When Nortel Phone Systems can’t be Serviced

When Nortel Phone Systems can’t be Serviced

A world where Nortel is no longer around? If this were 1995, most businesses and experts would have had a hearty laugh and dismissed the thought completely out of hand. But, this is not 1995, it is 2015, and the unthinkable happened. During a heated bidding process in 2008, Siemens Enterprise Communications and Avaya went head to head, with Avaya coming out on top and absorbing Nortel. Since that time, a gradual roll back of Nortel product and service has taken place. As of this year, no Nortel equipment is serviced or manufactured by the combined Nortel/ Avaya. So where does this leave the customers who purchased new phone systems from Nortel? As simple as this question may sound, the answer is rather more complex. Let’s take a look.

What type of Nortel Phone System are
we talking about?

Not surprisingly, Nortel Networks manufactured a wide array of different types of phone systems over their decades in business. Considering the current year, however, we will focus on product that was made after 1995. These consist, broadly, of the Meridian, MICS, CICS, CS1000, BCM product line, and a smattering of product that had a much smaller amount of sales which we will not delve into here.

Business Communications Manager (BCM):

The BCM family of products came in four different business phone system versions, BCM50, BCM200, BCM400, and BCM450. Interestingly, a major benefit of the BCM line was that nearly all components are common between versions, meaning that it is nearly impossible for businesses to loose their investment in Nortel as they grew. CSM has installed hundreds of BCM systems nation wide, we know we can help you with yours.

Nortel BCM 50 Service
The Nortel BCM 50 Phone System

After the purchase by Avayay, the BCM was re-branded as  the Avaya BCM 50, 200 or 400 and  sold under that trade name. However,  as of 2015, the product line is  completely discontinued and has been  declared “end of life” meaning Avaya  will not longer be offering support on  the product. At first glance, this seems  rather mean spirited by Avaya, but on  closer examination it was actually very  generous that they continued  supporting product not developed by Avaya for 7 years after their purchase of Nortel. Pointing even further to the generosity of Avaya towards Nortel clients, today’s customers are encouraged to reuse their Nortel phones on the new Avaya IP Office with the simple addition of the Nortel Digital Station Card.  For additional information on reusing Nortel phones on an Avaya IP Office click on this link to open a new window.

For more information on the BCM phone system, click on the following link:
What is the BCM Phone System?

Northern Telecom Meridian:

Meridian 7310 Phone Service Tampa Austin
Meridian 7310 Phone

The Northern Telecom Meridian or Meridian 1 systems were extremely reliable, which is why, nearly 30 years later, many of these systems are still chugging along. So business were able to enjoy all the benefits of Meridian 1’s “five nines” reliability, broadly scalable, powerful performance and rich, robust feature set. It was even compatible with early versions of VoIP. Meridian 1 systems were also renowned for performance and reliability with over 25 years of evolutionary and revolutionary feature and applications developed to drive a business’ profitability. That’s over 3.7 million hours of telephony research and software design. No wonder that more than a quarter of a century later these systems are still in use.


Nortel/Meridian Norstar was one of the most popular phone systems in the world. CSM has installed and serviced everything from the small Norstar 3×8 to the nearly 200 port Norstar MICS – including the CICS, 6×16, 8×24, and nearly every other Norstar.

For a more detailed description of the Norstar/ Nortel CiCS phone system, click this link to learn additional information. CSM is also knowledgeable on the MiCS phone system, for more information on that product, please click here to open a new window.

Where do we go from here?

So, where do you go from here? Your system is discontinued and new replacement parts are not avaiable, so what do you do? Well, the true answer is, again, it depends. If your business has a major failure such as a cabinet or voice mail, or is planning on a large expansion, then a replacement with a new phone system should at least be entertained. However, if the problem is smaller or the issue more mundane, then used parts are available and can be installed at a reasonable cost. It really depends on each situation and what state your business is in. CSM can help guide you in an appropriate direction, but in the end it is a decision that only you can make.