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Broadband ISP Plusnet Gives Up On UK Home Phone Services

Wednesday, Apr 10th, 2024 (3:08 pm) - Score 10,400
Plusnet-Broadband-Router-2023

Low-cost focused UK broadband ISP Plusnet (BT Group), which seems to have spent the past few years scrapping many of its extra features (TV, Mobile etc.), has perhaps unsurprisingly now confirmed that it will no longer offer home phone services to existing customers once analogue (PSTN/WLR) services are switched off by BT and Openreach.

The news is not particularly surprising because, thus far, Plusnet has flatly refused to copy parents BT and EE by introducing their own IP-based Digital Voice solution. This would mean that, without a change in their approach, customers who remain on their analogue phone services (e.g. those with older ADSL or FTTC / VDSL2 based broadband bundles) would eventually end up being forced to switch ISP, adopt a broadband-only package or run the risk of disconnection when the old services are withdrawn.

NOTE: Openreach and BT currently plan to retire their old analogue phone solutions by December 2025, although there’s talk of this being delayed by up to 2 years (here).

Existing Plusnet customers can continue to use their home phone services for now, but the ISP told The Sun that those who wish to retain a home phone product would instead be offered “exclusive access to the very best deals on BT and transition to their digital landline service will become available” (they’re already doing this).

The situation isn’t such a problem for new customers, since Plusnet has only been offering broadband-only packages to them for a while now (via FTTP and SOGEA based FTTC). The approach being taken by Plusnet is, in our view, a poor one given that they are in a perfect position to benefit from BT’s Digital Voice solutions and approach.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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47 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Andrew says:

    I guess by Vito’ing this they can probably afford Peter Kay for more adverts

    1. Avatar photo Ross says:

      I’m sure Peter never did adverts for “Plusnet” they used a cheap copy.

  2. Avatar photo Ex Telecom Engineer says:

    When I renewed my Plusnet FTTC contract, I selected a contract without a landline phone service. We use mobiles so no need for a landline and with mobile providers offering WiFi calling, and apps like WhatsApp and Zoom, why would any residential customer need a payed for Digital Phone service? Most won’t in my opinion and the ones that do will be paying for something they don’t really need.
    I can understand why small businesses might need a paid VOIP service, with bells and whistles, but as a household who dispensed with a landline 4 years ago we don’t miss one.

    1. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      “why would any residential customer need a payed for Digital Phone service? ”

      Try telling that to the people I know who DEMAND a landline! Even though they have mobiles they regularly use.

      I suspect for these specific people it’s a combination of habit and perceived comfort from having a ‘landline’, even when it’s just VOIP and an ATA.

      In one instance when the broadband was down, I could have routed someone’s calls to their mobile but they refused to do so, preferring not to have any ‘landline’ at all.

    2. Avatar photo Bedbod says:

      So, Ex Telecom Engineer, you clearly get a good mobile signal where you are. Lucky you. Not everyone does. Real-world coverage from all networks where my parents live is terrible, despite what the predictive coverage maps try to tell you. A landline (analogue or digitally based) is a must for my parents in their 80’s.

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      not everyone has a mobile. not everyone lives within adequate mobile coverage. not everyone wants a mobile. not all phones support wifi calling (especially in the Android world).

    4. Avatar photo Ed says:

      For those who don’t have a great mobile signal: It’s called WiFi calling – the exact same technology utilised by DV.

  3. Avatar photo Gul Evek says:

    I think Plusnet have had it’s day.

    They are just another arm of BT/EE. Gone are the days of “The ultimate Internet solution.”

    Time to move on.

    1. Avatar photo ex_techie says:

      I don’t think they’ve had their day but there’s no compelling reason to choose them at all anymore. I’m very surprised there’s not been an announcement they’re folding all their residential customers over to EE yet. Especially as there’s no TV, mobile and now no phone service. Unless the plan is to eventually flog them off to another broadband company. Wouldn’t put it past BT either.

