By Emma Lewis, bOnline
The deadline of 5th September has now passed for anyone looking to buy a new landline. As part of the landline switch off due to complete by the end of 2025, it’s now not possible for either businesses or households in the UK to purchase any extra landlines over and above the one(s) they have.
I Run a Small Business. What Are My Options?
With the landline switch-off now well on the way, small businesses are switching to digital alternatives. The fact is, VoIP phones offer a far better quality sound, plus lots of extra features such as video and conference calling, hold music, call divert, access to call analytics data and much more. You also don’t need to be tied to a static phone, as VoIP calls can be made and received on your smartphone, tablet or PC too – great for remote working!
With no more landlines being sold, you may find you come unstuck if you grow your business. Perhaps you take on additional premises or extra staff who need access to their own phone line. The only way you can now do this is by signing up to a VoIP digital phone system and giving your staff access to it. However, there are some real cost savings to be made here, as buying new traditional phone lines, as would’ve happened in the past, it doesn’t come cheap.
How Do VoIP Systems Work?
When you use a traditional copper landline to make phone calls, the sound travels along the wires. These wires are well over 100 years old, are expensive (and difficult) to maintain, and prone to things like interference, especially during bad weather. VoIP however works slightly differently in that sound travels in digital ‘packets’ using the internet. This means all you need is a high speed (preferably fibre) internet connection and away you go.
Calls are often much cheaper with digital phone packages too, again because you’re making calls over the internet. This is particularly the case if you call abroad a lot, because many VoIP providers allow free unlimited calls, plus international calling, as part of their packages.
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How Do I Find a VoIP System For My Small Business?
Working out which VoIP provider to choose from the wide range out there can be a little unnerving. But with a bit of homework, being clear about what features you need and what the various packages include, you should find the one for you pretty easily. It’s also worth looking out for VoIP providers who offer shorter 12 month contracts rather than 18 or 24 months, as this gives you better flexibility.
Some VoIP providers, like BT and Vonage for example, cater towards households and larger businesses. Others, like bOnline, focus entirely on small business including start-ups and freelancers. Many small business owners prefer this, as the service is often more tailored and personal. All the set up work is also often done for you, so it’s simply a case of logging into your dashboard and away you go.
It’s also well worth looking out for a VoIP digital phone provider that offers a free trial. This is a great way to test out all of the business-friendly features on offer, without the commitment.
At TechRound we’ve covered a the landline switch off in a few of our articles which you may find useful: