Business Telecoms

FAQs about the VoIP Phone System

With the Phaseout of ISDN Systems imminent, the technology that we are using to communicate is changing.  Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the future of business telephony.

ITCS’s dedicated account managers have been working hard to speak to both new and existing customers about future-proofing their phone systems and answering any questions they may have about VoIP (voice over internet protocol). A common hesitation with business owners, is that after years of doing things the same way, your team may be hesitant to embrace a switch a new VoIP communications system. Both you and your staff may have concerns about the new technology, and what the change will mean for you all on a daily basis.

We have put together a few of the most commonly asked questions about VoIP systems, and have answered them as clearly as possible to reassure you and your staff that the transition is well worth it.

1. What is the difference between VoIP and a traditional phone line?

The biggest difference between VoIP and traditional calling is the phone lines that are used. Traditional lines use an analog signal, and VoIP uses a digital signal. Do you remember the big Digital TV Switchover in 2012? The ISDN Phaseout is a similar concept; these legacy systems are out of date, as are the associated maintenance and running costs.

A digital signal is more efficient than analogue, and costs less money. Anyone who has used a program like Skype has used VoIP to communicate.

2. But my phone system works just fine, why do I need to change it?

VoIP technology can provide businesses with the best platform for continued future development, on a modern and flexible infrastructure. VoIP brings with it a multitude of benefits such as more mobility, cost savings, and better call quality.

3. What sort of features do VoIP systems bring to the business?

The range of features available on a VoIP phone are one of the main reasons that businesses upgrade to the system. VoIP systems include dynamic call handling, pre-recorded messages and seamless transfers at the touch of a button. The systems completely erase the barrier between phone systems and internet browsers.  Engage in video calls with any compatible device, incorporate other communication services like instant messaging, teleconferencing, receive voicemail and faxes via email, and much more.

4. Do I have to know and be re-trained in complicated software just to make a phone call?

Although feature rich and completely modern, VoIP telephones function much the same way as an old fashioned handset. You can configure the phone with the same key presses to pick up, and transfer calls. ITCS will provide you and your team with full support so that you’re confident with your new system. We provide training, number porting, provisioning and assistance. This will give you complete peace of mind.

5. What equipment is required to use VoIP?

Besides the cost savings, setting up and maintaining a VoIP system is a much simpler job than with traditional telephone systems. This is because there is so little on site equipment compared to traditional ISDN networks. Only pay for the users you need.

6. Is VoIP an expensive investment?

The expense of VoIP systems is a very common myth. In fact, with VoIP you’ll save money. Enjoy lower international calling rates, free calling features, as well as lower monthly service costs. The feature-rich element of VoIP systems means that you can get rid of single use devices and enjoy voice, video, fax, voicemail and more in one device.

7. I’ve heard that VoIP sound quality is really unreliable. Is that true?

A persistent myth surrounding VoIP is that because it relies on internet connections, the voice quality will suffer. This myth has really stuck around from the very early days of VoIP, when networks were slower and less sophisticated. Broadband has come on a long way, but as with many things in business and in life, you get what you pay for.

In other words, the better your business broadband connection, the higher quality your VoIP telephone system is going to be.

Current internet and 4G connections represent a huge leap in technological progress, but for anyone considering VoIP, it’s a case of ensuring you have the bandwidth to support your network.

8. Is VoIP secure?

We all know that hacking and cybercrime is regularly making headlines in modern business. But, as long as your internal network is secure, then your phone network will be too. As long as you have a good Disaster Recovery System in place and you are using a trusted IT Support Provider, the risk of falling victim to hacking or cyber-crime is minimal. ITCS ensure that security is a priority when we look at your system in readiness for VoIP.

9. I don’t run a large business – is VoIP right for me?

You don’t have to be a large corporation to benefit from VoIP. It is a truly versatile communications solution. SMEs and startups can benefit because it’s so easy to set-up and use, and you can add new phones as your business grows. Plus you can benefit from various business features that come with the system, adding to the professionalism of your company.

Are you ready to discover more about upgrading your business phone system to a VoIP solution? Do you have more questions? The ITCS team are always happy to help. Call us today on 08456 444 200, or email: info@itcs.co.uk. You can also fill out a contact form.

WebFAQs about the VoIP Phone System

ISDN Phaseout 2020: Threat Or Opportunity?

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It is common knowledge amongst telecommunications experts that ISDN is a dying technology, and is planning an ISDN phaseout beginning next year.

