Business Phone Lines

Our ultimate guide to phone line options for businesses in 2024

One way or another, most businesses need to communicate with their customers or suppliers. If your business is office-based, a business phone line will provide a high-quality, reliable way to connect your business with the wider world.

The technology used for business phone lines in the UK is changing rapidly – in this guide, we’ll explore how to choose a phone line system for your company.

Key sections for you to explore:

Choosing a business phone line
Upgrading your business phone line
The analogue phone line switch off

What is a business phone line?

A business phone line is a telephone system directly connected to a series of copper cables running away from your commercial property. The phone lines connect to the Openreach telephone line cables, cabinets, and exchanges that form the British phone line infrastructure.

A landline allows your business to make and receive calls from other phone numbers across the country and the world.

A business phone line relies on a fixed connection with the highly reliable phone line infrastructure that has existed since the early 1900s. Business phone lines are gradually being replaced by:

In 2025, Openreach will switch off the British analogue phone line network (the big switch off), meaning that business phone lines will no longer be an option. See more on this below.

Choosing a business phone line

Here are the key questions to answer when choosing a phone line for your business:

  • Can employee mobile phones provide a better, more flexible alternative?
  • Is the speed of your internet sufficient to upgrade to a VoIP system?

If the answer to both of these questions is no, then a traditional business telephone line could still be the right solution for your business.

A traditional business telephone system will only be a short-term solution. Openreach aims to complete its exercise of ‘switching off’ the copper cable network that supports phone lines by December 2025.

What are the benefits of using a business phone line?

Despite the impending switch-off, there are a few reasons many businesses still rely on a business phone line:

  • Reliability – A business phone line is highly reliable using the public switched telephone network (PTSN) to transmit calls. A business phone line will reliably keep your business connected to your customers.
  • Superior quality in poor internet connectionsVoIP phone systems depend entirely on broadband internet, which can vary in speed throughout the day. A business phone line will provide consistent, high-quality calls.
  • A traditional corded phone will work even during a power cut – If your business is in an area without a mobile signal, you’ll rely on a fixed phone line. A business analogue phone line will work without electricity, making it more useful than a VoIP system in a power cut.

Upgrading your business phone line

In 2024, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) stands out as the optimal business phone line choice in the UK, offering flexibility, scalability, and cost savings.

Unlike traditional phone lines relying on copper wires and physical infrastructure, VoIP utilises the internet for voice communication, making it an inherently more adaptable and modern solution.

Here are the key advantages of a VoIP phone line:

  • Cost reduction: Lower monthly rates, no line rental fees, and cheaper international calls compared to traditional phone lines.
  • Scalability: Easy to add or remove lines without physical installations, ideal for growing businesses.
  • Flexibility: Offers remote operation capabilities, allowing employees to make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Advanced features: Includes functionalities like call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, and conference calling, often at no extra cost.
  • Integration with other tools: VoIP phone lines allow integrations with business tools like CRM systems, enhancing workflow efficiency.
  • High-Quality Voice Calls: With a good internet connection, VoIP can offer superior call quality compared to traditional phone line

Broadband speed requirements for VoIP

To make an upgrade to a VoIP phone system for your business, it’s necessary to have a fast and reliable broadband connection.

With the current state of British broadband infrastructure, this means using one of the following broadband connection types:

Our business broadband experts are here to help you upgrade your broadband. Visit our business broadband comparison page today.

💡Test the current speed of your connection with our broadband speed test.

Explore your VoIP options with Business Broadband Hub

If you’ve decided that VoIP offers the best phone line solution for your business, then it’s time to choose your service and provider.

VoIP phone systems offer a vast range of useful features and other options. To help decide and find the cheapest option, check out our full guide to VoIP phone systems.

List of business phone line providers

Here’s a list of the Ofcom licenced phone line providers in the UK. Please note that in preparation for the big switch off most of these providers are no longer accepting new phone line customers.

They are, however, still able to help with existing business phone line customers.

It’s worth noting that some business phone line providers market themselves as separate companies but act as alternative brands of the above providers.

The analogue phone line switch off

The system of copper cables spanning Britain has served the country well for over a hundred years, providing reliable infrastructure for phone lines. This system is known as the public switched telephone network (PTSN).

With the gradual improvements in broadband technology, the phone network is no longer the most efficient or cost-effective way to send and receive phone calls.

So, from 2025, Openreach will switch off the analogue copper cable phone line network. From this point, fixed phone lines will send and receive data digitally using broadband infrastructure.

So, businesses comparing phone lines will need to adopt a VoIP phone system instead of a traditional business phone line. For more information, check out our complete guide to the big switch off.

Business phone line – FAQs

Our in-house commercial telecoms experts answer those key questions asked by business owners choosing their next phone system.

What is line rental?

Line rental is a charge for your phone line for the cost of maintaining the cables that connect your phone line to the Openreach infrastructure.

Line rental charges are best understood as the telecoms industry’s equivalent of business energy standing charges – A minimum charge paid to maintain a property’s connection to the utility infrastructure.

Should my business consider a VoIP system?

In a few years, all business phone lines will use the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) instead of the traditional analogue phone line network.

VoIP phone lines have a few key advantages over traditional phone lines in offering a cheaper service with various additional features. Find out if your business can benefit from a VoIP phone system.

What additional add-ons are available for the business landline services?

Here’s a handy list of the additional features you should consider when comparing business phone line providers:

  • Calling redirects – A call redirect will allow you to forward calls to another phone or mobile number. This is incredibly useful if you’re out of the office but need to ensure you don’t miss those important business calls.
  • Voice messaging – Personalised voice messaging services, including voice-into-text recording, are incredibly useful for your business’s out-of-hours phone calls.
  • Caller ID – Digitally identify incoming calls using a database maintained by your phone line provider.
  • Three-way calling – Set up a conference call with more than one other number.
  • Call recording – Call recording provides valuable insights into how your team interacts with your business customers.

What’s the difference between VoIP and landlines for businesses?

The key difference between VoIP and landlines is the way call data is transmitted from caller to caller:

  • A VoIP system uses broadband cables to send a digital signal along the broadband network.
  • A landline uses copper cable infrastructure to transmit an analogue signal.

When switching business phone line providers, can I keep the same number?

Yes. Changing your business phone number can be a real pain involving informing customers, suppliers and business directories of the change.

Luckily, you can keep your existing business phone numbers in a process known as ‘porting’. Number porting is a service that Ofcom facilitates. Find out more information here.

What’s the difference between a business landline and a home landline?

Home and business landlines use the same technology to make and receive calls reliably. However, there are a few key details to be aware of when comparing business and home landline packages:

  • Price – Business landline packages are typically bigger contracts with many separate phone devices and numbers. This makes them more expensive than the individual landline used at home.
  • Repair times – Business phone line providers recognise that the reliability of a phone system is critical for businesses. Business phone line contracts will typically include a guaranteed fault repair time.
  • Additional features – Business phone line contracts typically include useful business features such as three-way calling.

Business Broadband Hub Comparison Services

We hope you’ve found our guide to comparing business phone lines useful and that you’ll be well on your way to a cheaper phone line solution.

Here are a few quick links to other key comparison services we offer:

The Authors of this page

This page was written and reviewed by our energy experts Ben Brading and Tom Melhuish.