The next few years will see a lot of upheaval for the UK's telecoms sector. The country's traditional landline network is being formally retired in 2025, which means that any small business still relying on this technology will need to make plans to migrate to more modern services.
For most firms, this will mean moving to a VoIP system, which uses an all-IP connection to route your voice calls via the internet. This offers a number of benefits over legacy landlines, giving you access to a much wider range of features - not to mention much cheaper overall call costs.
If you haven't done so already, now's the time to start planning a move to VoIP to make sure you beat the 2025 deadline with plenty of time to spare.
But while finding a cheap small business VoIP provider is a vital step in this, there are a few other essential steps you need to take to ensure your transition goes as smoothly as possible. Here's a quick checklist to help you make sure you can avoid any pitfalls or surprising extra costs.
Check your broadband connection
VoIP phone systems rely on your internet connection to function, so you'll need to make sure your broadband is up to the job. Most services recommend a minimum internet speed of around 5Mbps for both uploads and downloads to ensure a quality, high-definition voice experience. However, it's not quite that simple.
You'll also need to consider factors such as how many users you have and what other services also depend on the network. The more you have, the faster the service you'll need.
While most locations should be able to secure an adequate connection with little difficulty, some premises - especially more rural businesses - may struggle. In this case, it's essential to speak to your provider to determine what alternatives are on offer.
Review your hardware
The next step will be to determine whether you need to replace your on-premises hardware, especially your desk handsets. Many newer devices will be compatible with VoIP services, even if you're only using them as traditional landlines, so if this is the case, you should be able to simply plug in your existing phones and continue without interruption.
However, if you're using older or cheaper handsets, you may find you need to replace them in order to access VoIP services. In this case, it's essential you're aware of this early as it will add additional costs to the migration.
Understand your entire network
For some firms, it won't just be their voice services that rely on legacy landline technology. You may also have other connected services that use these networks, and these will need to be upgraded as well when you're moving away from legacy landlines.
These may include:
- CCTV cameras
- Door entry systems
- Payment terminals
All of these will also need to be migrated to IP technology before 2025.
Know what backups are in place
One concern many firms have about VoIP is that it relies on a power connection to operate. Therefore, you'll need to have a contingency in place to ensure you can continue using your phones in the event of a power cut.
A good VoIP provider should be able to automatically redirect your calls, either to an alternate site or, more likely for small firms, to your smartphone. It's easy to access VoIP through a 4G or 5G mobile connection via an app - as long as your provider offers the capability.
Train your employees
When you do get up and running with VoIP, it's essential everyone knows how to use it. The basics will be straightforward and employees who are still using a desk-based handset are unlikely to notice any difference.
However, many VoIP services come with a range of extra features, from advanced call routing to the ability to make calls via a web browser. Understanding all these ensures you can make the most of your VoIP phone solution.
Check out our guide for more information about what the 2025 landline switch-off will mean for you, or get in touch with bOnline today to find out how we can help you migrate your phone systems to VoIP.