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Line rental costs explained

If you’ve ever looked at your broadband bill and wondered what those line rental costs are for, you’re not alone. Most UK broadband packages include line rental – here’s why.

If you’ve ever looked at your broadband bill and wondered what those line rental costs are for, you’re not alone. Most UK broadband packages include line rental – here’s why.

Written by
Matthew Brewer
Broadband and mobile expert
Last Updated
14 MAY 2023
3 min read
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What is line rental?

Line rental charges cover the cost of maintaining the copper phone lines that provide you with a phone connection and broadband. If you use the line for either service, your provider will charge you for its upkeep.

Why do I have to pay line rental?

It’s a recurring complaint – I no longer use my landline, so why do I have to stump up for line rental costs?

Even if you don’t use your landline, it’s likely that the Openreach network of copper phone lines connects you to both the internet and telephone network. Even if you’ve switched to fibre-optic broadband, the last leg of the journey into most homes is still down copper wires.

Whether you use the line for phone or broadband, it needs to be maintained – hence the charge.

How much is line rental?

Phone line rental costs vary between providers. You can expect to pay around £25-£30 a month, but this is usually bundled into the cost of your package.

Always compare prices to make sure you’re getting the right broadband deal for you. Doing so is easy here at Compare the Market.

Can I pay line rental yearly or monthly?

Currently, BT offers a service known as ‘line rental saver’, where you pay 12 instalments up front and get a discount on the monthly price.

What does free line rental mean?

‘Free line rental’ is a phrase broadband suppliers used before stricter advertising rules came into play. These days, broadband providers must include the price of line rental in their headline costs.

Most providers now include line rental in their broadband packages. You may see it referred to in your package description or it might be added separately to your bill.

At Compare the Market, we show an all-in 12-month cost. This includes line rental, activation fees and any other charges.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get broadband without line rental?

Yes – a few companies offer broadband without line rental. Virgin Media, for example, has its own cable network. There’s also an increasing number of providers offering fibre-to-the-premises broadband that’s delivered directly to your home through fibre-optic cables. However, this isn’t available countrywide yet. 

You can also get 4G and 5G mobile broadband, which doesn’t require a landline.

Check availability in your area

You also don’t need a landline if you have satellite broadband. But none of these options are necessarily cheaper than getting broadband with line rental, so it’s important to compare deals and deals before you commit.

Can I get a broadband-only deal?

Yes, but it’s important to know what you’re getting. Some broadband-only deals – for example, those from Virgin Media – don’t involve a phone line at all.

Other deals offer broadband only but use the Openreach network to provide it. In which case, your line rental will be factored into the price. You won’t be able to make or receive calls, but you might be able to add pay-as-you-go calls to your package.

Is line rental the same as having a phone line?

No. Line rental covers the upkeep of the line, not the cost of making calls. If you’re looking to make and receive calls, you may want a broadband and phone package that includes extras like inclusive calls or cheap calls abroad.

What is MPS line rental?

MPS is your mobile phone service line rental charge. Again, this will vary between providers.

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