Can I keep my email address if I switch broadband providers?

Close up of an email being composed

If you’re switching to a new broadband provider, you can sometimes keep your old email address, but may need to pay for it. Here, we compare that approach to getting a free email account.

Like a phone number, many of us get attached to our email address and would like to take it with us when we change providers. But email addresses attached to a provider – such as [email protected] – aren’t really portable.

So if you’ve found the best broadband deal for you and are ready to switch, can you move your email address over too? The short answer is no. Although if you have an email address which is independent of your internet service provider (ISP) – such as Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo – you’ll be fine.

But if your email address is linked to your ISP, things become a bit more complicated. Here we look at what to do with your email address when you switch broadband provider.

Will my ISP let me keep my email address?

It depends on the ISP, but certain companies will delete your email address if you switch broadband providers, while others may charge to keep it active.


If you switch from BT to another provider, it’ll let you use your BT email for 60 more days. After that, you have a few options if you want to keep your address. If you subscribe to BT’s Premium email service, it costs you £7.50 a month, but your email account remains active and you retain all its features. You can also add 10 additional email addresses for family and friends.

If you know anybody else who uses BT Premium, you can also add your BT address to their account. This may be the better option if they’re already paying for it anyway, and happy to let you use it.

There’s also a Basic email service, although this is fairly limited. You can only access your email via, and not through any other app or email client


If you give Plusnet advance notice that you’re cancelling your contract, you can keep using your Plusnet email address after switching if you use it regularly. This is free of charge.


Sky Broadband is partnered with free email service Yahoo. This means that you’ll be able to take your Sky email address with you if you switch providers and it’ll cost you nothing.

There are two things to bear in mind though. One is that Sky periodically closes down inactive accounts, so you’ll have to make sure you use it regularly. Also, as part of its T&Cs, Sky can withdraw these free email addresses at any time. As such, if you have a Sky email address and switch provider, it’s probably a good idea to phase it out when you get the chance.


TalkTalk allows you to access your account for two years after a switch, although with fewer features. Although you can still send and receive emails, you will no longer have a ‘My Account’ feature, so your ability to manage the account is limited.

It’s also worth noting that TalkTalk deletes accounts if they’ve been inactive for six months.

You can upgrade to TalkTalk Mail Plus to keep all the features. However, this costs £5 a month, or £50 for the year.

Virgin Media

If you’re switching from Virgin Media, you can access your email address for a further 90 days. After this, your account is closed and all data deleted.

Should I keep my email address or use a free service?

Moving to a free email service such as Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo is a better bet for our money. By signing up for a service which is independent of your ISP, you’re future-proofing your email account if ever you need to switch.

If you keep an email address with an ISP that you’ve switched away from, there’s also a good chance you’ll need to pay for it. In the case of BT, it costs £90 a year just for an email account.

So switching to a free account is a guaranteed money saver. And here are some other ways to save on your broadband bills.

Which is the best free email service?

We think that Gmail is the best service to go for if you’re looking for free email. It’s easy to set up and use. It also comes with a whopping 15GB of space on Google Drive, which is cloud-based storage that you can access from anywhere.

It’s worth noting that Gmail is set to delete millions of accounts in a major security update. However, this only affects accounts which haven’t been accessed in the last two years. Generally speaking, Gmail is a secure and reliable service.

What to consider when switching to a free email service

If you’re thinking of setting up Gmail or another free email account, here are some important things to bear in mind. It’s a good idea to take these steps before your old email account is closed.

Set up an account before you switch

Be sure to sign up to the free service before you’ve ended your contract with your current ISP. This is because you’ll need access to your old email account in order to export (AKA forward) your messages and contacts.

Let everyone know

Send an email to your main contacts to let them know your new address. It’s a good idea to do this from your old account, as there’s a risk that an email from the new account may land in their junk folder. Instead, CC your new address in the email and then reply from your new account.

Set an automatic reply

It’s a good move to set up an auto-response from your old account, letting contacts know you’re no longer using that inbox. Be sure to include your new email address in the message. Also bear in mind that these messages will only be sent for as long as your ISP keeps your email running after you’ve left.

Switch all your services to the new address

For each of the services you have linked to your old email, you’ll have to let them know your new one. This could be services such as:

  • Streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney Plus
  • Online banking
  • Online payment services like PayPal
  • Social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok
  • Shopping sites, including Amazon and eBay
  • Travel websites like, Airbnb and Trivago

To be completely thorough, you can check all the accounts that have been saved in your browser. For example, Google Chrome’s password manager will have all of the websites you’ve saved the login details for. There may well be a lot more than you thought.

You’ll be able to see which websites you’ve used your email address as a login for and update these accordingly.

Secure your old account

Finally, once you’ve checked that your new account has been successfully updated with your old emails and contacts, you should delete all this info from your old account. Then set up a new, strong password for it. Securing the account reduces the chances of any personal information being obtained if there’s a hack or data breach while it still exists.