Types of Business Phone Lines | National Business Communications

Types of phone line: Which is right for your business?

November 3, 2021

As anybody who has been involved in starting a business will know, there are dozens of different things to consider. Whether you’re upgrading to larger premises, starting out online or going freelance, you’ll be faced with a number of tricky decisions. 

One aspect of starting a business that can often be overlooked is setting up a way for your customers and clients to contact you. Although we live in the age of video conferencing and instant messaging, many people still prefer phone calls as their main method of communication.

You may be thinking of setting up a phone line just for business purposes, but it can be hard to know where to start. With this handy guide, we hope to demystify the process of setting up a phone line for your business and help you to make an informed decision about what type of phone line is right for you.

Whether you want a hosted phone system, traditional landline or to go mobile-only, we’ve put together some advice for business owners about how best to start communicating with your core customer base.

What is a business phone line?

A business phone line is any phone line which is used for commercial purposes only. Contrary to what you may think, a mobile phone can still be a business phone line if you don’t use it for personal calls.

There are a number of benefits to having a dedicated phone line for your business. People who are self-employed and small operations like start-ups may take business calls to their home or mobile phones to begin with. However, as your business grows along with your daily call volume, this can become unsustainable.

A dedicated business phone line can give you:

Not to mention the range of professional call features that can be added. These can help add legitimacy to your small business and create a better experience for your customers. You may like to explore the possibility of:

Different types of business phone line

When it comes to choosing a phone line for your business, it can be tricky to navigate a lot of the industry terms and choose the phone line that’s right for you. 

We’ve put together a handy glossary below, which we hope will help you to understand the different telecoms options on the market.

PSTN

PSTN refers to the Public Switched Telephone Network, and is the network of copper telephone wires which have been used since the late 1800s. For many years, this was the main method of communication between people and businesses in the UK, but with the rise in popularity of mobile phones and the decline of traditional landlines, this is beginning to change. 

If your business has a standard landline that connects to the wider copper wire telephone network, it’s likely that you’re already connected to the PSTN or the ISDN, which uses the same lines (more on that below). 

However, many businesses are opting to switch to other systems due to the upcoming PSTN and ISDN switch-off. The Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) withdrawal will see the withdrawal of over 16 million copper phone lines in the UK. The withdrawal is planned for 2025, but many businesses are choosing to update their PSTN and ISDN systems to avoid any disruption. 

You can read our article to learn more about WLR Withdrawal and the PSTN and ISDN switch off.

ISDN

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. This high-speed network uses the existing phone lines to connect calls, using a fully digital service to transmit voice data rather than analogue. ISDN was first introduced in the 1980s as an alternative to analogue, and it’s main selling point was that it allowed people to make calls and use the internet simultaneously. Some of you may remember the dark, argument-filled era of dial-up! 

ISDN is still used by some businesses in the UK, but like PSTN, it will be affected by the WLR withdrawal of 2025.

VoIP or Hosted Phone System

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and refers to calls which are made using an internet connection, with no phone lines needed. In the workplace, a VoIP system may also be referred to as a hosted phone system or a cloud-based phone service. 

Many businesses are opting to use VoIP, as it can save on costs such as line rental or long-distance charges. It also protects you from issues such as phone lines going down, as the phone system doesn’t rely on copper wires to work. There are a number of other advantages, such as the ability to have multiple phone numbers for one location.

You can also choose VoIP in anticipation of 2025’s WLR Withdrawal. If you would like to learn more about Voice over Internet Protocol, you can also visit our What is VoIP? Article to find out more. 

We have also summarised the business benefits of a hosted phone system if you are a small business owner looking to make a switch.

Two-line phones

Two-line phones are single handsets or devices, which can receive calls from two separate phone numbers. These types of landlines have been popular with business owners who work from home for many years, as it allows them to receive personal calls and business calls to the same location.

Most modern two-line devices also give the option to screen the calls. This means that you can choose to stop answering business calls outside your working hours, but don’t end up missing personal calls as well.

How do I get a business phone line?

Now that we’ve covered the different options that exist for a business phone line, we will discuss how to go about setting one up. Whether you are a first time user or an existing business owner looking to make the switch, we’re here to help you take those first steps to streamlining your incoming and outgoing calls.

  1. Choose the type of phone line you want for your business.

Would you prefer to have a single office-based landline for business calls, or invest in a hosted phone system? Consider how many people will need to access the system, and whether you’d prefer separate phone numbers for each department. You may even prefer that each of your employees has a separate mobile phone for business purposes, which can be helpful if they work remotely. 

Once you know what set-up will work best for your organisation, you can begin looking into packages and providers.

  1. Find the best deal on the phone system or phone line you want. 

As with any business expense, it’s a good idea to shop around to ensure you get the most out of your business phone package. Be sure to read reviews from other users, as the cheapest option available can sometimes come with unseen drawbacks like poor customer service.

At National Business Communications, we’re proud to offer an affordable range of phone, mobile and internet packages, developed with small businesses in mind. Feel free to visit our website to browse our range of business phone packages, starting from just £18.50 a month for a standard phone line.

  1. Contact the provider you want, so they can help you make the switch.

Switching should be a seamless, hassle-free process that doesn’t cause any unnecessary disruption to your business. When you speak to your new provider, they should work with you to ensure a smooth transition to their service, as well as making sure you have the correct package.

Ask your provider about any extra calling features you’d like, such as an answering service or automatic call forwarding. You may also want to consider if you’d like to bundle any internet or mobile services with your phone line, if they offer them. 

When switching with NBC, our tech experts will handle every aspect of the switching process, so you can focus on the important things like running your business! 

If you’d like to learn more about National Business Communications and the personalised service we currently offer for many small to medium-sized businesses in the UK, feel free to visit our website to learn more about us. Or you can check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more advice on managing your business’ communications or how to switch your phone and broadband provider. 


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