How to save money on your home phone and broadband

Fancy saving a few hundred pounds on your phone and internet costs? Shopping around for better home phone and broadband deals can do just that. Plus find the help available if you miss a payment.

Best ways to save on landline and broadband bills

Home phone and broadband bills can be expensive, so we’ve pulled together a few tips to help keep your bills low.

Broadband customers who switched saved an average of £48 per year while those with a combined TV and broadband deal saved an average of £96 a year.

Source: Which?

  • Match your deal to your needs - Otherwise you might spend money on data you don’t use, or get charged for going over your limit. If you’re not sure how much you use, ask your supplier.
  • Should you get line rental and broadband together? - In most cases you need a landline to get broadband, but not all. Take into account your landline costs when looking at broadband prices as many seemingly cheap deals require you to take out expensive line rental.
For more tips on how to save money on phone and broadband deals, visit MoneySavingExpert.

Switching your home phone and broadband – the basics

It’s never been easier to change home phone and broadband provider and you could save yourself hundreds of pounds on your bills.

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The length of time your switch will take depends on which provider you’re switching from and to.

You can ask your new supplier for more details. You’re unlikely to spend any time without a connection.

Don’t forget:

  • Use more than one comparison website. They don’t all show the same deals and providers, so the more you check, the more likely you are to find a cheaper deal.
  • Look at the monthly and yearly costs in the breakdown. Know what you’re buying to avoid any unwelcome surprises when your bill shows up.
  • Watch out for promoted products. Many comparison sites take a commission when you switch through them. That means they might try to nudge you to pick a product over another, even if it’s not the best deal. Be aware of these tactics.
  • Which provider is best? You can find the latest customer satisfaction ratings for the large providers on the Choose website.

The two ways to switch broadband

When you go to change who supplies your broadband, there are two main ways to do it. ‘Gaining provider led’ or ‘cease and re-provide’. Here’s what those technical terms mean.

  • Gaining provider led is when you just tell your new broadband provider you’re leaving and who your old supplier was, and they do the rest.

If you’re moving between broadband providers that use BT’s Openreach network (such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk), you’ll use this way.

The majority of contracts last between 12 and 24 months and once they’re finished, most providers let you cancel free of charge, with 30 days’ notice.

  • Cease and re-provide means you need to cancel with your old provider as well as go and speak to your new broadband company to get connected again.

If you’re switching to or from a cable provider such as Virgin Media, you’ll need to follow this way.

Be aware that there might be a charge for cancelling your contract.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure which one is for you. When you contact the provider you want to switch to they’ll be able to give you details on which process you need to follow.

Below are the steps you’ll need to take to switch your broadband using either system.

Steps to switching

Be aware

Many comparison sites highlight sponsored deals at the top of their results page. These are often shown in coloured boxes, or say sponsored result, but are not necessarily the best value.

Step 1 – Check your contract

Contact your broadband provider to check if you’re outside your minimum contact period or you might be liable for early exit fees. They may be keen to keep you and you may be able to haggle a cheaper deal. You can check at the same time how their cancelation process works.

Step 2 – Find your new broadband provider

You can do this by entering your postcode into a price comparison website. We recommend using these Ofcom accredited websites:

  • Search by postcode or phone number for relevant deals in your area. Splits prices into monthly and annual cost and displays a reliability score.
  • Broadbanddeals: Search by postcode. Prices automatically shown in monthly costs, but can be filtered by year.
  • BroadbandCompared: Search by postcode
You can also check out customer reviews of broadband suppliers on

Compare the different packages and pick the best one for you. Remember not to just look at price. Match the deal to your needs and check whether line rental is included.

Step 3 – Start the switching process

When you start the process by contacting your new provider they should be able to tell you which process you’ll follow, and if you’ll need to contact your old provider to cancel.

If you just need to tell your new provider
When using the gaining provider led process, you can apply through a comparison website, on the company’s website or over the phone to get your new broadband. They’ll do the rest and let you know when your internet is switched over.

You’ll also be automatically notified by the provider you’re leaving if any early termination charges apply, and be given an estimate of what the charge will be. If you decide you don’t want to switch, you can cancel by contacting the new provider.

Keep in mind though that this may not apply if you’re switching to a broadband business with 10 employees or fewer.

If you need to tell both providers
When using the cease and re-provide process, you’ll need to do your best to coordinate the end and start dates with both the broadband companies so you’re without broadband for as little time as possible.

You won’t be automatically told of early exit fees, so you’ll need to check those with your existing provider.

Changing your mind

If you change your mind regardless of how you need to switch, you have 14 days to cancel the switch before your new contract starts.

There are two ways to switch broadband: ‘gaining provider led’ and ‘cease and re-provide’.

The one you pick depends on which provider you’re switching to and from.

  • If you are switching to or from a cable provider such as Virgin Media, you will need to follow the ‘cease and re-provide’ process.
  • If you are moving between broadband providers that use BT’s Openreach network (such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk), you will use the ‘gaining provider led’ system.

Save money on your landline

Although more and more people rely on mobile phones, and home phone contracts are often bundled with broadband packages, there are still ways to cut your landline costs.

Here are some of the best tips.

Looking to save on your mobile phone bill? Read more in How to save money on your mobile phone.

  • Pay by Direct Debit. It’s usually the cheapest way to pay and it means you won’t forget.
  • Avoid peak calling times. Check when your supplier charges most for calls and do your best to avoid these times.
  • Do you qualify for a social tariff? Some providers have cheaper tariffs for those who are struggling financially, or have a certain disability. Speak to your supplier for more information.
For more information on saving money on your landline, visit MoneySavingExpert.

Struggling to pay your broadband or phone bill?

If you need help, contact your provider as soon as possible and explain your situation. They might be able to help you out, such as:

  • changing your bill date
  • setting up an affordable repayment plan
  • moving to a different tariff
  • removing data caps on fixed broadband services
  • not charge you penalties such as late payment fees.

You might also be able to buy packages that include data boosts at low prices, or free landline phone calls.

If you’re struggling to pay your bill your provider also shouldn’t disconnect you, unless as an absolute last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

If you’re vulnerable or self-isolating, and your provider can’t make priority repairs in your home, they should make sure you have alternatives to broadband or a landline.

Find out more on the Citizens Advice websiteopens in new window.

What happens if I miss a payment?

If you’ve already missed more than one payment and are not able to come to an agreement with your provider, it’s best to get advice as soon you can, especially if you’ve got other debts as well.

See our guide on how to prioritise your debts to help you work out which ones to pay off first.

If you need more support, find free confidential debt advice online, over the phone or near to where you live using our debt advice locator tool.

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