New phone line installation: get it for free
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.
|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.
(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.
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.
|Customer moves from...||...to||The deal|
|BT||The Post Office / Plusnet / Fuel Broadband||Free|
|Sky||TalkTalk||Either £20 or £50|
|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.