BT will begin with a cease in supply in 2020. They intend on moving to a full migration by 2025, permanently switching off ISDN networks. The BT ISDN switch off could affect many businesses – especially if you’re unaware of the phaseout, and are looking to invest in or upgrade your current business telephone system.

ISDN’s days are numbered. Is your business ready?

What is ISDN?

ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) is a telecommunications technology that enables the transmission of digital data over standard phone lines. Known as the original high-speed internet service, it can be used for voice calls as well as data transfers. It sparked high-speed internet development between service providers in the 1990’s and revolutionised internet use.

ISDN is a communications network that relies heavily on physical infrastructure; specifically, copper wiring. It came to prominence because it provided the opportunity to transmit voice and data over the same lines. However, because of its reliance on physical infrastructure to manage calls and additional functionality via a PBX (or multiple), this takes up space within business premises and requires resources to administer and maintain them. Similarly, it is hard to add and remove new lines to an ISDN network because it requires the physical addition and removal.

Why the ISDN phaseout is important for my business:

The BT ISDN phaseout marks the next evolution of telecommunications technology. Despite being continually updated, ISDN phone lines are still cost far too much to maintain and run. Although the BT ISDN end of life of 2025 has not been set in stone, businesses will be unable to buy systems that use ISDN after 2020. If you currently have a traditional ISDN/PSTN based system, now is a great time to look into alternatives – and what many businesses don’t realise is just how beneficial the new systems are.

Hosted Telephony – what is it?

There are two future-ready solutions storming the market right now; the one we will focus on is Hosted Telephony.

Hosted telephony is a complete business phone system, delivered over the internet and provided by a host and/or telephony company.

ISDN phaseout VOIP ITCS

IP Technology:

IP (internet protocol) technology is incredible advantageous for business, and many are beginning to realise the endless benefits. When it comes to facilitating communications, organisations are able to use IP technology build a single infrastructure that supports both their voice and data communications needs.

After the ISDN phaseout, all phone lines will be superseded by IP technology, which is vastly superior to what we have used in the past.

What is VoIP? We’ll tell you: 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a telecommunications technology that allows users to make calls using the internet, rather than using traditional systems. VoIP works by converting sound into digital voice communication, and then transferring it through Internet broadband. Using a VoIP system has several benefits for many businesses:

1. It’s Cost Effective

Most importantly, the cost of using a VoIP telephone is much cheaper than using a conventional phone. Making long distance phone calls are also cheaper when using a VoIP provider. There’s no need for masses of on-site equipment either; only pay for as many users as you need.

2. Easy setup & maintenance

Besides the cost savings, setting up and maintaining a VoIP system is a much simpler job than with traditional telephone systems.

This is because there is so little on site equipment compared to traditional ISDN networks.

3. Greater Control

Furthermore, take complete control of your phone system with an extensive range of call handling and management features. These are all operated through an easy-to-use web interface. Ideal for home workers or multiple sites.

4. Freedom & Portability

VoIP technology is completely adaptable and flexible. This means you can easily add and remove users as you need. More importantly, physical location doesn’t matter either. Regardless of where you are, if you have Internet access, there should not be any problems in terms of costs and connections. In addition, VoIP systems are accessible via email or while you are travelling. Simply take your headset or IP phone, and you can contact staff or clients with a low cost call.

5. Provide better customer service to your clients

Enhance the service you can provide to your customers at all times. VoIP systems include dynamic call handling, pre-recorded messages and seamless transfers at the touch of a button.

6. Reliable and Secure

We provide full support including: training, number porting, provisioning and assistance. This will give you complete peace of mind.

Summing Up:

As you can see, the great BT ISDN switch off is as much an opportunity as it is a problem. The one thing we know for certain is that BT ISDN end of life is around the corner. Make sure you’re prepared for it. Make the ISDN Phaseout an opportunity for your business to cut costs and thrive.

Ready to find out what the advantages of VoIP for your company are? To discuss your particular requirements, or to discover more about the systems we offer, contact us by filling out our enquiry form or call us on 08456 444 200 for advice today. You can also email info@itcs.co.uk.

                                       

WebISDN Phaseout 2020: Threat Or Opportunity?

ITCS welcomes ‘more durable’ Gorilla Glass for next-gen mobile phone handsets

Welsh business mobile provider ITCS are pleased to learn that handset screen manufacturer Corning are introducing an even tougher version of their famous Gorilla® Glass, which Corning claim is the most durable cover glass to date. Having been introduced in September 2007, and leading the industry since, Corning’s Gorilla® Glass screens have provided serious protection … Continue reading

WebITCS welcomes ‘more durable’ Gorilla Glass for next-gen mobile phone handsets

BT continuing plans to close existing phone network, with VOIP only calls from 2025

The UK’s main telephone network provider, BT, has this week announced plans to close the UK’s traditional PSTN telephone network in Britain.

