Want a broadband connection but don't need a landline telephone? Depending on where you live, you could get broadband without a phone line and save money in the process...
Do I need a phone line?
While it can be frustrating paying for a phone line that you don't use, there are limited options available that allow you to do away with having a landline all together, and these options may not be suitable or a better option for the majority of us. With traditional ADSL broadband connections you have to have an active phone line.
Video: Broadband without a phone line
Is cable broadband the answer?
Cable giant Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com) is the only top UK provider able to offer broadband without a telephone line. Its fibre optic network is completely separate from the ADSL connections that use your copper phone wires to connect you to the web. This means Virgin Media can give you a broadband package without the need to sign up for a landline. However, cable broadband is more expensive than ADSL broadband packages, and could be overkill for light internet users. Before you sign up to a cable broadband package consider how much time you spend on the web.
Check whether Virgin's network is available where you live, put your postcode in our postcode checker and we can tell you.
How do I get broadband without a phone line?
There are two main ways of getting online without a landline. You can either join Virgin Media's cable network, or use mobile broadband instead.
Because it doesn't use BT's traditional copper wire telephone network, Virgin Media is able to provide truly standalone broadband connections - so you can pay for just your internet without having to have a phone line installed.
Virgin Media's cable network also allows it to provide some of the fastest connections in the country, with speeds of up to 60Mb, 100Mb and even higher.
It also offers slower connections for customers on a smaller budget, or with less need for speed. While you don't have to take a Virgin Media phone line in order to get one of its broadband packages, you wouldn't actually have much extra to pay. This means you might only end up saving a few pounds a year by taking a standalone broadband deal.
Virgin Media broadband only
If you aren't interested in getting your broadband from Virgin Media, use our postcode checker to check out what else is available where you live.
3G mobile broadband
By sticking to a mobile broadband connection alone you can do away with having a landline in your home entirely. On the surface of it, great, however be aware that mobile broadband is likely to be significantly less cost effective than a good value fixed-line package, so if you are anything other than an extremely light user, what you save in line rental you may quickly incur in data charges and inflated monthly fees.
Widely available 3G mobile broadband is only really suited to light users who just want to surf the web, send a few emails and do a bit of internet banking. Slower speeds and smaller data allowances make it unsuitable for streaming TV and films, online gaming or heavy downloading.
But even before you start looking at price, you need to find the provider with the best mobile signal in your area. Run a mobile broadband coverage search with each network provider to see which one can offer you the best speeds.
You can choose from either a pay-as-you-go deal, rolling one-month contract or longer 12 and 18-month plans - with most packages offering between 3GB and 15GB of data each month.
To give you a rough idea of what this means, 3GB should allow you to:
- Send 3,000 basic emails or surf the web for 30 hours or download 15 four-minute videos or 96 four-minute music tracks
Whichever package you choose, make sure you keep an eye on how much you're downloading as charges for excessive use may be applied. If you go over your monthly allowance, most providers will simply give you the option of purchasing additional data for the month.
4G mobile broadband
With the dawn of 4G mobile broadband connections a genuine alternative to a fixed line broadband (and its accompanying line rental charge) could be on the horizon. Speeds offered by 4G connections can rival those you get at home on your fixed line broadband connection and could be the answer to leaving your unwanted line rental charge behind.
However, there are a number of downsides to 4G at the moment:
- Limited coverage - the 4G network coverage is currently extremely limited so 4G won't be an option for most of us for some time - and even for those that do have coverage where they live, a 4G connection will revert to a 3G connection as soon as you are out of range.
- High prices - with only a handful of 4G suppliers on the market at the moment there is limited competition which is keeping prices high.
- Inadequate data allowances - faster speeds also bring the temptation of doing more online - a few emails and a bit of browsing doesn't use much data, but streaming a videos or playing a game will chomp through your download allowance fast. At the moment, most 4G deals don't come with download allowances that match those offered with fixed broadband contracts, and if this is going to take the place of your main broadband connection you might hit your limit very quickly.
Broadband provider EE (www.EE.co.uk) was the early leader of the 4G pack, but other providers have now entered the market including BT (www.bt.com), O2 (www.O2.co.uk) , Three (www.three.co.uk) and Vodafone (www.vodafone.co.uk).
Cheap line rental alternatives to BT
BT's line rental is £15.99 per month. Many providers, often with their own "local loop unbundled" (LLU) network, offer their own line rental and calls as well as broadband, allowing you to bundle everything together and save money.
Check what other providers cover your address by entering your postcode into our postcode checker.
In addition, many providers - including BT - will offer a reduced line rental if you pay for a full 12 months in advance, this can save you around 40% on the usual yearly cost.
As a last resort, for example, for people living in very remote areas, outside of the telephone network and where there is a patchy or non-existent 3G connection - a satellite broadband service could be the solution.
Although broadband via satellite is generally more expensive, slower and less reliable than ADSL and fibre broadband, it does eliminate the need to have a fixed line connection. So it can be a good option for people in rural parts of the UK that have traditionally been broadband "not-spots".
Tariam Satellite Communications offers UK satellite broadband for both home users and businesses.