How to get broadband without line rental or phone line
Firstly, make sure you really need or want broadband without a phone line. Most broadband providers require you to have a landline so not having one narrows your options significantly.
Virgin Media is the only fibre optic broadband provider which does not require a landline, but it is not available everywhere. You can use our availability checker to see if you can get Virgin Media broadband where you live.
Availability is also an issue for all your other options: satellite, mobile and wireless. You'll need to check with satellite broadband provider Tooway to see if you can receive their signal where you live, mobile broadband relies on a strong 3G or 4G mobile phone signal and wireless broadband requires some dedicated infrastructure that may be impractical. You can check the websites of different mobile broadband providers to see if they cover your area.
Once you know which services are available, it's important to weigh up the key issues: speed, cost, usage caps and traffic management. Different users have different needs, so make sure you have considered these factors. You can use our comparison tool above to list the different providers based on download speeds, monthly usage, upload speed, upfront cost and monthly cost.
Why choose broadband without line rental?
You don't want to pay for a phone line
One of the most common reasons for wanting to do without a landline is that doing so removes the cost of monthly line rental. Faster broadband has led to more economical ways to communicate, such as instant messaging and Skype, which can replace traditional landline phones. However, some people who don’t use a landline feel forced into having it by restrictive broadband packages.
Your landline broadband speed is unacceptably low
Rural communities in particular suffer from slow internet connections because they may be a long way from the nearest exchange. As a signal travels along a copper cable it encounters resistance and it slows down, so very long copper cables mean very slow connections. This is less of a problem with fibre optic cable because the signal does not slow down as much, while satellite or wireless broadband encounter little or no resistance through the air.
You can't get a phone line
A tiny proportion of people in the UK do not have access to a physical phone line because they live somewhere particularly remote, or they are somewhere offshore (e.g.: on an oil rig or small island).
Pros and cons
- No charge for line rental
- Solution for those who can’t get conventional broadband
- Satellite broadband can reach most places
- No landline to make emergency calls
- Satellite broadband is expensive
Who provides broadband without a phone line?
Virgin Media – Virgin Media is the only major provider that offers broadband without a landline. It offers four packages, with speeds of up to 50Mbps, up to 100Mbps, up to 200Mbps and up to 300Mbps, at a lower price than its broadband and phone packages. The broadband-only deal is not available as part of Virgin’s bundles, so there is no way to have a TV package if you want broadband without the home phone.
Satellite – Satellite broadband gives its customers the option to either rent or purchase the required hardware. Tooway offer a number of packages to suit most households’ broadband needs but the prices are far higher than you may expect if you’ve been using cable broadband previously.
Mobile broadband – Mobile broadband is an option from most mobile phone providers, with the fastest service coming from those using a 4G network.
Wireless broadband – A number of specialist providers can set up and maintain a wireless broadband service. This is usually an initiative developed on a collaborative basis by communities which have poor broadband access.
Which package is right for me?
Our comparison tool enables you to compare a number of different providers, so you can see how they stack up against each other for several different factors.
Virgin Media – Virgin’s broadband-only package avoids the high set-up costs and data limitations of Tooway's deals, and it would be useful for those who use the internet for almost everything and are not too concerned with receiving a TV subscription service.
Satellite – If satellite broadband is your best option in terms of availability then you need to consider the costs. Set-up and running costs are high, the maximum download speed is not particularly fast, and all packages are subject to a data allowance.
Mobile broadband – Mobile broadband is a good solution if you get a signal where you live, preferably with a 4G provider. These providers offer fast, reliable mobile broadband at a variety of speeds and for not as much as you might think.
Wireless broadband – Wireless broadband could be the best solution if you are making long-term plans and have the support of others in your community, because such services require investment and planning to build infrastructure like transmitters.
What will I need?
Virgin Media – To receive Virgin’s broadband-only service, you’ll need to contact them and an engineer may need to visit your property.
Satellite – To receive satellite broadband you will need a small dish outside your property as well as a set-top box inside. These can be either rented or purchased. If this all sounds a little drastic, there is a network of satlellite broadband resellers throughout the country, which will be more than happy to let you try the service before you buy it, by performing a demonstration near to where you live.
Mobile broadband – To get a mobile broadband service, you can use Google to search for the coverage checkers of different mobile providers. If you can receive a 3G or 4G signal, then you can check to see if that provider offers a suitable plan for your needs.
Wireless broadband – Wireless broadband typically requires a specialist provider to place a transmitter so it can receive a cable connection and then transmit wirelessly to the user. This can either be built especially or attached to an existing structure, depending on the circumstances. You would then need to have a small receiving unit on your property.
How do I switch?
Once you've decided to switch and confirmed that you can receive the service and package you want, you should check that you are not tied into any other contract. For example, you might be switching from a broadband package with a phone line, so you will need to be sure you can cancel that contract without penalties.
When you have checked all of this, you’ll can usually buy your product online by following the relevant links in our comparison tool above.
You can get broadband without a phone line, but it's important that you think carefully about what you need and why. If you can get it, Virgin broadband is generally the fastest and best value of your options. Mobile broadband is increasingly popular but coverage can be patchy, especially in rural areas. Satellite broadband is a reasonable option if Virgin and mobile broadband are not feasible for you, but it is expensive and the speed is not great.