As a leading business telecoms provider in South Wales, we thought we’d offer our customers some insight into why this is happening.

The old systems are out of date, having not changed much since the very first line in the 1800s.  The cost of ongoing repairs and upgrades means that the old analog technology will cease to be viable.  From 2025, all customers will be switched to VOIP telephony services, whereby customers will have to switch to a system of calls being made digitally over the internet.

Openreach has already written to communications providers advising them of the change and will be consulting with wholesale providers about the withdrawal of these services in May, although it’s not just ‘a problem for the future’ as existing services are already being phased out in some areas.   For example, BT stopped installing new ISDN lines in London in 2014, and in some areas fibre to the premises is being installed rather than fibre to the cab.

Who will the change affect?

As well as private homes, the move will impact on ALL businesses currently using traditional telephone services or ISDN lines.  Ofcom stats reveal that In 2017 there were well over 2 million companies still using ISDN connections in the UK, so this could impact a significant number of businesses..

Is this bad news for my business?

Provided BT are able to deliver on their promises for improving broadband speeds in rural areas, this is actually very good news for business, as VOIP delivers high quality calls for a fraction of the cost.  The announcement will further increase the mounting pressure on BT to improve broadband lines in more remote locations., but for most businesses, VOIP is already a viable and cost effective option for many of our customers, including those in Wales.

Many ITCS customers are already using VOIP technology, which enables us to offer call-inclusive packages from £15.00 per month for business users.  Callers still use a handset, and dial as normal, so from a user’s point of view there is little difference – but the monthly bills are a lot lower.

Our recommendation for businesses who haven’t made the switch yet is to get in touch.  With the end of the PSTN network now firmly announced, the old system is going anyway, so it makes sense to make savings as soon as possible.

Managing Director of ITCS, Brian Stokes, said:

“BT have not installed any new ISDN lines in central London since 2014, because many businesses have already moved on. Up until today, we’ve been advising our telecoms customers to switch to a VOIP system for cost benefits.  Now it’s not even a choice to make, with BT’s announcement of PSTN ending, it’s simply common sense to move to VOIP as soon as possible and benefit from the savings sooner rather than later.”

To find out more about our telecoms packages, contact ITCS on 08456 444 200.

 

 

 

WebBT continuing plans to close existing phone network, with VOIP only calls from 2025

Trying to pick the right mobile network? Why not pick all of them!

Choosing the right business mobile network for your business can be challenging.  ITCS partner with all the major networks, but up until now, business owners have had to make a decision as to which network to use – so how do you choose the right provider to ensure good coverage for your staff?

Sure, you can look at network maps and see who offers the best signal for your area, but if your staff include remote workers, on-site engineers and sales teams, chances are they won’t be in the same location (or even the same town) every day. 21% of the UK has partial ‘not spots’ which includes 10% of A roads and 16% of B roads. This is most acutely felt in rural areas, such as mid and West Wales, where coverage by each individual network is patchy at best.

The ITCS business telecoms team are therefore rather excited about their latest product. Teaming up with business-only network Gamma, the company are now able to offer multi-network SIMs. Using the MultiNet bolt-on, connections made on Gamma’s new 4G service will now ‘hop’ seamlessly from one carrier network to the next strongest one, wherever there is a signal in the UK.

Rhiannon Edmunds, ITCS Telecoms Specialist

ITCS Telecoms Specialist Rhiannon Edmunds explains:

“The new multi-SIM service is designed to empower business mobile users by removing the hindrance of poor coverage – and it comes from a network with a reputation for first class customer service. We’re proud to partner with Gamma on this service, and expect take up to be high.”

ITCS offer a range of business mobile deals with tariffs including Pay-as-you-go, single user plans, shared user plans and unlimited plans, and their specialist team will work with you to tailor a flexible package to suit your business needs. For more information, please call our Business Telecoms team.

WebTrying to pick the right mobile network? Why not pick all of them!

Welsh Government announces new measures for extending fast broadband in Wales

Multi award-winning Welsh IT & Telecoms specialist ITCS has welcomed the range of new measures to further extend fast and reliable broadband coverage in Wales announced by Leader of the House, Julie James.

