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How to switch between BT and TalkTalk

By Emma Lunn | Tuesday, March 12th 2019

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 quite 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 phone line rental and calls, 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 Sky Sports and BT Sport. But if you’re after BT Sport in particular, it tends to be cheaper with BT as it can normally be added to a BT bundle for just a few pounds.

TalkTalk’s big selling point is that it offers a pretty flexible TV service. It offers a simple TV package to which you can add a variety of add-ons called TV Boosts. Choose from Kids, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and more. You can pick and choose these on a monthly basis – so no need to commit long term.

Compare and choose a new deal

When it comes to broadband speeds, BT’s entry-level Superfast Fibre Essential package offers an average download speed of 36Mbps, which equates to TalkTalk’s unlimited 36Mbps. If you choose Superfast Fibre 1, you will receive an average of 50Mbps, which TalkTalk does not offer. Both providers also offer faster fibre deals, with TalkTalk's top speed averaging 63Mbps and BT's averaging 67Mbps.

Both BT and TalkTalk are working towards offering higher speeds. BT Ultrafast now offers speeds of 300Mbps although it’s not widely available. TalkTalk is also looking to offer 150Mpbs and 300Mbps connections via new technology called G.fast. 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 18 months although the TV Boosts can be added or removed each month.

BT's contracts are also all 18 months' long, whether you are looking for standard or Superfast Fibre broadband. Watch out for the inevitable price hike at the end of the contract as it will increase significantly. Either be prepared to switch again or factor in the cost when you get to the last six months.

TalkTalk bundle customers can choose between two different set-top boxes. The TalkTalk TV Box allows you to pause and rewind live TV for up to 30 minutes. The TalkTalk TV Plus Box is better: you can pause and rewind live TV for up to two hours and, more importantly, record TV.

You have similar options with BT: a basic YouView box or a YouView+ box which can record programmes. TV packages range from a basic deal with Freeview channels and not much else, to BT TV Max, which has more than 140 channels.

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 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 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. There’s a set process you need to follow in order to get your money back: you will have to pay TalkTalk’s exit fees as normal and then BT will gradually pay you back by knocking an amount off your monthly bill for a certain period of time.

If you’re switching from BT to TalkTalk, you’ll probably have to take the hit and pay BT’s cancellation fees. 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?

If your switch between BT and TalkTalk includes a TV service, you’ll probably have to pay for a set-top box and/or its delivery. If you just switch your phone and broadband, set-up fees are usually cheaper.

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 it's new and improved Wi-Fi Hub.

Both providers also supply their own TV boxes but these are very similar and both offer a choice between a basic YouView box and a 'plus' version which has a recording function.

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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