How to traverse the phase-out of the landline phone in 2025
Traditional landline phone systems are set to become redundant, as the entire copper-based network will be turned off by 2025.
Legacy landlines have been in place since the dawn of modern telephone communications, but the system is simply not equipped to deal with the volume of data being transferred in today’s hyper-digital world.
The process of switching from analogue communications is already underway and has been since 2020. Businesses are being forced to migrate their communications from legacy phone systems to digital solutions. For most, a Voice over Internet Protocol - or VoIP - is the answer.
At an unbeatable price, bOnline’s agile VoIP phone system offers flexibility and all the features your business needs to maximise the potential of both internal and external communications.
What is the ‘digital switchover 2025’ and how will it affect me??
BT has taken the decision to retire its entire public switched telephone network (PSTN) by December 2025. Consequently, any other providers that rely on BT’s network will have no option but to follow suit.
The digital switch is not exclusive to the UK. Many other countries are in the process of removing legacy phone systems and some have already completed the change.
Why are landline phones being phased out?
Traditional landlines are being removed because they can’t handle the amount of information required to be transmitted by modern communications.
Legacy systems are becoming increasingly difficult to repair and expensive to maintain. With the equipment no longer being fit for use, there remains no need to keep the copper network in place. New phone systems will instead operate through just an internet connection.
Will your phone still work after 2025?
Although technology is changing, there’s no need to worry - you won’t have to switch to using mobile devices only. The landlines we’re used to will still be there. However, they’ll be operating digitally instead of analogue.
Many businesses will be using a VoIP service. This combines your phone and broadband solutions, using your internet connection to make and receive calls.
What is the future of landlines?
For most businesses, a VoIP solution is the future of communications. Using the same infrastructure as your broadband connection, these virtual phone systems convert audio into digital packets which are then transmitted at high speeds.
The majority will use a traditional handset connected to the internet, but that isn’t the only form of VoIP. Other types can be used through a web browser with nothing other than a headset. Apps like Skype and WhatsApp are also examples of VoIP services.
However, virtual phone systems aren’t just appealing because of the digital switchover. In fact, many companies already use them and have been doing so for years. They offer a multitude of benefits that traditional phone systems simply can’t. In particular, they boast low costs and are easy to configure without any need to book an engineer or an installation visit.
To get started, you just need to check if your existing handsets support virtual phone services. Most devices are suitable, even though you might not think so. Whilst it’s not essential to have a strong broadband connection, the faster it is, the better, although most companies will already have this. Then, pick a provider and you’re ready to start using your VoIP service for business.
What’s happening to the old landline network?
Telecommunications providers are upgrading the outdated copper-based broadband lines to full-fibre. Replacing the old system is set to be cost-effective in the long term, after a hefty upfront cost of approximately £12 billion.
To do so, engineers must visit every exchange, unhook the copper cables and replace them with fibre until they reach 75 per cent coverage. At this point, a ‘stop sell’ trigger occurs, meaning that users are forced to move from traditional to digital communications.
Who will be impacted by the PSTN switch-off?
The PSTN and ISDN switch-off will affect anyone who uses a landline phone system, either personally or for business. However, it’s the latter who will have to make plans to ensure services don’t get interrupted and customers can continue to be served.
Who still has a landline?
Whilst a lot of media attention is given to the elderly, who rely on their traditional landline phones, or vulnerable people who may not have an internet connection, it’s easy to overlook business customers.
Data collected by National Business Communications revealed that 69.5 per cent of UK businesses still use legacy phone systems for their communications, whilst a staggering 59.7 per cent didn’t know about the switchover at all. With the majority of these businesses being smaller companies, it’s clear that those who plan carefully will come out ahead after the switchover.
What do you need to do to prepare your business for the PSTN switch-off?
Although you won’t be forced to switch until 2025, preparing your business in advance means you’ll have time to get used to new systems and overcome any issues to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Companies don’t need a lightning-fast broadband service to support VoIP systems, although it would certainly be helpful to that end, especially if you have several users. You’ll have to factor in how much data your business uses on a regular basis, as your virtual phone system will be competing with anything else transmitted through your broadband.
When do you need to change to a digital phone line?
The traditional landline network will be completely switched off by the end of 2025. In order to help people and businesses prepare, analogue phone lines won’t be sold from September 2023.
When your phone line is replaced depends on your service provider and location. In total, there are over 14 million copper landlines in the UK, so it’s a large-scale project. Your telephone provider will get in contact with you when they’re ready to switch your line, but if you want to find out more, get in touch with them.
Thankfully, the switch from analogue to digital is not complicated for users. In most cases, you’ll be able to keep your old numbers, meaning that businesses aren’t forced to waste money alerting customers of a change.
How do you keep your phone number forever?
For most businesses, changing phone numbers can be problematic. Not only is it a costly process, but you might also have customers that aren’t aware your contact details aren’t the same as they were.
The process of transferring your traditional landline number to VoIP is known as porting. To do so, you’ll just need to contact your provider to understand their specific method and follow their instructions to complete the switch.
How do you switch to a digital phone line?
If you have a landline phone, you’ll have to move over to the new system. However, there’s nothing required from you - your phone company will simply reach out to you to complete the process. Fortunately, the change can be as simple as plugging your phone into your broadband router.
How do VoIP systems work?
Often referred to as cloud-based telephony, VoIP phone systems transmit voice calls through your broadband connection. Most look very similar to traditional phones in appearance, but they work very differently.
Instead of traditional copper landlines, calls are hosted on the internet, using packet switching to translate analogue audio signals into digital data. A simplified version of the steps involved are as follows:
- A VoIP phone receives digital data from another device and splits the information into packets, assigning each one a destination
- The packets are sent to your router, where it finds the shortest route to its target
- The receiving system sorts the data into the correct order, so the user understands it as recognisable speech.
Will your new phone contract be more expensive?
A basic subscription to a business VoIP system ranges from £15 to £20, on average. However, you can get access to services for as little as £6. Usually, these figures are calculated based on one user, per month, although it’s worth speaking with a provider to understand any other ways they might price their plans.
The cheaper packages are usually pay-as-you-go and have less of the important benefits which set VoIP systems apart from legacy phones. Additionally, they offer fewer security measures and less extensive customer support. As a result, businesses need to consider their needs and compare them to different packages.
Providing you’ve acquired the necessary hardware to sustain a VoIP system, the remainder of the costs involved will largely go towards your monthly subscription. This is significantly more cost-efficient for organisations than traditional landlines, with bOnline’s most popular package coming in at £13.95 (plus VAT) per user, per month.
What are the benefits of the new phone systems?
A clear advantage of a VoIP service is connectivity. Because your communications are hosted on the internet rather than traditional lines, you can make and receive calls from anywhere with a connection. This is ideal for any business which has employees working away from the office because now they can stay connected at any time.
Additionally, companies that use virtual phone systems benefit from avoiding any of the costly service charges and maintenance fees associated with traditional landlines. Instead, you’ll receive system updates directly from the provider and the entire process will take a matter of minutes.
You’ll also experience an increase in customer relationships when your business starts utilising the tools and perks of a VoIP system. Services like call menus, call recording and global call forwarding uphold your reputation and promote credibility.
How do you select the best virtual phone provider?
In an increasingly competitive market, choosing the right VoIP service provider for your business can feel like a confusing and daunting task.
bOnline offers products designed by small businesses, for small businesses. Unlike huge conglomerates, we know that money isn’t seemingly infinite. So, with plans starting from as little as £6 per user, per month, we’re dedicated to providing a highly personalised, economically viable solution for your communications needs.