When is the best time to move from a traditional PBX phone system to a hosted PBX?

A traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) operates via a network of physical copper wires known as the Private Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). On the other hand, the modern hosted PBX makes calls through the internet. These calls are called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and this technology is frequently hailed as the future of telephony.

But, what are the benefits of such technology? As such, do you really need to switch from a traditional phone to VoIP? And, if so, when is the best time to do it? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of a hosted PBX

The benefits of a hosted phone system stem from the fact that it is based in the cloud. This means that it can be operated through a handset that supports VoIP calling, but you can also make and receive calls through any device with internet access, such as a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Due to this, hosted phone systems can allow businesses to take calls from on the go without the need for a separate company phone. It also supports remote or hybrid working environments as, no matter where the user is located, the call will appear to originate from the location set by the business.

In addition, hosted phone systems can easily be integrated into video conferencing and live chat softwares in order to make a unified communications package. A good example of this is Gamma’s Microsoft Teams Telephony (https://www.gamma.co.uk/products/microsoft-teams-telephony/), which can bolster Microsoft Teams’ own offerings for a more comprehensive UC solution.

When should you move to a hosted PBX?

In the UK, the PSTN and its Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) are owned by British Telecoms (BT) Openreach. Back in 2015, BT announced that they would be switching off the PSTN and ISDN in 2025, moving the nation to a fully digital, fibre-based service, which will operate via Internet Protocol (IP).

Though the switch off itself isn’t until 2025, there will be a blanket UK-wide stop-sell of Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) from 2023. WLR is when your telephone provider essentially rents the usage of the copper wire infrastructure from Openreach for you to use. Thus, the stop-sell of WLR means you will only be able to take out telephony or broadband packages that use IP from 2023.

Of course, this means that, if you are looking to update your telephony package in the next couple of months, the time to move to a hosted PBX is now.

Even if you think you could get a couple more years out of your traditional PBX, no one wants to wake up one morning to realise their phone is switched off, especially elderly citizens and businesses that rely on telephony for day-to-day operations.

Not only that, but the sooner you implement the new phone system, the longer your employees will have to undertake training and gain the necessary experience using the brand new system.

As you can see, switching to a hosted system sooner rather than later will future proof your business, ensuring that you have the necessary tools, skills, and infrastructure in place to weather the PSTN switch off.

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