Digital Voice is BT’s next-generation home phone service. It gives you better quality phone calls and features like advanced spam call blocking.
In the UK, BT is currently in the process of rolling out Digital Voice. This is their next-generation home phone service with HD-quality calls and with improved features such as advanced spam call blocking, voicemail and 3-way phone calls.
At present, Digital Voice is available to BT full fibre customers who take their home phone service together with full fibre broadband. It will be rolled out to all BT customers by the end of 2025, as part of an industry-wide change that’ll see the old analogue phone network switched off.
In this article, we’ll look at BT’s Digital Voice service and how it compares to a traditional analogue phone line. We’ll also look at the Digital Voice phones that are available from BT, including the Essential Digital Home Phone and the Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in. Finally, we’ll look at the best BT Broadband deals, with a Digital Voice service if it’s available at your address.
What is BT Digital Voice?
In the UK, BT is currently in the process of upgrading their landline phone network to utilise Digital Voice technology for calling. This is ahead of an industry-wide change that’ll see the old analogue phone network being switched off in 2025.
There are four major benefits when upgrading to Digital Voice technology:
- You can get HD-quality phone calls. If you’re using a compatible phone, you can get ‘crystal clear’ HD quality phone calls. Digital Voice technology carries a wider range of audio frequencies so you’ll get more natural sounding audio with less background noise when you’re talking on the phone.
- Free Digital Voice calling features. You’ll get lots of advanced Digital Voice calling features at no extra cost. This includes voicemail, call protect, caller display, call divert, call waiting and 3-way calling. You can also choose to permanently withhold your number and make multiple phone calls at the same time on a Digital Home phone.
- Digital Voice works with full fibre (FTTP) technology. It isn’t possible to use an analogue phone line on the latest full fibre (FTTP) connections. This is because the analogue phone network relies on old copper wires which were never really designed for the ultrafast broadband services of today. With full fibre, you can benefit from faster download speeds and a more reliable broadband service alongside Digital Voice.
- Digital Voice works with your existing phone, or you can get a new Digital Home Phone. You can use your existing phone by plugging it in to your Smart Hub 2 router or in to a Digital Voice Adapter. Alternatively, you can get a new Digital Home Phone such as the Advanced handset with Alexa built-in.
Behind the scenes, Digital Voice makes use of voice-over-IP technology (also known as VoIP technology). This means your BT fibre broadband connection is used in the background to carry your phone calls.
Getting Digital Voice
If you’re new to BT, you might be offered the Digital Voice service when you sign up for your deal online. You’ll be shown the following message at the checkout if Digital Voice is available at your address:
You’re getting Digital Voice, our next generation home phone service giving you better quality calls.
You’ll also be able to choose between 1 x Advanced Digital Phone with Alexa built-in or 2 x Essential Digital Phones at no extra cost.
If you’re an existing BT customer, you’ll be offered a free upgrade to Digital Voice over the next few years. Once you’ve been invited to the service, you can follow BT’s guide on moving to Digital Voice.
Before you move to the Digital Voice service, it’s worth being aware of two things:
- You won’t be able to use Digital Voice if there’s a power cut. If there’s a power cut, you won’t be able to use Digital Voice. For this reason, you should have an alternative way to make emergency phone calls (e.g. using a mobile phone). If you don’t have another way to make emergency calls, you should get in touch with BT as it might be possible to get a Battery Backup Unit (BBU). This can keep the service online for a short amount of time if your power goes down.
- Some older telecare systems and monitored burglar alarms may not be compatible. If you have a special service device, you’ll need to check with your provider to see if it’s compatible with Digital Voice. There’s also a list of compatible services on the BT website.
Digital Voice Phones
When you sign up to BT’s Digital Voice service, you’ll be able to choose from the following handset options at no extra cost:
- 1x Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in
- 2x Essential Digital Home Phone
- Keep your existing phone
In the following section, we’ll look at each of these handset options in more detail. Alternatively, you can compare the two Digital Home Phones at-a-glance in the table below:
|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|
BT recommends that you stick to one type of phone instead of mixing the two different types of phone.
Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa
The Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in is BT’s latest and most advanced Digital Home Phone. It has full support for the Digital Voice service, including HD-quality calls and all of the Digital Voice features. On top of that, you’ll get a colour display and a one-touch button for Alexa, allowing for things like one-touch dialling and controlling your other smart home devices.
The Advanced Digital Home Phone also has a wider range of accessibility options such as Ringer Volume Boost and Large Text.
The Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in is a cordless device so it connects wirelessly to your Smart Hub 2 router. Because of this, you can use it pretty much anywhere in your home. According to BT, the phone has a 50m range indoors and a 300m range outdoors.
If you choose the Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in, you’ll get one handset provided. If you want another, you can buy one for £44.98 at the BT Shop.
Essential Digital Home Phone
If you choose BT’s Essential Digital Home Phone, you’ll still get full support for the Digital Voice service. This includes HD-quality calls and all of the Digital Voice features. However, compared to the Advanced Home Phone, you’ll get a slightly smaller screen that’s in black-and-white rather than full colour. You also won’t get the Alexa button which is only found on the Advanced Home Phone.
The main advantage to choosing the Essential Digital Home Phone is the fact you’ll get 2 phones provided at no extra cost. As they’re cordless, you can use them both pretty much anywhere in your home (with a range of 50m indoors and 300m outdoors). If you need additional handsets, they’re available for £29.98 at the BT Shop. In total, you can have up to five handsets at one time.
Keep Your Existing Phone
If you like, you can also use your existing phone with BT’s Digital Voice service. However, you may not get the benefits of HD-quality calls unless your phone is already compatible with the HD Voice feature.