    2. Avatar photo binary says:

      @ex-techie

      It’s market segmentation. Plusnet is BT Group’s ‘no frills’ broadband brand. EE is the ‘full service’ consumer facing brand, and BT is the business facing brand.

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      quite – the home broadband version of “flanker brands”, as the mobile cos have practiced for years

      Plusnet is to BT as 1pmobile (though not BT owned) is to EE. Same reason why Sky has NOW TV. O2 has Giffgaff. Vodafone has Voxi. 3 has Smarty.

      Sometimes you get the bells and whistles, sometimes you don’t. Evidently BT desires for people seeking more from their broadband to move to EE proper.

    4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @ex_techie, there are some people who don’t want any extras, all they want is Internet connection, the problem with EE, BT and some others is that you pay high prices, so these providers can keep these services running even if you don’t want them.

  4. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    Ahh a BT ploy to devalue Plus.net further with another degradation of service offering.

    Why let customers change from NEW customer pricing at end of contracts i.e. BT > EE > Plus.net > BT
    when you can (eventually) get rid of BT ISP and Plus.net and just have one EE provider. Takes two other companies out of the list of ISPs to switch to at end of contracts for cheaper new customer prices.

    Writing on the wall for Plus.net, BT already transitioning over to EE as the consumer delivery company…..

    1. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      Yep – I remember the days when I switched back and forth between BT and plusnet every 18 months to take the 6 months free/£100 cash etc. Extremely cheap internet those days (often worked out at less than <£15 a month) so makes sense to reduce the churn with BT themselves, fighting over the same customers.

  5. Avatar photo Patrick says:

    Yes, I can also renew my contract at Plusnet but without a landline – whether used or not,
    there is noticeably no reduction in the cost for the loss of this service.

    1. Avatar photo Rob Aldred says:

      Have a look around. It’s not unique to this, it’s the same story with everything. Things costing more for less.

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      It’s call shrinkflation.

    3. Avatar photo William Gange says:

      I have recently recontracted with plusnet for their standard b/b and phone service which includes landline. This gives me 70/19 b/b over landline and phone which is approx £40.00 all in. Their phone is on a monthly contract, so if they stop landline then my b/b will have to be upgraded to fttp.

  6. Avatar photo Jazzy says:

    We’re with Sky and recently moved house from 0191 Newcastle to 01665 Alnwick. We had our landline via the broadband box as we had FTTP at 500mb. When we moved, we’re on FTTC but the cabinet is outside the house and we get a healthy 75MB which is fine for us. They insisted on providing a landline number, which we’ve never used for outgoing calls but we have elderly family who rely on a landline and they do call us on it – so it is still handy to have and there’s no charge for it

  7. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

    I’d espect a reduction in monthly bills when the home phone service is removed, so why not use that saving to pay for a switch to a VoIP provider. Even low broadband speeds should be more than adequate for VoIP. If possible, avoid any complexities by not porting your number.

    1. Avatar photo Patrick says:

      Why do you expect a reduction ? They aren’t reducing them for new customers, nor for those who renew BB contracts who currently have a landline but will lose it on the renewal.

  8. Avatar photo Martin says:

    At least for now they aren’t closing down landlines for those who have them already.

    Although at some point I suspect they might give notice, but will cause a lot of uproar from those determined to hand on to thier analogue line until the switch off (and hope that it gets pushed back for as long as possible)

  9. Avatar photo Richard says:

    I moved my phone line to Andrews and Arnold and it has been brilliant. I have no issue with PlusNet discontinuing phone lines but for those who do I would think a partnership would work or even giving guidance to help people to move to a Digital solution would be helpful.
    I hope PlusNet continue offering their services – not sure who else offers static IP addresses although IPv6 would be good to see!

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Did you move your phone line to Andrews & Arnold from PlusNet or another ISP?

      What was your process to retain your internet connection on that line as I want to move my Dad’s sooner rather than later.

