Preparing for the PSTN Switch-Off : Crucial Role of Resellers

Get ready for the PSTN switch-off in 2025. Learn why businesses must act now and how resellers play a crucial role in the transition.
Get ready for the PSTN switch-off in 2025. Learn why businesses must act now and how resellers play a crucial role in the transition.

The PSTN is being switched off in 2025, but many businesses are not yet ready for this and resellers have a crucial role in ensuring that they are prepared before the switch-off, as M247’s Liz Hawke explains

The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is being switched off in December 2025, and there is a stop-sell on PSTN products, which will mean that businesses can no longer order new PSTN-related devices, add any new PSTN lines, or even make any significant changes to existing PSTN services, in September this year. However, a recent survey by M247 found many businesses are not ready for this. Liz Hawke, product manager UC&C at M247, explains more.

News in the Channel:  Why is the PSTN being switched off?

Liz Hawke: In short, the PSTN is being switched-off because it’s old and has been replaced by newer technology that better fits the modern world. The PSTN is a network of copper wires that has kept the UK connected since the 1800s. Openreach, the PSTN’s owner, will be switching the network off because of increasing difficulties associated with maintaining the now aged infrastructure, as well as the result of evolving communication styles and habits. 

News in the Channel:  What is awareness like of the forthcoming switch-off and stop-sell of PSTN among businesses?

LH: Awareness of the switch-off is high, but surprisingly, many businesses have yet to take any action. M247 recently ran a survey of 500 UK-based IT decision-makers to temperature check awareness of the switch-off and need to migrate to a digital alternative soon. 

Surprisingly, 77% of the respondents were aware of 2025’s switch-off, and 76% were also aware of the PSTN stop-sell. 

The stop-sell is now only four months away, and with 80% of respondents believing migration from PSTN services could take up to six months to complete, time really is of the essence for businesses that need to make alternative arrangements.  

While IP-based services tend to be a bit faster to get up and running, moving away from the PSTN could potentially take a few months to complete. Establishing which services a customer might have, new solution design, configuration and deployment, as well as traditionally cumbersome processes like number porting all take time. Businesses that are not prioritising this work risk being left with gaps in service and potentially significant disruption to their customers.

News in the Channel:  Why are so many businesses not prepared for this?

LH: From what we’ve gathered, it seems that the PSTN switch-off is not being treated with as much urgency as some of the other IT challenges facing businesses today. Only 29% of businesses we surveyed listed the PSTN switch-off as a top priority, compared to the likes of increasing threats to cybersecurity (50%) and investment in cloud migration (47%).

There could be several reasons for this. Some businesses may be less reliant on traditional phone services, for example where the customer base is a younger demographic who tend to prefer mobile or internet-based comms. 

Equally there could be industry-specific factors to consider. For example, businesses that are solely technology-driven might prioritise innovations and advancements to their core operations rather than the PSTN switch-off. In addition, there is growing anxiety and concerns surrounding the threats of cyberattacks, which can be seen as an immediate risk. Although the PSTN switch-off might not be deemed as catastrophic compared to the impact of a cyberattack, this line of thought is misguided. The switch-off needs to be a top priority if businesses want to navigate this unscathed. 

News in the Channel:  What could the impact be on businesses that are unprepared for this? 

LH: Failing to migrate away from the PSTN on time is more than likely going to pose a major risk to business operations in the short- to medium-term. 

This could be security risks if alarm and door entry systems that rely on PSTN are no longer able to function. It may even lead to loss of business altogether if phones and connectivity are no longer available making communication with customers and staff impossible. The severity of the impact depends on what PSTN services a company relies on, but for most businesses, this could be more catastrophic in the worst-case scenario than they realise. For example, if a business clings to PSTN and fails to make the switch, the inability to leverage the advantages presented by digital communications could massively impact their market share alongside eroding their competitiveness. 

News in the Channel:  What should businesses do to prepare for the stop-sell/switch off?

LH: For businesses that need to prepare for the imminent stop-sell, one of the first steps they can take is to audit their current infrastructure setup and establish what technology within their business is reliant on PSTN. Remember, it’s not always just analogue phone lines and broadband – it could be anything from a door entry system, a building’s lift, an EPOS system or CCTV.

Next, a migration plan to make the switch to alternative digital services should be undertaken. This can also be a chance to think about the long-term objectives of the business, and what technology is needed to help achieve this. 

From our survey we know that of the businesses that have already migrated away from their PSTN network, 63% did so as part of a wider digital transformation strategy, and 59% did it to enable the use of the latest technology. We hope to see more businesses follow in these footsteps, as having access to the latest voice and connectivity technology is essential for long-term innovation and growth. 

For smaller organisations, or those unsure of where to begin, working closely with an experienced technology partner to organise and complete the migration is advised. 

News in the Channel:  How important a step is this on the UK’s road to digitalisation?

LH: The PSTN switch-off is happening whether we want it to or not, but it’s also a great opportunity to embrace the benefits of digital transformation. 

In the long-term, this will mark a big step forward in the modernisation of the UK’s communication infrastructure, which will allow for better remote working conditions, streamlined customer experiences, and more innovation in advanced services.  

By migrating away from the old and adopting the new, the UK can unlock new opportunities for growth, efficiency and improved communication experiences. From improved infrastructure where digital technologies can offer higher bandwidth to being scalable and flexible to innovate new technologies and applications as they emerge, the PSTN switch-off has enormous potential to allow the UK to make a claim as a digital powerhouse. 

News in the Channel:  What can resellers do to help customers to deal with the switch off/stop-sell?

LH: Perhaps the most important action for resellers to take is to provide the right information to educate their customers on the implications of the upcoming switch-off. For example, how aware are they of the September stop-sell and that this will not only prevent them from buying new PSTN-related products, but also from amending existing services? Are they aware of the full breadth of devices they have connected to PSTN?

By offering educational materials, webinars, or even workshops to customers, explaining the switch-off process and its impact on their communications systems, you can encourage them to take a proactive approach to addressing the situation before it’s too late.

News in the Channel:  What opportunities does this present to resellers?

LH: With 88% of businesses in the UK still reliant on the PSTN, there is ample opportunity for resellers to support their customers in their migration to digital services ahead of the switch-off. 

There are various ways they can capitalise on this opportunity themselves. For example, they can assess their customers’ current infrastructure – existing devices, phone lines, systems – to determine which components will be affected by the switch-off and flag areas of concern. From here, they can then offer alternative digital solutions, such as VoIP systems and cloud-based communication platforms and explain the benefits of these more up-to-date models. 

In short, the PSTN switch-off is an opportunity for dealers and resellers to support their customers on a well-needed digitisation journeys and must not be passed up!