How will the landline phone switch work and what do you need to do?
Aug 25, 2023
The old copper phone network will be switched off in 2025 and phones will instead use the internet to make calls. That doesn't mean you have to only use a mobile phone - but there are some changes coming. Here's what you need to know.
Sky News reporter @jos_franks
Thursday 31 August 2023 15:05, UK
Landline services are changing in the UK.
The old system will be switched off in 2025 and landlines will use broadband to make calls.
If you rely on a landline, you will still be able to make calls but the technology that powers them will be different.
Here's everything you need to know.
I rely on a landline - can I still use it?
Yes, you will still be able to have a landline in your home.
The change means the landline will use the internet to make calls, rather than old copper network (known as PSTN, or public switched telephone network).
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The new system is called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) but providers also have their own names for it such as BT Digital Voice.
What if I don't have an internet connection at home?
For those without a broadband connection at home, your supplier will install one.
If you only want to use broadband so you can keep your landline, that's fine.
Where broadband is just being used to power the telephone, your supplier should not charge you extra.
Both BT and Virgin have committed to not charging customers any extra for landline-only broadband connections.
I have broadband at home, does that make things easier?
If you already have a broadband connection, the switch should be fairly straightforward.
Your phone will be plugged into your router or a new socket, which in some cases will need an adaptor supplied by your provider.
Will I need to get a new landline phone?
You should be able to keep your current phone. If it's very old, you might need to upgrade it.
Can I keep my current number?
Yes, you can keep the same number.
Once I've gone digital, will my landline work any differently?
Your landline will still feel like your old landline after the switch - including a dial tone when you pick it up.
Digital lines also provide clearer and better quality calls, providers say.
If I'm not paying line rental for a landline, will my bills get cheaper?
Unfortunately it seems like they won't. In the eyes of phone providers, you're still getting the same service - it's just the technology that has changed.
Here's what a Virgin Media spokesperson said: "As customers will still be able to use their landline service, they will not see a reduction in their bills."
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When is the changeover happening?
The deadline for the switch is December 2025, but providers have already started moving people over.
Your phone company will contact you when they want you to change.
Why is the old network being switched off?
The analogue network dates back to the 19th century - and in some cases relies on infrastructure dating back that far.
It's becoming harder and more expensive to maintain, so it needs to be replaced.
Switching to digital brings the phone network in line with other advances in the digital world.
Read more on Sky News:What to expect from Apple's new iPhone eventWhat is the 3G switch-off - and will your phone still work?
What about other devices that use a phone line?
Other devices including telecare services, personal alarms and security alarms use the phone network.
Some existing devices will continue to work using digital phone services, but others will need to be replaced.
If you use telecare services, you may want to let your phone provider know in advance of the switchover.
You can also contact your telecare provider to check if your devices will work with a digital connection.
What if there's a power cut?
While some analogue phones will work in a power cut, that's not the case for a digital phone unless it has a battery back-up.
If you do not have a mobile phone - or mobile reception in your area - your provider should give you a battery back-up so you're not cut off if there is a power cut.I rely on a landline - can I still use it?What if I don't have an internet connection at home?I have broadband at home, does that make things easier?Will I need to get a new landline phone?Can I keep my current number?Once I've gone digital, will my landline work any differently?If I'm not paying line rental for a landline, will my bills get cheaper?When is the changeover happening?Why is the old network being switched off?Read more on Sky News:What to expect from Apple's new iPhone eventWhat is the 3G switch-off - and will your phone still work?What about other devices that use a phone line?What if there's a power cut?