Less Than 50 Days Until Landline Sales Stop: Is Your Business Ready?

By Emma Lewis, bOnline

From September 2023, BT Openreach will stop selling analogue phone lines to both residential and business customers. It’s a big deal, forming an important part of the UK landline shutdown that’s due to complete by the end of 2025.

Who Will Be Affected By The Landline Stop-Sell?

Basically anyone who wants to purchase a new landline from September will no longer be able to. So this is everyone from residents to small businesses to large corporations.

I Run a Small Business and Use a Landline – What Should I Do?

According to figures from Openreach, around 70% of UK businesses are still using landlines to run their business, with over 40% still unaware of BT’s looming Big Switch Off deadline.

Although the full landline switch off isn’t due to complete for another couple of years, it’s well worth arming yourself with the facts now so you don’t get left behind. Many people still aren’t aware it’s actually happening, so there’s bound to be a last-minute rush to sign up to digital alternatives like VoIP.

Plus, it may take a little time to do your homework on this, there are many VoIP providers out there and choosing the ideal one for your business is essential. For example, some VoIP systems offer more business-friendly features than others, whilst others tie you into longer (or shorter) contracts.

Why is The Landline Switch-Off Happening?

The current landline network needs to be replaced because the technology is old and it’s get harder to maintain. Digital (or cloud) systems like VoIP use the internet to make phone calls, so all you need is a stable internet connection – preferably fibre. Your existing landline provider should be in touch with you soon to explain.

I Tend To Only Use My Mobile. Why Would I Need a Digital System Like VoIP? 

It’s true that when you’re first starting out as a sole trader or freelancer, your mobile phone might be enough to deal with your incoming and outgoing calls. But as you grow, you’re likely to find it’s not enough.

Calls can be missed if potential new customers or clients ring out of hours for example. What if you’re away on holiday too, or your mobile phone is out of signal range or battery power? You’ll find yourself literally juggling work and home 24/7, not only missing calls but potentially irritating your customers when they can’t get through.

The other problem with relying solely on your mobile is that if you take on even just one extra member of staff you’ll need them to be able to take calls too. So you want a digital system that can be accessed by any of your team, from anywhere in the world. Roll on VoIP.

What Other Benefits Are There To Switching To VoIP?

Besides the fact you’ll protect your business from the landline switch-off, there are many other benefits to switching to VoIP.

For example, VoIP systems can be accessed not just from a VoIP handset but also from your smartphone, laptop or tablet. This makes it extremely convenient when working remotely, and as many people as you like can have access. 

Then there’s the business-friendly features that not only help your business look more professional but mean you offer better customer service too. For example, call divert allows calls to be diverted to any member of your team you want, plus you’ve got things like hold music, voicemail and video calling too.

Then there’s the money-saving element. VoIP packages are often a fixed monthly amount that include call minutes and line rental. You may even be able to add an internal calling package if you make a lot of calls abroad.

Many people don’t realise that you can also transfer your existing landline number over to your VoIP line. This is great if your business has been established for a while and you don’t want to switch to a number that your customers aren’t familiar with (not to mention the costs of changing stationery or vehicle livery).

You can even choose an 020 number, for example if you want to attract more London-based customers. This is perfectly legal, even if you’re not actually London based! In fact it can be a great way of expanding your reach.

Don’t Leave It Too Late

Start comparing VoIP providers now to find the best one for your business. With the stop-sale just a couple of months away, time is of the essence.