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It’s the end
of the line

Why communications providers need to inject all-IP urgency now

With only two years to go before all business customers need to have completed their migration from analogue to digital networks, Megabuyte – a leading source of independent intelligence on UK technology and digital businesses – has produced a whitepaper analysing where communication providers are in their journey in getting their customers ready.


The public switched telephone network (PSTN) has been the backbone of the UK’s fixed line network for decades. However, as the country uses more advanced technological solutions like smartphones, apps, collaboration tools and IoT, the PSTN can’t keep up with demand.


To ensure the country stays connected every phone line in the UK will be digital-first with calls routed over Internet Protocol (IP) by 2027 - a move which is supported by the government and Ofcom.

Commissioned by BT Wholesale, Megabuyte’s research and accompanying analysis explores the scale of the PSTN switch-off, the approaches taken by communications providers, the benefits of switching and much more. In this blog, we identify the whitepaper’s top three takeaways for you. 

1. Smaller communication providers need more support than larger counterparts

Small communications providers

The research found that smaller communications providers exhibited lower levels of preparedness compared to larger ones. This is due to several factors including limited sales, engineering and leaner operational resources, meaning that navigating the PSTN switch-off whilst sustaining ongoing operations is complex.


That’s why it’s crucial smaller communications providers partner with organisations who not only have the expertise, but that they can trust too. Our Partner Plus programme gives our partners access to ready-to-go learning materials and industry experts, who act as an extension of in-house teams, empowering even the smallest of service providers with wide-reaching knowledge.

Large communications providers

Larger communications providers have been actively engaged in the PSTN switch-off process, with most having established migration strategies under the supervision of dedicated project managers. In particular, larger resellers, MSPs and vendors are working to prevent a last-minute rush, with marketing and education playing a key role.


Some larger communications providers launched promotional campaigns to alert customers of the PSTN switch-off as far back as two years ago. Other all-IP preparation activities included salespeople being trained on new digital products, in order to prioritise the sale of all-IP solutions, with some providers also self-halting the sale of analogue products ahead of the formal stop sell.

2. A lack of public awareness remains a hurdle

Megabuyte determined that while the channel is clearly well-informed about the PSTN switch-off. End-user awareness still remains low, with disparities existing.


Larger end-users are generally more aware of the impeding transition to all-IP – thanks to the presence of dedicated IT teams who are responsible for staying in tune with industry trends and changes. In contrast, smaller end-users are seemingly experiencing from a communications oversight due to the absence of a dedicated IT team.


The challenge of low migration rates is that very soon the analogue lines that end-users rely on to run their businesses will no longer be serviced. Public and private organisations rely on the PSTN for mission-critical workloads, and they need to be migrated as soon as possible to prevent potential downtime. However, with communications providers’ customer migration rates ranging from 5% to 30%, there’s still a long way to go.


Partners aren’t in this alone and BT Wholesale is doing everything to assist in the education of end-users. For example, as part of our Partner Plus programme, we provide partners with an all-IP campaign in-a-box that includes marketing collateral that can easily be integrated into their own brand guidelines whilst providing end-users with clear information about the switch-off. 

3. The benefits of the switch-off to everyone

The move to digital networks opens up huge opportunities for communications providers to diversify their portfolio and increase revenue. Some communications providers described the PSTN switch-off as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to gain market share. Those that provide exceptional customer service, offer a wide range of services and collaborate with customers to address concerns will be well positioned to build their customer base.


Communications providers who have been able to migrate most of their customers are already reaping the benefit of reducing customer churn. End-users who have moved to all-IP networks are enjoying better functionality and more reliable services – meaning they’re likely to stay with their communications provider.


Ultimately, the decommission of the PSTN and the move to all-IP has enabled communications providers to invest in better systems, new technologies and spearheaded a wave of innovation. Together, this not only future proofs the channel as an industry, but also end-users' connectivity. 

Embrace the digital future now

The next year will be pivotal as the UK preps to complete the PSTN switch-off by 2027. The move to all-IP will deliver a better-connected country that’s prepped for the future, while offering channel partners the opportunity to increase customer stickiness, expand solution portfolios and better service customers. All of this leads to higher revenues and business growth.


Communications providers are integral to success and we’re at a critical point in the journey to all-IP. There’s no longer any time to wait. If they haven’t already, communications providers must inject a sense of urgency into their end-user and guide them in their digital journeys now.


What are you waiting for? Read the whitepaper now

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