BT’s Digital Voice is their next-generation home phone service. It gives you better quality HD Voice calls on your landline.
In the UK, Digital Voice is BT’s next-generation landline service. Giving you HD-quality phone calls and added features such as voicemail and call divert, it’s now available to selected BT Broadband customers across the UK. You can get a free Digital Voice handset from BT including their new Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in.
In this article, we’ll review BT’s Digital Voice service including what it is and how it compares to a traditional home phone service. We’ll also compare the two Digital Home Phones available from BT including their Essential Digital Phone and their Advanced Digital Phone with Alexa built-in. We’ll also look at BT’s broadband and home phone deals, along with the Digital Voice service that is available to customers on BT Business.
What is BT Digital Voice?
In the UK, BT is currently in the process of upgrading their landline network to use Digital Voice technology. This is their next-generation home phone service available at no extra cost at addresses with Digital Voice technology.
The main benefit of upgrading to Digital Voice is support for higher-quality HD voice phone calls. You’ll also get extra features built-in such as voicemail, call waiting, call divert and an Alexa-enabled handset.
The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of BT’s Digital Voice and their traditional home phone service:
|Digital Voice||Traditional Landline|
|Price:||From £27.99 per month
(with Pay As You Go calls)
|From £27.99 per month
(with Pay As You Go calls)
(e.g. selected areas & FTTP homes)
|Most UK addresses
(due to be switched off in 2025)
|Call Quality:||HD Voice||Standard|
|Handset:||Advanced Digital Phone with Alexa
Essential Digital Phone
Provide Your Own Handset
|Provide Your Own Handset|
|Alexa Voice:||✔ With Advanced Digital Phone||✘ No|
|Voicemail:||✔ Included||✘ Up to £5.50/month extra|
|Call Waiting:||✔ Included||✘ Up to £5.50/month extra|
|Call Divert:||✔ Included||✘ Up to £5.50/month extra|
|Connection Method:||Uses the BT Smart Hub 2 router
Wireless or plug in your phone at the Hub
|Plug in your phone at wall socket|
Behind the scenes, BT’s Digital Voice service makes use of voice-over-IP technology (also known as VoIP). This means your BT fibre broadband connection is being used in the background to carry your phone calls.
The main difference with Digital Voice is that you’ll need to upgrade to a new digital phone such as BT’s new Advanced Digital Phone with Alexa built-in. This is provided free of charge when you sign up for Digital Voice. Alternatively, you can continue using your own phone if you like but you’ll need to plug it in at the back of your Smart Hub 2 router instead of plugging it in at the wall.
One disadvantage of Digital Voice is that it isn’t currently compatible with some monitored burglar alarms and health pendants. If you use one of these devices at your property, you should check this page on BT’s website. In addition, the Digital Voice service requires your BT Smart Hub 2 router to be powered and switched on for you to make and receive calls. In the event of a power cut, you’ll lose access to your landline so you’ll need another way of making emergency phone calls (e.g. a mobile phone). BT has an optional Battery Backup Unit (BBU) which is recommended for customers living in an area prone to power cuts and where there isn’t the ability to make phone calls over the mobile network.
At present, Digital Voice has rolled out to selected UK homes, with the entire country due to be switched over by the end of 2025. You’ll be told you’re getting Digital Voice when ordering your BT Broadband plan, or you might be sent an invitation to move over by BT. The migration of all BT customers to use Digital Voice technology by the end of 2025 will enable them to switch off the older PSTN technology.
Digital Voice Handsets
On the Digital Voice service, BT will provide you with a new cordless digital phone at no extra cost. You can choose between the following two options for your free device:
- Advanced Digital Phone with Alexa built-in: This is BT’s latest Digital Home Phone. It has a colour screen and an Alexa button that allows for one touch dialling and more.
- Essential Digital Phone (2 handsets included): You can get two Essential Digital Phones (e.g. to use in multiple rooms). This has a smaller black-and-white screen and doesn’t have Alexa built-in.
Alternatively, you can continue using your existing home phone if you like. However, you’ll need to plug it in to the back of your BT Smart Hub 2 router instead of plugging it in directly at the wall socket. It might not be possible to use features like HD Voice if you’re using your own handset with the service.
