Dan Howdle | January 13th, 2023
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 two, in fact, now that Virgin Media have stopped offering a landine only option. 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 offer a range of landline and call only packages starting from £23.05 per month.
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.
Previously known as BT Basic, BT Home Essentials is an ultra-cheap way to have a landline (or landline and broadband if you like) 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 £10 a month at the time of writing, and calls are charged as Pay As You Talk. Also, in the past BT have also enabled a charge cap, limiting your spending to £10 per month – although it's not currently clear whether they currently enable this.
BT Home Essentials is something telecoms regulator Ofcom is forcing BT to do as part of its universal service agreement. And the terms of BT Home Essentials very much make it appear as if it is doing so through gritted teeth.
Direct Save offers a smaller range of landline and call only packages from £14.50 per month.
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.
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.
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Other than BT Basic, it's Direct Save Telecom, without a doubt. There are only two providers in the UK willing to offer landline-only deals (BT and Direct Save Telecom), with BT being substantially more expensive.
With Direct Save Telecom, you can have a fully functioning landline for as little as £17.50 per month if you are able to pay a year in advance. If you can only pay monthly, then it’s £17.99 per month.
Since the overwhelming majority of people want a broadband service at home (and most of those come with a landline anyway), there is no longer much demand for a landline-only service. Plus, with many broadband and phone packages costing the same or less than landline-only packages, there is not much point.
Yes. But only from two providers: BT and Direct Save Telecom.
At the time of writing, it is £23.05 for a pay-as you-go deal with BT.
BT Basic costs £10 per month and includes free anytime calls. However, you will need to be living off benefits in order to qualify.