Last week (in July 2018), a story broke that;
“Accountancy giant PwC is doing away with landlines at office desks …” and using “more efficient” mobile phones.
We ask – ‘Is this the start of a new trend?’
The story also told us that ‘landline usage was falling rapidly’. This may be the case, but not because they are being replaced by mobiles! Legacy landlines (fixed analogue and ISDN lines) are being rapidly replaced by VoIP channels in broadband Internet services. These ‘SIP Trunk’ channels are much easier & faster to provide and are a fraction of the rental cost of analogue or ISDN lines. Other reports out there will tell you about the meteoric 18+% cumulative annual growth rate in the global SIP Trunk market! In the business world, landlines are being replaced by SIP Trunks, definitely not dropped!
The landline is far from dead! It’s still with us – but in a much more flexible and cost-effective guise.
How can mobile phones be ‘more efficient’ for a company than having extensions off a telephone system? Let’s look at some of the facts that you’ll need to consider if you are thinking about dropping your ‘landlines’ and going ‘all-mobile’ …
The central IP-PBX component of modern phone systems for SME’s, will usually cost less than a single Apple iPhone! High-end VoIP feature-phones (e.g. our Yealink T46G or Fanvil X6), also cost a fraction of an iPhone, and a lot less than other mainstream Android devices. So junking your phone system and replacing it with ‘company’ mobiles, is not the cheaper option. If you’re talking to someone who suggests that it could be, then please give us a call!
Ongoing service rentals:
Monthly rentals on mobiles are much higher than monthly rentals on SIP Trunk channels. SIP Trunks are around £3 to £4 per channel per month, and because typically you need a lot less trunk lines than extensions in a phone system, the ongoing cost of ownership for a VoIP IP-PBX system is VERY much lower than for a selection of mobiles.
Costs of ‘Internal’ calls:
If you use mobiles, all internal and external calls will be at mobile tariff rates. You may have a calling plan, but, be assured that it’s not ‘free’ when you call a colleague – it’s simply pre-paid! However, a modern VoIP phone system will allow you to make true zero-cost calls to colleagues in your office, or at branch offices as these calls are going via local network and Internet, and not through metered cellphone or Public Switched Telephone Network [PSTN] routes.
Remember too, that when you go mobile, customers will be calling you at 3 to 4 times the tariff rates of calls to your competition. This is because a call to a mobile is still more expensive than a call to a landline number!
Call routing to ‘help’ your customers:
Modern phone systems include a lot of very useful, centrally managed call-routing features – such as; call groups, queues and centralised voice-mail. This allows us to have single direct dial numbers into departments in ways that remove frustrations for the caller. Call routing plans add huge benefit to the PBX, making phone systems what they are and taking up the major planning and configuration phases in a system install. With mobiles all acting as stand-alone devices, it’s either very difficult or just plain impossible, to route incoming calls in ways that take staff holidays, meetings, availability etc. into account and will make it difficult for your customers to get through to somebody in a business unit who can deal with their enquiry right now.
Security also needs to be considered. Phone systems have various ways of presenting customer contact lists for dialling at the desk – but typically, this information is kept locked away with the phone system in the IT and Comm’s room. With cellphones, that customer database must be kept on each mobile and therefore is open to abuse if the mobile is stolen, lost or may even be cloned by staff considering a position with your competitor!
Some other practical issues:
- Calls are more ‘stable’ and better quality on a desk-phone / landline.
- Desk-phones don’t leave the building (good luck keeping track of a cellphone inventory!).
- Desk-phones won’t lure users off into Facebook or Instagram.
- Something to think about – Will a company cellphone policy push staff into carrying two mobile devices; their own and the business phone?
- The jury is still out regarding the health implications of keeping a cellphone next to your head all day …
- Batteries don’t die in a desk-phone (and yes, it’s easy to back-up a phone system with a UPS in case of mains power failure).
Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t anti-mobile here. We have the 3CX and Linkus app’s that we can load onto iOS and Android cellphones to extend the benefits of flexible and low-cost VoIP telecom’s out to mobile devices. This approach makes the app’ on the cellphone a managed part of your business phone system – including its call routing plans – with zero-cost internal calls.
There are a lot of very good arguments as to why mobiles should be integrated WITH your phone system, but we think that you need to plan carefully if you are considering using just mobiles AS your business phone system.
As an update to this story, the Financial Times published a story in September 2019, that Accountancy Giant KPMG has told hundreds of its UK employees to hand in their work mobiles as part of a cost-saving drive ahead of its latest financial results. The Big Four firm told staff in an internal memo that it would start collecting phones in October, the first month of its financial year.
Contact us at Foxhall Solutions – 01787 228 402 – to talk about your future telecommunications, in these very interesting times …