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ISDN Is Being Switched Off In 2025: Here’s What You Need To Know

Employee dialling a client on phone

ISDN came into being in the 1980s, and at the time, it was a real game changer for the telephony industry. It enabled simultaneous voice and data transmission over digital lines, effectively meaning improved voice quality and the ability to connect to the internet without disrupting telephone services.

However, it’s become increasingly obsolete. In the UK, both ISDN and PSTN networks will be switched off entirely. But don’t fret! There are a range of accessible, valuable, and cost-efficient alternatives on the market that offer better bang for your buck. In this piece, we get you in the loop about the switch-off and the alternatives that are available.

When Will ISDN Be Switched Off?

In the UK, ISDN is set to be switched off by the end of 2025 although there is not a specific cut-off date set just yet. In 2023, access to the purchase of new ISDN services ceased and only remains for businesses that had already purchased them beforehand.
With the cut-off point being within 2 years’ time, businesses still using ISDN will need to make preparations to make the switch to a different kind of telephony. Here are some of the types of solutions available today:

Alternatives To ISDN Telephony in the UK

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)

A highly popular choice for businesses transitioning from ISDN due to its cost-effectiveness and range of capabilities, VoIP offers geographic flexibility, scalability, and the ability to use the system on various smart devices. VoIP enables businesses to conduct quality calling over an internet connection as opposed to traditional cabled telephony. It takes a minimum in hardware investments to get started with it and offers recovery options that help to ensure business continuity.

SIP Trunking

SIP trunking is another viable option that is particularly suitable for businesses that have recently invested in a phone system or an on-site PBX. SIP trunking uses VoIP technology to connect a company’s phone system over the internet. This approach gives businesses flexibility and scalability, including the ability to maintain the same phone number regardless of location without additional call forwarding costs. It also enables easy adjustment of your communication channels to cater to flexing demands.

Hybrid Phone Systems

Hybrid phone systems combine various connection technologies together in different mixes, including ISDN, analogue, digital, and IP based solutions, into a single modern system. For this reason, it’s a favourable option for businesses already using these technologies. Hybrid systems offer smooth migrations from traditional to IP phones, cost savings, and enhanced security by offering maintained control over the phone network. They also support international calling operations more cost-effectively and provide a blend of on-premise and cloud-hosted features.

Hosted Phone Systems

Hosted phone systems are a particular type of VoIP that also removes the need for big upfront capital investments to run physical hardware. Instead, the hardware is hosted by a service provider, offering its functionality without needing to maintain and manage it on your premises. Because it is cloud-hosted, it’s easy to re-configure and scale your telephony flexibly to your needs.

Making The Switch From ISDN: Key Steps to Take

The specifics of the transition process for each business will be different, but there are some key steps you can take:

1.Audit Your Current Telephony System and Needs

This involves taking stock of your current system and the needs that you have for the telephony solution that your business uses next.
Consider how many phones and lines you have; how unanswered calls are handled and the features you are using across your telephony services. Do you need international calling? Are you interested in enabling employees to use the system remotely?
By accounting for your current setup and needs you’ll have a clear picture of the criteria that needs to be met by the new solution, but given that this is also an opportunity, it’s also a great time to consider new features and capabilities that newer telephony systems can offer.

2.Choose A New Provider and Telephony Solution

Now that you have a clear understanding of your needs and current setup, you can discover the best solution for your business.
It can be helpful to have a checklist to use as you compare different providers or consult with IT service providers if you’d like help with the process. Bearing in mind that this is an opportunity to upgrade the way your business does telephony both now and in terms of your future needs, this can also be expanded to include other desirable features.
Alongside functionality, look out for other important factors such as support services for the solution, cyber security and compliance, and ease of use for your team.

3.Create An Implementation Plan

With a crystalised picture of the solution that is right for your business, you can plan the implementation.
Start with the bigger picture milestones and objectives you would like to achieve, and like creating a film script, fill in the details for getting there. You can work with a managed IT services provider to help you to do this more seamlessly.

From the outset, take care to make sure your infrastructure will support the new system and develop a contingency plan if anything goes wrong in the migration. A phased approach can minimise risk for your business. The particular considerations will vary by the business and technology, but broadly, your implementation will want to factor in aspects such as:

• Infrastructure for your new telephony solution
• Any hardware integrations
• Wrapping cyber security measures around the software, hardware, and supporting infrastructure
• Meeting regulatory requirements (e.g call recordings and protecting sensitive information)
• Integration with other technology (e.g a CRM integration) and the introduction of new features enabled by your new telephony solution
• Communicating the change to staff and providing onboarding
• Testing of the new telephony solution across different scenarios
• Collaborating with the vendor and getting support

4. Roll Out The Implementation

Now you can execute the implementation plan for your business. Take care to maintain consistent communication and feedback loops amongst your team and with the vendor to address emergent issues and to ensure there are no stones unturned.
Before the go-live, test your new telephony system to make sure it works as planned ahead of your customers interfacing with it. Following a detailed implementation plan and checklists should ensure a smooth transition for your business.

Final Thoughts

The world is becoming more innovative and connected. While ISDN has served a valuable purpose in offering a foundation for modern telephony and connectivity, there are now better solutions on the market that can equip businesses with the cost-effective tools that they need to conduct calling seamlessly and efficiently.
In our next piece, we will explore VoIP solutions in more detail, covering the capabilities and features that they can offer to businesses like yours, if you’re not using them.

Solution Consultants – Managed IT that Supports the Success of Reading’s Businesses

Based in Reading, Solution Consultants provides IT Support, Telecoms, and Cloud solutions for SMEs across Berkshire and the Thames Valley. We get to know your business, its challenges and goals, and deploy scalable and agile technology solutions that make a real difference.
We specialise in simplifying IT, making valuable technology more accessible than ever before. We believe technology has the power to transform your business and open access to new markets. Need a hand with a tech challenge, or getting the best from your tech more broadly? Get in touch with us today. We’ll be glad to meet with you, listen, and provide actionable insights and guidance that move you forward.

Transitioning beyond ISDN and navigating the 2025 switch off

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