What is 'broadband only'?
Broadband only refers to any broadband deal that is exclusively broadband. So, this means no line rentals or calls package, and no TV subscription either; just broadband.
Can I get broadband without a phone line?
Yes. While most major broadband providers in the UK will require you to have a phone line as this is what is used to transfer data, there are exceptions. Virgin Media, for example, use their own network of fibre optic cables to deliver you internet, and you therefore don't need a landline to benefit from their broadband service.
You can also get broadband without a phone line from a few smaller providers such as Hyperoptic and Gigaclear. However, they currently serve very limited pockets of the country, so chances of your home being covered by them yet are slim.
Should I get broadband without a phone line?
Using a home phone to communicate with people is becoming increasingly obsolete these days. Therefore, getting a home broadband package without a phone line could be beneficial to you if it can save you money. It all depends on what is on offer and how much you value having a home phone. Bear in mind though that many providers will offer line rental as standard and you won't always pay more for it.
On the other hand, getting the two services together can sometimes be a sensible idea, both in terms of convenience and cost; if you're going to need the line to connect your broadband anyway, you may as well take the phone since it's often bundled in at little to no extra cost. These days, with people relying more and more on mobiles to make their calls, there's more of a call for broadband only packages as well as deals for broadband without a landline.
Is broadband without line rental cheaper?
Not always. The choice on offer for broadband only packages is far smaller than for those with a landline. Therefore, you may not be getting the cheapest package on the market, even though you are paying for one less service. However, this doesn't mean you can't find cheap broadband without a landline.
Finding the best broadband only deals
For the most part, broadband will be sold along with phone line rental. This is because, for the most part, your broadband and phone will use the same physical (phone) line to work. As such, getting the two services together is a pretty sensible idea, both in terms of convenience and cost - if you're going to need the line to connect your broadband anyway, you may as well take the phone since it's often bundled in at little to no extra cost. These days, with people relying more and more on mobiles to make their calls, there's more of a call for broadband only packages as well as deals for broadband without a landline.
There are only a couple of providers offering broadband only packages at the moment, the biggest being Virgin Media who offer cable broadband, rather than conventional DSL broadband. In order to get Virgin's cable broadband you'll need to live in an area with cable connection - which is currently around 50% of the country. Others, including smaller supplier Relish, offer mobile broadband, which also doesn't require a phone line.
What are my options for broadband without a landline?
Virgin Media are currently the only widely available broadband provider in the UK offering high-speed internet without a landline. This is because Virgin Media uses its own network of fibre optic cables to deliver internet to your home, compared to the majority of other providers who use BT's Openreach network of copper wires.
As well as Virgin Media, a few smaller providers also use their own fibre to the premises (FTTP) networks, meaning there's no need to pay for a landline with your broadband subscription. However, these companies such as Hyperoptic only operate in limited areas, so depending on where you live, this may not be an option for you.
Using 3G, 4G or 5G signals, mobile broadband is a viable alternative to fixed line broadband and doesn't require you to have a landline. It works by inserting a USB dongle into your device which then allows you to connect to the internet via a 4G/5G signal.
With a 4G internet connection, you'll get an average speed of around 21Mbps, so you'd be better off with a fibre optic broadband connection if it's speed that you're after. However, 5G can support speeds up to a massive 300Mbps, faster than many fixed-line connections.
You should be aware, however, that mobile broadband is often more expensive than fixed broadband. Average speeds are also less reliable with a mobile broadband connection due to interruption from other signals.
Also known as hotspotting, tethering is when you use your mobile phone to share its 3G, 4G or 5G signal with another device, such as your computer. It's similar to mobile broadband, but the service is provided by a mobile provider such as EE or Three. However, tethering should only be considered as a short-term option for broadband without a landline, as mobile data costs considerably more and you're much less likely to find unlimited deals.
Another alternative to fixed line broadband, satellite broadband requires you to have a satellite dish installed outside your home. While satellite internet is usually more expensive than fixed-line, and they usually come with download limits, it can be a good option if you live in an area with no access to high-speed fibre optic lines.
Getting broadband and phone from separate providers
The majority of providers will make you pay for their line rental if you want one of their broadband packages. But, there are a few providers who will allow you to get your line rental from a different provider.
By doing this, you can get your broadband from one company, and then get a cheaper line rental service from someone else. In theory, it will help you save a lot of money on your line rental throughout the course of your broadband contract. It’s a great idea for people with a current phone deal that they’re comfortable with, but want to switch to a different broadband provider. Or, it’s great if you’ve shopped around and found a cheaper line rental deal somewhere else.
Perhaps the best example of a provider that allows you to get your line rental elsewhere is Plusnet. They give you the chance to choose one of their broadband deals and get your line rental from a different provider. There is a catch, as they’re a BT owned company, you have to get your line rental from another BT based landline provider. Additionally, the price of the broadband from Plusnet will rise if you don’t get your line rental from them. So, you must find the best line rental deal around for this to work out cheaper and be worth the extra effort.
Last reviewed: 07 September 2021
Next review: 07 October 2021