How to switch between BT and TalkTalk

Emma Lunn | June 6th, 2023

BT and TalkTalk logos

Known primarily as the UK leader for home broadband services, BT also offers a top-notch TV service, and of course, free access to BT Sport. TalkTalk on the other hand, prides itself on no-frills, well-priced broadband packages and a solid TV option. So if you’re thinking of switching from TalkTalk to BT, or vice versa, we have all the information you need.

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 offer broadband, phone 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 – in fact it’s free to watch online even if you just have BT broadband.

TalkTalk’s selling point is low-priced simplicity and flexibility. Its TV service comes with a basic Freeview TV option, to which you can then bolt on NOW TV Memberships, Netflix or 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 latest 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, Prime Video and Netflix. BT TV also comes with a recordable TV box (the BT TV Box Pro) and has the exclusive rights to AMC – home to The Walking Dead and other hit shows.

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Compare and choose a new deal

When it comes to broadband speeds, BT offers three superfast fibre packages, averaging 36Mbps (Fibre Essential), 50Mbps (Fibre 1) and 67Mbps (Fibre 2). It also offers a range of full fibre speeds, thanks to the rollout of Openreach’s full fibre network, which now covers around a third of UK homes. Customers can choose from Fibre 100, Fibre 300, Fibre 500 and Fibre 900.

TalkTalk offers two superfast fibre packages called Fibre 35 and Fibre 65. It also offers a range of full fibre packages: Full Fibre 65, Full Fibre 150, Full Fibre 500 and Full Fibre 900.

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In terms of contract length, both TalkTalk andBT fibre broadband come on 24-month contracts. As well as the mid-contract price rise, watch out for the inevitable price hike at the end of the contract as it will increase significantly.

TalkTalk TV customers will receive either the TalkTalk TV Hub. This set-top box allows you to watch Freeview channels and up to 30 streaming apps (including those that require an additional subscription such as Netflix, Prime and NOW). BT supplies its TV customers with the latest BT TV Box Pro that allows you to pause, rewind and record up to 600 hours of TV.

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

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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 (unless you are having a new full fibre service connected). This is much simpler than if you’re switching to or from Virgin Media, as Virgin operates its own exclusive network of cables, independent of the Openreach network used by the vast majority of other providers.

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.

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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, you may be able to claim back the early termination fee from BT. You will have to pay the exit fees yourself first 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.

Our advice is always to wait until your contract is almost up before switching. Your current provider is obliged to let you know when your contract is about expire so once you hear from them, you can start finding a new deal.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need to pay set-up fees?

At the time of writing, BT does not charge any upfront costs for any of its broadband and TV packages, but this can change from time to time. TalkTalk charges a very small set-up fee for its broadband service only.

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. All providers are obliged to contact their customers when the end of the contract approaches, so you will know when it's safe to switch.

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 Wi-Fi Hub (for superfast fibre packages) or the superior Amazon eero (for its full fibre packages).

For customers wanting TV, BT provides its BT TV Box Pro, and TalkTalk supplies customers with its TalkTalk TV Box.

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.

You can keep your BT email address when you leave BT but it will default to a more basic version. To keep the premium version with extra features, you will have to pay £7.50 a month.