New phone line installation in the UK

Last updated: 23 February 2024   By Julia Kukiewicz

Getting a new phone line installed in the UK can range in price from free to £140, so it's worth knowing the options available.

The highest likely cost of getting a new phone line installed in a UK property is £140, and this is by going with BT directly. Yet, even BT offer a new line installation for free if customers are willing to take their fibre broadband too.

Many other broadband providers offer similar deals, with some also offering new line installs for free.

However, new line installations can vary depending on the work needed or if there are previous disconnections on the line.

home phone - old style
Credit: WichitS/Shutterstock.com

At a glance: New phone line installation costs

BT's £140 new line charge is a worst-case scenario for most homes, and only applies to customers where a working line isn't available and that customer only wants a home phone service.

Many telecoms providers will offer a cheap or free new line installation for customers willing to bundle broadband with a new phone service.

And since there are so many providers offering installation of a new line, customers have a very broad choice of who to take their broadband with.

Here is the latest pricing for new phone line installations in the UK:

New line charge Details
BT Free to £140 Free with fibre broadband, otherwise £49.99 to £140.
Direct Save Telecom £39.95 12-month contract, phone line only option
EE £50 Free to convert a non-BT working line to BT (e.g. from TalkTalk or Sky), otherwise £50
Only available with broadband
italk £49 £5.09 to takeover a working non-BT line, otherwise £49
Only available with broadband
KCOM £25 12-month contract, phone line only option
Hull only
NOW Broadband Free Requires broadband
Plusnet N/a No longer offers a home phone service
Shell Energy Broadband £71.55 Requires broadband
Sky £20 Requires broadband
TalkTalk Up to £60 Requires broadband
Virgin Media £30 Plus up to £35 setup for broadband
Vodafone £60 Requires broadband
Zen Internet Free Digital voice only, requires broadband

New phone line installation by provider

Very few providers offer line rental or phone lines without broadband. Those that do, include BT, Direct Save Telecom, and KCOM in Hull.

Other providers may offer a new phone line installed for free, but will require the customer to also sign up for a broadband plan (see the best broadband offers for 2024).

The switchover from the old copper telephone network to Openreach's Digital Voice also means there are some variations between providers in terms of whether they still offer products over existing copper landlines, or if all phone services are now digital lines.

For customers with no line at all, Openreach stopped installing new copper phone lines in September 2023, so digital full fibre lines are now the only option. Of course, that will also apply to any Openreach reseller like Plusnet, TalkTalk, Sky, NOW Broadband, as well as BT.

It's also the case that for many providers (although not all - see NOW Broadband), where full fibre is available, customers can only sign up to full fibre broadband deals and won't be able to choose fibre to the cabinet connections that use existing copper cabling to a home.

BT

BT offer new phone lines for free when taken with a new BT fibre broadband contract. Where fibre or full fibre isn't available, customers will have to pay £49.99 with a basic broadband plan.

Here is the latest pricing for BT fibre broadband:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 1 50Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £5/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Full Fibre 100 150Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £1/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £34.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £15/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)

Otherwise, for just the home phone service, customers will have to pay £70 to activate an existing line, or the full £140 to install a new telephone line.

It's worth noting that where full fibre, and superfast fibre to the cabinet, is available, BT are providing customers with digital voice lines to start moving people away from the old analogue copper phone line network.

BT Home Essential customers, the provider's social tariff for people in receipt of Universal Credit, should get a new phone line installed for free if they need one.

Read more about BT broadband and phone.

Direct Save Telecom

Direct Save Telecom offer new phone line installations for £39.95 when taken with an 12-month contract on the line rental, which costs from £25.90 per month.

For those also willing to take a broadband service, they can get a digital line with either part-fibre or full fibre broadband and free setup.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Fibre 35Mb 35Mb average £31.95 £8.95 12 months
offer Offer: Loyalty Discount Club (worth £49.95)
Full Fibre 100/20 100Mb average £34.95 £8.95 18 months
offer Offer: Loyalty Discount Club (worth £49.95)

Those living in a full fibre enabled area but who only want a phone line, can still get a full fibre voice line from Direct Save Telecom but it does have a £39.95 setup fee.

Read more about Direct Save Telecom broadband.

EE

EE offer new phone line installations for £50, and they only offer a home phone service when broadband is also taken. Re-connections are free if a customer has a non-BT working line, such as with TalkTalk or Sky.

EE sell their broadband packages without a home phone as standard now, so for those wishing to take a home phone service they'll need to pay an extra £5 for pay as you go calls, or £18 per month for unlimited anytime calls.

italk

italk offer new phone line installations with superfast broadband in areas that have yet to be served by full fibre. However, new lines will still be digital.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fast Fibre 35Mb average £37.39 £12.95 24 months
Superfast Fibre 63Mb average £42.39 £12.95 24 months

They charge £49 for new installations, or £5.09 to take over a working line with a non-BT provider.

Read more about italk broadband.

KCOM

KCOM offer new phone line installations in the City of Hull, and charge £25 for connections. This fee is the same whether customers take just a phone line or a broadband and phone service.