    2. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

      I was with Sky FTTC until mid last year and decided to move my landline to VoIP with AAISP. Unfortunately, there is no easy process to do this. My two choices were: –

      1. Cease the broadband altogether so they could port the number out.
      2. Migrate from Sky to a BT Wholesale based internet provider and be without internet for days at a time.

      I was fortunate enough to be able to do #1 because I had 2 x FTTC internet connections and thus was able to carry on and not lose internet – but ceasing is not an option for everyone.

      I think a lot of people will realise that having moved their number out to some companies phone service makes it VERY difficult to move it back without fairly extreme moves, like ceasing or moving to another provider. It’s annoying enough for me and I know what I’m doing – dread to think what less technically capable people will do in these situations if they want to keep their number.

      My father wanted to retain his landline number and also was with Sky – fortunately porting that to FTTP with Sky was actually pain free, because it was all with Sky to begin with. Upgraded to FTTP, plugged phone into router, phone worked. Oh, and it was £18 a month cheaper because there’s no line rental! So it worked out a lot cheaper for him to move to 150Mbps full fibre and ditch the traditional land line.

      Important to remember that whilst FTTC is “fast enough” for some, it’s still going to be dead technology some day soon.

  10. Avatar photo Claire Baker says:

    I’ve got no home internet at the moment and I’m ill health so prevents me going out and have little outside help. I opened a ‘contract’ with BT a few months ago and just wanted the basics package which I’d researched was for a social tariff was £12 pcm when I called bt they quoted me £20 pcm and tried to get me to add tv that they said was on offer for a short time. I declined they were sketchy about whether I’d have a landline with free calls included, I said if it was going to cost me more I’d just take the basics package for £20 pcm 12m contract. They sent me a hubb and booked me in for an engineer to come and install several weeks later. I recieved paperwork and looked over it it seemed fine. In the Monday before the engineer was about to come on the Wednesday I received a text from them saying congratulations I’d been upgraded for ‘digital voice’ and I clicked on the link within the text and selected basics and saw this included a digital voice handset-(not the hubb I’d been sent) so I reread the paperwork to find a clause that stated a landline number I’d been allotted and saying I would be charged for all outgoing calls! So I called them. The colleague answered and was unaware of the text I’d been sent I described everything in detail to me he said he would check it out and call me back the next day. He did but hadn’t obtained anymore information so he said don’t have the engineer on the next day and it would just go down as a missed slot and hed call me the day after. I was already putting off important medical calls at this point. This continued for several weeks,finally after I suggested he should talk to his superiors he said they would honour the contract inc digital voice but I would have to book an engineer appointment. I said I would do that when the new paperwork had arrived adjusted in the post. He said he couldn’t send out the papers until I had booked the engineer and was unsure if I’d be charged for the handset. By now I had spent hours on the phone to them not just putting off medical stuff but with the whole thing affecting my conditions. I didn’t want all the time to be waisted and on a day when the guy I’d been speaking to wasn’t in I received a call from his colleague who was unaware of the situation! I explained it to her, again she had to go and check things out and called me back on several days after (she was much more people friendly, so I said I only wanted to speak to her in future) next she finally admitted to me that ‘they,the employees at bt’ are encouraged not to close a contract and start from scratch which is what happens if the engineer is cancelled-then you get passed back to the sales team and have to start from scratch! I was literally in tears I did get passed to Sales and got cut off – nobody called me back! The lady I’d been speaking to called the next day and was surprised no one had called me back but told me she was only allowed that last call to me you could tell she was being controlled by someone else I asked her if she could try me back the next day as my shoulder had dislocated and I couldn’t talk right now, she said she didn’t think that would be possible but I said please just tell your supervisor that Ive dislocated my shoulder, unfortunately I was not near my phone the next day when she called and she didn’t try again. Since then I’ve called EE they told me to call bt! Bt are demanding their hubb back for me to go out and return it which I cannot do as my health is very bad and saying if they don’t get it back soon they are going to charge me £50 (they were going to charge me for installation- which I think is meant to be free for social tariff and social tariff-they took my national insurance number is meant to be £12 pcm not £20) now I’m stuck with a hubb I can’t return a backlog of medical stuff and Bill’s I should’ve seen to and aswell as severe physical deterioration my anxiety is so bad I dread speaking to anyone or even calling back simple calls and doing the most menial of tasks.. Quite frankly Bt have made me ill when my health was already bad,I don’t know what to do next and dread calling them so I don’t get charged the £50

