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 £32.99 per month
(with Pay As You Go calls)
From £32.99 per month
(with Pay As You Go calls)
Availability: Selected addresses
(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
Inclusive Features
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
Calling Technology
Technology: VoIP PSTN
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
Handset Features
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
Large Text
No
Other: Control smart home devices
Check news & weather
Stream music (using Alexa)
Handset Connectivity
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
Other
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. You can add a home phone service from £5/month, which will either be the traditional landline service or a Digital Voice service depending on what is available at your address.

You should start by choosing one of the following BT Broadband deals:

ServiceAverage SpeedContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
BT
Fibre Essential
36Mbps download24 month contract£10£27.99/month
BT
Fibre 1
50Mbps download24 month contract£0£28.99/month
with £60 reward card
BT
Fibre 2
67Mbps download24 month contract£0£32.99/month
with £110 reward card
BT
Full Fibre 100
150Mbps download24 month contract£0£39.99/month
BT
Full Fibre 300
300Mbps download24 month contract£0£49.99/month
BT
Full Fibre 900
910Mbps download24 month contract£0£59.99/month

See all BT Broadband & Phone Deals →

You can add your home phone package on top of this if required (e.g. with Pay As You Go calls for £5/month, with 700 minutes for £7.31/month or unlimited minutes for £15.67/month). You can also add a range of international calling packages to your plan. If Digital Voice is available where you live, the service will be provided to you using Digital Voice technology.

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.

For more information, see the BT Business website. You can also read our in-depth review of BT Business Broadband.

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

Select your current broadband provider:

More Options

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 included at no extra cost.
What is the BT Advanced Digital Phone?
The Advanced Digital Home Phone is BT’s latest digital home phone. It has a 2-inch colour display and an Alexa button that allows for one touch dialling and more. You can get one Advanced Digital Home Phone included at no extra cost on all Digital Voice plans.
What is the BT Essential Digital Phone?
Compared to the Advanced Digital Phone, the Essential Digital Home Phone is a more basic digital handset. You’ll get two handsets included at no extra cost on all Digital Voice plans. It has a 1.8-inch black and white display and support for Digital Voice features.
How much does BT Digital Voice cost?
BT currently offers a choice of fibre broadband deals, starting from £27.99 per month. You can then add a home phone service from an extra £5 per month. There’s no extra cost for getting a Digital Voice service but you’ll need to be living at an address that’s been enabled for Digital Voice.

More Information

For more information about the Digital Voice service, please see the official BT website.

If you’re also taking other services from BT, you may also be interested in reading our reviews of BT Broadband, BT Mobile and BT TV.

Your Comments 46 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 46 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Peter Harris said:

    And now my digital voice has stopped working and I’m told there is a fault common to many other customers

    • Richard Straughan replied:

      There was a network fault overnight affecting DV customers but the service was restored (for me) about 11.30am this morning.

  • Peter Harris said:

    Why are BT actually doing this? Ive never heard anybody say that the sound quality on their landline needs to improve. Presumably it is as a platform to sell extra services. Why else would their shareholders support giving away free kit. I have two main problems with it. Firstly , being BT, the roll out is a shambles we were told new kit would be delivered, but when we didnt get it, the call centre said we had to order it. Secondly the environmental impact is appalling. Just think about all those old phones going to landfill.

  • I’m curious I recently got upgraded to Fibre and subsequently I now have digital voice a short while later. What I’ve not been able to fathom out is what’s now happens to line rental as a lot of noise was made about it being in place to pay for the maintenance of the ‘copper’ network. Now I won’t know until my yearly ‘line rental’ term comes up for renewal in October, but as a halo customer will I still see a charge levied for line rental, now that I’m on Fibre and my copper access is now disabled by BT? I should say I’m not naive enough to believe BT would voluntarily give up a cash cow if they are able to disguise it under a different name!

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