Changes are a switching..
We all need to be aware (although some surveys do reveal that a substantial proportion of us still aren’t!) that the way we communicate is modernising rapidly. As we move towards new, more robust technology, it makes change somewhat of an inevitability.
Consequently, it was announced (initially way back in 2015) that Openreach (a branch of the BT Group) will be ‘switching off’ their WLR (Wholesale Line Rental) services completely by the end of December 2025. WLR consists of a range of products and services that utilise the old copper lines.
This will be the most significant event in the telecoms industry for many years and will in turn impact the vast majority of us.
Okay , sounds really interesting, but why are you telling me this?
Well , it’s worth stating that this change will ultimately be for the betterment of everyone. However, if you have already renewed your telecoms contract , taking it beyond 2025 and haven’t upgraded to a VoIP cloud-based system, it may just put you in a bit of a sticky predicament. Unbeknown to you, you may be forced to pay unwanted termination fees for your legacy contract or failing that , a premium just to upgrade with your current provider.
Similarly, any telecoms company who are requesting their client to commit to a legacy contract later than 2025, are essentially doing so with the knowledge that they may face some nasty penalty charges.
Wow, what’s the best way to handle this then?
Don’t panic is the key, there is still plenty of time. You do, however, need to put some plans in place for your communications strategy beyond 2025 that don’t involve this soon-to-be defunct infrastructure. So, why not use the time you have to find the right solution that fits your business?
The first thing to do would be to check your legacy contract. If the end date is 2026 or later, contact your existing supplier and ask them why this has occurred, given that the service itself would be switched off, deeming the contract redundant. Their explanation may guide the way forward for you.
If it ends before the end of 2025, then you at least need to begin to consider options for your business, post legacy contract. The expiration date will give you an idea of how much thinking time is available to you and alongside this, it’s imperative that you check the notice period you have to give to your current provider.
Scope out roughly what you need
It’s good practise to produce a simple plan of the communication system that you need now and also what you may require further down the line :-
Phone numbers – Consider the quantity of phones and phone numbers that you currently utilise in the business and how many there could possibly be in a few years’ time? Also, think about how new technology may change things. For instance, if colleagues currently work with a desk phone but now spend most of their time away from the office , will they be best served using an alternative, such as a smart phone or pc app instead?
Call flow – What are your typical daily call volumes throughout the day, both now and going forward?
Services – Add-ons such as call routing / grouping, video calling, call queuing, an out of office automated assistant and/or voicemail.
Remote working and flexibility – Do you need a system that is flexible and runs seamlessly, irrespective of the location of your employees?
Ad-hoc requirements – Is there anything else that you need from your communications system yet to be taken into account?
So , once you have mapped out a sketch of your requirements, it’s now time to select the best supplier that can provide this for the business.
Approaching a supplier (or several)
You are certainly under no obligation whatsoever to remain with your existing supplier once your contract has expired (although many choose to do). So, have a browse of the internet to research the VoIP cloud-based suppliers / solutions that are available to you.
The technical terminology , functions and abbreviations mentioned may seem complex, at times they may even make you feel slightly dizzy. Whoever is in the running to provide this for you should be able to explain their meanings and their implications in a straightforward and simple manner, avoiding bamboozling you with unnecessary industry jargon. Also, beware of any additional hidden costs.
If you choose wisely, this could pay real dividends and undoubtedly will be a contributing factor to the ongoing success of the business.
A creditable potential supplier will look at the list of requirements that you have jotted down and ask further relevant questions in order to tailor and cost a solution that would fit your company needs perfectly.
It isn’t just about the solution it
self, but the support at your disposal both during the initial implementation stage and ongoing.
It pays to talk to multiple suppliers before making a decision that is such a pivotal one for the business , so that you can effectively compare and contrast.
Making the right choice
If you would like to learn more about preparing your telecoms for the 2025 shutdown, click here to ask a question