Can I get broadband without line rental?

Yes, in some areas it’s possible to get broadband without line rental, but it depends on whether a broadband-only deal is available in your area. It's also worth considering that a broadband-only deal could cost more than a combined broadband and landline package.

Yes, in some areas it’s possible to get broadband without line rental, but it depends on whether a broadband-only deal is available in your area. It's also worth considering that a broadband-only deal could cost more than a combined broadband and landline package.

Holly Cox
Digital expert
8
minute read
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Posted 12 JANUARY 2022

Why do people usually have to pay line rental to get broadband?

Line rental is the charge you have to pay for your phone line. In most cases, you need an active phone line to get standard ADSL broadband along copper phone wires, or fibre broadband into your home.  

The reason most broadband services require line rental is that your broadband and phone share the same phone line. While fibre-optic broadband uses fibre cables to carry your signal to the street cabinet, the connection to your home is normally transferred over the standard Openreach copper phone lines which are used for ADSL broadband. Because of this, broadband providers bundle the two services together. 

For most people this means using a network that’s owned and operated by Openreach, part of the BT group. It’s responsible for the phone cables, the street cabinets and the phone exchanges that your broadband service operates on. 

However, there are providers who offer cable services, which allow you to bypass a standard phone line, which means you won’t need to pay line rental. Let's have a look at your options for broadband without line rental. 

Did you know?
The good old copper phone line may become obsolete in the next few years. In the move towards a digital future, BT’s Openreach network is planning to switch every home in the UK to an internet-based connection by 2025. Traditional analogue landlines will eventually be phased out and replaced by over-the-internet VoIP based telephone services.

How much is line rental?

The price of line rental varies between broadband providers, but you should expect to pay up to around £20 a month . Some providers offer a line rental saver, which lets you pay for a year up front and then have smaller bills each month. They usually come with a discount and mean you won’t be affected by line rental price increases during the year. However, they tend to be non-refundable if you switch. We make it easy to compare by including line rental costs in the prices we show you. So, you don’t need to work out how much extra line rental will be.

What do I need to do to get broadband without line rental?

If you’re determined to avoid paying line rental, there are some limited options available to you:

  • Fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband – FTTP is a specific full fibre broadband service. The most common type of fibre broadband works on a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) basis. This means that the fibre optic cables only reach your street cabinet, with the data transfer to your home being finished over the standard phone line used for an ADSL connection. If you’re using the standard phone line for part of your connection, you’d need to pay line rental. FTTP cable broadband services bypass the phone line by using fibre cabling all the way to your home. While this is usually the most expensive type of broadband available, it does offer the greatest speeds.
  • Satellite broadband  – satellite broadband is available anywhere and you won’t need a landline. However, the cost might be more than paying for broadband with line rental, and coverage and speeds could be worse. To find out if you could get broadband for less than you’re currently paying and what your options are use our postcode checker.
  • Mobile broadband (3G/4G/5G)  – this is an option provided you live in an area with very good mobile phone reception. Connectivity is through a USB dongle, wireless ‘cube’, data-only SIM or WiFi hotspot. Mobile connections tend to be slower than an ADSL or cable connections. We don’t currently offer comparisons between mobile broadband services.
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Pros and cons of mobile broadband

Pros

  • Access - may provide internet access in an otherwise inaccessible location
  • Portability – mobile broadband is exactly that, allowing you to stay connected while out and about
  • Flexibility – most mobile broadband deals offer monthly rolling plans, something that’s less common with standard broadband deals, which typically require a 12-month contract 

Cons 

  • Price – mobile broadband can be more expensive than a standard ADSL or fibre broadband connection
  • Speed – mobile broadband provides slower average speeds compared to fibre services, although this may change with the extended rollout of 5G
  • Consistency – just like a mobile phone connection, a mobile broadband service can be less reliable than a cable service
  • Limits – while most standard broadband deals in the UK offer unlimited data, mobile broadband often comes with data limits, which may restrict your usage 

Is it cheaper to get broadband without line rental?

Not necessarily. Some people assume that broadband-only packages are cheaper because you don't have to worry about paying a service charge for your phone line, but this isn’t always true. This is because broadband services without line rental are on a special cable service that runs as fibre to the premises (FTTP), which is where the fibre cables run all the way to your home, rather than the street cabinet, with a standard copper phone line transferring your connection the rest of the way. These types of services usually offer the best speeds , but because of the work required to achieve them, they are often more expensive. 

