How businesses should prepare for the Big Switch Off - National Business Communications

How businesses should prepare for the Big Switch Off

November 22, 2021

In 2015, BT announced they will be turning off Public Switched Telephone Networks and Integrated Services Digital Networks by 2025, meaning landlines will no longer be active. While this may not affect the average person due to mobile phones being the dominant form of communication, many businesses still use landlines, particularly in certain industries such as hospitality and sales (e.g., call centres.)

To understand whether businesses are prepared for the switch off, we surveyed UK businesses about their use of landlines, their understanding of the Big Switch Off, and alternative plans.

How many businesses still use landlines?

During the pandemic, many companies were forced to find alternative ways to make calls due to working from home. This saw a rise in Voice over Internet Protocol applications such as Zoom and Microsoft teams. Despite this, it appears that many businesses are still relying on landlines to make calls, with almost 70% of survey respondents stating that they still use legacy networks. This stat is surprising considering that using a landline is deemed to be a ‘behind the times’ process for many. 

Are businesses aware of the Big Switch Off?

Shockingly, the survey revealed that 59.7% of UK businesses do not know what the Big Switch Off is. This statistic is worrying considering the number of companies that still use landlines. Furthermore, just under 21% of respondents had heard of the Big Switch Off but weren’t fully aware of what it was. Just 19.4% were completely aware of it, meaning that fewer than 1 in 5 businesses understands the implications.

What are the implications of the Big Switch Off for businesses?

Ultimately, the switch off will lead to a fully digital network – all customers will need to migrate to a single IP core network that will eventually replace all legacy networks. Over time, existing infrastructure has become more restrictive and costly – they have remained unchanged for several years. Broadband on the other hand is constantly evolving and is hugely reliable.

What can be used as an alternative?

The survey revealed that mobile phones and VoIP are the main alternatives companies will use once the switch off happens, with 86.2% of respondents stating they’ll use mobiles to make calls and 62.5% stating they will use  VoIP. 

There are a range of ways businesses can make calls using alternative methods…

Non-Hosted VoIP

VoIP uses an established internet connection to make calls via IP networks. This can be integrated into businesses easily by using desktop and mobile devices. Non-hosted VoIPs allow companies to be in control of their service and are responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Cloud-based VoIP systems

Similarly to the above, cloud-based VoIP systems use internet connections to make calls. Although, with cloud-based systems, businesses don’t need to worry about maintenance as service providers are responsible for any issues and will take care of the initial set-up. 

Mobile phones 

Of course, employees can use their mobiles to make calls if need be. However, not everybody wants their personal number out there and using mobiles can be a major inconvenience. It could be a good idea to provide work mobiles for staff if calls are received and made often. There is a range of packages and deals available for business mobiles. 

Benefits of the Big Switch Off for businesses

While the switch off may sound scary, it will bring a range of benefits to businesses, such as:

Preparing for the Big Switch Off

Although the switch off isn’t happening until 2025, businesses must begin making the switch as soon as possible, giving them time to get used to a new procedure and iron out anything they may come across to ensure it all runs smoothly. Our survey tells us many businesses aren’t prepared and many may not know how to prepare due to their lack of understanding.

Here are some tips on how businesses can prepare…

The year 2025 is closer than you think, and companies must begin preparing for the switch off, otherwise, it could negatively affect your business and you may be left with no way to make business calls resulting in missing customer and sales calls. Not preparing may also cause your company to rush into an alternative which could mean you are stuck with expensive providers, risk of a bad connection, and further issues – not to mention the stress leaving it until the last minute can create! 


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