The phone-only option has a monthly line rental charge of £11.99 for those paying by Direct Debit and comes with pay as you go calls. Anytime calls cost from £4 per month.

Read our review of KCOM broadband.

NOW Broadband

NOW Broadband offer customers free phone line installations, however they will need to also take a broadband plan.

Customers in most areas are catered for, with legacy copper ADSL as well as fibre to the cabinet plans still available, and a new full fibre deal for those in Openreach FTTP enabled areas.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre 63Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
NOW Full Fibre 100 100Mb average £24 £5 18 months
offer Offer: £5 refundable advance fee for new customers if applicable

NOW Broadband is one of the cheapest broadband providers on the market, so is a good choice for households on a budget who'll also benefit from a basic Internet connection.

Read our NOW Broadband review.

Shell Energy Broadband

Shell Energy Broadband charge £71.55 for a new phone line installation, and again this is only available to customers who take one of their broadband and phone bundled services.

Shell Energy Broadband only offer a home phone service with copper ADSL and fibre to the cabinet packages:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Fibre 38Mb average £23.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Money off for 18 months
Superfast Fibre Plus 67Mb average £25.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Money off for 18 months

Shell Energy Broadband doesn't offer full fibre broadband customers a phone line or an option to add one.

Read our review of Shell Energy Broadband.

Sky

Sky charge customers £20 where a compatible phone line is not available, and the phone service is only available with a Sky broadband deal.

However, unlike Plusnet and Shell Energy Broadband, Sky include a home phone line as standard with all their broadband deals, so there isn't anything additional to pay unless a customer also wants an inclusive call bundle.

Here are some of their current most popular prices, with more deals available through the 'More' buttons:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Ultrafast Broadband 145Mb average £28 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Sky can be a good choice for those who know they want a home phone as other providers including BT, EE, and Virgin Media, charge more for a phone line pushing up listed prices.

Read our full review of Sky broadband.

TalkTalk

TalkTalk say they charge up to £60 for new phone lines, but don't specify if or when it will be less than this.

TalkTalk also only offer landline services to customers who take their superfast fibre to the cabinet broadband, and their full fibre packages cannot be taken with a home phone.

Here is the latest pricing for TalkTalk superfast broadband:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Fibre 65 67Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

Read more in our TalkTalk broadband review.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media charge £30 for new phone line installations where an engineer has to visit the property. There is also usually a £35 setup fee for broadband and phone plans but this is sometimes waived under special offers.

Here is the latest pricing for Virgin Media broadband and phone:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 54Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)
M250 Volt Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 264Mb average £33.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with 6GB data, unlimited minutes and texts (Ends 31/05/2024)

Those who want a phone line with Virgin Media should look out for their Volt bundles as these are often cheaper than the standard broadband and phone deals but also include an O2 SIM as well as other Volt benefits.

While Virgin Media used to offer copper phone lines alongside their cable broadband and TV service, they too are now moving away from the old phone line network and supplying new customers with digital lines over the broadband.

Read more about Virgin Media broadband and phone.

Vodafone

Vodafone charge £60 for new phone line installs, and like most other providers only offer a home phone service to customers who take their home broadband.

Here is the latest pricing for Vodafone:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 2 65Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 150 150Mb average £29 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers

It's worth noting here that unlike most other full fibre broadband providers, Vodafone bundle a home phone line with their full fibre broadband plans as standard.

For anyone who wants both broadband and a phone line, this makes Vodafone good value for money as they already offer some of the cheapest broadband prices around.

Read more in our Vodafone broadband review.

Zen Internet

Zen Internet offer new broadband customers new phone line installations for free. However, these are now all digital voice lines that are provided over the broadband connection.


Do I need a new phone line installed?

While we've looked over the various prices of getting a new phone line installed, it's worth finding out whether you need a new phone line, as it may not always be the case.

Here's three simple steps to working out if you need a new phone line:

  1. Check if there is a BT Master Socket in the property, or any external telephone lines coming to the house (this could be in the air to the roof, or under the ground and then up a wall). Most BT Master Sockets will be near the entrance wall, but not always.
  2. Plug in a basic telephone to any telephone sockets in the house and listen for a dial-tone. If you have a dial-tone it's unlikely you'll need to get a new phone line or even have the line reconnected.
  3. Double check the test socket, this is sometimes hidden under a removable plate on the BT Master Socket by undoing a couple of screws. Plug in a basic telephone and listen again for a dial-tone.

If you still don't have a dial-tone or even a telephone socket, then it's likely you do need a new phone line installed, but as we've looked at, this doesn't have to cost the Earth and is often free if you're willing to take a broadband plan.

Additionally, if there is a socket but no dial-tone it could be the line has been disconnected, in which case reconnecting the line may be cheaper, or also free, with some providers.

Find out more about reconnecting to BT in our guide.

Common problems

New build homes or newly converted flats may not have ever had a phone line installed to the building.

If customers can't get a new phone line installed by contacting broadband and phone companies, the next step is to ask Openreach directly.