Availability of superfast broadband across Wales has more than doubled since Superfast Cymru began in 2013, and the latest Ofcom report (December 2017) shows that Wales now has the highest availability of superfast broadband over 30Mbps amongst the devolved nations – despite the challenges of the country’s topography.

A thorough testing and verification process is currently under way on the latest data presented by Openreach with the aim of announcing the project’s final figures in the spring.

The new measures, backed by funding of £80m, include a new rollout scheme currently out to tender which encourages rural delivery, business prioritisation and ultrafast 100Mbps services.

Brian Stokes, Managing Director of ITCS welcomed the new measures saying:

“We are proud of our contribution to the rollout of Superfast Cymru, but like many businesses in Wales, we appreciate the need for further improvements, especially in mobile coverage, which is still poor in rural areas.”

Under the scheme solutions will be encouraged in areas suffering the lowest download speeds along with lower 4G mobile data coverage. It will include safeguards to ensure communities are kept up to date as far as possible on whether they will be included.

Also included in the new measures are a review and continuation of the current voucher schemes for those without access to superfast broadband and ongoing work to develop a parallel community focussed scheme. A dedicated broadband outreach team will work with clusters of homes or businesses to procure a solution, and Openreach will also work an additional two months under the current agreement to connect 2,500 premises at no extra cost to the Welsh Government.

In addition, Openreach has been invited to provide details of structures built but not completed, and the Welsh Government will look at how these can be completed under the existing grant agreement.

Julie James said:

Despite the success of Superfast Cymru in transforming broadband connectivity across Wales, there is clearly more work to be done and this Government is committed to taking further action.

“The suite of measures I am announcing today, when taken together, will help us to realise the ambition described in Taking Wales Forward to bring people together digitally by offering fast reliable broadband to every property in Wales.

“Together, the successor scheme, the community scheme and our voucher schemes will provide a comprehensive package of interventions that will help us meet the challenges ahead.”

WebWelsh Government announces new measures for extending fast broadband in Wales

ITCS welcomes Severn Bridge Toll Reduction

Multi-award winning Welsh IT support provider ITCS has welcomed the news today that Severn bridge tolls are to be reduced.

The company, whose support vans will now pay £11.20 instead of £13.40 each time their engineers have to make a support visit to their many clients in Bristol said the cut was heartening, but that it is vital for Wales road infrastructure to also be upgraded.

Managing Director, Brian Stokes, said:

“As well as ensuring that the plan to scrap tolls altogether stays on track, the Welsh Government needs to urgently address transport and infrastructure issues in Wales.  The poor state of our over-congested motorways, the lack of an adequate road network between North and South Wales, and our underfunded rail network are all urgent problems which will continue to hamper trade. 

“From our Head Office in Wales, we now cover the whole of the UK.  Many of our clients are located in Bristol, so the toll reduction is welcome, but the road network causes problems even among engineers traveling between Bridgend, Cardiff and Swansea, so we have to keep local engineers on call to service our larger clients. 

“Thankfully, most of our IT support can be carried out remotely, but when staff have to make on-site support calls, there is nothing more frustrating than keeping clients waiting because the driver is stuck in yet another traffic jam on the M4, or struggling on single lane routes when trying to reach a client in North Wales.    The rail network is not much better, many of our staff travelling in by train experience delays on a daily basis and fellow businessmen say they have missed important meetings because their train was delayed.”

“We’ve been told that scrapping bridge tolls represents an important opportunity for Welsh businesses to get the level playing field they deserve.  I call upon the Welsh Government to address the infrastructure issues as a matter of urgency, because Wales cannot afford to see business opportunities wasted.”

WebITCS welcomes Severn Bridge Toll Reduction

Welsh business telecoms provider welcomes iPhoneX – along with better mobile speeds for rural Wales

 

Brian Stokes, Managing Director of Business Telecoms and IT Provider ITCS, discusses the launch of 1PhoneX and mobile connectivity issues for rural welsh businesses.

As a business mobile provider, we’re pleased to see the release of the new iPhoneX. ITCS will be taking pre-orders from 27th Oct, with availability from 3rd Nov. Early uptake is high, with a number of business customers eager to get their hands on the new model X.

However, In the comfort of large cities like Cardiff and Swansea, while tech lovers are debating the benefits of the new iPhoneX and having discussions over who has the best superfast broadband speeds, it’s easy to forget that in some more rural parts of Wales it’s still hard to get sufficient signal to even send a text message.

I’m encouraged to learn this could be about to change.

