Dear broadbandchoices, I’m looking for a new broadband connection, but I almost never use my home phone. Can I get broadband without a phone line?
Daniel Armstrong via email
Our expert Kim says...
The short answer here is that yes, you can get broadband without a phone line - but your options are limited.
Most broadband providers use BT's (www.bt.com) copper wire telephone network to deliver an internet connection to your home, and that requires an active phone line… so line rental is almost always included when you take out a broadband package. Thanks to new ASA rules, everything - broadband and line rental - is covered in your monthly cost, the majority of the time.
However, not everyone uses their landline phones much these days, so that line rental can seem like a bit of an unnecessary expense for some of us.
Read on and we'll take a look at how you can get landline-free broadband. Or, compare your options immediately with our postcode checker.
Virgin Media broadband
Since it has its own fibre network separate from BT's, it can bring a broadband connection to your home directly - completely eliminating the need for a landline.
And we're pleased to say that Virgin Media has some pretty good deals available. However, do remember to compare all your available options. Landline-free broadband is cheaper than its landliney version, but not by a whole lot - only around £5 per month in some cases.
Virgin Media broadband deals
|Vivid 200 Fibre Broadband||Vivid 100 Fibre Broadband|
|£461.99 Total first year cost||£401.99 Total first year cost|
|£37.25 p/m for 12 months £14.99 setup costs 12 month contract||£32.25 p/m for 12 months £14.99 setup costs 12 month contract|
|Up To 200 Mb||Up To 100 Mb|
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Because the network is totally fibre optic, Virgin Media's broadband is superfast. In fact, download speeds can reach up to a massive 300Mb, some of the highest in the UK. You've also got the option to include your internet as part of a bundle with TV and mobile - and home phone, of course, if you change your mind.
All its broadband packages come with unlimited downloads, though do bear in mind that Virgin Media manages web traffic. That means you'll always get consistent service, but may see slightly lower download speeds at peak times, particularly for things like filesharing.
Check out the details in our full guide to Virgin Media fibre optic broadband.
How do I get Virgin Media broadband?
First of all, type your postcode into our postcode checker and we'll show you what broadband deals you can get in your area. If you spot a Virgin Media one you like the look of, click through and you'll be taken to the Virgin Media website, where you can seal the deal in seconds.
Another possible solution to try is mobile broadband. It's often slower and less reliable than a wired connection, but it's about as landline-free as you can get.
Mobile broadband comes in the form of a USB dongle, a Wi-Fi hotspot device, or a SIM-only deal (such as the kind you'd get for an iPad), all of which work by connecting wirelessly to the provider's 4G network.
Generally, you'll need to purchase the dongle or device upfront, then pay for the broadband connection itself on a month-by-month basis - though some providers offer longer term contracts too. And unlike wired broadband, there are pay-as-you-go options as well.
Handy mobile broadband gadgets are available from mobile providers including EE, Three, O2, Vodafone, and of course Virgin Media. Remember to check each provider's network coverage before picking one, otherwise you may struggle to connect.
If you've got a smartphone with the right tech, you can even turn your phone itself into a Wi-Fi hotspot, or tether your connection to your PC using a USB cable. Just make sure you have a high enough data limit on your mobile plan - going over it can incur some hefty fees or cut your connection off til the next month.
And that's the biggest potential issue with mobile broadband - it often has some pretty scant download limits. If you only use the internet for a bit of casual browsing you may be fine, but anything more intensive than email will eat through it pretty quickly. So if you're an online gamer or a video streaming fan, you're much better off with wired internet - whether you choose Virgin Media or splash out for line rental after all.