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Don’t be in the dark about the PSTN switch off

“The end is nigh”, “All good things must pass” and “End of an era” are all phrases that apply to Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). By 2025, it will be no more. But some are still unaware. As many as 40% of resellers are only vaguely aware that PSTN is going to be turned off in the near future. While around a third (31%) of those who do know about it are adopting a ‘wait and see policy’ (BT Wholesale "Insight into the Industry Report", November 2018).

PSTN is from the age of steam

These statistics are a little concerning, especially when you consider that it’s not only an opportunity to improve and develop new product portfolios, but there’s a risk of losing market share by not building a hosted base. It may be, because the deadline is so far away, the reseller market isn’t looking at it as an immediate issue. Equally, it may be that resellers know that in the short-term they’ll earn less selling hosted compared to legacy.

It’s also not that surprising that the reseller market is divided when it comes to adopting new technologies, especially when PSTN has been the backbone of the industry dating back to Alexander Bell. Coupled with so much political and economic uncertainty, it’s probably not high on the agenda.

 

Change in 2025

One thing for certain is that change is going to come. Some people’s reaction to change usually involves a swear word (or two), but change doesn’t have to be negative. It can also drive positive improvements and lay the foundations for a secure future.

Change can also be complex and resellers and their customers need to know that they have a strong and reliable partner capable of delivering equivalent or better voice services post-PSTN. Recognising that there are cost and performance benefits is fundamental to helping customers make the leap to IP sooner rather than later.

 

A very positive difference

There is the potential for resellers to perceive a short-term revenue loss while the customer sees cost reductions. However, moving to IP is an opportunity for resellers to win incremental business, by building a hosted base and positioning themselves for success ahead of the switch off. By taking advantage of lower IP costs, more manageable products and more flexible services today, resellers and their customers can be more competitive.

For resellers to take the long-term advantage they need a strong communications partner who can make the difference. Whether offering a scalable infrastructure that takes away the pain of planning or implementing product strategies tailored to meet specific customer requirements, they need the support of a partner who enables the reseller to focus on their own branding and customer education.

 

A phased approach - moving from legacy to IP

The benefits of moving from legacy to IP via SIP are significant. Reducing the churn for resellers through ‘one platform’ administration, centralising access, consolidating and simplifying infrastructure are just a few. Deployments can also be hybrid solutions with a common service wrap and feature set. Legacy investments can be protected too with a phased migration giving the customer unified communications in tandem with their Private Branch Exchange (PBX) technology.

 

Changing business models

IP is not just disrupting the communications network, it’s disrupting business models too. Resellers need a partner who will develop their approach because IP requires a new business strategy. Unlike the model long associated with PSTN, the new approach will be less long lead time and large margin and more regular, recurring revenue. It is a flexible, simple service model that delivers ‘on demand’ features for an ‘on demand’ economy. This is also a big administrative shift in how resellers do business but the fundamentals are the same - products and services that help customers communicate seamlessly, so they can focus on their core business.

 

Move forward together and success will look after itself

Partnership is key to overcoming problems, to helping customers in terms of technology education and product roadmaps. It’s important that neither us, nor our partners are ever complacent about the future. And we certainly haven’t been. Challenging and exploring the opportunities that the future holds has meant we’ve had to change too. While we’ve been going through these changes we’ve improved processes and developed a variety of new approaches. We’ve had to combine being nimble and value conscious with the scale and roster of products, services and support, to meet pretty much every need reseller customers are likely to have, however the market changes. We’ve had to adopt new technologies, develop new products and services and engage with partners more to develop more flexible, personal, transparent and accountable relationships. For example, we have worked hard to develop a fraud management system, a hybrid journey-based deployment of IP via SIP, a foundation license for PSTN-like requirements in the IP world and an Office UC mobile app for convergence.

 

Success is best when it’s shared

Ultimately, we want to be a better partner - the best partner. We’re doing that by building on our expertise and our hard-won position in the industry. We’re investing millions of pounds in research and development of the platform to make it better for resellers and their customers. We want to be a partner who, underpinned by a strong, robust and innovative network, can support resellers at every touch point. One that helps them deal with change regardless of whatever stage they are at. It’s a conversation based on mutual interest and shared goals, that will secure all of our immediate futures, regardless of what the market, the economy and innovation throws at us.

 

Investing in a better future for everyone

In a recent survey it was interesting to see that nearly a third of respondents believe that the withdrawal of PSTN will hurt BT and open the gates to disruptive international competition. We wouldn’t have invested so heavily in all of our futures if that was the case. We have backed IP because it’s the best way to provide fast, cost-effective and flexible communications services. We have a resilient network built for the 21st century and a roadmap of leading-edge products to help customers do business better, faster and cheaper. Unlike PSTN, we are not trading on our past, but investing in our present and future.

 

If you would like to discuss how you can take advantage of the future today, then please contact us. Together, we can make a difference to your business.

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