The switch off: preparing for the all IP world

In 2025, all PSTN and ISDN phone lines will be switched off. Every service will change to all-IP, marking the biggest shake up of the telecoms industry in 30 years. 

2025 will roll around very quickly and we understand that change doesn’t always come easily. Businesses have lots of questions surrounding the switch and what it will mean for them. To ease the transition and to better understand how our partners can support them, we spoke to three groups of organisations who find themselves at different stages of their IP journey; current IP-users, non-users which are aware of IP and non-users which aren’t.

In our focus groups we learned that:

  • While awareness of the switch-off was low among some groups, after the benefits were explained, they were encouraged by the development and saw it as progress
  • There are concerns around bandwidth requirements to support IP setups, installation congestion and ROI on recent PBX investment 
  • Organisations who possess fewer digital skills believe they will be less able to take advantage of the many benefits all-IP setups provide.

So, how should partners communicate the switch-off to their customers?

Communicating as quickly as possible 

You need to tell businesses right away. This will allow them to start making plans and preparing for the change. Your first messages should focus on the immediate changes of the switch-off. Such as, what it is and why and when it’s happening.

When approaching the switch, businesses will be asking, how long will it take? What are the benefits for me? Be ready to answer these questions by pointing out the benefits of the switch for customers.  Explain the enhanced flexibility, efficiencies, cash savings and increased mobility the switch will bring. These reasons will encourage them to switch sooner, rather than later.

Be consistent with your messaging around the switch. Providers are often the first port of call for many, particularly micro businesses and SMEs. So you need to ensure your messaging around the transition continuously points out the benefits and the advantages of transitioning sooner. This is especially important when it comes to micro businesses, who were the most unaware of IP developments, and are less likely to accept change and wary of disruption. 

Late adopters (particularly smaller organisations and those who are not tech savvy) will need more encouragement to switch, with messaging becoming more bespoke as we get closer to the deadline.

Choosing the right language 

The technology landscape has such a wide variety of buzzwords that it can be tricky to settle on the most suitable terminology. Words have evolved to mean different things to different organisations. You may need to customise the language you use around the switch-off for each specific group. For example: 

  • Internet: descriptive and easy to understand so best for micros and less tech savvy
  • VOIP and IP: common terms with wide reach, best for SME and larger corporations 
  • Cloud: regarded as the future for many, although the less tech savvy have security concerns, again best for SMEs and corps 
  • Digital: broader than cloud and has numerous applications and not strictly accurate for the switch over (ISDN is also digital), best to use for marketing.

An accelerated roadmap to 2025 

Ultimately, there are strong reasons for switching sooner rather than later. Early adopters will make sure their businesses have enough time and resources to fully research their options and invest in the solutions that are right for them. Every organisation will be in a different position as they approach the switch to all-IP, but the industry has seen more accelerated digital adoption in the past few months than in the past few years, and there are so many opportunities ahead. 

Communication will play a vital role around the switch. Make sure your strategies are immediate, clear and adaptable, so that you can address the concerns of different groups and emphasise the many benefits. 

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