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Changes to landline telephones

The UK’s telephone network is being upgraded, which means that landline services are changing. You’ll still be able to have a landline in your home, but the technology that powers it will be a bit different and you may need to upgrade some of your equipment.

What’s changing and when?

The technology we currently use to make calls on landlines, called ‘analogue’, is being replaced with an internet-based version, called an ‘IP network’.

Landlines will still exist, and you can still have a phone line in your home - but the system that underpins it will be different.

The changeover needs to happen by December 2025, as this is when the old technology will stop working. Phone providers have already started work on switching over the network, but you don’t need to do anything until they get in touch with you.

Why are these changes happening?

The equipment that makes the current landline network run isn’t fit for the future and needs to be upgraded. The new system will use the internet to make phone calls.

Phone and broadband companies are leading this change. The Government and Ofcom (the communications regulator) are supporting it.

Will my landline phone be affected?

Everyone who has a landline will move over to the new system. You don’t need to do anything yet - your phone company will get in touch with you.

For lots of people, the change will be as simple as plugging their phone into their broadband router.

Can I keep my phone number?

Yes, in most cases you’ll be able to keep your current phone number.

Will I need a new phone?

If your phone handset is very old, you might need to change it. Your phone provider will be able to advise you.

Will anything else be affected, like my telecare?

Things that currently use the landline network - like telecare, personal alarms, burglar alarms and fax machines - will be affected by the change. If your device is relatively modern, it should still work fine - but older devices may need to be reconfigured or replaced.

What if I don’t have, or don’t want, the internet at home?

Because the new system runs off the internet, you won’t be able to make calls without an internet connection at home.

If you already have broadband, you can use that. If not and you don’t want a high-speed internet connection, you should be given the option to use a simple internet connection just for making calls.

Will I have to pay more?

BT, which provides the majority of landlines, have committed to not raising prices above inflation for ‘voice only’ customers – those who don’t have home broadband. This commitment is for at least the next 5 years and will mean that whatever technology your landline uses, the old system or the new, your bill should not rise significantly.

This means that you shouldn’t face extra costs if you need a new simple internet connection to make calls.

Is it true that I won’t be able to make phone calls if there’s a power cut?

Because the new system will work off your home electricity, if there’s a power cut it’ll mean you can’t make phone calls. In these instances, phone companies are advising that you should use a mobile phone as a backup.

If you don’t have a mobile, live somewhere where there’s no or poor signal, or depend on your landline, for example because you’re disabled, your home phone provider should offer you a solution like a battery-operated handset. This will mean that you can make emergency calls during a power cut.

Is there anything I should watch out for?

As the switchover is affecting millions of homes, this can create an opportunity for criminals to develop new scams. These could be over the phone, via email, or at your doorstep.

Remember the key advice when someone is contacting you about the switchover:

STOP – Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe

CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It is ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush you

PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040. 

Other unscrupulous people may also try to sell you equipment or get you to sign up to expensive contracts that you don’t need. Don’t rush into any decisions, seek a second opinion, and speak to your phone company who will be to advise you about what you need.

BT’s Digital Switchover – Q & A

The telephone industry is upgrading from analogue to digital landlines by the end of 2025. The change will mean that calls will be made over a broadband line instead of the old analogue network, which is becoming increasingly unreliable. 

For most of you, all aspects of the switchover will be free of charge with no home installation work required. And if you do require additional support with set up, you should contact your telephone provider.  

If you have telecare services, like a call alarm, either provided by the local authority or by a private company, contact your provider to check what plans they have in place to ensure that your equipment is switched over. 

Following calls to our Advice line and feedback from some of our support services we drafted a series of questions which we took to BT and attached their responses. 

Will call blockers, used to prevent scammers from contacting older people, still work after digital switchover?

Call blockers will no longer be necessary following digital switchover. There will be a new in-built service called Hiya that will automatically block scam calls.

Some people reported being switched to the digital system without prior notice.

BT uses an automated system that requires their customers to provide permission before they are switched. This permission may have been granted up to 40 days previously so there is a possibility that some customers may have forgotten about granting permission.

NB* We’ve heard about several instances where customers reported being switched over without prior notice. If you believe this has happened to you then contact the complaints line using the numbers below.

If a customer has an old handset that will need replacing, will BT cover the cost?

Unfortunately, not. The customer must pay for the new handset. However, 99% of phones will work on the digital platform.

How long will the backup phones last in a power cut?

Ofcom requires telephone suppliers to provide at least one hour's worth of back-up. However, BT provides up to four hours of back up via a battery for some vulnerable people.

What will happen to those people who live in areas with poor broadband?

BT are currently working on a system to circumvent poor broadband. Until that system is fully developed people living in such areas will remain on their analogue system.

Will people using local authority commissioned support services such as personal alarms, still be able to use their equipment?

BT has data sharing agreements with all 22 local authorities in Wales to identify those using support services and make sure that all their equipment is compatible.

What if I need more information or need to make a complaint?

Any questions or complaints can be raised by calling 150 from a landline or 0330 1234 150 from a mobile phone. You may also visit

What about other phone providers?

Virgin Media and Talk Talk are actively switching over their customers while other major providers are waiting to see how matters develop. In such cases it's best to contact your supplier by using the contact number at the top of your billing letter to find out more.

If you would like to share your experiences of digital switchover, please contact Michael Phillips on 07794 366224 or email

What should I do if I have questions?

Take a look at the Future of Voice website, which has the latest information on what’s changing and how.

You can also speak to your landline provider or visit their website.


Last updated: Jun 17 2024

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