  11. Avatar photo Martin says:

    It explains why the social tariff is under the BT brand than Plusnet with them not providing a digital phone service as I thought it’d be more in line with the budget brand.

  12. Avatar photo Nicholas Roberts says:

    Claire’s experience sounds like BT are pioneering a new approach to marketing and service provision….”Thugs in suits” give you.. “Money for nothing” … “Or how to make technology bureaucratic and tedious whilst beating-up your customers”. I’m sure it will catch-on.

    I do hear that there’s a whole new tranche of middle-class mini-beardo young men signing-up for first university courses in the latest thing… “Injurious marketing” or “Spikey Norman does telecoms”.

    Service is completely out of the window

    The tail is truly wagging the dog now, sh*tting all over the customers and telling them how lucky they are.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      I really hope I don’t end up like you when I am older.

      I see a lot of admirable characteristics in younger generations, especially given the poorer, meaner nation, damaged environment, bills and inheritance we’ve left them. From blocking new house building, more your generation that, to selling off the family silver for their own benefit, also you and your parents, to refusal to invest in infrastructure, that’s on all of us.

      You seem to carry pure, undiluted disdain for them. I really hope I am not so ungrateful to those whose generation will pay more tax than mine and receive far less for it.

    2. Avatar photo BeeTee says:

      Oh do be quiet.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      “blocking new house building” – Good. If it means less bland boxes with no character crammed in altogether with no trees or spaces ruining quaint villages etc. where people moved to NOT be in an overdeveloped area then I am all for it!

      Stop the buying of houses for investment (like people buying 3+ houses, like the landlord who bought all the properties in Ashford, Kent and had 1000+) and out of control immigration with no checks (from any country) and there are plenty of houses to go around.

  13. Avatar photo Angus says:

    Try being a fall risk and have no backup when your mobile network is down. I made the mistake of upgrading too full fibre, with the possibility of digital voice replacing the land land, now they remove that option.

    If I had known this was the plan this year, I would have jumped from the bastard child of BT, aka Plusnet, now locked into a 24month contract with 20 left and no backup home line from plusnet. If and when I fall next and 02 is down again I will have a 5 too 14 hour wait for help. Even then if an ambulance is called they usually don’t have the tools on board to lift you off the floor. E.g. last time I fell I had 9 hours before an ambulance was called and then another 4 HOURS stuck in pain on floor as they had to hunt for the inflatable raising seat after the specialist crane they got after 2 hours didn’t work.

    So a total of 14 hours stuck on floor as the only fall fob neckless cannot work on digital voice. So it’s the infirm that are going to suffer as no-one thought of us.

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      have you asked your telecare company why they are providing you with substandard equipment?

      These firms have had the best part of a decade to get their stuff working with modern broadband, either via digital voice or by using the internet connection itself.

      Since Plusnet has never sold digital voice, are you saying you willingly moved to a provider that was not prepared to sell you a phone service at all, despite having a telecare unit that needs a phone line?

  14. Avatar photo Bob says:

    I can only think that BT are phasing out the Plusnet brand by making it increasingly unattractive and BT does not really need three brands

    1. Avatar photo binary says:

      As I wrote in a comment above, Plusnet is a classic example of ‘market segmentation’ – Plusnet is BT Group’s ‘no frills’ broadband brand. EE is the ‘full service’ consumer facing brand, and BT is the business facing brand.

    2. Avatar photo William Gange says:

      Remember plusnet uses the same equipment as bt, so why the difficulty in providing voice escapes me.

