22 Mar 2024

Are landlines being phased out? As we witness the gradual shift towards digital alternatives, it's essential to understand the factors driving this transformation and its implications for individuals and businesses alike. The rise of VoIP and cloud-based phone systems is fundamentally altering the way we connect and communicate, offering greater flexibility, cost efficiency, and scalability. As we will explore not only the reasons behind the landlines to be phased out by 2025 but also the exciting opportunities presented by these modern communication solutions like digital phone lines.

From understanding the technological advancements directing this change to navigating the practicalities of transitioning to digital platforms, we will dig deep into the evolving landscape of telephony. Also look into the changes reshaping the telephone industry and equip you with the knowledge and insights to navigate this transformative period effectively.

Why are landlines being phased out?

The shift from traditional landlines to VoIP Hosted PBX or cloud based phone systems is primarily driven by the declining reliability and increasing maintenance costs of older analogue technology. PSTN and ISDN infrastructures lack the speed and scalability required for modern communication demands.The UK's copper landline system traces back to Victorian times and received a significant upgrade in the 1980s. Due to outdated infrastructure, some parts of the UK's network, including century-old copper cables, are not compatible and struggle to keep up with modern technologies. Some other reasons are:

Rise of mobile phones

With the widespread adoption of mobile phones, many individuals and businesses now prefer the convenience and mobility offered by cellular networks.

Cost considerations

Landline services often come with high monthly fees and additional charges for long-distance calls. In contrast, mobile plans may offer more competitive rates, especially for those with bundled services.

Regulatory pressures

Regulatory bodies may impose additional requirements on landline providers, adding to operational complexities and expenses.

Competition from Alternative Providers

Cable companies, internet service providers, and wireless carriers offer bundled services that include voice calling, posing a direct threat to traditional landline providers.

Technological advancements

The emergence of digital communication platforms, such as email, instant messaging, and social media, has reduced the reliance on traditional voice calls for everyday communication.

Who will be affected by the landline switch off?

The forthcoming landline switch off at the end of 2025 will affect all residents and businesses in the UK.

While attention may primarily focus on residential users, particularly vulnerable individuals such as older people without internet access, the impact on business customers should not be underestimated. Many businesses still rely on analogue phone systems for crucial communications.

As of 2020, approximately 2.4 million businesses in the UK continued to utilise analogue phone services, with a significant portion being small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, a notable percentage of large enterprises also employ analogue technology, often for non-voice services.

Small businesses at elevated risk of falling behind

In 2023, data revealed that approximately 70% of UK businesses maintain regular use of landlines, yet over 40% remain unaware of when will landlines be phased out. By the close of 2025, landlines are slated to cease functioning as the telecom industry progresses towards migrating all UK phone lines from the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to a fully digital network.

Can I retain my landline phone number when switching to a digital phone line?

Absolutely! In fact, many sole traders and small businesses prefer to keep their existing numbers to avoid the costs associated with changing stationery, marketing materials, or vehicle branding. Moreover, maintaining a familiar number can be crucial for businesses with an established customer base, as altering it may have adverse effects.

When opting for a new digital phone system such as VoIP, ensure that your current landline number can be transferred, as many providers offer assistance with this process. Furthermore, you may even have the option to retain multiple numbers, beneficial for those with multiple business lines.

Furthermore, certain providers can furnish you with a virtual phone number for areas where your business isn't physically situated. For instance, acquiring an 020 number for London, a practice entirely legal, can help in attracting more London-based clients.

What will replace landline phones?

The primary options for most businesses will be internet phone services, or VoIP. These use the same connectivity infrastructure as your broadband connection, turning your voice calls into digital data that can be transmitted at high speed. They offer a number of advantages over traditional landline services, including lower costs and easy set up, with no installation visits or engineering work required. Additionally, advancements in wireless technologies and the proliferation of internet connectivity pave the way for further innovations in communication, potentially rendering landline phones obsolete in the long run.

Advantages of VoIP technology Over landline telephones

As landlines decline, VoIP phone systems are gaining popularity as a modern alternative due to its:

Cost efficiency through inclusive call packages

Making calls over VoIP is typically cheaper, with providers often offering flat monthly rates instead of per-call charges. This results in significant cost savings, particularly as call volumes increase.

Scalability with business growth

Scaling a landline system is complex and expensive, requiring additional wiring and hardware installations. In contrast, VoIP systems only need an internet connection and device, enabling simple scalability with just a few clicks to add new users.

Cloud-based accessibility for enhanced flexibility

VoIP allows calls to be made and received from anywhere with an internet connection, providing unmatched flexibility features such as virtual extensions, call routing, and voicemail-to-email integration. Users can access VoIP platforms like Wavetel Business from any device, be it a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

Integration with digital platforms

VoIP technology seamlessly integrates with other digital communication tools, allowing users to make calls from their computers, smartphones, or tablets using internet connectivity.

Seamless integration of business-friendly features

Digital phone systems, such as VoIP, offer an array of features tailored to enhance business communications. These include call forwarding, business hours announcements, hold music, free internal calling, access to call analytics, voicemail, video calling, and more.

Enhanced competition

VoIP platforms like Wavetel Business provide small businesses with access to advanced tools and features previously exclusive to larger competitors with hefty budgets for expensive hardware.

What steps should consumers take before landline switch off?

Before the landline switch-off, consumers should take several steps to ensure a smooth transition:

Check communication from providers

Stay informed by keeping an eye out for any communication from your telecommunications provider regarding the switch-off. They should notify you about the changes and any necessary actions you need to take.

Evaluate alternative options

Research and evaluate alternative communication options such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services or mobile phone plans that can replace traditional landline services.

Assess equipment compatibility

Determine if your existing equipment, such as home phone line or fax machines, is compatible with the alternative communication options you are considering. If not, you may need to invest in new telephone system equipment.

Update contact information

Ensure that your contact information is up to date with your telecommunications provider to receive important notifications and updates regarding the switch-off.

Notify contacts

Inform your contacts, including family members, friends, and business associates, about the upcoming switch-off of landline phone service and provide them with any new contact information or alternative ways to reach you.

Plan for emergencies

If your landline is currently used for emergency calls, make sure you have alternative methods for accessing emergency services, such as a mobile phone or a VoIP service that supports emergency calling.

Budget for changes

Consider any potential changes in costs associated with switching to alternative communication options and adjust your budget accordingly.

Switching to VoIP with Wavetel Business and beyond

Switching to VoIP is a straightforward process that can enhance your communication capabilities while offering cost savings and flexibility. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you make the transition smoothly:

Evaluate VoIP providers

Begin by researching and evaluating different VoIP providers to find one that best fits your needs. Consider factors such as pricing, features, customer support, and reliability. Each provider offers different packages tailored to various business or personal needs.

Consider Wavetel Business

Wavetel Business is a notable provider of VoIP services across the UK. With its reputation for reliability and a range of features, Wavetel may be a suitable choice for your VoIP needs. Explore their offerings and compare them with other providers to make an informed decision.

Sign up for service

Once you have chosen a VoIP provider, sign up for their service online any sales team representative will contact you within minutes. Provide necessary information such as your business or personal details, billing information, and any specific requirements you may have.

Port existing phone number (Optional)

If you wish to keep your existing phone number when switching to VoIP, most providers, including Wavetel Business, offer number porting services. Contact your Wavetel Business support or sales team to initiate the porting process and provide any necessary documentation.

Test and troubleshoot

Once your VoIP phone system is set up, test it to ensure everything is functioning correctly. Make test calls, check for any issues with call quality or connectivity, and troubleshoot any problems that may arise.


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