Before you cancel your company’s plain old telephone service (POTS) to save money or redirect spend, here is a breakdown of POTS versus more modern options.
With a name like Plain Old Telephone Service, who can blame commercial telecom users for being a bit hesitant to consider such services when planning new rollouts? There aren’t many businesses eager to commit to “plain old” anything. The technology isn’t new, so is this classic network infrastructure worth maintaining for reliability, legal or functional purposes – especially given the alternatives of cellular and IP-based telephones?
The Security of a POTS Line
A POTS line has a loop start, which means a central office powers the line. The beauty of this setup lies in its ability to act as a failsafe in case of disasters. If the power goes out, the line stays on—a convenience unknown to Internet-based phone system users. POTS may lack newer functionalities, but as a relatively low-cost service, it is still a dependable solution for:
- Voice circuit backup lines
- Alarm lines in your office
- Dial-in connection for your computer systems (Out of band)
For branch offices or smaller businesses, a few POTS lines combined with DSL or cable would be the most cost-effective phone and Internet solution.
The Anti-POTS Perspective
An increasingly common voice services option is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Some common advantages of VoIP over regular telephone calling include:
- Lower costs
- Limited need for additional equipment
- Advanced features and flexibility
- More efficient bandwidth utilization
Because they rely on the same protocols as other business technologies, these systems also tie in seamlessly with CRM solutions and other customer-centric technologies, bringing new levels of efficiency and analytics to businesses.
The price of a regular business line is rising each year, meaning you are getting less value for each telecom dollar spent, while spending more than necessary. POTS networks are costly to maintain compared to IP networks, which is the reason carriers want to get rid of them or at least stop selling them (hence the increasing costs).
With large businesses needing hundreds of lines to cover all employees, the costs associated with a POTS-only strategy are simply too high. In addition to the rising prices, services such as voicemail, caller ID, call transfer, three-party conferencing, and call group hunting each come with an individual price tag (unlike VoIP options that throw in these features for free).
The need for high quality real-time communication is being met better than ever in video over IP and other converged network technologies. IP-based network solutions are both flexible and economical substitutes for platforms that utilize old network technologies. With continued technological developments, the future for IP-based telephone systems is endless and will only continue to grow as new technological developments hit the market.
Managing What You Have
POTS may one day go away completely, but in the meantime most organizations continue to (under-) manage a significant inventory of these lines, adding up to a sizable amount of spend. The huge opportunity for telecom savings takes considerable time, expertise and knowledge of market changes.
Relying on the right business partner, like Corporate United, can save the time needed for analyzing complex telecom offerings and ensuring the right service mix to meet your requirements. Visit the telecommunications management program page to learn more about our partnership with Source One.
This blog post was a collaborative piece between Corporate United and our supplier Partner, Source One. We thank Source One for providing valuable information that guided this discussion.
Jacquelyn Palantino: Senior Analyst at Source One Management Services