While many people in the country use mobile phones, there is still a large portion of people who own a landline. In 2020, it was reported that 73% of households have a landline installed in their home. However, you may be part of the small population of people that don't have a landline and want to get a phone line installed.
Despite what you may think, getting a phone line installed is a fairly quick and easy process. You may even discover that you already have an active phone line that can be reconnected rather than getting a new one installed.
There are various different phone companies that can help you with a new line installation. Many providers will install the phone line for free, along with broadband as part of a package deal.
In this guide, we'll take a look at how you can get a phone line installed, how long it can take and how much the installation may cost. We'll also look at your options when it comes to getting broadband installed at your property too.
Telephone lines are installed across the country as part of the telephone communication system. Wires run from each property to the main switchboard or via a digital concentrator. Broadband often uses the same cable network as phones do, although the network is being updated and will rely on fibre optic cables in the next few years.
Traditionally, a 'line' was used to describe the physical telephone wire that connected telephones to the main circuit via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Nowadays, a phone line can also mean the connection between two devices, including mobile phones.
It's very easy to get a phone line installed if your property doesn't already have one. You will need to find and choose a phone line provider that operates in your local area. Most providers offer various packages that customers can choose from to suit their needs and budget.
After you have given the phone network provider your home address, they will assess whether you should have a new phone line installed or whether it's possible to reconnect an old line. If it's decided that you need a new line installed, an engineer will arrange a day to visit your house and connect the line.
Some properties aren't covered by phone line providers, such as houses in rural locations or new builds. In this instance, you should contact Openreach, which operates and maintain the UK's phone lines and connects them to the national broadband and telephone network. Openreach should be able to advise you on your network options.
It will usually take between one and two hours for an engineer to install a new phone line. At the start of the appointment, the engineer will assess whether you need a new line or if an old one can be reconnected. The process will be much quicker if you just need the line to be reconnected rather than fully installed.
On the day of the installation, your property will be connected to the network and the engineer will install a phone socket. They will also conduct speed and signal integrity tests to make sure that the connection is strong and fast enough.
Although the actual installation of a new phone line only takes a couple of hours, you may have to wait several weeks before an engineer can come to your property for a phone connection appointment.
The cost of fitting a landline will vary from one phone provider to the next although the standard BT connection charge is £140. This is in addition to the installation costs of an engineer fitting the phone line and the ongoing cost of having a landline and broadband (if you choose to have the latter).
Most phone and broadband companies will install a phone line and broadband with zero set-up costs if you sign up for a package deal. Depending on which package you choose, you may be offered certain calls (such as evening and mobile phone) included in the price.
You won't need to pay a connection charge if you have an old line that can be reconnected because it isn't damaged and still has a dialling tone. If there isn't a dial tone on the line or the old line has a damaged socket or wire, you may need to pay a reconnection charge.
You will need a phone line if you want to make and receive calls using a landline phone. Most broadband providers also require a phone line to connect you as the internet uses the same cable system. However, while many people choose to have a phone line installed in their homes, it isn't essential. It's becoming more popular for individuals to have a mobile phone than it is to use a landline. You should check whether your old phone line is still active before you consider installing a new one.
Below are some of the advantages associated with phone lines:
- Phone lines can still work during power cuts
- Consistent reception throughout your home (unlike mobile phones)
- Landlines are more secure than internet-based VoIP phones (can't be hacked as easily)
- strong, clear connection
- a landline can be easily traced by emergency services
Below are some of the disadvantages associated with phone lines:
- calls abroad can be expensive
- landline phones cannot be used away from the property
- phone number can be found in the telephone directory (although this can also be an advantage)
- often more prone to scam calls
Yes, you can get more than one landline installed at your property. Some phone providers will allow you to opt for a second line when you sign up for a new package. If you can't see this option, it's a good idea to contact the phone provider directly and ask for a second phone line.
You'll need to go through the same process for the second phone line as you did for the first. This means an engineer will have to come to your house and install the line. It's possible to get a phone line installed from a different provider, although this means you will have two sets of phone bills.
What is the landline switch off?
From December 2025, the UK's telephone network will become digital. The new system is referred to by various names, such as Digital Voice, IP Voice or brand names such as Sky Voice. Many customers have already been switched over, although the old network won't be turned off completely for another couple of years.
The old copper network that most landlines use will be replaced by broadband connections as it cannot cope with the demands of modern life. Most broadband connections rely upon fibre optic networks, as they provide faster and more reliable connections. Fibre optic networks are also easier to maintain than copper phone lines.
Your landline provider will contact you before they switch off their copper network. Traditional phone lines won't be installed from 2023, although you can continue using your current landline for another two years if it uses the copper network. You will be able to keep the same phone number when your phone line switches to the new network.
Can I use broadband without a phone line?
Yes, you can use broadband without installing a phone line, although most providers will offer broadband as part of a landline package. The majority of providers use the BT Openreach landline network to provide homes with broadband. This one network provides both landlines and broadband, which means that it is hard to separate and charge households for one without the other.
You won't necessarily save money with a broadband-only package, as they are usually the same price as joint landline and broadband package deals. It's also more uncommon to find broadband-only deals, which means you may have to shop around. Virgin Media is the only major cabled UK broadband provider that offers broadband-only deals as they have their own fibre broadband network. However, there are other mobile broadband providers that don't require the use of landline cables to work.
Before you look to install a new phone line, it's a good idea to check whether you can get an existing line reconnected. If you do find you need a new telephone line installed, you will need to contact a phone service company that operates in your local area. They will arrange a day that an engineer can come out to your house and install a new line. This should only take a couple of hours, including the time it takes to test the speed and strength of the broadband service (if relevant).
You can get a second phone line installed at your property, either by the same or a different phone provider. It's also possible to solely get a landline or broadband installed, although it often works out as better value to buy both as part of a package deal. The cost of such deals will vary between each phone and internet service provider, although a reconnection fee will cost approximately £140.