PhoneSentry 99.999% call uptime

Is 99.999% Call Uptime A Fairytale?

Fake news. Fairy Tales. Myths.

It’s hard to escape your own skepticism about certain things, regardless of how many positive claims you’ve heard. Business owners with phone quality issues might be swayed by telecom provider claims of 99.999% call uptime.

But 99.999% uptime is more mythical than you’d think. Let’s look at why the “five nines” claim is more of a marketing gimmick than a reality.


PhoneSentry 99.999% call uptime

Breaking Down The 99.999% Call Uptime Statistics

There’s a rule of thumb in the telecom business:

If a claim seems too good to be true, it likely is. A telecom provider is making false claims if their business includes a guarantee of 99.999% call uptime.

Even businesses without call centers likely make a few hours’ worth of phone calls per day. This amounts to thousands of hours spent on the phone each year. It’s easy to see how farfetched a nearly 100% claim is when you apply it to the amount of time a business spends on the phone.

For the average business, 99.999% uptime means only 5–15 minutes of downtime each year.

If any telecom provider could live up to that claim, every business would use it.

Most telecom providers make the 99.999% efficacy promise because it’s easy to shift blame for blame service issues. For instance, if you call in to a telecom provider about an issue, they might be able to “pinpoint” the issue to a local phone line, something on your end, or anything but themselves.

Why The Five Nines Aren’t As Great As They Seem

You might be thinking to yourself, “But my business plan guarantees that rate or I get money back!”

It’s true that telecom providers often create contracts that supposedly benefit customers. These contracts sometimes offer money-back guarantees if their 99.999% call uptime rate isn’t met. Contracts like these are meant to benefit the businesses who use them, but not in the way they might think.

The caveat to money back guarantees is that the money given back is usually only a percentage of the money paid.

For instance, let’s say a company pays their telecom provider $300 a month for service. If their call uptime goals aren’t met, they’d get only a percentage of their monthly service credited back to them. 10% downtime? 10% credit off their monthly bill. $30 off of $300 a month doesn’t make up for the damage to their business.

See, money back guarantees fail to account for time and money lost during a service outage.

Businesses count on the reliability of their phone lines to communicate with their customers. Inability to communicate results in a loss of troubleshooting time, repair costs, and possibly lost customers.

How To Make Do In The Real World

Preparing for the worst is the best way to stay ahead of your competition. Relating this to telecom terms, it’s important for your business to understand your downtime and make outside preparations that will help your company in the likely event of downtime.

Here are some tips for preventing the ill-effects of downtime at your offices.

  • Make sure your business is secure. Downtime threats aren’t always just a hassle. Sometimes, when your telecom provider falls through, you can put customer and business information at risk. Be sure to implement up-to-date security measures that are consistent with your telephone services.

  • Have a backup plan. Make sure there is a business-wide backup plan in motion for when downtime does occur. Having a backup plan ensures no one at your company is knocked out of stride, even if phone lines aren’t functional. It also means that there is less of a pause between downtime and business as usual when uptime happens again.

  • Work with a voice quality and phone monitoring company. Companies with the capacity to monitor your uptime and downtime can help you better estimate when downtime will happen, help you adjust your phone service, and more.

Hopefully we’ve shown you how 99.999% call uptime is more myth than reality. And, hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas about how you can get the most out of your telecom service.

Want to learn more about what impacts voice and phone call quality at your business? Follow our blog for insights.