Top questions to challenge your current telecoms provider

Are you getting the best service and solutions from your current telecoms provider? Here is how to find out.

Over a five-year period, the number of ISDN channels used by UK businesses declined by 30%, so if you’re still using ISDN lines then it’s probably time that you challenged your business phone service provider. If you remain on ISDN lines while other businesses are moving towards SIP trunking, you’ll be missing out on great benefits such as great scalability, better value for money and stronger resilience.

We present the key questions you should be challenging your phone service provider with and the benefits of moving from ISDN to SIP trunking. To ensure you get the best deal there are also questions that you can use to choose a new SIP provider.

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The telecoms landscape is changing.

The number of ISDN channels utilised in the UK is declining:

› 4.7 million ISDN channels used by businesses in 2007
› 3.3 million ISDN channels used by businesses in 2012

ISDN channel decline is around 300,000 year-on-year and if the current trend continues, the number of ISDN channels will fall below one million before the end of the decade.

Source: Ofcom, The Communications Market 2013

Why is ISDN declining?

The ISDN standard was developed in the 1980s. Think of all the advances in technology since then and the way businesses now operate today.

This includes:

› The rise of IP telephony
› The integration of voice, data and the internet
› The growth of mobile telephony
› The need for businesses to be more flexible and adaptable
› The growing pressure to control costs
› The importance of high availability for business-critical applications

Since the launch of ISDN, better and more efficient alternatives have arrived.

What’s one of the most significant trends in the telecoms market?

More and more businesses are moving to SIP trunking:

› One million SIP trunks in the UK in 2013
3.3 million SIP trunks forecast by 2018

Source: Illume research 2013

Why are businesses turning to SIP?

› If offers greater flexibility, such as number portability
› It is easier to deploy a disaster recovery plan
› If offers scalability
› It is reliable and resilient
› It offers cost savings over ISDN

Read more here to learn about the advantages of SIP trunking over ISDN.

Questions for your current telecoms provider.

Some providers have built a significant business on the back of ISDN and may be reluctant to offer customers alternative solutions that could affect their bottom line.

Question: Are you offering my business the best service and solutions available?

This will help determine whether your telecoms provider is keeping abreast with developments – and more importantly, letting you know about them.

Question: Do you offer SIP trunking?

If your current telecoms provider supplies ISDN, they may also be a SIP provider.

› If the answer is “No” you might wish to consider switching to an alternative telecoms provider who can offer SIP trunking
› If the answer is “Yes,” find out exactly what is on offer from your provider and how it might help your business

Questions for all SIP providers.

Whether you remain with your current phone supplier or choose to switch to an alternative, here are some key questions to ask your SIP provider.

› Do you offer an end-to-end service?
› How easy is it to deploy SIP trunking on my phone network?
› Can you guarantee that all my devices are compatible with your SIP trunking service?
› Do I have a choice of locating my PBX(s) on-site or hosted in the cloud?
› Do you manage your own national IP network?
› Are emergency services, directory enquiries and online number management supported?
› What happens if one of my sites goes down?
› Can I order on a per channel basis?
› How easy is it to scale up or scale down my system?
› What guarantees do you give for availability and quality of service?

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7 August 2014 | Cem Ahmet

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.