The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) allows for traditional fixed line telephony over copper telephone lines using analogue signalling. In addition to traditional voice services, many specialised services that use the PSTN will need to make the move to digital solutions before the December 2025 PSTN/ISDN switch off and September 2023 “Stop-Sell” deadlines. It’s estimated that over 2 million local UK businesses will be impacted, creating a surge in opportunities with the move to completely digital. This blog will highlight the different opportunities that have arisen, how different digital solutions compare and how known connectivity issues can be solved with new advancements.
Many businesses believe the decision is strictly between switching to Hosted Voice (VoIP) or mobile, however, it’s not just a question of which solution to switch to, it’s finding the correct match to how a business operates. For larger businesses, VoIP could be considered a more practical solution, allowing multiple devices to be integrated, whether landline or mobile, and can reduce the downtime caused by repairs or issues with the copper wires. Many, however, have concerns over the overall cost, security, reliability, and QoS of a VoIP solution versus the perceived benefits. For many businesses such a heavy investment may not be needed.
The shift to mobile in recent years has seen ‘Mobilepreneurs’ on the rise, with over 31,000 new smartphone-based businesses predicted in the next 3 years, according to O2 Business. With micro-businesses making up 96% of all businesses in the UK, the rise in reliance on mobile voice and data services could lower the cost of tariffs even further as mobile becomes a more widespread option for small businesses across the country. With the addition of mobile applications that mimic traditional PBX functionality, businesses of all sizes could see a cost-benefit of switching to a ‘mobile only’ communications strategy.
With these fundamental changes, what opportunities arise? VoIP is still a choice for solutions where voice is needed such as lifts comms and door systems, however, there are key opportunities in specialised services, by utilising 4G/5G mobile data connectivity instead. Primary services running on ADSL can be replaced with a stronger data connection. Street furniture, such as traffic lights, causes stress, time and demand heavy costs when digging up roads for fibre. Instead, there is a massive opportunity to switch to M2M IoT mobile data connectivity through multi-network SIMs in place of the old L2TP to eliminate unnecessary cost, time, roadworks and disruption. Examples are already out there, with businesses using intelligent mobile data to support major government public body’s to move street furniture endpoints away from the PSTN and to monetize these, often receiving millions in revenue. The UK security system industry is thriving with new opportunities waiting for change, it’s largely made up of IoT devices that rely on the PSTN and is worth £1.5bn alone. Using M2M IoT mobile data can not only aid the transition but provide better benefits and control for businesses across the country, while delivering greater financial opportunities for providers. Construction, healthcare and even the alarm industry are all in need of new connections due to the switch off and are some of the biggest industries across the UK, with 1 million alarms alone waiting to be migrated from the PSTN. The advantage of mobile means customers can be connected right away, avoiding fibre installation delays, and preventing the anxiousness of the 2025 switch off and 2023 “stop-sell” deadline looming upon us.
With access to multiple mobile networks, M2M IoT SIMs can prioritise the strongest signal during network outages and can switch automatically, preventing maintenance issues or loss of connection. Despite 95% of the UK having access to fibre broadband, it’s not always the right solution, especially for businesses who need to connect sites right away, or those wanting to avoid long contract commitments. Legacy issues surrounding signal strength and QoS in remote locations are solved, as multi-network M2M IoT SIMs will connect to the strongest signal available and are network agnostic. Meaning if a cellular network problem occurs, it will simply automatically swap to the next strongest alternative network. Concerns on data caps and the amount of control over the data usage can be squashed, the level of customisation and the management tools available with M2M IoT SIMs will leave businesses and providers with more control and flexibility than before.
To conclude, it’s not a question of which Hosted Voice (VoIP) or Mobile solution looks better or is more affordable, it’s about how the solution will match with a business’s operations and what benefits it will bring. The vast opportunities brought about by the switch off, not only for voice solutions but for all other specialist services, provides great financial openings and benefits waiting to be grasped. M2M IoT Mobile Connectivity is a massive opportunity for the Channel. Partner with Cellhire and discover new solutions to grow your M2M IoT revenue. Start getting involved today.
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