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How to switch between BT and TalkTalk

By Emma Lunn | Wednesday, June 23rd 2021

Thinking of switching from TalkTalk to BT or from BT to TalkTalk? Either way, before you set out, we've got some great advice for you to help smooth the journey.

The packages on offer from BT and TalkTalk are a bit different and you need to decide exactly what you want from your new provider. Read on to find out how the switching process works and what you need to do.

Know which services you want to switch

BT and TalkTalk both sell bundles which combine a phone line, broadband and a TV service. You don’t have to switch all your services over, but it’s important to understand that both TalkTalk TV and BT TV are not standalone products – TalkTalk TV is only available to households with TalkTalk broadband and you need BT broadband to get BT TV.

Both BT and TalkTalk offer access to both Sky Sports and BT Sport. But if you’re after BT Sport in particular, it works out a lot cheaper with BT.

TalkTalk’s selling point is low-priced simplicity and flexibility. Its TV service comes with a basic Freeview TV option with a YouView box, to which you can then bolt on NOW TV Memberships, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video to boost your viewing options. You can chop and change these from month to month if you wish, with no long-term contract required.

BT’s new TV packages also offer plenty of flexibility, with NOW TV Entertainment and Freeview channels as the core offering, to which you can then bolt on any other NOW TV Membership, as well as BT Sport, BT Kids, Amazon Prime and Netflix. BT TV also comes with a recordable TV box and has the exclusive rights to AMC, the channel that is home to The Walking Dead and other hit shows, as well as offering BoxNation and BT Kids.

Compare and choose a new deal

When it comes to broadband speeds, BT’s entry-level Fibre Essential package offers an average download speed of 36Mbps, which equates to TalkTalk’s unlimited 38Mbps. If you choose Fibre 1, you will receive an average of 50Mbps, which TalkTalk does not offer. Both providers also offer faster fibre deals, with speeds averaging 67Mbps.

Both BT and TalkTalk are working towards offering higher speeds. BT Ultrafast now offers speeds of up to 900Mbps although it’s not widely available. TalkTalk offers 150Mpbs and 300Mbps connections. It’s also trialling a 1Gbps (1000Mbps) product in York, should you be lucky enough to live there.

Compare all broadband deals

In terms of contract length, TalkTalk deals are usually for 24 months. BT's contracts are also all 24 months' long, whether you are looking for BT standard or BT fibre broadband. Watch out for the inevitable price hike at the end of the contract as it will increase significantly.

TalkTalk bundle customers will receive the TalkTalk YouView TV box that allows you to pause and rewind live TV for up to 30 minutes, but does not offer a recording function. BT supplies its TV customers with the latest YouView+ box that allows you to pause, rewind and record up to 300 hours of TV.

Whatever you’re after, finding the best deal is easiest when all the information you need is one place. Our comparison tools take out a lot of the click-work, meaning you can compare features, costs and contracts easily.

No need to speak to your old provider

If you switch between BT and TalkTalk, there’s no need to call the provider you’re leaving and explain – your new provider will do that for you.

Switching between BT and TalkTalk is pretty easy because both use the Openreach network, so either provider can simply take over your existing phone line rather than installing a new one. This is much simpler than if you’re switching to or from Virgin Media, as Virgin operates its own exclusive network.

The exception to this is if you are switching to or from an ultrafast connection with either BT or TalkTalk, in which case you will also have to make the call regarding your departure yourself as this is not a straightforward switch via Openreach.

The process of switching broadband should take about two weeks and, once completed, you’ll receive a notification from either BT or TalkTalk confirming the switch, plus your final bill.

Check your current contract

If you’re still within the minimum contract period of your BT or TalkTalk contract, you’ll be charged cancellation fees to leave. How much this will be depends on how many months are left on your contract when you cancel.

However, if you’re still in contract with TalkTalk and switch to BT, BT will offset the cost of leaving by up to £300. You will have to pay TalkTalk’s exit fees yourself and you can then claim them back from BT. The amount will be credited to your new BT account – you will not receive the money back in cash.

TalkTalk however, does not offer the same benefit. So if you’re switching from BT to TalkTalk, you’ll probably have to take the hit and pay BT’s cancellation fees if you want to leave early. This means you’re less likely to save money by switching as any savings you make on the cost of your new broadband package will probably be eaten up by cancellation fees.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to pay set-up fees?

At the time of writing, BT charges a £20 activation fee for its TV services, with a £10 upfront charge for its Fibre Essential service and its standard broadband service. There are no upfront charges for Fibre 1 or Fibre 2. TalkTalk only charges £10 for router delivery.

How long will it take to switch?

Both BT and TalkTalk use the Openreach network. This means switching should be pretty easy and you should be set up with your new provider within about two weeks. If you’re switching to BT, it will give you a switching date once you’ve placed your order.

Will I face cancellation charges for leaving?

Cancellation charges normally apply if you switch provider when you’re still in your minimum contract term. The end date of your contract should be stated on your original paperwork from BT or TalkTalk, or will appear on your online account.

Will I need new equipment?

Yes. Both BT and TalkTalk supply their own routers to access the internet. For BT, this is the Smart Hub and TalkTalk provides its new and improved Wi-Fi Hub Black.

Both providers also supply their own YouView TV boxes.

Can I keep my home phone number?

Yes. When you fill in your details for your new service, you'll be given the opportunity to keep your phone number. Your new provider will take care of transferring your number across. The only exception to this is if you’re moving house – it can be tricky to take your existing number to your new home if it’s served by a different telephone exchange.

Can I keep my BT or TalkTalk email address?

If you leave TalkTalk, your email account should stay active for 12 months. But after this, you won't be able to log in to your account, which you need to do to change your password and carry out other admin tasks.

You can keep your BT email address when you leave BT but you’ll need to sign up to BT Premium Mail which costs £5 a month. If you don’t want to be paying this forever, you’ll be better off setting up a free, non-broadband provider specific email address such as Gmail or Outlook.

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