PSTN Switch Off: How It Impacts Your Business

21st September 2021

Running a business requires a great amount of communication. Strong internet connectivity and several phones are vital to set a smooth sailing shift and provide an excellent customer experience in daily operations. Because of this, companies need to be mindful of any related changes and potential disruptions that may interrupt their business communications.

In a couple of years, a massive change in the telecommunications industry is about to occur in the UK, and some businesses may not even be aware of it yet.

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is scheduled to be switched off in 2025. Before that happens, your enterprise needs to understand the implications of this shift to prepare for it properly. Continue scrolling to learn everything you need to know about the PSTN switch off and how it can impact your business.

What is PSTN?

The PSTN, commonly known as the landline or telephone line, is a traditional analogue telephone system that enables landline connectivity. This generations-old technology has been used since the 1800s, becoming a reliable means to transmit messages with anyone worldwide via a network of underground copper wires.

For millions of households and small businesses, PSTN is the foundation of communication. As a basic telecom service, it’s primarily utilised by users who only need one line for one conversation at a time using only one phone number.

When getting into specifics on how it operates, PSTN is a combination of switches at centralised points on a network. It functions as nodes to exchange information between two points in the system. After being routed through multiple switches, voice signals can then travel over the linked phone lines to place a call successfully.

However, while PSTN phones continue to be a standard in communication to many, it has seen a steady decline over the decade. In 2019, there are only 915 million landline subscriptions globally⁠—the lowest in the century.

What is the 2025 PSTN switch off?

The BT Group plc (BT) announced that they would cease to operate PSTN services to businesses in the UK by 2025. While multiple factors weigh in this decision by the national telecom provider, the fact that the PSTN service is not optimised for modern business is what greenlit the switch off. 

With the system relying on technology devised centuries ago, it has seen adaptations and improvements over the years. Unfortunately, that also means that its maintenance cost and price for the end-users are continually rising.

For businesses, small and big alike, this nationwide shift in telecommunications can be pretty daunting. Luckily, there are many other data transmission services you can look into that are cheaper, faster, and more reliable. Take the VoIP phone system as an example, which BT suggests to their customers as an alternative. 

How will the PSTN switch off impact your business?

Records show that 42% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) still rely on analogue lines in their daily operations, translating to about 2.4 million businesses that have not upgraded their systems yet. 

Although more prominent brands and businesses have transitioned to incorporating newer technologies in their processes, not all have made the switch—with approximately 33% of companies continuing their use of PSTN.

Now that you know the scope of the PSTN switch off, including the range of its effects to varying industries, here are some changes your business should consider before it takes place:

  • Changing existing systems

With the incoming PSTN phase-out, your company needs to shop for a new system to service your telecommunication needs. You may opt to upgrade your entire hardware down to your handsets.

If you want to save a couple of pounds, the VoIP technology makes for a brilliant cost-saving solution as it allows you to continue using the same hardware as in PSTN. Furthermore, this newer technology enables easier and multiple access to devices that make communication within the team more convenient and seamless even when telecommuting.

  • Checking internet connectivity

Making the switch out of analogue means your calls will now be carried over the internet. With this, you have to ensure that your business runs with a fast and reliable internet connection to secure uninterrupted client or crew calls at all times.

  • Processing number porting

One of the many VoIP benefits that will make the transition from PSTN hassle-free is number porting. This smooth migration allows your customers, for instance, to reach your business without having to save a new set of contact information. Depending on your next telecom provider, this process takes merely days or weeks.

  • Upgrading security systems

While newer telecom technologies are as secure as traditional phone lines, they’re still vulnerable to attacks, especially since these platforms connect to the internet. So choose a reputable provider and observe security best practices within the team, such as setting up VPN use, restricting private calls, and deactivating inactive accounts.

  • Modifying budget

Businesses should be ready for any budget changes due to the PSTN switch off. Unlike PSTN, the VoIP alternative does not charge based on distance. This makes international and mobile calls way cheaper, which can adjust your overall monthly telecom finances in the company. Moreover, VoIP has less expensive maintenance, making daily operations more cost-effective than the analogue method.

Make the system switch today

It’s only normal to feel overwhelmed when moving from a traditional piece of equipment to a more modern one. While there is still plenty of time, the PSTN switch off is something businesses across the board should prepare for to ensure quality team performance and client satisfaction.

If VoIP technology piqued your interest, consider partnering with Planet Numbers UK, a reliable call answering service provider that can bring you this solution and more! Learn about the impacts of VoIP on your business, and contact our team today to get started!