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Can I get broadband without a phone line?

Hannah Ricci
Friday, March 31st 2017

Yes, you can – but your options are limited. If you don’t want a phone landline or simply can’t get one at your property, it’s still possible to get online. The main options include some fibre optic broadband packages, satellite broadband or mobile broadband.

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Fixed-line broadband

Virgin Media is the only big mainstream telecoms provider able to offer broadband without a phone line because its fibre optic network is completely separate from the copper telephone wires used to carry slower standard broadband. Origin Broadband also offers broadband without a phone line, however it's only available in some parts of the country.

You still have to pay inclusive line rental even without a phone attached

Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband without phone service starts from £32.25 per month for unlimited usage and download speeds up to 100Mb on a 12-month contract. If you take the same broadband package with a phone line, you will pay 25 pence less per month. Strange, but true.

Gigaclear and Hyperoptic also provide broadband without a phone line

They may not be mainstream providers – at least not at the moment – but both Gigaclear and Hyperoptic offer broadband without a phone line. Like Virgin Media, this is thanks to the infrastructure involved in delivering broadband to properties – fibre optic. Gigaclear primarily focuses on rural communities, while Hyperoptic is a more urban-orientated provider.

You'll need to know whether you can get it or not

Check if Virgin Media or Hyperoptic broadband is available in your area using the postcode checker above. The results will also show you what kind of speeds you can expect at your property.

Satellite broadband

Satellite broadband was developed to provide an internet connection to anyone, anywhere. In addition to widespread availability, the other advantage is that there’s no need for a phone line.

Tooway – the main supplier of satellite broadband – provides a welcome solution for those in remote locations where regular broadband services are poor or not unavailable, since it only requires properties to have a clear view of the sky to the south and an anchor point for the dish.

Set-up can be both complicated and expensive

The major downside is that it’s a big job to set up, with equipment costs often rising to £300. The packages are more expensive month-to-month than comparable standard or fibre broadband. They’re also slower and less comprehensive. As a result, Tooway is only likely to appeal to customers otherwise completely cut off from these services, such as those living in very rural areas.

And you can forget about online gaming

While the download and upload speeds of satellite broadband are decent enough, the latency is not. With more than a second of delay following any action you take, it can make browsing rather slow and playing any online game that relies on fast reflexes absolutely impossible.

You can find out more about Tooway satellite broadband and whether it’s the right option for you in our comprehensive guide.

Mobile broadband

If you can’t get Virgin Media in your area or don’t want the set-up costs of Tooway satellite, a mobile broadband connection is your best solution to get internet without a phone line. Rather than a fixed line connection direct to your property, mobile broadband can travel with you and provide internet access wherever there is coverage.

If you’re considering heavy use, think again

The capacity on a mobile internet connection is often far lower than with fixed-line services, so speeds tend to be slower and data allowances much smaller. It’s an affordable option for light users, but others may find that it costs more than the same level of usage offered by a mainstream home broadband provider.

There are four options:

  • Dongles
  • Mobile wi-fi
  • Tethering
  • Tablet data plans (with device or SIM-only)

Dongles

These pocket-sized USB sticks can be slotted into the port of your laptop or desktop computer to provide internet access at home or on the go. You can pre-load them with pay-as-you-go (PAYG) credit or take out a contract and pay month by month.

You'll get one with your mobile broadband contract

Dongles are available for free from many mobile providers. Many are also available on handy 30-day rolling contracts, so you’re not tied in for the long-term.

Mobile wi-fi

If you have a wi-fi enabled device such as a laptop or tablet, you can get online with your very own wi-fi hotspot device called a Mi-Fi unit. Think of it like a portable router that wirelessly connects your tech to the internet, whether at home or out and about.

Mi-Fi is still fairly new, but gaining in popularity

You can take out a contract or PAYG SIM and connect up to ten devices at once. It’s quite a new concept so options are still limited and prices pretty high compared to other mobile broadband options, but there are still some solid choices from Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone.

Tethering

As an alternative, you can connect a tablet or laptop to the internet using your smartphone in a process called ‘tethering’. Providing you have a data allowance, you’ll be able to get online with your tablet or laptop – either wirelessly or using a USB cable. While wireless is convenient, connecting via USB won’t drain your phone’s battery as quickly.

You'll need to check with your provider, as most impose strict limits

Tethering means you’ll be able to get online wherever your phone has internet coverage, but there are some downsides too: it can eat through your data allowance and some providers prohibit it. Discover more about it in our guide to the best network for tethering.

Tablet data plans (with device or SIM-only)

3G and 4G mobile broadband technology allows you to connect to the internet on the move or at home using a tablet or smartphone without the need for a router, hotspot, or external dongle. If you plan to use the internet a lot, 4G will be more useful since it's far faster, but you can compare both services in our guide to 3G vs 4G mobile broadband.

Even the most generous deals are expensive compared to standard broadband

You can take out a contract or choose a pay-as-you-go SIM from a mobile phone provider, and choose to purchase a new device or just a SIM card to put in your tablet.

Conclusion

While the options are limited, you can indeed get broadband without a phone line. Virgin Media provides the most comprehensive landline-free home broadband service, allowing you to enjoy all the internet has to offer with good coverage, top speeds and a stable connection – just without a phone line.

The next best option is mobile broadband for the flexibility to take it anywhere, followed by the Tooway home broadband solution for those off the traditional broadband map.

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