher rate for credits at a time of desperate need? I’m sure Sangoma know what they are doing. I agree with Sangoma on this one but perhaps they have better reasons to add to this post. Good luck.

1 Like