Broadband only explained
In this guide
- Best broadband only deals in July 2020
- Who provides broadband only deals?
- Will I still need a phone line?
- What is broadband only?
- Frequently asked questions
Broadband only deals are, sadly, a little more complicated than they need to be. This is mainly due to the fact that people mean a lot of different things when they say 'broadband only', and because broadband providers also have their own definitions.
For example, you may define broadband only to mean broadband without a phone line, or perhaps broadband without a TV package. Providers, however, will often define it as broadband with a phone line that only offers pay-as-you-go (PAYG) calls, or in some cases broadband with a landline provided by someone else. You can see why this is tricky. So let's start then by covering the main ways in which 'broadband only' is defined.
Best broadband only deals in July 2020
TalkTalk Superfast Fibre Broadband
£100 Gift Card£28.50 p/mZero one-off cost Buy Now
- 67Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
Virgin Media M100 Fibre Broadband
Save£288£28 p/m£35 one-off cost Buy Now
- 108Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
Plusnet Unlimited Broadband
£60 Reward Card£17.99 p/m£17.99 one-off cost Buy Now
- 10Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
Who provides broadband only deals?
In our comparison tools, we list every UK provider that offers their version of broadband only. This can largely be split into Virgin Media's definition (broadband without a phone line), and everyone else's (broadband with a phone line and pay-as-you-go calls – no calling package). Here are the providers with notes on what each offers.
- Post Office Broadband – A no-frills broadband service aiming itself somewhat at the older generation, Post Office Broadband offers average speeds of 11Mbps for standard ADSL, and 36Mbps and 62Mbps for its fibre plans. All its deals are available with PAYG calls, but you will need to take out a phone line from Post Office Broadband
- TalkTalk – Will let you have any of its available broadband speeds – averaging 11Mbps, 36Mbps or 63Mbps – without a calling package. However, like so many others on this list, you will still need a TalkTalk phone line and you will still need to pay line rental
- Plusnet – Has a lot of awards for its customer service, so if that's a priority for you, it is well worth considering. It offers ADSL standard broadband averaging 10Mbps, and two fibre packages averaging 36Mbps and 66Mbps respectively. You will need a phone line to get Plusnet broadband, though not necessarily from Plusnet
- Vodafone – Only offers fibre packages, so you'll only find two speeds here: Averaging 35Mbps and 63Mbps. You can get pay-as-you-go calls with either package, but you will need a home phone from Vodafone
- Sky – Only offers its 11Mbps standard ADSL and its 63Mbps Fibre Max broadband packages with pay-as-you-go calls. For some reason you can't get broadband only on its mid-tier fibre package. You will need a Sky phone line if you want Sky broadband
- SSE – Offers all three of its available speeds – averaging 11Mbps, 35Mbps and 63Mbps – with pay-as-you-go calls. You won't find any true broadband only deals from SSE, though. You will have to take out a phone line from SSE and pay line rental
- EE – Offers broadband speeds between 10Mbps (standard ADSL), 36Mbps and 67Mbps (fibre). All its speeds are available without a calling package (pay-as-you-go calls). You do need a phone line for EE broadband
- Virgin Media – Offers all four of its fibre speeds – averaging 54Mbps, 108Mbps, 213Mbps and 362Mbps – either with pay-as-you-go calls, or as 'true' broadband only with no phone at all. You won't save money on line rental if you go for this latter option, though – you still need that line to bring you your broadband, so there's no way around it. You may save a couple of quid by not having a phone line if you get it on the right day, though (prices go up and down all the time)
- Shell Energy Broadband – Offers broadband packages averaging 11Mbps (standard ADSL), 35Mbps and 63Mbps. All three of these speeds
- Direct Save Telecom – Angling itself as a strictly budget, no frills provider, Direct Save Telecom offers broadband speeds from 11Mbps to 63Mbps. All of its packages are available with pay-as-you-go calls, but you do need a home phone line
Will I still need a phone line?
If you're thinking of opting for broadband without a phone line, you're going to have to get it from Virgin Media. As mentioned above, Virgin Media is the only provider to offer this option. Also, you'll need to bear in mind that you won't be saving any money on line rental. Line rental doesn't just apply to a 'phone line' – it applies to any physical line carrying any kind of signal (broadband or phone) into your home.
