We know what you’re thinking: why would I need to know my landline number when I use my smartphone for everything? But every now and again, you’ll find it useful to have your home phone number at the ready. What do you do if you don’t know what it is? Read on to find out how to rediscover your landline.
What is my phone number?
Who could forget uttering the immortal words 'sorry, you've got the wrong number'? Well, how can you be sure it's the wrong number if you don't even know what your own landline number is? Here are a few ways to find out:
If you’ve got a telephone handset plugged in
The answer is crystal clear: call your mobile phone from your home phone and take a note of the phone number that appears on the screen. This sounds wonderfully simple but it could turn out to be a bit more complicated than that.
Firstly, to avoid being charged for the call, only let it ring a couple of times; don’t answer the call and make sure you hang up before it goes to voicemail.
Secondly, if your landline number is withheld then it won’t show up on your mobile screen. In that case, try dialling 1470 immediately before dialling the mobile number you’re ringing.
No mobile? Use your landline to call whichever company provides your internet and telephone service to ask them what your number is. Be prepared to give them your account number, name and address, otherwise most telephone companies won’t give out any information. As silly as you might feel asking “what’s my number?”, any telecommunications company worth their salt will completely understand your situation and if they can’t tell you your current number, there’s a chance they could simply assign you a new number.
Find my landline number without a landline telephone
If you don’t have a home phone, check the paperwork - phone bills, contracts etc - that’s linked to your phone and broadband service. The number will appear somewhere. Check your bank statement too; if you pay by direct debit, your landline number might appear there.
Maybe you’re in the phone book and you don’t even know it! Check if there’s a telephone directory in your house and look up your surname and address - or the surname of the person who lived at your address before you - and with any luck, your number will be listed.
If all else fails, buy a cheap home phone, or borrow one from a friend to connect to your phone line so you can try ringing your mobile.
If you can't make calls from your landline
So you’ve got a phone plugged into the landline but there’s no dial tone. What do you do then?
- Check the phone is definitely working. If it’s a cordless handset, for example, check it’s fully charged.
- Check any other telephones in the house to make sure they’re not off the hook.
- Are you using the main telephone socket? There could be a problem between the main socket and any extension ones so always check the line at the main socket.
Once you’ve established there’s definitely an issue with the telephone line, use email, your phone company’s website or your mobile phone to contact whoever provides your phone service to tell them about the problem. While you’re at it, ask them to tell you what your landline phone number is.
Great! I've got my landline number, what now?
At the risk of stating the obvious, don’t forget it! Gone are the days when everyone seemingly effortlessly remembered all the telephone numbers they would ever need. Wherever you keep a reminder of what your mobile phone number is, add your landline phone number as well. Put it in your mobile contacts list, add it to your address book, write it on a post-it next to your broadband password.
Do I need a landline?
In many households the sound of the home phone ringing is like a distant echo from the past, everyone contacts you directly on your mobile, right? However, most internet service providers rely on telephone lines to deliver broadband - and, of course, they charge you for line rental as part of their broadband and phone packages - so that’s why we still have landline phone numbers as well as mobile numbers.
Surprisingly though, about 12% of UK homes have no broadband but they do have active landlines (also known as fixed-line telephones), so clearly there is still a demand for a home phone service for both outgoing and incoming phone calls.
You might never use your home phone line to make outgoing calls, but in some situations it’s essential to know your landline number.
Here are a few examples of when it’s useful to know your home telephone number:
- When you’re shopping around for internet service providers, some suppliers won’t even give you a quote without your landline number.
- Evidence suggests that many older people still prefer to ring landlines instead of making calls to mobile phones, so if your grandparents want to call you at home you need to be able to give them the right number.
- Cold callers, telemarketing and silent calls to your landline still plague many of us on a regular basis. To help get around the problem of unwanted calls, you need to know your landline number to subscribe to the Telephone Preference Service. TPS is a free register of residential landline phone numbers to which it is illegal to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls.
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I want to get rid of my landline
You’ve thought it over and, on balance, you’ve decided to ditch the old-fashioned landline telephone once and for all. Contact your phone company to cancel the service, after checking your contract for any termination charges, of course. Before you get rid of your landline, though, think about whether that also means cancelling your internet service.
Can I get broadband without a landline?
It’s unusual, but not impossible, to get broadband without a home phone plan, and it could even save you money. Different service providers offer various options including wifi dongles, 4G routers, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or high speed internet through cable broadband - all without having to sign up to a landline phone service that you don’t need. For more information, have a look at our How to find the cheapest broadband guide.