Openreach are responsible for the telephone network infrastructure in the UK, and they're also the designated Universal Service Provider (USP) in the UK outside of Hull (where KCOM is the USP).

The Universal Service Obligation means USPs have an obligation to provide people with a decent broadband connection (and telephone line) if they ask for it, up to a build cost threshold of £3,400 per premises.

Disconnections

Finally, it's worth being aware that telephone lines can get disconnected if the account is closed, or for non-payment of debt in the past.

In these instances, even if the disconnection was to a telephone line in a property by a previous tenant or homeowner, the new customer wanting the line reconnected will often have to pay a fee.

As we've covered in the provider cost section above however, this may be waived or free if a customer also signs up for a broadband deal.


Switching between phone line providers

Due to an update to regulations back in 2015, providers on the Openreach telephone network have to handle switches more seamlessly.

These are now called 'gaining provider led' switches, and mean once a customer has chosen a new provider and signed up with them, the new provider handles all of the work involved in the switch, including contacting the previous provider to notify them to close the old account.

However, this can become more complicated when customers are switching between different networks, for example moving from BT to Virgin Media. In these instances, a customer will also need to contact their old provider to tell them to cancel their services.

In addition, where phone lines are concerned, it's possible a 'cease and re-provide' process can occur if a customer chooses a new landline service with a fresh telephone number, and cancels their existing service, effectively disconnecting the existing phone line,

While this could result in a new phone line installation charge, again many providers will waive this if a broadband contract is taken out at the same time, so it may not always apply.

Read more about switching broadband in this guide.


Getting a second phone line installed

For people looking to have a second phone line installed, the cost of the new line provision will be the same as for the initial telephone line to a property.

It's often possible nowadays to get a second line for broadband, and several providers including BT and Vodafone offered these for home working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Customers taking a second line are effectively signing up to a new broadband deal and so will often be eligible for new customer offers.

It's also worth noting customers wanting a second phone line or broadband connection don't need to stay with their current provider, and can have two providers to the same property.

Second line installs could be beneficial for people working from home who want or need a dedicated connection, as well as larger households such as house shares where multiple occupants may want their own broadband or phone line.


Digital Voice switchover

The Digital Voice switchover is being undertaken by Openreach as they plan to shut down the existing copper phone line network by the end of 2025.

Digital Voice means the phone line infrastructure around the UK will become digital rather than analogue based, and phone lines will be provided over the same connection as broadband.

There are downsides to Digital Voice because unlike the existing copper phone line network, digital voice lines require mains electricity to work. This means customers need a battery back-up solution to make emergency calls in the event of a power cut.

While Digital Voice was paused in Spring 2022 after powerful storms caused power cuts across the UK and left people without the means to make emergency calls for weeks, BT have said they plan to restart the migration process of existing customers in 2023.

In addition, with regards new line provisions, it's worth noting Openreach have said they will stop providing new copper telephone lines to customers in September 2023.

From then on, customers will be provided with a digital voice line, that operates over a broadband connection (even if customers don't take broadband), and over a full fibre to the home line where full fibre has been rolled out.


Summary: new phone line installations often free

While the top figure of £140 for getting a new phone line installed is expensive, it's possible most customers will be able to get a new line installed for much less than this, and even for free if they take broadband at the same time.

The £140 new line charge from BT is restricted to where customers want just a landline and nothing else - which is increasing unlikely as more homes become reliant on broadband.

Where customers are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit), Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance, they should be able to get a free phone line through BT Home Essentials, as BT is the incumbent Universal Service Provider.

For anyone who also wants broadband with their new phone line there are a range of providers to choose from, with many offering new lines for free or certainly substantially less than the £140 top end figure.

One final thing to bear in mind is missed engineer appointments are often charged between £60 to £100 or more, and so to keep any potential costs down, it's vitally important not to miss an appointment for a new line provision.

To save money on the new service, make sure to read our guides to the cheapest home phone plans and the cheapest broadband deals.

Also, if broadband is the main reason for getting a new phone line installed, it's also worth considering if broadband without a phone line is an option for you.

Comments

Paula
23 July 2022

I have not been able to make or receive phone calls for a full week now. I think my phone line has been damaged inside my home. I think I need a new line and socket fitting.

Choose team replying to Paula
29 September 2022

Hi Paula, We'd recommend getting in touch with your landline provider to check for any faults.

Christina Holmes
19 September 2017

I was on EE and they cut me off, even though it was their fault. now I've tried to find out my phone number but when I connect the phone to it there's no dial tone, what should I do? I need Wi-Fi.

John Highnam
24 May 2017

We need WiFi in our village hall and don't need any outgoing calls, so can the phone line be barred and just emergency numbers only? Is there any organisation that will assist us financially with a grant for this?

Choose team replying to John Highnam
1 June 2017

Hi John, we're not aware of a financial grant to help in your situation unfortunately, however we can confirm that some providers do offer broadband packages without a phone line. You can read more on this here: https://www.choose.co.uk/gu...
Then check out our broadband comparison page here: https://www.choose.co.uk/co...
Hope this helps!

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