If you can't save any money by not having a landline, you still might want to consider this option for one or more of the following reasons…
- Kill nuisance calls dead – If you never use your landline, if no one ever calls it, it just becomes a way for nuisance calls to get to you. Obviously, nuisance calls simply can't happen if you don't even have a home phone number
- You don't need a 'family phone' – Even in families where everyone has a mobile, a shared family line is often preferred as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, especially those abroad, where calls can be substantially cheaper both for them and for you. They're also good in the sense that anyone who is home can answer and take a message. If you're not in this type of busy household and none of this applies to you, you may wish to consider broadband without a phone line from Virgin Media
- Everyone has a mobile and never hits their minutes limits – Maybe everyone in your household is glued to their mobile, always comes in under their minutes limits each month and never demonstrates any need to have a landline. If that's the case, why have one?
What is broadband only?
There are five different ways providers and customers may define broadband only. Let's take a brief look at them.
- Broadband without a phone line – Arguably, this is the most common way potential customers define the term. This means some sort of broadband deal that does not involve having a home phone. Only Virgin Media offers this type of deal, though it's unlikely you'll save any money opting for it, since you'll still be paying line rental on that same line, albeit it'll only be carrying your broadband signal
- Broadband with pay-as-you-go calls – For most providers who claim to offer broadband only, this is what they really mean: A package that offers broadband, but with a so-called 'calling package' (bundled add-ons that offer free evening, weekend, evening and weekend or anytime calls via your landline)
- Broadband with a phone line from another provider – Some providers will sometimes let you buy a broadband deal from them on its own, without a phone line. The catch is you do need a functioning phone line that you're paying line rental for, albeit from a different provider
- Broadband without TV – When some people type 'broadband only' into a search engine, what they're actually looking for has nothing to do with line rental or home phones. Instead, they simply want a broadband package that doesn't come bundled with some sort of bundled subscription TV package
- Mobile broadband – Mobile broadband arrives at your home (or anywhere else for that matter) over the airwaves, via the same networks used by your smartphone. While mobile broadband isn't all that great an option for your home unless you really have no other choice – it's comparatively expensive and almost always data capped – it can be considered 'broadband only', since it truly does come with no other products or services attached
Frequently asked questions
What's the cheapest broadband only deal?
This varies from one day to the next. Fortunately, we update our listings every single day and list the broadband only deals in order of price, starting with the cheapest. Note that ‘cheapest’ doesn't mean the best value for money, so you should bear in mind the speed of the broadband, the quality of the equipment and similar factors.
Do I need a phone line for a broadband only deal?
No, but you don’t have many options. Most broadband packages need an active phone line for internet to enter your home.
Why is broadband only more expensive?
It’s because there are few of these packages and you’ll likely be paying for super-fast, fibre-optic broadband. You could save more money by ordering a broadband and phone package but not use your landline.
Can I get broadband without phone line rental?
You can, but unless you have a pure full-fibre broadband service you’ll still have to pay line rental. Unfortunately, full-fibre broadband services aren’t available in all areas of the UK.
Can I get WiFi with a broadband only deal?
Yes. You can find broadband only deals with WiFi from a number of internet service providers.
Is a broadband only deal right for me?
Yes, if you want different service providers. Some internet service providers (ISPs) may offer features that a single ISP doesn’t. If you don’t use your landline phone, you may prefer a broadband only deal or, as suggested above, save money by setting up a broadband and phone package but not using the phone.
Do I need a phone line for TalkTalk broadband?
Yes. With TalkTalk, your phone line carries the broadband signal into your house. You can’t buy a broadband package from TalkTalk without also switching your phone line, but you can keep your current phone number.
Can you have BT broadband without a landline?
Yes and no. BT have launched a full-fibre broadband service, but it’s not widely available. It all depends on where you live.
Can you have Sky without a landline??
No. You need an active phone line to receive services from Sky. As ISPs work to offer full-fibre broadband, there may come a time when it’s no longer necessary.