Advanced vs Essential Digital Home Phone
If you’re trying to decide between the two Digital Home Phones, the following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the two handsets:
|Advanced Digital Phone with Alexa||Essential Digital Phone|
|Handsets Provided:||1 handset provided on all plans||2 handsets provided on all plans|
|Display:||2.0-inch colour display||1.8-inch black and white display|
|Alexa Button:||✔ Yes||✘ No|
|HD Calling:||✔ Yes||✔ Yes|
|Phone Book:||✔ Yes, up to 500 saved numbers||✔ Yes, up to 500 saved numbers|
|Hands-Free Calling:||✔ Yes||✔ Yes|
|Caller Display:||✔ Yes||✔ Yes|
|Call Waiting Indicator:||✔ Yes||✔ Yes|
|Voicemail Button:||✔ Yes||✔ Yes|
|One-Touch Calling:||✔ Yes, using Alexa button||✘ No|
|Accessibility Options:||✔ Yes, includes:
Ringer Volume Boost
|Other:||Control smart home devices
Check news & weather
Stream music (using Alexa)
|Cordless:||Yes (uses DECT)||Yes (uses DECT)|
|Wireless Range:||Up to 50m indoors
Up to 300m outdoors
|Up to 50m indoors
Up to 300m outdoors
|Requires Smart Hub 2:||Yes||Yes|
|Battery Life:||Up to 12h talktime
Up to 180h standby
|Up to 12h talktime
Up to 240h standby
|Handset Dimensions:||19.1 x 5.1 x 3.9 cm||19.1 x 5.1 x 3.8 cm|
|Charger Dimensions:||2.7 x 7.3 x 7.2 cm||4.2 x 8.0 x 7.6cm|
|Weight:||151g handset, 67g charger||151g handset, 67g charger|
|More Information:||BT Advanced Digital Phone Webpage||BT Essential Digital Phone Webpage|
If required, you can order additional Digital Voice handsets from BT. It costs £44.99 to get another Advanced Digital Home Phone and £39.99 to get another Essential Digital Home Phone. BT recommends that you stick to one type of phone instead of mixing two different types of phone.
For more information, you can see the handset specifications on BT’s website for the Advanced Digital Home Phone and the Essential Digital Home Phone. There’s also further information about how to set up your Digital Voice handset.
BT Broadband & Digital Voice Deals
BT currently offers a choice of fibre broadband deals, starting from £27.99 per month. All of their home broadband deals include a landine at no extra cost, which can either be the traditional landline service or a Digital Voice service depending on what is available at your address.
If you’re living at an address with access to BT’s Digital Voice service, all of the following plans will give you an inclusive digital phone line with Pay As You Go calls:
|Service||Average Speed||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
|36Mbps download||24 month contract||£19.99||£27.99/month|
|50Mbps download||24 month contract||£9.99||£28.99/month|
|67Mbps download||24 month contract||£9.99||£32.99/month|
with £100 reward card
Full Fibre 100
|150Mbps download||24 month contract||£9.99||£39.99/month|
Full Fibre 300
|300Mbps download||24 month contract||£9.99||£49.99/month|
Full Fibre 900
|910Mbps download||24 month contract||£9.99||£59.99/month|
You can add a home phone package on top of this if required (e.g. get 700 minutes for £7/month or unlimited minutes for £15/month). You can also add a range of international calling packages to your plan.
Digital Voice for Business
If you’re using BT’s business broadband service, you’ll also get a digital phone line included on most BT Business deals. This works in a similar way to the Digital Voice service for consumers but it’s available in more locations. It also has support for BT’s Cloud Voice Express technology.
With Cloud Voice Express on BT Business, your digital telephone service is hosted in the cloud. You can use it as normal through a cordless handset at your business premises, or you can use it when you’re on-the-go through the Cloud Voice Express app. The app allows you to make and receive phone calls on your business landline number wherever you are. Cloud Voice Express also gives you some additional features such as automatic transcription of all of your voicemail messages.
Switching to BT
If you’re switching from another home phone or broadband provider, it’s easy switching your service over to BT. You can also transfer your existing phone number to BT’s Digital Voice service.
Start by ordering your new broadband and phone service from the BT website. You’ll be given the option to keep your current phone number when you order. During the online order process, you’ll be given the switchover date for your service.
Whilst you’re waiting for your new BT service to go live, you’ll continue receiving a service from your old provider. In the meantime, BT will send you a new Smart Hub 2 router along with any Digital Phones you’ve ordered from their site. On the day that your service switches over to BT, you should plug in your new Smart Hub 2 router and you can set up your new Digital Voice phones.
In most cases, you won’t need to separately cancel your old broadband and home phone service. This is because BT will normally do it for you automatically. The main exception to this is if you’re a Virgin Media customer. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact Virgin Media to cancel your old service.
For step-by-step instructions on how to switch to BT Broadband, please select your current provider from the dropdown menu below:
Switch to BT Broadband
Your step-by-step guide to switching
You can also read our in-depth guide to switching home broadband providers.
For more information about the Digital Voice service, please see the official BT website.