1. Home Phone

Best home phone and landline deals

By Dan Howdle | Wednesday, June 30th 2021

Once upon a time there were quite a few companies competing for your business if all you wanted was a phone line without broadband. Not anymore.

With the majority of folk relying on their mobiles, landline usage has seen continued decline year on year. They remain important for many, however. And since you can't have a broadband connection without a physical line to connect it to your house, landlines have stayed relevant.

All broadband providers offer landlines. In fact, most insist on one. However, very, very few offer a landline on its own, without broadband. Just three, in fact. In this guide we'll talk about each provider, the differences, which is the better deal, and show you some alternatives should you decide a wider choice is more important than not taking out broadband.

BT

BT landline packages

Unlimited Weekend, Unlimited Evening & Weekend, Unlimited Anytime

  • Contract length
    12 months
  • Installation time
    2 weeks
  • Connection fee
    £140 if new line, otherwise £0
  • Free calls to mobiles
    Yes
  • Nuisance call protection
    Yes
  • Monthly cost
    From £19.99

Let's not beat about the bush on this; unless you qualify for BT's loss-leading BT Basic service (criteria further down the page), a BT landline, on its own, is going to cost you more with BT than it is with Direct Save Telecom. And since one reason you might be thinking of foregoing broadband would be to keep your connection to the outside world as cheap as possible, BT landlines simply fail in this respect.

In fact, a BT landline on its own, at the time of writing, will set you back at least £21 per month. And that is for a Pay As You Go package with no inclusive calls at all. If that sounds like a reasonable cost, bear in mind that there are providers out there who will provide standard broadband and Anytime Calls for less than £20 per month.

BT landline packages do work a little differently from others. Along with the PAYG option, whereby you will be charged 20p per minute for the calls you make to other landlines, you can also choose from 700 minutes or unlimited minutes. Both these bundles enable you to make calls at any time of the day or week to UK landlines and UK mobiles. So, is there anything about a BT landline that makes it worthwhile to pay more?

You'll have to be the judge of that. With all BT landline packages, you will get free nuisance call protection in the form of BT Call Protect. The way this works is BT keeps its own nuisance call blacklist, and will block any numbers calling you from any number on that list. In addition, you can create your own personal blacklist, by simply dialling 1572 after hanging up on a nuisance caller. It will also send calls from specific categories such as number withheld or international numbers straight to your voicemail, should you choose.

You can also add 'International Freedom' to your package, which extends your free calling allowance to foreign landlines in 36 countries and gives low call rates to another 199 destinations for £9 per month. Alternatively you can choose Friends and Family International for just over £2 per month that offers discounted calls to 236 international destinations.

BT Basic

BT Basic is an ultra-cheap way to have a landline in your house, provided you are in one of the following low-income groups: You receive income support; income-based jobseeker's allowance; pensions credit; employment and support allowance; universal credit. If you're on benefits, basically.

Monthly line rental on BT Basic costs £5.10 a month at the time of writing. And while it's Pay As You Talk, you will get £1.50 worth of calling for free each month. There's also a strict spending cap, meaning you can't spend more than £10 in any given month. At that point, outgoing calls will simply be blocked.

BT Basic is something telecoms regulator Ofcom is forcing BT to do as part of its universal service agreement. And the terms of BT Basic very much make it appear as if it is doing so through gritted teeth.

Get this deal from BT

Direct Save Telecom

Direct Save Telecom landline packages

Pay Per Use Evening and Weekend Calls, Anytime

  • Contract length
    18 months
  • Installation time
    Up to two weeks
  • Connection fee
    £39.95 if new line, otherwise £0
  • Free calls to mobiles
    No
  • Nuisance call protection
    No
  • Monthly cost
    From £16.99

Direct Save Telecom is known for its budget telecom packages. When it comes to landline only, it presents a selection of options. Customers can choose between a 12-month advance payment of £174 per year that equates to just £14.50 per month for line rental, an 18-month contract for £16.99 per month, or a contract-free option for £17.99 per month that you can cancel at any time.

Once you’ve chosen your contract, Direct Save offers a choice of call plans. Its Pay Per Use packages charge 13p per minute for UK landline calls and 16p per minute for calls to mobile numbers. In addition there is a 22p call set up fee per call.

A step up from Pay Per Use calls brings you to Evening and Weekend calls which cost £3 per month. Finally you can choose Free Anytime Calls, which includes free UK landline calls at any time of day seven days a week. Calls are only free for the first 60 minutes so make sure you hang up and redial if you want to keep chatting without being charged. Calls to mobile phones are not included, but are charged at the reduced rate of 7.95p per minute along with a call set-up charge of 22p.

