Landlines are going digital

Digital Landline Switchover Timeline

  1. Telecom industry announced its intention to close the PSTN in 2025
  2. Openreach consultation on WLR withdrawal launched
  3. The 12 month countdown timer has begun until the UK nationwide Stop Sell of traditional landline phone services comes into force.
  4. 6 months until the UK nationwide Stop Sell of traditional landline phone services comes into force.
  5. 3 months until the UK nationwide Stop Sell of traditional landline phone services comes into force.
  6. A UK nationwide Stop Sell of traditional landline phone services is now in place. Communication providers will contact customers letting them know when they will be migrated to a digital landline.
  7. The traditional landline phone service (PSTN/WLR) is now closed

Today’s fixed line telephone system, or what is referred to as the PSTN or WLR is outdated and needs upgrading. The telecommunications industry are leading on a nationwide change to move from the current network to an Internet based voice network, knows as VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol.

Working with government, organisations and industries across the board the current PSTN network will be closed in December 2025. A nationwide stop sell of new voice services using the PSTN phone network will come into force in September 2023.

This means between now and 2025 you need to take action to be prepared and ready to be moved onto the new Internet, VoIP, based voice service by your communication provider.

Things you can do to be prepared…

Alternative Ways To Communicate Or Supply Power


Internet/VoIp systems rely on your mains power as it’s needed to power your router so the Internet connection can be established. The old PSTN system carried 50 volts down the copper line along with the analogue phone signal and the power was supplied down it from batteries and generators from your local exchange. As you move off the PSTN system you will no longer be able to power your household corded phones from the power supplied down the copper phone line.

In order to be able to use the Digital phone when there’s a power-cut you will need a Battery Backup or UPS.

Communication Providers may offer you a free battery backup unit that can last at least an hour if you are deemed vulnerable*. Otherwise you can purchase a battery backup or UPS device online.

It is also advised to make sure you have an alternative method of making a call if there is a power outage such as using a mobile phone. Some communication providers also have hybrid household phone handsets that can automatically switch between connecting to your router and the mobile network.

*OFCOM’s guidance on battery backup/UPS units:

Upgrade Alarms, Lifelines And Other Connected Devices

If you have any device such as an alarm, monitoring devices or a Telecare system that connects to the traditional copper telephone line then you will need to contact the company that supplies you with this service to inform them that your telephone line is being upgraded to an new Internet Protocol based service.

In order for these devices to continue to work they may need to be upgraded so they are compatible or use an alternative method to communicate, for example switching to use the mobile network instead or connecting via WiFi.

If you know you have devices that may be affected it’s best to get these sorted now before you are moved onto the new Internet based (VoIP) voice service.

Your Handsets Will Connect To Your Router Not The Wall Sockets


Once moved onto your communication providers Internet based (VoIP) voice service, your existing handsets will need to be plugged into your router. Your extension telephone wall sockets will no longer work. You will also need a broadband connection but communication providers may provide a lite connection just for the digital landline service to work.

Some communication providers may supply you a new router that you will have to use in order for the voice service to work. Also some may offer devices or service specific handsets that allows you to wirelessly connect to the voice service without having to plug the handset into the back of your router.

Your communication provider will provide you with information in how to get it working.


As mentioned a broadband connection is required but communication providers have been given lots of options including low bandwidth broadband services just for the Internet/Digital Voice based service to work. So communication providers will switch current phone only customers onto one of these services. You will then get some kind of router that you can then plug your phone into to enable your phones to work.

Age UK have provided some handy guidance around this and are working with communication providers as they rollout this out.

Local Area Code


When making a local call, you will now need to dial the area code too. If you forget you will likely get an automated message stating to redial with the area code.


Maintenance. Global Decline In Spare Parts

The current PSTN we use today is no longer maintainable. There are lack of spare parts and knowledge as this technology has dramatically declined around the world.


Enabler For Move To Full Fibre

The UK is shifting to Full Fibre (FTTP) and moving to VoIP/Internet based voice services enables this.

The UK government wants 85% of the UK having gigabit and full fibre broadband services available by 2026. 100% by 2030.


New Possibilities And Future Proofing

Moving to VoIP/Internet based voice services allows integrations with modern day systems providing more opportunities and features such as simultaneous multi calls, high definition audio and more advanced calling features. It can also mean reduced costs too.

Recent posts