After being the foundation of phone networks in the UK for almost four decades, services to ISDN phone lines will soon be shutting down in place of a fully digital network. The switch is due to take place in December 2025, but don’t be mistaken in thinking you can forget about it for the next few years; if your business still relies on these lines, you might have a lot of preparation ahead of you!
A survey conducted this year discovered that although 72% of businesses are currently reliant on ISDN and PSTN lines, a third of SMEs and 17% of large organisations were still unaware of the looming switch-off. Complex infrastructure could mean that migration to an IP-based telephony could take months, so it’s vital you get thinking about your move to the digital network now.
What is ISDN and why is it being switched off?
BT introduced ISDN in the 80s as a way of replacing legacy landlines with a method of digital voice transmission. The purpose of ISDN was to split traditional telephone lines into multiple digital channels so that several phones could be used simultaneously via one physical line.
Since its introduction, technology has advanced past the need for these lines, and ISDN can no longer compete with the speed of broadband internet connection. Therefore, BT has turned its attention to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to better support future demands.
Why make the switch to VoIP?
By the end of 2025, all businesses will have switched over to the digital network, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the switch earlier and start experiencing the benefits of VoIP now. Our partners Microsoft offer a great alternative to traditional ISDN through their Business Voice service which extends their Teams application into a powerful VoIP system called Teams Phone. Here are 5 reasons to switch over now:
1. Access Anywhere
The adoption of hybrid working has created a new need for phone systems to be accessible whether employees are working in the office or from home. With the Teams Phone system, your staff can use the business line to make and receive calls no matter where they’re working.
This also means that people have the freedom to use whichever device is most convenient, be that a PC, a mobile phone, or a Teams-enabled handset.
2. Integrated Communications and Productivity
Reducing the number of platforms your employees have to use during the workday can greatly improve their productivity. Microsoft Teams fully integrates with the Teams phone system, meaning instant messaging, video calls, and file sharing can happen within the same application as phone calls.
Existing familiarity with Microsoft applications also creates less of a learning curve when picking up the new system so you won’t have to worry about a rocky transition period.
3. High-Definition Calls
Some VoIP services are notorious for lacking the voice clarity you’d expect from a traditional phone line, but that isn’t an issue with Teams Phone. Microsoft uses its Azure cloud technology to broadcast audio so that users can feel as though they’re in the same room as the other party.
4. Low Prices
The introduction of VoIP has transformed telephony, and users can now experience much lower monthly phone bills. If you have existing Office 365 licenses, depending on the type of license you hold, Teams telephony will either already be enabled, or you will be able to include it as a small add-on to your subscription.
5. Enterprise-Class Phone Features
Making the switch to IP telephony could give you access to call features that your existing phone system doesn’t offer you. With Teams Phone, you’ll be able to use a range of enterprise-class features such as: auto attendants; hold music; group call pickup; device switching; voicemail transcriptions, and more!
How can I make the switch?
If you want to take advantage of the benefits that VoIP can bring to your business, and save yourself the hassle of switching over to the digital phone system closer to the big ISDN Switch-off, then there’s no better time to start. Migration from ISDN to VoIP can be a large undertaking which is why having an expert on hand to advise and deploy the new system can be key to a successful transition.
To find out more about the ISDN switch-off, and discuss your options for migration get in touch with our team who will be happy to advise on your next steps.