If you need a new line installed, Direct Save Telecom will charge you £39.95. Due to the ongoing Covid 19 restrictions, Direct Line Telecom states that there is currently a wait of up to eight weeks for new line installations.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media landline packages

Talk Weekends, Talk Evenings and Weekends, Talk Anytime, Talk International

  • Contract length
    18 months
  • Installation time
    Up to two weeks
  • Connection fee
    £39.95 if new line, otherwise £35
  • Free calls to mobiles
    Yes
  • Nuisance call protection
    Yes
  • Monthly cost
    From £19

Virgin Media’s home phone only service offers an array of options to suit your needs. Its entry level service, Talk Weekends, costs £19 per month and comes with inclusive weekend calls to landlines and Virgin mobile numbers as well as 0870 numbers. For an extra £1 per month, you can upgrade to Talk More Weekends, which also gives you free calls to all mobile numbers as well as 0845 numbers. Bear in mind that the calls are only free for one hour so if you want to keep chatting, hang up and redial before the initial 60 minutes is up.

Customers wanting the freedom to make calls without incurring extra charges during the week can sign up for Talk More Anytime. This includes landline and mobile calls as well as calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers, seven days a week.

If you have friends and family abroad, you can upgrade to Talk Anytime International, which, along with UK landline and mobile calls, and 0870 and 0845 numbers, gives you free calls to 50 international destinations.

Virgin also offers customers the option to bolt on certain call packs without needing to fully upgrade to a different package. For an extra fiver a month, you can add on Talk Extra 200, which gives you 200 minutes to use at any time of day to landlines, mobiles and 08 numbers. Or, for customers specifically wanting to call landlines and mobiles abroad, you can bolt on Talk Extra International for £7 per month.

All customers get free Voicemail, Last Number Recall. Number Withhold, Number Release and Delete Last Incoming Number for free.

In terms of extras, for £3 per month you can choose to use Call Barring, and Anonymous Call Rejection – to block incoming calls with withheld numbers. To get Call Waiting, Voicemail Plus and Call Divert, you can choose to pay £3 per month. Or to get all these facilities in a bundle, pay just £4 per month.

Alternatives if you get broadband

If you cave in and decide that, all things considered, you might be willing to have broadband after all, your choices expand dramatically. Apart from having only three choices of provider, it's worth bearing in mind that you won't be paying much more (less in some cases) to get a package that also includes broadband. So you've got to really not want it for some specific reason. If you do change your mind, these are the providers you may wish to consider.

  • EE – If you have a mobile deal with EE, EE Broadband is a pretty good choice. You'll get bonus monthly data on your mobile plan for signing up and of course, you won't be adding to your total number of bills
  • John Lewis Broadband – Trades on its brand, just as it does in its often-giant high street stores. You won't get anything particularly special with John Lewis, but you will get to say 'I'm with John Lewis'. If that sort of thing appeals
  • NOW Broadband – Is actually Sky Broadband in disguise. Sky offers NOW TV, which is an app used to stream some Sky content for less than you'd pay for full-blown Sky TV. The popularity of that brand led it to launch NOW Broadband. NOW Broadband doesn't carry out any credit checks, so is the best choice for those with poor credit histories
  • Plusnet – Gets a lot of acclaim for its customer service, but it is owned by BT and in recently it has done less to stand out than it once did
  • Sky – The only reason to get Sky Broadband in our opinion is if you're also going to get Sky TV. Since you're here to find a landline-only packages, we reckon it's unlikely this will interest you, so we'll leave it there
  • Shell Energy Broadband – Until recently this was First Utility Broadband, but the energy and broadband provider was bought by Shell, so we have this rather oddly-named provider instead. Offers very cheap standard broadband
  • SSE – Another former energy provider that offers broadband. A good bare-bones provider with low prices
  • TalkTalk – Has always angled itself as a budget provider, and is still one of the cheapest, depending on when you choose to look. It offers well-priced broadband with the option to add TV
  • Vodafone Broadband – Offers a low-cost, high quality service with a good router and quality customer service. We can't fault it, really

Compare broadband and phone deals

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest landline only deal?

Other than BT Basic, it's Direct Save Telecom, without a doubt. There are only three providers in the UK willing to offer landline-only deals, and the others are BT and Virgin Media, with BT being substantially more expensive.

How much is it per month to just have a landline?

With Direct Save Telecom, you can have a fully functioning landline for as little as £14.50 per month if you are able to pay a year in advance. If you can only pay monthly, then it’s £16.99 per month.

Why do so few providers offer landline only packages?

There is such a limited market in 2021 for landline-only packages – so few households that don't want broadband – that there's simply not room in the market. Plus, with many broadband and phone packages costing the same or less than landline-only packages, there is not much point.

Can I get a landline without broadband?

Yes. But only from three providers: BT, Virgin Media and Direct Save Telecom.

How much is BT Line rental?

At the time of writing, it was £21.10, though BT has a habit of putting this cost up annually, so keep an eye on the cost if you are thinking of signing up.

How much is BT Basic Line rental?

It's £5.10 per month, and within that you get £1.50 in free calling. However, you will need to be living off benefits in order to qualify.

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