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Getting broadband without line rental

Looking for broadband access without a phone line? No problem. Read on for everything you need to know about signing up for a landline-free internet service.

In the UK there are three main ways of connecting to the internet: ADSL, 4G mobile broadband and cable. Your connection options will depend mostly on where you live. You can check to see which packages and connection types are available in your area and whether high-speed cable internet is on offer with the uSwitch broadband postcode checker.

Do I need a landline for Wi-Fi?

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That depends on which type of broadband you use. Most of the broadband connections in the UK are ADSL, which means that they use BT phone lines to transmit data.

The great thing about ADSL is that because it's delivered via the aforementioned existing telephone network infrastructure, you can still get a connection via your landline in the event that fibre-optic cabling hasn't yet reached your part of the country.

The bad news and the downside of ADSL is that you might not want or need a landline. With ADSL lines you’re looking at monthly BT line rental, service charges on top, and most likely a 12-month contract, which means that a landline is no small outlay.

So what do you do if you want internet without line rental?

There are a number of cable or fibre-optic options available from Virgin Media, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and more, although these aren't available in all parts of the country. Also, many of the available fibre-optic broadband bundles still include a phone line, making it hard to find fibre broadband with no line rental. And if you want TV, too, good luck — finding broadband and TV deals without phone line rental is basically impossible.

With 4G essentially standard, it means that mobile broadband speeds are much more comparable with fixed line services. Given that most mobile providers offer various forms of internet connection, it could be more in your interest to speak to them and see what they can offer, either with a new mobile broadband package, or by using your existing mobile phone and tethering it to your laptop.

Alternatives to ADSL - Internet without a phone line

Here we take a look at all the alternatives to ADSL in turn and outline some of their pros and cons.

Mobile broadband

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If you're looking for broadband without landline, mobile broadband may be a good solution, depending upon what your typical internet usage is like.

With low data allowances and average speeds of 21Mbps, this isn't the right choice for the heavy broadband user, but if you only need basic services like Facebook, e-mail and Skype, it should be more than enough.

You can connect to mobile broadband through a dongle or through tethering your mobile. Tethering a mobile is the process of connecting it to a laptop (either wirelessly or with a phone-USB cable supplied with your handset) and using it as a gateway to the internet. This is a lot more straightforward than it sounds, and your provider can advise you on how to do it.

The USB connection will always be with you — at home, on the train, or even abroad. If you have small internet demands and love the idea of mobility, 4G mobile broadband might be a good option for you.

The main disadvantage of mobile broadband is reception. Some areas of the UK still don’t have adequate mobile coverage, and although 4G is increasing, it still isn't available everywhere, which means your speeds may be lagging. To check before purchasing, use the following links to see the coverage maps on the provider websites.

If mobile broadband sounds ideal for your needs, compare uSwitch's best-selling USB internet packages now.


Although only available in certain areas, fibre-optic broadband is blisteringly quick (offering speeds of up to 300Mbps, depending upon your location) and incredibly reliable.

Data allowances are typically unlimited, and there are some great package deals on TV and calls available with cable broadband packages, too.

Although fibre comes at a slightly higher cost than other packages, its benefits far outweigh the extra outlay, especially for heavy broadband users who enjoy online gaming or streaming, or for homes with multiple devices online at the same time.

To see if cable broadband is available in your area or to check out the speeds you might be able to get, compare our best-selling super-fast cable packages at uSwitch.

Virgin Media

Even though you can theoretically get cable broadband without line rental, it can be hard to find a provider actually offering broadband without landline.

Currently, Virgin Media is the only major ISP that lets you sign up for broadband without line rental. Because Virgin Media operates independently on their own fibre-optic network independent of BT, the company offers several different broadband-only packages that don't require you to sign up for a landline.

Their broadband packages without line rental are actually more expensive than their packages that include line rental; however, if you're really after broadband without a landline, Virgin is likely your best bet. You can see all Virgin Media broadband deals available in your area, or see if any other broadband providers offer broadband without landline in your area.