PRI Cost Being Increased

Costly Increases in PRI Circuits are Cause for Concern

Exasperated at a huge increase in PRI cost.
Traditional PRI circuits are being phased out, and phone companies are steadily raising their prices, anticipating the shutdown of the old analog communication system.

The surge in PRI (Primary Rate Interface) circuit prices results from a convergence of factors, with a significant catalyst being the industry's shift towards advanced technologies such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking. This contemporary technology not only promises cost savings but also offers increased flexibility.

Factors contributing to the rising costs of PRI circuits.

As traditional PRI circuits undergo a phased transition, phone companies are demanding higher prices in anticipation of the imminent shutdown of the outdated analog communication system. Providers, driven by the industry-wide transition, justify these increases by their escalating costs and actual losses associated with maintaining the obsolete network. Pricing and fees for PRI circuits are, time and again, alarmingly high; no longer in the once typical range of $350 to $650.1

In 2024, an increasing number of TDM networks are being retired, and carriers are opting not to renew contracts on certain types of copper-based circuits, like POTS, PRI, T1, and DS3.

For instance, Windstream, a telecommunications company, is actively moving away from traditional TDM (Time-Division Multiplexing) services like PRI and T1 lines. The company strongly recommends customers adopt all-IP-based services like SIP trunking and cloud-based services. This strategic shift aligns with an industry trend observed in major players like AT&T, Verizon and Lumen (formally CenturyLink), who are geographically phasing out copper-line services. AT&T in California is actively pursuing the elimination of their responsibility to even keep POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) for residential customers.
To incentivize business customers to transition to SIP trunking and away from PRIs, these carriers are routinely increasing prices as contracts expire. It's noteworthy to highlight the substantial increase in the cost of TDM PRI services, with some cases experiencing a triple (300%) increase, and in others, a tenfold or more increase. In one instance, reportedly going from $328/mo. to a crazy $4,300.2

Managing Rising PRI Telephone Costs: A Guide to Optimizing Expenses

Advantages of SIP Trunking

Elevating PRI and DS3 rates significantly serves as a strong incentive for users to transition to SIP trunking, essentially making the legacy circuits financially impractical. Certain providers are refusing contract renewals at any price.

1. Cost Savings: Employing SIP trunks can lead to significant savings with the potential for reductions of up to 50% in telecom costs. It offers simple, understandable pricing with a choice between metered and unmetered plans.

2. Scalable: Unlike PRIs that take time and expense to have installed, SIP trunking is easy to configure and is highly scalable, allowing businesses to add or eliminate lines as required. It provides for growth and scalability without complexity and any additional hardware. Businesses can establish a virtual local presence in unique geographic locations.

3. Reliability, Flexibility & Quality: SIP trunking is a tried-and-true technology that offers excellent call quality with ample bandwidth. Providers offer redundancy, allowing calls to be rerouted in case of system failure. It's equally straightforward to implement a local presence in different areas by provisioning SIP trunks with local phone numbers.

Making a call using SIP trunking with a desk phone.

Prepare for the Transition to SIP Trunking: Essential Insights for a Smooth Switch

From August 2022, carriers were no longer required to support outdated copper telecom circuits. Some carriers have issued 90-day notices for replacing these circuits, acknowledging that installing fiber-based solutions might take up to three months.3

Foremost, it's crucial to acknowledge that traditional PRI is becoming obsolete. Proactively transitioning to SIP now ensures that your organization avoids being forced into critical decisions under time constraints. If you depend still on PRI, there's even the likelihood that you're currently overpaying for your communication needs, and this situation will certainly worsen with increasing prices. Frequently, companies opt to start the transition to SIP trunking before their PRI contract expires, allowing a smooth transition at a future date. Consider: for SIP trunking.On a Final Note; What you need to do today. Conclusion

Ways to reduce or manage PRI circuit costs.

If your telecommunications provider refuses to renew your contract or enforces a significant increase in prices, there are specific steps you can take. Begin the process well before the contract expiration by researching alternative service providers and comparing their products and costs. One key insight for a successful transition is understanding the benefits of SIP trunking. This includes improved scalability, reduced costs, and enhanced communication features. By comprehending these advantages, businesses can make informed decisions that align with their specific needs. Explore the possibility of transitioning to SIP trunking with your existing provider, particularly if you have a history of being a long-term and valued customer. However, if the rates and expenses with your current provider are unnecessarily high, consider switching to a new provider that offers high-bandwidth fiber Internet services, cable companies for instance, like Spectrum Enterprise or Comcast Business.

Discover These In-depth Responses to Your SIP Trunking Questions.


How does a PRI trunk differ from a SIP trunk?

A Primary Rate Interface (PRI) trunk establishes a physical connection via copper wire to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), using a single T-1 connection with 23 voice channels, which can carry Internet and video. Conversely, a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunk establishes a virtual link to the PSTN, transmitting voice calls as data over an existing Ethernet or fiber Internet connection. Unlike the circuit-switched model employed by PRI trunks, SIP trunks support more advanced Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony capabilities. In the past, PRI circuits were favored for their superior voice quality, especially by companies requiring ten or more business PSTN lines. At that juncture, PRIs were deemed more cost-effective and providers offered business packages that included Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers and calling minutes. However, as costs for PRIs are skyrocketing (tripling or more), their economic advantages have disappeared. And as older copper services are decommissioned, they will force the change to SIP and cloud-based services. SIP trunking with many its many of distinct advantages now provides excellent voice quality, in contrast to fifteen years ago when Internet resources were less robust and fiber was not as prominent as it is now.

Can SIP trunks handle both voice and data?

Yes, SIP trunks can transmit voice, text, video and other multimedia. This flexibility makes SIP trunks ideal for a wide range of real-time unified multichannel communication services, along with communications, collaboration, and instant messaging between employees. It offers an all-around solution for modern multi-channel business communication.

Are SIP trunks secure?

Deploying security measures like encryption and firewalls is essential in reducing potential cyber threats linked to SIP trunks. Opting for a trustworthy provider equipped with robust security protocols can additionally bolster protection. Security comes through implementing encryption, firewall protection, unique passwords, and network hiding measures.

Can SIP trunks integrate with my existing phone system?

SIP trunks are crafted for seamless integration with current communication systems, including most on-premise PBX systems, guaranteeing a smooth transition and compatibility. Businesses can facilitate the benefits of SIP trunking and leverage their current infrastructure, reducing extra expenditures and time. Most SIP providers have platforms designed to work with any SIP or SIP-enabled PBX.

Am I limited to a specific internet provider, bandwidth, and carrier?

If you opt for the correct SIP trunk provider, the response is no. The optimal provider should offer not only the utmost flexibility but also furnish a responsive support team, ensuring help is readily available when required.

Is a metered or unmetered SIP trunking plan better?

When choosing between metered and unmetered SIP trunking plans, consider these several factors. First, your call volume usage. If it's high, you may benefit from unmetered plans, offering unlimited* calling for a set price. Those with lower call volumes may find metered plans more cost-effective because of pay-as-you-go or usage-based billing. (*Subject to fair usage policies.)