    3. Avatar photo BeeTee says:

      There is no ‘difficulty’ in providing the service. They’re just choosing not to for this particular brand. Want a phone line with your broadband? Get EE.

    4. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      Bob, BT doesn’t want three brands because they don’t like customers swapping with so much market choice at the end of the contracts to get new customer pricing. Remove 2 of the brands and there is less choice instantly. That’s what it is all about….

    5. Avatar photo Anon says:

      @BeeTee – issue Plusnet often have is not the network side but their systems, so they can’t order / manage / bill customers for new products etc.

      And I think the writing is on the wall for Plusnet, they’ve left their head office in Sheffield which was 5 floors of a large building and are now down the road in the new BT building near the station. The support teams are now increasingly in BT contact centres such as Doncaster.

  15. Avatar photo Tim Smith says:

    I’ve been with plusnet for years, landline is essential back up for us rural users but most of all plusnet customer service is responsive helpful and easy to deal with.

  16. Avatar photo Dick Morris says:

    Lots of complaints about now using a broadband connection for a telephone service, especially for elderly people with devices to summon help after a fall.
    But AT&T would seem to have a good solution, as their telephone adaptor works with broadband AND a wireless connection.

    See:- https://www.lightreading.com/digital-transformation/at-t-intros-wireless-wired-phone-amid-copper-retirements

  17. Avatar photo lamerrrrr says:

    Just announced but this we being communicated to customers a year ago. I remember doing it dozens of times a day when I was put on Sales.

  18. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    I think this is a good thing and I hope other ISPs follow suit. A&A, Yay and Voipfone are so much cheaper than using your ISP for VOIP. It also makes switching between ISPs for broadband significantly easier by having your phone service elsewhere. Therefore anything that pushes users into using one of the above I would say is a good outcome.

    1. Avatar photo BeeTee says:

      Whilst I agree with the principle, I would argue most users don’t want to (or more accurately, don’t care to) have their phone provider as a separate entity to their ISP, and likely don’t even know it’s an option – with restrictions depending on your ISP, your type of internet, which networks you may or may not have access to etc. In addition, non-technical folks, my mum for example (who happens to be with Plusnet and will be affected) has no clue about VOIP, or the ins-and-outs of various services, nor should she need to. She wants things to ‘just work’ and have one bill to pay, even if it means it’s a bit more expensive.

  19. Avatar photo s w says:

    Plusnet are one of the few that offer a static IP address , the alternatives I know of are vodafone or zen. Zen is quite expensive and vodafone have horrendous off shore technical support.

    So for my working from home requirement of a static up, I will choose plusnet next time if they still exist. I am with vodafone broadband which is hell on earth.

  20. Avatar photo Pint says:

    The end of the analogue phone service has been known about for a long long time, and i find it odd that the care alarm systems don’t appear to have any backup. a care alarm system could be a matter of life or death so i would have thought there would be multiple redundancy’s in such things combining at the least a battery back up that could last 24 hours or more with Analogue phone (where it still exists) mobile SMS/call via any network, and possibly a two way radio type set up .
    Likewise its surprising that there isnt a simple Voip service form the big players such as BT, buy an adaptor, plug it into any broadband connection – and/or download an app pay a subscription and you have your landline replacement

    1. Avatar photo Andy says:

      I am at a loss to understand all this fuss about plusnet. By the end of next year, noone will have an analogue cable into their house. Thus we will all be on digital only. A very small percentage of those customers will not have broadband and will not be of interest to Plusnet. For everyone else in the UK, say >95%, we will be on internet connected broadband (cable or cell masts). If we have a mobile phone, again say well over 80% or even 90%, we can make Voip phone calls using broadband. Ever heard of Whatsapp? it has Voip. Most phones also have a call by wifi feature, Voip by another name. We don’t need good mobile signal, use wifi to our router. In short, the vast majority with a mobile phone have a voip facility without paying extra for yet another phone. I am going with Plusnet. I don’t intend to pay for a service, Voip, I can get for no extra charge.

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