How Will the UK Landline Switch Off Affect You and What Should You Do?

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Key Takeaways

  • All traditional UK landline phones will be switched off by December 2025 in the 'Big Switch Off'.
  • All Traditional landline connections will be replaced with a faster, full-fibre digital service (VoIP).
  • UK telephone networks have already migrated thousands of customers to digital services.
  • To continue making/receiving landline calls in 2026, you will need broadband at home.

The UK landline switch off has begun. By December 2025 analogue landline phones will be turned off across the UK. If you want to make or receive a landline telephone call you will need to use a broadband connection. As landlines quickly become phased out, below we take a look at what it means for you and what you need to do to manage the transition smoothly.

Why Are Traditional Services Being Taken Away?

Known as PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), the copper phone network has delivered analogue landline phone services since the Victorian era. However, the way we make calls has changed immensely during this period meaning it is no longer cost effective to maintain the analogue infrastructure.

When Will the UK Landline Switch Off Happen?

The UK landline switch off was announced in 2017 and has already begun. It is scheduled to be complete by 2025, but major telephone networks have already migrated hundreds of thousands of customers to their Voice over Intent Protocol digital services.

How Do Digital Voice Services Work?

Digital voice uses a technology called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). A home VoIP phone system converts the sound of your voice into digital signals that can be sent over a digital infrastructure. It is essentially the same technology that is used by services such as FaceTime, WhatsApp as well as most business telephone networks.

Can I Still Use a Landline and My Existing Phone After the UK Landline Switch Off has Finished?

Yes you will be able to use your existing phone once the landline switch off has been complete. However, the key difference is that your phone will need to be connected to a broadband network via a router and probably a telephone adaptor. Although some very old phones may need to be upgraded, most – including DECT cordless phones – should just plug straight into the broadband network.

What If I Don’t Already Have Broadband?

If you don’t already have a broadband connection at home then your broadband supplier will provide one. If you choose to use the broadband network simply to power the telephone connection then your provider should not charge you any more than you are paying at the moment.

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Can I Keep My Existing Landline phone number Once the Switch Off is Complete?

Yes, in most cases you’ll be able to keep the same phone number once the landline switch off has been completed and your service is migrated to Digital Voice/VoIP. Exceptions will be if you change providers before take a digital phone service, or if you change address.

What if I Don’t Want a Digital Landline Phone Line at Home?

If you don’t want to a landline phone service you can always choose a ‘broadband-only’ deal. Remember, though, if you want to continue making/receiving landline calls after December 2025 you will need broadband at home.

Will Digital Voice Services Work if There’s a Power Cut?

Unlike analogue phones which will continue working in the event of a power cut, unfortunately this isn’t the case with digital voice/VoIP. Instead, you will have to rely on your mobile phone if you want to call, say, the emergency services.

Will My Phone Bills be Any More Expensive Once the Network is Digital?

Not necessarily. The best UK VoIP providers will have a system in place to ensure that their customers will pay the same amount, or receive the equivalent service at no additional cost.

Will My Burglar Alarm Work With a Digital Landline?

Certain devices such as personal care alarms, burglar alarms and fax machines may be connected to your existing analogue landline. If you have one of these devices, it might need to be replaced or reconfigured to continue working once you move to a digital voice/VoIP service. The good news is there are now solutions readily available.

What Are the Main Benefits of Moving to a Digital Landline?

While the UK landline switch off is inevitable, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. One benefit is that digital calls usually offer much clearer sound quality than analogue calls. Another is that additional functionality is often available for free (or at a much lower cost) via digital networks. These include features like caller ID, voicemail and call forwarding. Some digital voice services may even allow you to use your landline number from a mobile app so you can answer calls when you’re not at home.

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Chris Price
Freelance technology writer
Chris Price
Freelance technology writer

Chris has been a freelance technology journalist since the 1990s. In addition to editing two consumer tech blogs, TechDigest.tv and ShinyShiny.tv, he also regularly contributes tech/business articles to various publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Tech Radar, IFSEC Insider and AI Business. He was recently listed in the TytoTech 500 list of UK tech influencers, one place behind money-saving expert Martin Lewis! A passionate outdoor swimmer, Chris is also a qualified lifeguard.