The best thing to do is to compare prices. You may find that a provider could be cheaper even with a phone line.

Do broadband prices include line rental costs?

Yes, since October 2016 it’s been compulsory for broadband providers to include line rental in their headline costs. And at comparethemarket.com, as well as showing the monthly cost, we include an all-in 12/18/24-month total cost, depending on how long the contract runs. This includes line rental, as well as other ‘extras’ such as activation fees and other equipment charges.

Which providers offer fixed broadband without a phone line? 

The two main providers that offer fixed broadband deals without the need for a phone line are: 

Hyperoptic 

Hyperoptic specialises in a full fibre to the premises (FTTP) service. By operating its own cable network, Hyperoptic is able to offer broadband speeds of up to 900Mbps, without the need for a phone line. However, while Hyperoptic offers some of the fastest speeds in the country, it’s less widely available, so it’s important you check the availability for your area

Virgin Media 

Virgin Media is the only major ISP (internet service provider) to offer broadband without a phone line. This is because it operates its own cable network that’s independent of Openreach. Its DOCSIS® 3 fibre-optic technology is exclusive to Virgin Media, and can deliver average speeds of up to 362Mbps , which is the fastest widely available speed in the UK. However, this speed comes at a cost, with Virgin Media broadband usually being among the more expensive services. 

It was also one of the first broadband providers to offer broadband, phone, TV and mobile in one package. This means you’re able to bundle all of your services together, offering convenience and potential discounts between packages.

Virgin Media and O2 merger 

On 1 June 2021, communications giants Virgin Media and O2 merged to become VMO2, the UK’s largest mobile and broadband network provider. 

The £31 billion merger brings together both broadband and mobile, offering around 47 million customers significant benefits. These include a massive investment to ‘upgrade the UK’ with a combined fibre broadband rollout and 5G infrastructure over the next few years. 

VMO2 has already introduced its ‘Volt’ service which promises to upgrade broadband speeds free of charge, while doubling monthly data allowances for customers of both brands. 

New and existing customers can expect a greater choice of bundle deals, benefiting from combined mobile, broadband, phone and TV services. This exciting merger makes VMO2 a serious competitor to the likes of BT and Sky.

What bundles are available for broadband without a phone line?

Without a phone line, your options for broadband are more limited, this can make bundles even harder to come by. Virgin Media is the biggest broadband provider to not require a phone line. Virgin Media offers broadband, TV, phone and mobile, allowing you to bundle all of your major digital services together in one package.

Find out more about Virgin Media packages here.

Compare broadband with us

Whether you’re looking for broadband without line rental, a broadband-only package or broadband with TV or phone, we can help. 

Frequently asked questions

Is broadband without a phone line the same as broadband-only?

Most providers offer some type of ‘broadband-only’ deal. However, for most of these you still need to pay line rental, even if you don’t use their phone services. 

Mobile providers like Vodafone, O2, EE and Three also offer broadband-only deals But, this option can often be more expensive than a fixed broadband service as mobile data typically costs more . If you exceed your mobile data limit, you could end up paying more for extra data. So, if you’re into Netflix and online gaming, a mobile broadband-only deal might not be the best solution for your needs.

What is BT broadband-only?

BT offers a broadband-only deal as standard – you only use the broadband you want without paying for landline services. However, line rental is still factored into the overall price as you still need the line to deliver an internet connection to your home. You also won’t be able to use your phone for making or receiving calls – not even 999 emergency calls.

What are the disadvantages of broadband without line rental?

  • You’re 100% reliant on your internet connection – if there’s a network problem like a power cut, there’s no reliable phone line to fall back on.
  • Limited number of providers.
  • Not necessarily cheaper than broadband with line rental.
  • Availability may be limited depending on where you live.

Is it worth paying for line rental, even if I don’t use my landline?

It might be. That’s why it’s worth shopping around and comparing deals. If you don’t want to use your landline, simply unplug your phone. It also means you’ll have more providers and deals to choose from. 

It’s also worth comparing bundle deals – for example, if you want to add TV services, it might work out cheaper to buy a broadband, phone and TV package than buying broadband-only and pay TV services separately.

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