Switching To VoIP: What Small Business Owners Really Want To Know

By Emma Lewis, bOnline

UK landlines are being switched off – permanently. By December 2025 landlines will be obsolete, so everyone – including businesses and households alike – are moving to VoIP digital phone systems as the alternative.


Why Is The Landline Switch Off Happening?


The UK’s traditional copper landline network is well over 100 years old and no longer meets the needs of modern communications technology. Not only that, but it’s getting much harder and more expensive to maintain too. Now really is the time to go digital or go bust.


What Is A VoIP Digital Phone System?


When you make or receive a phone call using a VoIP digital phone system, sound is transmitted over the internet rather than via copper wires. This is done in digital ‘packets’ which means the sound quality is much higher. You also aren’t tied to one location as you are with a landline handset: in fact, you can access your VoIP phone system from any internet connected device, including your smartphone, tablet or PC. All you need is a stable, fast (preferably fibre) internet connection and away you go.


What Other Benefits Are There To VoIP Digital Phone Systems?


VoIP digital phone systems come with a whole host of business-friendly features that make running your small business easier. These include call divert, access to call analytics data, hold music, voicemail, video calling and much more. You can also choose any number you like (yes, even an 020 number!)

Alternatively, you can keep your existing number if you want to.

These systems also give your small business a more professional look. No more relying on your mobile phone, or missing important calls while you’re on holiday or out of working hours. Plus, if you move premises or take on more staff members, you don’t need to go to the expense of adding new phone lines as you would’ve done before.

Will Switching To VoIP Be Expensive?


Obviously you’ll need to choose the right VoIP provider who offers the right VoIP package at the right price. But generally speaking, you’re in control of what you sign up for and how much you want to spend. Having said that, it’s worth doing your homework and making sure you’re not tied into a long contract that reduces your flexibility. For instance, many small business owners opt for a 12-month contract instead of an 18 or 24 month one.


What Are The Main Things I Should Look Out For When Choosing A VoIP Provider?


No two VoIP digital phone providers are the same, so you’ll need to look around for one that fits your small business best. Ask yourself things like:

  • How many users will need access to my VoIP system?
  • How much do I want to spend and how long would I like my contract to be?
  • Do I need any hardware, such as a VoIP phone or headset?
  • Do I need unlimited free calling minutes included in my monthly price?
  • What VoIP features will I need most?
  • Is my broadband connection strong and stable enough to support VoIP? (as mentioned, fibre is always best)
  • Does the VoIP provider I’m considering specialise in small businesses specifically? How easy is it to contact their customer service team?
  • Am I planning on making international calls?


Will There Be Downtime While I Switch?


Not if you choose a provider who is well established and specialises in the needs of small businesses. For instance, if you go with a company like bOnline, your switch is done for you remotely. That means you don’t have any engineers turning up at your home or workplace, and there’s no downtime – so no worries about missed calls.


Do Any VoIP Providers Offer A Free Trial?


Yes! They certainly do, and in fact it’s again well worth shopping around for one that lets you try out their service for free. It’s a great way to see how you get on with the VoIP features on offer, without the commitment.


Don’t Leave It Until The Last Minute!


Although 2025 still seems like ages away, we all know time flies. There’s bound to be a last minute scrabble as the deadline approaches so you’ll need to plan and shop around early for the best deals.

The landline switch off is coming – is your business ready?