New phone line installation: get it for free

get a phone line

Getting a new phone line connected can cost £130... or nothing at all.

In this guide we look at how to get the "nothing at all" option.

There are two ways: taking broadband and home phone from a provider offering free installation through a special offer, or circumventing the need for a new line to be installed by using the existing equipment.

Let's start with the first option, or skip ahead to find more on whether you'll actually need a new line.

Get a new phone line

Most providers offer a free or much cheaper connection to those willing to sign up for 12 or 18 months, or for those willing to take broadband or TV along with the phone.

Since so many providers now offer to install a phone line if needs be, there's no need to compromise on the broadband package, either.

How much do they charge?

Here are the details, in alphabetical order.

Price The deal
BT From £0 to £130 Free with any broadband or TV deal.
Otherwise £50 to activate an existing line; £65 to install a new line when ordered online, or £130 when ordered some other way.
Get the offer here.
BT Basic
(cheap phone line)
Free Those on BT's social tariff who need a new line shouldn't have to pay anything unless there are "exceptional circumstances". More info here.
EE Free or £60 Those with a working BT line inside EE's home network area should be connected free of charge; otherwise £60 for new line installations.
Find out more here (pdf).
Fuel Broadband Free or £59 Free when you take broadband, otherwise £59.
Get the offer here.
Plusnet Free or £49.99 Transfers from other BT resellers or LLUs are free, restarting a stopped BT line is free.
A new line or restarting an LLU line costs £49.99.
Plusnet phone is only available with broadband. Get this here.
Post Office Free or £60 Transfers from other BT resellers are free.
A new line, or moving from an LLU will cost £60.
Get this here.
Sky £20 £20. Get the offer here.
TalkTalk £20 - £50 £20 with Essentials or Plus TV; £50 with Simply broadband.
Be aware that new line orders may not be eligible for some of TalkTalk's other special offers.
Get the offer here.
Virgin Media £49.95 £49.95 for everyone. Find out more here.

These prices were correct as of the date in the byline above.

We always keep an eye on them and update as soon as we see any changes, but it's always worth clicking through and double checking with the provider before committing to a contract.

Do you need a new line?

Note that in the table above we talk about moving from LLUs or other BT providers as well as new line installations.

As should be visible in the table above, getting a completely new phone line can be an expensive hassle.

But it's often also a needless expensive hassle, because most people don't actually need a new phone line installed.

Follow the white socket

Most homes will have a BT socket somewhere: look for a small white socket, which may have a BT logo, either on a wall or by the front door.

Don't need a new line?
You can still cut call costs
Compare phone here
Cost cutting tips here

In general, those that can plug a home phone into the wall and hear a dial tone won't need to pay an installation fee; what they may find they're stung for instead is a connection fee.

We've included the cost of transferring from one provider to another in the table above, as well as the cost of getting a whole new line installed.

Broadly, anyone moving between companies using BT lines - Plusnet, Fuel Broadband, the Post Office, among others - should find being transferred is free of charge.

TalkTalk and Sky have their own equipment inside many exchanges, running what's known as "fully unbundled" services.

Anyone moving between them and BT or one of BT's resellers is liable for a connection fee to cover switching their phone line from one provider's equipment to the other's.

For example:

Customer moves from... The deal
BT The Post Office / Plusnet / Fuel Broadband Free
BT Sky £20
Sky TalkTalk Either £20 or £50
TalkTalk Sky £20
TalkTalk BT Up to £130

If you can't see a socket but are aware that the previous residents did have a BT line, a new phone provider may be able to help you to find it.

Note also that phone sockets similar to BT's are installed in some instances so, depending on the supplier, BT may charge a reconnection fee even when the house does have a white socket.

That's only the case in a small minority of households but it's worth being aware of.

New line checklist

Homes that are very new - for example, in a building newly converted into flats - where a line has never been installed may need a new phone line.

More commonly, engineers will need to reconnect an existing line because it has been seriously damaged at some point.

This is particularly the case during renovations, when it's the socket that's most likely to be damaged.

Finally, households that have been disconnected for non payment in the past will be liable to pay a reconnection fee to get their phone line back.

For more technical information on moving back to BT see our article here.


18 July 2015

I had a phone line with TalkTalk (BT engineers) we transferred our current phone line and Internet over to BT and have now been charged £130 for the 'new' phone line that was already there and connected. Where do I stand with this please?

20 July 2015
Choose team

We've had that happen ourselves, and it's very frustrating.
TalkTalk are what's known as an LLU, or unbundled, provider - which means they have their own equipment at the exchange. Even though there's a working phone line coming into your house, it's plugged in to TalkTalk's equipment, not BT's - and to use BT's services again means being switched back to their equipment. It's this bit that, as you've found, can cost £130.
We've a full explanation in this guide:

23 June 2015
Hannah Louise Dennis

I have a new build which I will be moving into in 6 weeks time. Obviously there is no broadband and no connections to landlines. Do I need to ask BT Openreach to come out and install a box to be able to install a landline? It's my first house.

