The Best Business Phone Lines

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What is the best phone line for your business? Discover all you need to know.


Business phone line


Which phone line do you need for your business?

Firstly, think about the type of phone system you require. There are three types of business phone system – key phone, PBX, and VoIP.

We’ve matched the type of phone system solution to the phone line it requires in the table below. 

PTSNISDN
Key phone
PBX
VoIP

Secondly, think about the type of internet connection you require. This is because your internet connection works off of your telephone line. Here are some general pointers.

A PTSN phone line isn’t capable of supporting the kind of internet speed that businesses require. This is because it only supports a DSL connection (remember the dial up modems from the naughties) – you may as well rule it out. 

An ISDN phone line supports your phone line and your internet connection. You can plug your router into it, and it’s capable of producing an operable internet speed. 

But what about speedy fibre? Fibre is part of the broadband network, not the telephone network. This means if you’re planning on investing in an internet telephone system (VoIP), it’s worth investing in fibre broadband to benefit from the highest quality phone calls.

Most fibre connections don’t run all the way from your provider to your business premises – it stops at your local exchange, then carries on to your premises through the ISDN phone line


Did You Know?

BT will start phasing out PTSN and ISDN phone lines from 2025


The best telephone line providers

There are lots of telephone line providers out there, so choosing the right one for your business is never the easiest task. Thankfully, Expert Market has conducted research into a variety of different phone line providers, and picked out the best. 

So, who are the best telephone line providers? 

To make things even easier for you, we’ve outlined the type of phone line each supplier provides in the table.

SupplierPTSNISDNFibre internetStar ratingBest for
BT BusinessGrowing businesses
XLNSmall businesses
TalkTalk BusinessCheap line rental
Chess TelecomHospitality comms
VonageVoIP supplier

1. BT Business

Best for growing businesses

BT is one of the biggest names in British telecoms, so if you’re looking for a fail-safe solution, BT probably has it. It owns the lines, it has the engineers, and it certainly has some of the best hardware available.

It’s not necessarily the quickest telecoms company when it comes to service, but it is the leading expert in its field. It has plenty of packages to choose from, in addition to a variety of services.

Pros:

  • Cut out the middleman
  • Small to large business solutions
  • Plenty of phone line package options

X Cons:

  • Not the quickest at customer service
  • Two day wait time for basic phone line package faults

Pricing

Basic lineFrom £19.70/month24 month contract
Standard lineFrom £26.10/month24 month contract
Feature lineFrom £25/month60 month contract

2. XLN

Best for small businesses

XLN is one of the leading small business suppliers – just take a look at its TrustPilot reviews. With only two phone line options to choose from, bear in mind that package options are limited. Having said that, you can select which call features you’d like to add to your package, and you can choose to add on long distance call packages for individual countries as and when you need. This means you won’t ever pay for a phone system service that you don’t require. 

Pros:

  • Cheap phone line rental
  • Build your own package
  • Great customer service record

X Cons:

  • Only suitable for small businesses

Pricing

PAYG (Pay As You Go)From £18.95/month
Calls includedFrom £28.95/month

3. TalkTalk Business

Best for cheap line rental

TalkTalk provides phone system packages for small, medium, and large businesses, so you know that you’re putting your faith into a company that can offer you the right advice, no matter the scale of your business.

It also prides itself on offering low cost calls and flexibility, so you won’t feel like you’re tied into a never-ending contract. Out of all the big name suppliers on our list, it’s TalkTalk that does customer service best. 

Pros:

  • Cheap packages
  • Build your own package
  • Great customer reviews

X Cons:

  • Packages aimed at SMBs

Pricing

Business LineFrom £16.95/month
ISDN Complete From £39/month

4. Chess Telecom

Best for hospitality comms

Chess Telecom is a specialist telephone system supplier for the hospitality and retail sectors. It offers a range of voice and PBX telephone solutions, so it doesn’t matter whether you run a small hotel or a chain of local restaurants, you’ll find Chess Telecom will come up with the right solution. With tailored solutions designed to reduce phone line costs, Chess Telecom is a good provider to go for if you’re looking for a solid product and solid service. 

Pros:

  • Tailored packages
  • Industry-specific expertise
  • Range of services offered

X Cons:

  • No transparent pricing

Pricing

Chess Telecom doesn’t display its pricing because each solution is tailored to the needs of your business.

5. Vonage

Best for VoIP solutions

Vonage isn’t strictly a phone line provider, so why is it on our list? A Vonage VoIP system uses the internet to make and receive phone calls, rather than a phone line. However, after BT phase out PSTN and ISDN telephone lines, a VoIP phone system will be one of the main communication solutions available.  Vonage has a number of packages available, all offering varying levels of VoIP features.

Pros:

  • Modern technology
  • Cost-effective
  • Flexible packages

X Cons:

  • Internet reliant
  • Lots of features a small business may not need

Pricing

Select£9 per user/per month
Professional£12 per user/per month
Ultimate£16 per user/per month

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FAQs

What’s the difference between PSTN (analogue) and ISDN (digital) phone lines?

A PSTN phone line, or analogue phone line, is suitable for those requiring a simple phone system. This is because it supports just one call at a time. If you want to receive more than one call at the same time, you’ll need multiple PSTN lines, and this will mean having multiple phone numbers. 

While this solution is fine for very small businesses with no more than a few employees, it soon becomes expensive when you need more than a couple of lines. You’ll also need a seperate line for your internet.

An ISDN phone line, or a digital phone line, is capable of doing far more. Firstly, it carries up to eight calls at the same time – this means there’s no need to invest in more than one phone line. Secondly, it can carry internet, voice, video, and fax data, and it even prioritises the voice data to ensure you benefit from the highest call quality. 

ISDN phone lines are the most common type of phone line, and provide a faster internet connection and download speed. However, these days, many businesses are choosing to switch to fibre lines, which provide an even quicker internet connection.

What is VoIP?

VoIP is a phone solution that uses an internet connection to make and receive calls.  It offers a huge range of handy tools to help you manage your calls better. They include:

  • Call forwarding
  • Auto attendant
  • Hold music
  • Advanced voicemail functionality
  • Call data analytics

What’s the difference between a hosted and self-hosted phone system?

A hosted phone system is the same as a cloud phone system. It means that your phone system is hosted offsite on a remote server, which is usually owned by your provider. These phone systems are cheaper to install and easier to maintain. 

A self-hosted system is hosted by you, usually on a server inside your office. This type of system is usually costly to set up, and requires a dedicated IT person to maintain it. Despite this, you can tailor self-hosted systems to your exact requirements, and choose when to update your system. 

When it BT going to phase out PSTN and ISDN telephone lines?

BT will start phasing out PSTN and ISDN telephone lines in 2025. You won’t be able to purchase PSTN or ISDN lines after 2020.

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Aimee Bradshaw

Aimee is Expert Market’s resident telephone systems, point of sale, and field service software go-to. If she’s not writing about business products, you’ll find her daydreaming about Dorset beaches.

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