Switch up your planning

Whether your glass is half empty or half full on the 2025 PSTN switch off, all channel partners need a plan according to Terry O’Brien and his team at Digital Wholesale Solutions.

Although it’s still six years away, Openreach’s deactivation of the ISDN network is already creating challenges and opportunities for resellers. For telephony specialists there are threats to existing revenues yet, perhaps for the first time in years, the change represents a significant opportunity as customers consider their future options. DWS CEO O’Brien is bullish, believing the switch off presents an unprecedented growth opportunity. “By embracing the change, upskilling and working to take customers on a journey to IP, partners can use this industry change to their advantage, future proofing their businesses while providing real value add for their customers,” he said.

“People need to talk, and this is as true as ever in the digital era. The technology transition to cloud and IP, and the arrival of the digital dragons – Microsoft, Google etc – into telecoms, blurs the boundaries of the traditional telco and IT markets, offering customers better, faster and cheaper ways to communicate and collaborate. This gives the channel a brilliant opportunity to engage in an exciting, much broader and more strategic conversation with customers, not just about their connectivity and telephony, but about how they run their entire businesses in the future.”

O’Brien urges resellers to rethink their propositions, as simply replacing analogue lines and older style PBXs with SIP and hosted telephony won’t enable growth or create differentiation. “The channel needs to evolve and develop its value propositions, starting from the solid platform of their telecoms expertise and their trusted advisor status with their customers, while being bold and upskilling in new technology in order to grab the growth opportunity,” commented O’Brien.

The channel needs to evolve and develop its value propositions, starting from the solid platform of their telecoms expertise and their trusted advisor status with customers

DWS has been at the forefront of PSTN and ISDN withdrawal planning throughout the past two years, being one of only 29 respondents to the UK-wide industry consultation back in 2018, tackling tricky topics like porting, directly with Openreach and the Federation of Communication Services (FCS).

But it isn’t all gloom and doom, according to Claire Makin, Voice Product Manager at DWS. “If you know your replacement products, not just for voice but also connectivity, then the 2025 date will not be a problem,” she said. “That’s why we’re giving our partners access to information and products to get a head start in the race to the 2025 finish line.”

With over 400 partners registering for DWS’s recent webinar series, The PSTN Withdrawal and the Digital Opportunity, it’s clear that partners are keen to take advantage of the advice and support on offer. “The 2025 withdrawal is a challenge and many of our partners have responded with some important points, from porting difficulties, national infrastructure concerns and questions regarding how this will be communicated to their customers,” added Makin. “All these questions shape the feedback we give to Openreach.

Head of Connectivity, James Montague, says his team will be keeping partners geared up and ready for the big switch off. “Knowledge is key to success,” he commented. “Openreach has raised awareness of the switch off, but I don’t think many have foreseen the impact on broadband which is currently supported on the voice line. So we are providing monthly webinars to keep partners up to date with the latest news on the switch off, and extending our resources to partners.”

DWS is also extending its expertise on replacement products into 5G mobile-based solutions. “5G is gathering momentum and will play a significant part in the fixed line migration with Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) products becoming more commonplace,” stated Alex Mawson, DWS Product Director. “The DWS team have built the portfolio and skills to help partners grab hold of this opportunity and capitalise on the switch off.”

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