Written by Aimee Bradshaw Updated on 18 November 2019 On this page Choosing the right phone line for your business The best telephone line providers BT Business XLN TalkTalk Business Chess Telecom Vonage FAQs Expand What is the best phone line for your business? Discover all you need to know. 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. PTSNISDNKey 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 business telephone providersThere 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 business telephone providers? 01 | BT Business 02 | XLN 03 | TalkTalk Business 04 | Chess Telecom 05 | Vonage To make things even easier for you, we’ve outlined the type of phone line each supplier provides in the table.SupplierPTSNISDNFibre internetStar ratingBest forBT Business✔✔✔★★★★★Growing businessesXLN✔✔✔★★★★★Small businessesTalkTalk Business✔✔✔★★★★★Cheap line rentalChess Telecom✗✔✔★★★★★Hospitality commsVonage✗✗✔★★★★★VoIP supplier Read more: Phone system prices 1. BT BusinessBest 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 Cons Not the quickest at customer service Two day wait time for basic phone line package faults PricingBasic lineFrom £19.70/month24 month contractStandard lineFrom £26.10/month24 month contractFeature lineFrom £25/month60 month contract 2. XLNBest 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 Cons Only suitable for small businesses PricingPAYG (Pay As You Go)From £18.95/monthCalls includedFrom £28.95/month 3. TalkTalk BusinessBest 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 Cons Packages aimed at SMBs PricingBusiness LineFrom £16.95/monthISDN Complete From £39/month 4. Chess TelecomBest 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 Cons No transparent pricing PricingChess Telecom doesn't display its pricing because each solution is tailored to the needs of your business. 5. VonageBest for VoIP solutions Vonage isn’t strictly a business telephone 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 Cons Internet reliant Lots of features a small business may not need PricingSelect£9 per user/per monthProfessional£12 per user/per monthUltimate£16 per user/per month Do you already have a business telephone system? Receive telephone system quotes Yes No FAQsWhat’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 forwardingAuto attendantHold musicAdvanced voicemail functionalityCall data analyticsWhat’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. Receive tailored telephone system quotes Receive Quotes Aimee Bradshaw Writer and researcher Aimee is Expert Market’s resident telephone systems and point of sale go-to. If she’s not writing about business products, you’ll find her daydreaming about dog walking on Dorset beaches.