The easiest way to use your existing home phone with Digital Voice is to simply plug it in to the back of your BT Smart Hub 2 router (either the phone itself, or the hub if you have a cordless device).
If you want your phone in a different place to your Smart Hub 2 router, this is possible with a Digital Voice adapter. You’ll need one Digital Voice adapter for a cordless system, or one adapter per corded phone if you’re using a corded system.
BT Broadband & Digital Voice Deals
At present, BT offers a choice of fibre broadband deals from £30.99 per month:
|Service||Average Speed||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
|36Mbps download||24 month contract||£29.99||£30.99/month|
|50Mbps download||24 month contract||£29.99||£31.99/month|
with £70 reward card
|67Mbps download||24 month contract||£29.99||£31.99/month|
with £100 reward card
Full Fibre 100
|150Mbps download||24 month contract||£29.99||£31.99/month|
with £50 reward card
Full Fibre 500
|500Mbps download||24 month contract||£29.99||£37.99/month|
with £50 reward card
Full Fibre 900
|910Mbps download||24 month contract||£29.99||£52.99/month|
with £50 reward card
Once you’ve chosen your plan, you can choose the “Broadband & phone” option. If it’s available at your address, you’ll get your home phone service on Digital Voice. Otherwise, you’ll get a traditional phone line to begin with and you’ll be invited to Digital Voice over the next few years.
It costs £5 per month extra for a home phone service with Pay As You Go calls. Alternatively, it’s a £8 per month for a home phone service with 700 monthly minutes, or £18 per month for a home phone service with unlimited minutes included.
See all BT Broadband & Phone Deals →
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 keep your current phone number when you move to BT’s Digital Voice service.
Start by ordering your new broadband and home phone service from BT’s website. You’ll be given the option to keep your current phone number when you order. It normally takes up to two weeks to switch your service to BT.
Whilst you’re waiting for your new BT Broadband service to go live, you’ll continue getting broadband 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. On the switchover date, you can then plug in your new Smart Hub 2 router and set up your Digital Voice phones.
In most cases, it won’t be necessary for you to separately cancel your old broadband service. This is because BT will normally do it for you automatically. The exception to this if you’re a Virgin Media customer, or a customer of another provider that doesn’t use the Openreach network. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact your old provider to cancel the old service for when BT Broadband goes live.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
|What is BT Digital Voice?||
Digital Voice is BT’s next-generation home phone service. It uses your BT Broadband connection to carry the phone call. This gives you benefits such as HD-quality calling, along with extra features such as voicemail, call waiting and call divert. Digital Voice is also compatible with the latest full fibre (FTTP) broadband connections.
|What is the BT Advanced Digital Phone?||
The Advanced Digital Home Phone is BT’s latest and most advanced Digital Voice phone. It has a 2.0-inch colour display, along with an Alexa button for one touch dialling and more. You can choose to get one Advanced Digital Home Phone at no extra cost when you sign up to the Digital Voice service.
|What is the BT Essential Digital Phone?||
The Essential Digital Home Phone is a more basic Digital Voice handset. It still supports HD phone calls and all of the Digital Voice features. However, you’ll get a slightly smaller 1.8-inch display (black-and-white) and there’s no Alexa button included. You can choose to get two Essential Digital Home Phones at no extra cost with the Digital Voice service.
|How much does BT Digital Voice cost?||
BT currently offers a range of fibre broadband deals from £30.99 per month. You can add a home phone service from £5 per month extra, depending on the plan you choose. You’ll either be offered a Digital Voice service or a traditional phone line, depending on what is available in your area.
For more information about Digital Voice, please see BT’s official website.
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Chris Naylor said:
V clear thanks.
Not sure why there’s a power outage problem. I guess cos copper had its own inherent DC supply? So kept working thru outages. But surely that prob applies to new fibre connections anyway?
I see industry response is to ensure a 1 hour power back up where needed, which seems pretty hopeless. What if outage starts at night (eg power lines blown down) and partner gets ill in morning?!
Lastly, presume this doesn’t matter to me as I’m in a not spot – no mobile, no land line – anyway.
That’s right – copper connections (including fibre-to-the-cabinet connections where the final mile is delivered over copper) have a little bit of power delivered over them. That means you’re able to use them without having a mains electricity connection (basic telephones only – anything cordless, with a digital display, etc is likely to require lots more power). With full fibre (FTTP), there’s no power delivered over the fibre connection so you’ll need to use your own mains electricity connection. In fact, this is one reason that full fibre is a lot better for the environment (I’ve heard estimates that something like 0.7% of the UK’s electricity consumption is used maintaining the copper phone network).
Hope this helps,
One thing I don’t like with the digital voice phones, both styles, is the loud speaker button is on the green answer button. It’s frequently turned on if you accidentally press twice & this seems sensitive to this. Perhaps if you’re a bit heavy with the touch etc. I’d rather a separate button for loud speaker.
I’m with Plusnet, not sure if I’ll live long enough to see them change to digital voice but I suppose I could swap to BT if this means I would get DV sooner. My main reason for wanting DV is to improve qualty of speech over the phone, I’m 85 and somewhat deaf. I should like to know if these ‘Crystal Clear’ phone calls require whoever calls me to have upgraded to DV as well? I suppose this might depend on where, in the phone system, the analogue speech is transferred to a digital signal? Does it work both ways? I often find that making a call results in me trying to understand a recorded message telling me to press various buttons. I usually end up pressing buttons randomly until I get to a human voice which might be understandable.
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