BT Openreach have announced that by 2025 all Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) landlines will be transitioned to new digital phone lines and operate using VoIP technology.
For businesses around the UK, this will mean embracing a more flexible and scalable, modern digital solution compared to traditional, older phone lines.
What Will Replace Landlines In 2025?
In 2025, landlines will be replaced with digital VoIP services. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a collection of digital technologies that enable voice calls to be delivered via an Internet connection. This technology ensures conversations can take place without the need for a physical copper landline being installed at the premises.
What Will Replace Landline Phones?
Analogue landline phones will not natively work with VoIP. However, VoIP to analogue telephone adaptors (ATAs) will enable backwards compatibility between analogue phones and the new digital VoIP service.
Alternatively, a dedicated VoIP phone, sometimes known as an IP phone or Cloud phone, can be used with a VoIP service. VoIP phones bring with them the benefit of supporting a broader range of frequencies and codecs, resulting in better call clarity.
Softphones, or VoIP apps on the other hand, can also be used instead of analogue landline phones. In comparison to a VoIP or landline phone, softphones can be used to handle calls on a desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Unlike physical on-premises phones, softphones provide businesses with a degree of flexibility, while also minimising additional hardware and maintenance costs.
Longterm, traditional landline phones will need to be replaced by apps or devices that use VoIP technologies to handle calls over the Internet.
Why Are Analogue Landlines Being Phased Out?
Analogue copper landlines were first introduced in the 1800s, paving the way for the first commercial telephone exchanges and long-distance calls being made. This network of copper wires, undersea cabling, satellites, and roadside cabinets have enabled people all over the world to connect, but technology has marched on.
By 1989, Tim Berners-Lee had invented the World Wide Web which in turn led to the creation of VoIP and digital phone lines. Continued full fibre roll out, as well as advancements in broadband speeds, data and WiFi technologies have meant that high quality conversations are now even easier to conduct via an Internet or data connection.
With these advancements digital phone line set-up has become infinitely faster than installing a business landline, in part as businesses can sidestep tedious installation times where a broadband connection is already present.
For businesses, VoIP can provide an element of portability, simplifying remote working and making office moves less disruptive. Copper landline phone systems unfortunately can’t compete in terms of flexibility, so in situations where staff need to work from multiple locations, on the go, or are employed by multi-office organisations, a more dynamic solution will slice open a ream of new business possibilities.
In contrast to old copper landlines, VoIP and digital phone systems bring with them so many more features. These include features like CRM integration, IVR call menus or call queuing, features that for smaller businesses and SMEs, were previously unaffordable and out of reach.
What Are the Important PSTN Switch Off Dates?
December 2025: The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) will be switched off by December 2025.
September 2023: Since 2020, individual UK areas have seen the sale of PSTN landlines phased out on a location-by-location basis, and as of September 2023, PSTN lines will no longer be available to buy in the UK.
Why Switch From a PSTN Line Before 2025?
Several other countries such as Japan, Sweden and Germany are forging ahead and making the move from analogue to digital, while the Netherlands and Estonia having already switched off their PSTN networks. Globally, from Asia to USA, digital VoIP solutions are seeing a surge in adoption particularly in the healthcare industry and within government due to its adaptability and ease of rollout.
In February 2023, within the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 41% of businesses found the cost of goods or services rising, with energy costs and raw materials in particular contributing to these price increases. Some price rises will inevitably be out of an organisation’s control, but it makes sense to minimise the costs that can be controlled, where possible to do so.
This is precisely why it makes sense to get a head start and transfer your landline before the big PSTN switch off in 2025. Doing so means a reduction in communication costs, hardware costs and ample time to bed in a new phone system within your organisation without any last-minute panics.
Moving up to even a basic plan now will result lower call and maintenance costs for your business, along with an increase in call features such as voicemail to email, time-of-day call routing and more.
For more information about the PSTN switch off and how you can get started with a digital VoIP phone system, check out our in-depth PSTN switch off guide.
If your business is looking to get ahead of the pack and gain a competitive advantage, make sure you tick off the points noted in our checklist for businesses moving to VoIP.
Leaving landlines behind can really transform the way businesses communicate, breaking down borders and opening up collaboration across the world. Gain opportunity through flexibility and make the move today.