Wales to implement a new ‘Mobile Action Plan’

While mobile connectivity is the responsibility of the UK Government, the Welsh Government earlier this month announced a new ‘Mobile Action Plan’ to support the mobile phone industry to improve connectivity in Wales.

There are particular challenges in boosting mobile connectivity in Wales. For example, data from Ofcom on television masts show that because of the country’s topography Wales needs 67 masts to reach one million people, while in England to reach the same amount of people 12 masts are required, in Northern Ireland it is 25 and Scotland 45.

The series of actions follows a Mobile Roundtable held by the Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, with mobile providers and the regulator earlier this year. The plan has been developed in consultation with those at the meeting and others including farming unions, landowners and business organisations.

It focuses on the key areas where the Welsh Government can use the levers at its disposal and its influence to help improve connectivity and capacity. The areas include:

• Planning – Research has been commissioned, due to be completed in the Autumn, to inform changes to permitted development rights for telecommunications equipment to improve mobile connectivity. Planning Policy Wales (PPW) will be refreshed to highlight the positive relationship between telecommunications and the economy. A revised PPW will be published for consultation by Spring 2018. The Welsh Govenment will also work with mobile network operators to revise and update the code of best practice and Technical Advice Note (TAN19)

• Non-domestic rates – Where evidence suggests that a reduction in non-domestic rates would encourage investment the Welsh Government will consider providing non-domestic rates relief on appropriate mobile mast sites.

• Innovation and emerging technologies – The Welsh Government and mobile network operators will work together to identify opportunities to develop and test innovative technologies in Wales, including 5G. There have already been success stories in Wales in this field, such as the Welsh Government working with EE in the Teifi Valley to extend coverage using small cell technology.

• Major events and special projects – Build on work already done at the Royal Welsh Show where collaborative working has resulted in a permanent mast at the showground. The Welsh Government will facilitate relationships between mobile network operators and major event organisers.

Improving mobile connectivity is vital for Wales Business growth

At ITCS, we partner with all the major telephone networks in order to provide the best solution for our customers, no matter where their location. However, as a business telecoms specialist in Wales, we cannot stress how important improving connectivity is for our more rural customers to improve business growth.

We are proud to have worked already with the Welsh Government on the superfast broadband rollout, which has seen tiny rural villages like Mawdlam in South Wales boasting fantastic data speeds of over 300mbps. We look forward to seeing the Mobile Action Plan implemented with similar success and to helping more rural Welsh businesses access all the benefits that modern mobile telecoms are already delivering to our City-based customers.

 

WebWelsh business telecoms provider welcomes iPhoneX – along with better mobile speeds for rural Wales

Stay connected with the latest iPhone and mobile WiFi offer from ITCS

The latest iPhone from Apple

Apple’s latest offering, the iPhone SE. This new device has been turning heads, and here’s your chance to get it in an exclusive deal for business users.
The SE certainly has the looks. The smooth aluminium case has a satin-like finish and it feels light and compact while the 4” Retina display makes everything look vibrant. This smartphone looks slick, professional and stylish, while being small enough to comfortably fit in your hand.
It’s not just its looks that will impress you. Inside you’ll find the same A9 chip that’s used in the iPhone 6s, giving you spectacular speed and responsiveness – its CPU performance is twice as fast as the iPhone 5s, and the GPU performance is 3X faster. Why compromise on speed?
Security is vital for business customers, and Apple touch ID is at the forefront of smartphone security, letting you use your fingerprint to both sign in, and authorise transactions at over two million stores using Apple Pay. Your fingerprint is your perfect password.
ITCS business customers can take advantage of this cutting edge phone with the following exclusive deal:

  • No upfront cost
  • 16G
  • Available in Silver, Gold, Rose Gold or Space Grey
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • A whopping 2GB of data
  • Only £32 per month (ex VAT)

Mini but Mighty

While you’re upgrading your business phones, you should also look into mobile broadband. The Osprey Mini 2 is a pocket-sized 4G EE WiFi device, creating your own travelling bubble of internet so you can get up to 10 devices online when you are out and about. There’s no need to miss out on vital emails or opportunities, just because you’re out of the office.
EE have won the Fastest Mobile Broadband award in the uSwitch Awards in 2015 for the second year in a row, so you know you’re getting award winning mobile WiFi at a bargain price.
ITCS business users can enjoy the following offer:

  • No upfront cost
  • 6GB data
  • £20 per month (ex VAT)

To find out more about our range of telecoms, contact sparker@itcs.co.uk or phone 08456 444 200. Offers are subject to status.

WebStay connected with the latest iPhone and mobile WiFi offer from ITCS