Toshiba Phone System End-of-Life: What Are Your Options Now?
Toshiba phone systems are on an end-of-life path that ends on October 31st, 2021 when support comes to a complete halt.
You may be thinking, "2021 is still a ways off - nothing to worry about yet." But there's another deadline looming in 2020 that will impact how you’ll be able to use your phone system during that last year of support, and this involves licensing.
Toshiba Phone System Phaseout Started in 2018 and Ends in 2021
Before we go into detail about the licensing deadline and its impact on the usability of your phone system, here’s an overview of the situation.
- Toshiba was acquired by Mitel in 2017. They continued to offer and support Toshiba phone systems – specifically the IPedge and Strata CIX models. Mitel announced in 2018 that they’ll be phasing out these platforms.
- The phaseout schedule started with discontinuing sales of hardware in 2018, although handsets and parts have still been available through Mitel partners such as Accent.
- The deadline on October 31st, 2020 takes us to the next phase when you can no longer buy licenses for your Toshiba phone systems.
- Support for Toshiba phones systems will end forever on October 31, 2021.
Why the October 31, 2020 Deadline Is Important -- Every Phone Needs a License
The licensing deadline is significant because every single phone number that you’re using in your Toshiba phone system needs to have its own license.
Licenses are only available through Mitel, and Mitel has to install them.
On November 1st, 2020, the stock of licenses you have will become static. In other words, you’ll be stuck with whatever amount you have.
This might not be a huge problem if your organization isn’t growing, but if you want to add employees in the future, you won’t be able to give them a phone line. Even if you can get hardware, you won’t be able to use it without a license.
What You CAN Do After the Licensing Deadline
After licensing ends you won’t be totally dead in the water. You’ll still be able to make day to day administrative changes.
For example, you’ll be able to reset someone’s mailbox password, or change the assigned extension.
Your Decision: Replace Now or Delay?
You’ve got two options to consider as your Toshiba phone system continues to march down the road to complete phase-out – keep using it or replace it.
The choice to continue using your Toshiba phones will be stop-gap, because using an out-of-warranty, out-of-support phone system is not going to be a good business decision for anyone in the long run.
Option 1 - Stick It Out Until 2021
There could be reasons why you want to delay replacing your phone system.
Maybe you’re allocating resources in a different direction. Perhaps you’re anticipating an acquisition or merger in early 2021 that will change your situation.
Again, you won't be able to buy any new licenses, so you won’t be able to add users to your phone system.
One solution to get around this is to stockpile some licenses to give yourself a buffer for expansion in the coming months.
End-of-Support in 2021 is a Hard Stop
If you decide to move into 2021 without replacing your phone system, keep the October 31, 2021 end-of-support date on your radar.
After that date, support by your IT company or phone system vendor becomes a matter of "best effort." If something breaks, you may be able to get an aftermarket part, but no one can promise reliability anymore.
Additionally, if your system has a major issue, you can’t just replace it overnight. Figuring out a workaround while you go through the planning process for replacing your phone system could cost not only money, but create confusion that will frustrate employees and customers alike.
Option 2 - Replace Your Phone System
The thought of going through the process of replacing your phone system might cause you to groan. There will be costs, and disruption in the transition.
But on the bright side, there are tons of benefits that a new phone system can bring to your organization.
Modern phone systems have capabilities that can help your employees to be more productive. When you give your employees the communication tools they need to better serve your customers, customer experience will improve too.
If yours is like a lot of businesses right now, you’re looking for ways to optimize your remote workforce. You'll be astounded at how operations can be improved and streamlined when you integrate voice communications into the other software that your employees use every day.
It's Decision Time
Now that you know that you’re going to have to say goodbye to your Toshiba phone system, you really need to decide WHEN you’re going to replace your phone system – now or later – because both of the options open to you right now lead to the same place.
If you're an Accent managed IT services client, reach out to your Technology Advisor to chat through your options. They'll help you evaluate the pros and cons of each option for your business's specific situation.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.