13 April 2015

BT want to charge us £800 for a pole, all the phone lines in this area are coming off electric poles, but for some reason they say we can't have that option and have to pay £800 for a new pole. We can't afford this so are left with nothing, we can't even use a different company because BT say all companies use their engineers.

I would gladly pay £130 but I think £800 is just wrong.

12 February 2015

I need a phone line connected to a recently renovated home. I think the builders may have ripped out the old phone socket. Anybody know what I can do?

3 December 2014

Our tel box says GPO on it - we do have more modern tel connectors coming off this but the whole system is probably at least 30-40 years old maybe more! Will we need a new line to connect to a broadband package from Plusnet?

11 November 2014
Vicky Richardson Was Collings

I have holiday cottages and am trying to find the best deal to have landlines installed and a broadband service for guests. I only need an actual working phoneline in one of the properties - the others just need sockets for broadband connection.
None of the properties have had a phone line before.

5 November 2014
Thomas Paul Ferry

I have a BT socket that I was using for my EE broadband. The white BT box has since been danged. If I needed to replace it, who do I contact and how much would the repair cost? Any help would be extremely helpful.

14 October 2014

I have existing phone and broadband with BT but need an additional line for home business. What is my best option?

23 September 2014
Chris Wilson

I just signed up for a Post Office phone line and the connection was FREE. Saved not just £50, but £110. I think it's a mistake in their system, the price was listed as "£?0" which makes me think that someone entered it wrongly.

14 September 2014
Debra Barnard

Sky cancelled my phone line and broadband in error, they have quoted a two week wait to activate why is this? All other providers are saying that an engineer has to visit to re-activate the phone line. Plusnet said 2-3 weeks installation time.

31 August 2014

I have recently renovated a house. I have now moved in. There is no telephone line installed. Will I be able to get it free from BT if I just get them to install the line?

23 August 2014

I can't see any telephone poles on my street, will I still be able to have a BT landline?

24 March 2015
Carole Kinson

Hi, not all lines are overhead, some lines are underground. I live on a Cul de Sac of bungalows and we are all fed via an underground line.

26 August 2014
Choose team

Hi jc,
It's highly likely that you will, even if you can't see any poles. It's not a very accurate way of knowing whether a BT landline will be available. A better way is to follow the steps above, or to get in touch with BT and have them run a check based on your address. Hope this helps.

3 August 2014

We have bought an apartment in a victorian building. There is a phone line to the building which comes across to a black box just below the 2nd floor window of the apartment above us. They have had this drilled through and the line connected. The BT engineer suggested that there was another couple of wires in the black box from the one line that could be used to make a connection through to our apartment. Do you think this would be the case and who could do this?

2 June 2014

I have got a BT socket, but never had a landline! Can you tell me what I should do please?

23 September 2014
Chris Wilson

Get a landline installed free from the Post Office while the offer lasts.

28 May 2014

Thank you so much, I've been looking for a comparison of phone line connections for a while!

22 May 2014

I'm looking to have a phone line fitted to a static caravan. There is no line to the caravan at present, and the mobile signal is poor, so that's not an option.

The site is a bit off the beaten track, but a few other caravans on the site have phone lines fitted.
No matter who I contact, it comes down to Openreach installing the line, and they are quoting over £1,700 to install, as it requires digging a trench to lay new cable etc.

There has to be a cheaper way to get a line installed from the exchange, 30 metres away, to the caravan.
Please help.

2 December 2014

Hi Kev,

I am in the same boat as you, Sky have told me it will cost around £800 and BT now say it will be 4 figures. There must be a way of getting a phone line into a static caravan. Does anyone now know please?

23 November 2014
Stephen Slater

What would you use the line for?
If it's calls you can get one of your neighbours to put in a Vodafone signal booster called sure signal. You pay for it which turns the broadband into 3G so you can get mobile calls. There are other alternatives.

23 September 2014
Chris Wilson

Ask them to install the socket on the side of their cabinet, and get a really long extension cable?

12 November 2013

Same question as sara. I am currently with Virgin Media and moving on to Talktalk and still they are asking me to pay a £30 connection fee. What is that all about?

20 December 2013

That's because Virgin Media provide their phone service over their cable network and TalkTalk provide their service over a BT phone line.

31 October 2013

What if I have a phone line (currently with TalkTalk) and want to switch provider but EE are telling me I don't have one and I need to pay them £60 for the installation of the new one?! I should add that I called EE from my landline number!

14 January 2015

When I switched from Tesco to TalkTalk (and deeply regretted it), the same happened to me. Also, I had many problems while on Orange (now part of EE). I think EE and TalkTalk are the worse providers. I have tried almost all of the major ones.
Shop around and you will find somebody who will connect you for free, even if there is actual work to be done.
They charge so much for such poor services that it is still a golden deal for them.
I've been working on the Internet for over 20 years and only in 2014 I have seen prices going up, allowances and speeds going down, with also worse reliability and services.
If you can cope without a line, that's your best bet.

3 August 2013
M Mouse

Might also be worth mentioning Plusnet offers line installation for £49.00 with their broadband service (either ADSL or fibre).

11 August 2013
Choose team

Thanks for the tip! We've now added Plusnet's new line prices to the table above.

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