PSTN Deadlines are Coming Faster than You Think – Like NOW!  


PSTN services in the United Kingdom are being turned off, and some of the deadlines are approaching much faster than first anticipated. When companies thought they had two years to make necessary adjustments, they’re finding that those two years are already starting to erode away.   

Public Switched Telephone Network services are phone call communications systems being discontinued, given the proliferation of the fiber infrastructure and the expense to maintain this legacy analog service. Learn more about the end of PSTN in our previous article.  

In the U.K., the official switch-off is scheduled for end of December 2025, but cutoffs are actually hitting much sooner with providers announcing “Stop Sell” deadlines.  

U.K. telecom provider Openreach issued a Stop Sell beginning 5 September 2023 that will affect 513,000 premises. Stop Sell is a term used to establish a closing date for the sale of a product or service. Unlike a product withdrawal, clients are still able to use a Stop Sell service until it is withdrawn; however, no new service purchases or installations are allowed once the Stop Sell takes effect. But the real kicker is in the details of the Order Restrictions – the services ending as part of a Stop Sell. 

Sale-Related Services Will End September 2023 

A Stop Sell can also include Order Restrictions, meaning the end of services closely related to a sale. Take for example:  

  • Converting WLR (Wholesale Line Rental) Lines to an ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) Line,  
  • Increasing ISDN channels,  
  • Changing an address, 
  • Restarting a stopped service, or  
  • Taking over a working line.  

These are some of the Order Restrictions listed in Openreach’s Stop Sell, the full list of which is here.  

Simply put, the PSTN service experience is already starting to decline, and this adds fuel to the skyrocketing PSTN prices over the past several years that have been known to set corporate invoices on fire. 

The Other Unrecognized Threat: Supply Chain Challenges 

By this time, most IT and communications leaders have heard of the Great British Switch-Off and its potential service disruptions, so they know they need a migration plan to transition their PSTN lines to more modern technologies. However, what many aren’t aware of is just how much hardware and router delivery delays can impact their migration plans. 

Here at Tangoe, we’ve seen high demand and supply chain challenges become an issue. Turn times have widened to 6 months, and we expect them to increase even more as December 2025 approaches. If you estimate that most companies have 2 years to execute their transition, that’s 25% of their timeline! 

Time aside, the other most common problem is money. 

Turning a PSTN Cost into a Savings 

In these challenging economic times when businesses are already tightening their belts it can be hard to find the room in the IT budget for more technology upgrades. But, here at Tangoe, we find that companies actually save 15-30% when they modernize their PSTN systems and renegotiate their telecom contracts.   

As always, the exact amount depends on the starting point. If a company’s current PSTN costs are in the $20-$50 range savings may be less significant; however, if they are in the $100+/month range and they have a high quantity of lines, the savings can be quite substantial. Results also depend on the number of PSTN lines per location, as some PSTN replacement solutions are designed for high-quantity discounts, so you can save more if you have 2 to 4 lines per location rather than a single PSTN line. 

Why not engage Tangoe to do full audit of your PSTN and telecom infrastructure to identify cost savings opportunities? Then, let us help you turn those potential savings into hard dollars, handling the contract negotiations for you? Tangoe can even augment your staff to help plan and execute the logistics of your VoIP or SD-WAN rollout. Learn more about Tangoe Advisory Services for PSTN.  

While a Stop Sell is designed to draw a line in the sand that allows the telecom provider to stop being distracted by legacy services, so they can focus on the more relevant matters of today and tomorrow, it can also be pressure tactic poking clients to migrate faster to new digital communications services. It’s another PSTN wake-up call in a series of alarms that have already been going off. 

When you’re ready to design a proactive approach to PSTN replacement, trust the +20-year pioneer in telecom expense management.