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The telecommunication industry is constantly evolving, and we are currently witnessing a significant shift towards digital and internet-based communication services. As part of this trend Basic, Primary and Fractional Rate Access phone lines are set to be switched off in Ireland by 2024/2025. This change is likely to have a significant impact on businesses that still rely on traditional phone lines for their phone systems.
There are alternative solutions available that can provide better value for money, flexibility, and improved features. In this article, we’ll discuss what Irish business owners need to know about the switch-off, and the alternatives available, including SIP Trunks, SIP Gateways and Cloud Phone Systems.
- Primary Rate Access (PRA) – a phone line consisting of a 30-channel ISDN connection.
- Fractional Rate Access (FRA) – a phone line consisting of a 15-channel ISDN connection.
- Basic Rate Access (BRA) – a phone line consisting of a 2-channel ISDN connection.
- Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) – a traditional way of providing voice and data services over an analogue phone line.
- SIP Trunks – SIP is a signalling technology, used to send voice, video, and text sessions over the Internet.
- Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – VoIP is a broader term used to describe any phone call made over the Internet.
Why are these Phone Lines, Being Switched Off?
PRA, FRA & BRA lines have been popular telecommunication services for many years, allowing businesses to make voice calls and transmit data over digital lines. However, these technologies are now outdated, and they’re being replaced by more modern communication solutions that offer better value and features.
One of the main reasons for the switch-off of PRA, FRA & BRA, is the rise of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. VoIP uses the internet to make and receive phone calls, allowing businesses to benefit from lower call charges, better call quality, and more advanced features. In addition, traditional systems require a physical line to be installed, which can be costly and time-consuming, whereas VoIP can be set up quickly and easily.
Another factor behind the switch-off to VoIP is the increasing availability of fast and reliable internet connections in Ireland. With most businesses now having access to high-speed internet, it makes sense to move towards internet-based communication solutions.
What Are the Alternatives to FRA, PRA & BRA?
If your business still relies on FRA, PRA or BRA for your telephone system, it’s time to start considering the alternatives. There are two main options available: SIP Trunks & SIP Gateways and Cloud phone systems.
SIP Trunks as Landlines
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Trunks are a form of VoIP that allows businesses to make and receive phone calls the same way their existing landline or phone system would. Instead of a physical phone line, SIP Trunks use the internet to transmit voice calls, making them a more cost-effective and flexible solution for businesses of all sizes.
You will potentially need an IP-enabled system but apart from this, everything should look and act the same as your existing setup.
One of the main benefits of SIP Trunks is scalability. As your business grows, you can easily add or reduce more phone lines without the need for physical alterations, making it a highly adaptable solution. Additionally, SIP Trunks can potentially be integrated with other communication tools, such as video conferencing and instant messaging, to create a complete communication platform.
Using a SIP Gateway to Keep Traditional Systems
If you have invested a lot of money in a traditional phone system or solution, a SIP Gateway might be the most cost-effective approach to moving towards VoIP calling.
A SIP Gateway provides compatibility between different communication systems. It can enable businesses to connect traditional phone systems to modern SIP networks. This can help you avoid the need to replace your existing systems and keep all your existing features and configurations.
in2tel can provide the installation and maintenance of a SIP Gateway, allowing businesses to maintain their legacy systems and potentially save thousands of Euros.
Cloud Phone Systems
Cloud Phone Systems are a fully hosted solution that provides businesses with a range of communication tools, including voice calls, mobile applications, and messaging. All the hardware and software required to run the system are hosted in the cloud, which means businesses do not need to invest in any physical hardware or maintenance.
One of the main advantages of Cloud Phone Systems is their flexibility. As the system is hosted in the cloud, businesses can access it from anywhere, making it ideal for remote working. Additionally, as it’s a fully managed service, businesses don’t need to worry about the technical aspects of the system, such as updates and maintenance.
Choosing the Right VoIP Solution
When it comes to choosing the right communication solution for your business, there are several factors to consider. These include:
- Reliability: Communication is critical to the success of any business, so it’s important to choose a solution that is reliable and provides a high level of uptime. The correct installation and solution provider will play a big part in how reliable your overall solution is.
- Call Quality: Obtaining high call quality requires a complete understanding of how your business operates. There are many factors responsible including your Internet connection, traffic management and having the data monitored to ensure things continue to run smoothly.
- Support: Finally, it’s important to choose a solution that comes with good support. Make sure that the provider offers technical support and customer service to help you with any issues you may encounter.
- Cost: While all the alternatives to traditional phone systems can provide cost savings, it’s important to compare the costs of each solution to find the one that provides the best value for money. It’s important to note that the cheapest solution will not always be the most suitable. The cheapest rate will often compromise the call quality, reliability and support you may receive.
- Scalability: As your business grows, you’ll need a communication solution that can grow with you. Consider how easy it is to add new phone lines or users to the system
- Features: Different communication solutions offer different features, so it’s important to consider what your business needs. For example, if you need a mobile application or instant messaging, then a Cloud Phone System may be the best choice.
- Honesty: Look for a provider that has happy customers on their website, if you can reach out to these customers, ask for their opinion.
in2tel has 17 years of experience in the telecoms industry. We pride ourselves on our services and most of all, the support, and well-being of our customers. We go above and beyond to ensure that customers get the right solutions for a fair price.
We’ll ensure that you feel confident all the above points have been taken into consideration throughout the process. We’ll only advise you on a solution that will work for you.
Making the Switch from Traditional Phone Systems
If you decide to switch to a new communication solution, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. These include:
- Choosing a provider: Research different providers and compare their offerings to find the one that best meets your business needs.
- Will the current system support VoIP? This will play a big role in your final decision. Get your chosen provider to access your existing infrastructure to see if it can be modified or whether a new system will be needed.
- Is the system what you need moving forward? Is your current telephone system what your business needs moving forward? The cost of upgrading once will be cheaper than multiple smaller adjustments.
- Planning the switch: Work with your chosen provider to plan the switch. This may involve setting up new hardware, configuring software, and porting over phone numbers.
- Training: Once the new system is set up, ensure that your staff receives the necessary training to use it effectively.
- Testing: Finally, test the new system to ensure that it’s working correctly and meets your business needs.
The switch-off of FRA, PRA and BRA in Ireland is coming. It will be a significant change for businesses!
The switch presents an opportunity to move towards more modern communication solutions. SIP Trunks, SIP Gateways and Cloud Phone Systems are all excellent alternatives that offer better value for money, flexibility, and advanced features. By carefully considering the different options and choosing the right provider, businesses can make a seamless transition and continue to communicate effectively with their customers and partners.
If you would like in2tel to assist in your transition from ISDN to VoIP, we have a team of Irish experts who would carefully analyse your current bills and your considerations and will come back to you with a solution that best fits your needs.
We provide all the above-mentioned technologies and pride ourselves on excellent customer support. You can get in touch by using live chat, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our freephone number 1800 91 1800. We’d love to help.