If you’re thinking about using the PSTN Switch Off as a springboard to a long-term business strategy that embraces the opportunities of digital, then read on. In this article, we’re going to take you through some of the advantages of Unified Communications (UC) tools, cloud computing platforms and digital collaboration.

Renting DVDs by post. That incredible hairstyle you had in your early teens. Your current analogue phone system. Believe it or not, they all have a little something in common.

All three were great ideas at the time. But they are all just no longer appropriate.

Take your company telephone system for instance. If it’s based on traditional analogue technology, then it’s going to go out of fashion pretty quickly. That’s because the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is about to be switched off for good. From December 2025, anything your company has linked to the PSTN will stop working. It’s as simple as that.

The PSTN Switch Off and digital switchover mean cloud-based telephony will become a necessity for all small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It also presents a great opportunity for larger SMEs to improve their wider company infrastructure and get the upper hand over competitors.

A brief history of PSTN

The UK’s PSTN was introduced back in 1876 to enable analogue voice communications to be sent over copper wires. Then, in the 1980s, the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was incorporated into the PSTN. This allowed digital communications and data distribution to be added alongside voice, ushering in the age of the internet.

Since that time, the usage of digital communications has skyrocketed, and the demand for rapid connectivity has outstripped what these traditional technologies were designed to deliver. That’s why Openreach will turn off all PSTN and ISDN services in December 2025, although a phased shutdown means some areas, such as Salisbury and Mildenhall, will lose these services before that final date.

By January 2026, all phone lines in the UK will be digital, which means they will use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) instead of the traditional PSTN.

The benefits of VoIP vs PSTN

VoIP provides a wide range of benefits for your business. But let’s start with the most basic benefit. If you don’t implement a VoIP solution by December 2025, your phones will not work.

You could rely solely on mobile phones for your business and do away with traditional phone numbers altogether, but it isn’t advisable. We’ve already explored the reasons why it’s a bad idea to abandon your landline completely.

VoIP also presents a cost-saving opportunity when compared with PSTN, so the faster you switch, the faster you’ll save money. You’ll also enjoy clearer voice quality. Providing you have a stable internet connection with good bandwidth, your calls will be crisp and clear, with no delay or dropouts. That’s in stark contrast to analogue calls, which are susceptible to interference, faulty cabling and even bad weather conditions.

VoIP is entirely portable as well. You and your employees can use the same telephone number regardless of location. By using laptop and mobile phone-based apps, you take your business number with you, and callers will have no idea that you’re operating from anywhere other than your registered office.

It’s highly scalable, too. With the right provider, you’ll be able to adjust your preferences and purchase additional lines as you need them.

How to supercharge your VoIP

Although VoIP is a communications technology, it can also unlock wider opportunities for your business. By thinking about digital transformation, collaborative communications and cloud computing as a whole, you can combine applications and services into a single package. This is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). UCaaS combines six communications functions, namely:

  • Enterprise telephony, which takes care of all your traditional telephone-based activity.
  • Remote meetings enable your employees, contacts and customers to connect using audio or video-based conferencing.
  • Instant messaging, allowing real-time online chat over an internet connection.
  • Mobility lets employees register on any telephone in the organisation, or a mobile phone or laptop, and load that device with their extension number, data and settings.
  • Unified messaging gathers communications from different platforms, such as emails and voice messages, and integrates them into a single interface where they can be read and prioritised.
  • Communications-enabled business processes to automate some of your communications, such as outbound calls and SMS messaging.

The UCaaS infrastructure is operated, maintained and delivered by your provider, so everything is taken care of for you for a monthly subscription charge.

The benefits of UCaaS for larger SMEs

By embracing a UCaaS platform, larger SMEs will reap the same benefits as those that can be enjoyed by smaller businesses, such as improved efficiencies, greater productivity, an enhanced customer experience, and system scalability.

However, larger SMEs also have a lot more to gain from UCaaS, with shared digital workspaces, remote tools and cloud-based storage enabling opportunities like:

  • Improved cross-functional collaboration. As your business gets bigger, siloes can begin to emerge. Teams may become increasingly separated, particularly when hybrid working is introduced into the equation. The right UCaaS solution can break down those inter-departmental and geographical barriers.
  • Aligning individuals and teams with wider company goals. In addition to the potential for silo mentalities, without a UCaaS solution, larger SMEs can fall foul of focusing on team goals and KPIs that aren’t necessarily in step with the wider company direction.
  • Identifying and acting on opportunities and trends. UCaaS can uncover useful information about the trends and growth-making activities in your business. You’ll also be able to identify bottlenecks in any of your workflows and take action to alleviate them.
  • Accelerate revenue growth. Taking the UCaaS route won’t only create cost savings, but it can also build better customer relationships. By eliminating service bottlenecks, routing customers more effectively and helping your disparate teams to work together seamlessly, you’ll be well on the way to boosting revenues and growing profit margins.

Are you ready to move your business forward?

The PSTN Switch Off could give you the momentum you need to transform your business. It could even save you money and get you out of trouble, unlike your old DVD collection. If you’re struggling to get the advice you need from your current supplier, help is at hand…

1–10 employees?

XLN is standing by

XLN is more than happy to help businesses with up to ten employees make the most of the opportunity provided by the PSTN Switch Off.

11–250 employees?

Daisy has got you covered

Daisy Communications has experts dedicated to keeping SMEs working, and they’ll be able to talk you through the options available to your business.