VoIP is fast becoming a necessary commodity for offices across the country. As of 2025, BT will retire its traditional telephony network, which means we will all need to move across to a VoIP phone system by default – and soon. But how much is this changeover really going to cost you in the long run?
VoIP, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, is the natural successor to PSTN. As broadband has continued to sweep across the nation, it’s expected that businesses will (by and large) have access to data they can use for calls and conferencing.
However, the facts, figures, and myths behind VoIP often get muddled up. In this guide, we’ll break down those troublesome fictions and give you an insight into what you can expect to spend on moving over to the new standard. What’s more, you’re going to need to do it soon!
It’s not just plug-and-play
While VoIP is immensely convenient compared to the older PSTN standard, it’s safe to say you’ll need to do more than just plug in and be ready to connect to your customers. The flat rate you pay for VoIP is likely to be affordable upfront, and you’ll need to invest in a handful of extra pieces of hardware to get up and running.
This shouldn’t be too much of a strain on your overhead, at least compared with what you’re already paying out for PSTN. For example, you’ll need to invest in a series of VoIP-ready phones and headsets. The costs of such hardware will vary – you may expect to pay as much as £200 per headset, but as little as £20. Costs for phones vary between £40 and £300.
It’s all worth it for the long-term savings, according to research. VoIP features come thick and fast, helping you to get and stay connected to customers and clients without the fear of weather spoiling the quality of your calls.
Reliable VoIP vendors and suppliers will, generally, prepare you with regard to any hardware or extra features you’re likely to need. In some cases, you may buy them outright from suppliers!
It’s worth comparing costs
One set of costs from a single VoIP provider will vary to the next supplier’s. The difference may lie in how powerful your setup might be, or how many add-ons and features you receive, for example.
In some cases, you may expect to pay up to £40-£50 for rolling VoIP service. That does come with some cost savings compared to business phone systems rooted in PSTN (more on this below), but you’ll often find there are much more flexible deals elsewhere.
Don’t worry – we’ve done our research. It’s worth looking deeper into what you receive for the price you pay per month than to just simply assume a higher price point is going to burn a hole in your bank account.
For example, business phone systems from a provider such as Planet Numbers may provide three different ‘tiers’ for you to choose from. In this example, there’s an entry-level rate of £10 per month, per user, if you just want to try VoIP with a view to scaling up.
As and when you do scale up, this provider offers an ‘Enterprise’ package at £30 per user, per month, with added features and functionality.
It’s always worth zooming in on the features and support you’ll receive for your money before you leap into the costs. Consider true value over time, not just how much you’re expected to pay up front.
There’s no line rental with a VoIP phone system
This is one of the biggest positives to migrating from PSTN to VoIP. Yes, there will be monthly costs, but by and large, you’ll receive a wealth of additional features and enhancements compared to the basic line rental or ‘permission to call’ you’d get through PSTN.
With PSTN line rental, you may not always get access to enhanced features and customizations such as call forwarding, conferencing, and scalability. It’s also true that many VoIP services will allow you to create your own communications suites through SIP trunking.
For an immediate ‘basic’ rate per month, you already get a lot more for your money than you’d traditionally expect through PSTN. By 2025, line rental really will be a thing of the past, and millions of business owners are already keen to make the switch for that reason alone.
Line management made easy
One of the biggest headaches of running a PSTN line is the upkeep. Even as a business end user, you’re likely at the mercy of a variety of potential problems that could befall your connectivity at any time. That means you’re often having to juggle and troubleshoot problems yourself.
An added bonus to the cost you pay for many VoIP services per month is that you can arrange for providers to ‘manage your connection’ for you. Managed VoIP pays for itself fairly swiftly – your connection stability and provision are monitored off-site, which means there’s less pressure on you to get things fixed if calls keep dropping.
When looking at the overall costs of a VoIP phone system, it’s worth comparing the conveniences and features with traditional PSTN. If keeping track of connectivity issues is really driving down your productivity, it may be time to start justifying the transfer.
Is it worth moving to VoIP yet?
While the PSTN switchoff isn’t due to take place until 2025, there are plenty of good reasons to get ahead of the game and start transferring your communications as soon as possible. Some business owners may feel it’s worth delaying the process for the sake of saving immediate costs, but it’s clear that this simply isn’t a sustainable option.
Moving to VoIP as soon as possible provides your business with ample opportunity to get accustomed to the new technology, and to potentially gain a crucial edge over your competitors. Could that be something you can really afford to miss out on?
Compare deals and costs across different VoIP providers – but crucially, make the change sooner rather than later.