No PBX? No Problem! Hosted VoIP Sees 31% Surge in 2015, to 2 Million UK Business Lines

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It's not just server applications that are migrating to the cloud. Business telephony is heading there too.

That's according to the latest research by telecoms consultancy Cavell Group.

It found that UK business demand for hosted VoIP services surged by 31.9% in 2015, bringing the total number of seats (end-user subscriptions) to 2,175,065.

What's Driving This Shift Towards Hosted VoIP?

Hosted VoIP services aren't new. They've been around for years. And for years, they struggled to gain traction in the marketplace. But in 2015, that changed.

Business connectivity costs had fallen to a point where hosted VoIP services were becoming affordable for organisations of all sizes – including cost-conscious SMEs.

In 2015, many service providers took notice of this and began to actively market Hosted VoIP services to their customers.

Several second-tier PBX manufacturers saw that the writing was on the wall for on-site PBXs, at least when it came to selling to small and medium-sized businesses. In response, these manufacturers launched their own hosted VoIP services.

The Growth of Business VoIP, The Fall of ISDN & PSTN services

Two million seats is a significant milestone, but needs to be put in context. Figures for 2014, released by telecoms regulator Ofcom, suggested that UK businesses had around 4.8m standard (PSTN) phone lines and 2.9 million ISDN channels. Bear in mind that ISDN channels often power more than one phone number.

Graphs showing decline in UK business fixed line call minutes 2009-2014Graphs showing rise on UK Business VoIP call minutes 2009-2014

Expect the shift towards VoIP to continue, as ISDN users migrate to using SIP, and hosted VoIP services continue to grow in popularity. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Hosted VoIP

Advantages of Hosted VoIP
  • Feature-rich phone service
  • No need to buy an expensive PBX
  • Scalable phone system
  • May use multiple PBXs, adding resilience
  • Software upgrades multiples times per year
  • No PBX hardware to host
  • No need to pay for spare capacity in advance
  • 'Remote worker' friendly – Phone doesn't have to be connected to your office LAN
  • The PBX is already up and running – you just need phones and suitable network connectivity
Disadvantages of Hosted VoIP
  • Some business decision makers feel more comfortable following the traditional approach - buying a PBX and hosting it on-site
  • Monthly fee per 'seat' can mount up for companies with large numbers of users - though this doesn't have to be the case.
  • Settings are stored on supplier's systems, rather than hardware you own

On-Site PBXs Aren't Dead Yet

Hosted VoIP services are growing, but on-site PBXs are far from dead.

They remain popular with many organisations, particularly larger ones.

Many senior managers (at organisations of all sizes) may feel reassured by the idea of having their own dedicated PBX, so prefer to stick with the more traditional approach to getting a phone system.

hSo Can Help You Decide What's Right For Your Business

hSo offers hosted VoIP services, on-site IP PBXs and non-IP telephony. We offer hosted VoIP on a multi-tenanted platform. We also offer dedicated PBXs – on-site or hosted – proprietary or open-source. So whichever option appeals to your business, we can help.

We've written a guide to Business Phone Systems that you may find useful. It reveals…

  • The key elements of a business phone system
  • Things you need to know if you've never bought a phone system before
  • How to check whether you've got enough bandwidth for VoIP / SIP trunking / hosted PBXs
  • Things to bear in mind if you opt for a hardware PBX
  • 7 major decision you need to make when picking a business phones system
  • How the right phone system can CUT your phone bill AND cost less to buy in the first place
  • Smart questions savvy buyers ask when selecting a business phone system provider
  • Phone system features explained in plain English
  • The business benefits of a modern phone system

To grab your copy of our guide, just visit any of the pages linked to in this article. 

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