Vodafone Broadband review: Cheap fibre but with a few minor issues

Vodafone re-entered the home broadband market in 2015 after an absence of four years, and it’s now selling two flavours of fibre broadband at what would appear to be bargain prices. This pricing seems to be Vodafone’s key strength; while the provider was near the bottom of most categories in this year’s Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards survey, it scooped a Highly Commended in the Value for money category, with over two-thirds of its customers very satisfied or satisfied on that score. However, it didn’t do so well on speed or customer service. Is buying Vodafone a cost-conscious decision you’ll regret long-term?

Vodafone has closed its ADSL services and moved what customers it can to fibre, offering a choice of two fairly basic phone and fibre services. Customers buying now, however, can pay £8 per month extra for the Superfast 1 Extra and Superfast 2 Extra packages, which bundle in a one year Apple TV+ subscription. Vodafone will even throw in a 4K Apple TV box. What’s more, Vodafone Pay Monthly customers can get an additional £2 discount on their bill.

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Vodafone Superfast Fibre

Vodafone’s packages start with its Superfast 1 fibre package, which has an average download speed of 35Mbits/sec. This costs a reasonable £23 a month on an 18-month contract and comes with unlimited usage and a six-month free trial of F-Secure SAFE anti-virus. What’s more, Vodafone guarantees a minimum speed of 25Mbits/sec and, if the connection between your router and Vodafone drops any lower, you can expect a discount on your bill. Vodafone can take the measurement automatically through a downloadable Android or iOS Vodafone Broadband app and it’s processed automatically as well.

Beyond that, there’s the Superfast 2 package, which has a 63Mbits/sec average download speed and a 55Mbits/sec guaranteed minimum. This comes in at exactly the same £23 per month cost as Superfast 1; the only difference appears to be the speed.

That’s a tempting price for a superfast fibre package and it makes Vodafone one of the cheapest fibre options in town. Both prices include line rental and you can pay extra for anytime or evening and weekend calls, at £8 and £4 respectively.

The two extra packages don’t actually add much extra beyond a longer two-year contract and that one-year subscription to Apple TV. You’re not getting extra speeds or extra features, but you do get unlimited anytime calls and the promise of no price rises while in contract – something you’ll note isn’t guaranteed in the standard superfast packages.

Vodafone is also supplying a new router with all bundles, which is good news as the old one wasn’t exactly known for its great Wi-Fi performance.

Vodafone Broadband review: Prices and packages

Vodafone Superfast 1 Vodafone Superfast 2 Vodafone Superfast 1 Extra Vodafone Superfast 2 Extra
Price per month inc line rental £23 £23 £31 £31
Setup fee None None None None
Average speed 35Mbits/sec 63Mbits/sec 35Mbits/sec 63Mbits/sec
Usage allowance Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contract length 18 months 18 months 24 months 24 months

Vodafone Broadband: Performance and reliability

Vodafone has some work to do on reliability. Only 22.4% of customers we surveyed said they were very satisfied with the reliability of their service – the lowest figure of the seven largest providers – and more than 14% of customers were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, the highest tally outside of TalkTalk.

There’s better news on the speed front. Some 50% of Vodafone’s customers seem to be happy with the performance they’re getting, with a further 23% particularly so. BT, TalkTalk and EE all did worse in this area.

Ofcom has yet to release figures on Vodafone’s fibre broadband performance but it’s worth noting its quoted average speeds are slightly lower than the competition, with 35Mbits/sec where most say 36Mbits/sec and 63Mbits/sec where most say 67Mbits/sec. Given Vodafone isn’t offering anything above 63Mbits/sec, it’s probably not the provider for anyone looking for cutting-edge speeds.

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Vodafone Broadband: Customer service

The story isn’t quite so positive on customer service. While 44.8% of Vodafone customers described themselves as satisfied here, fewer than 15% said they were very satisfied; again, one of the lowest scores in the group. However, while Vodafone also had more dissatisfied and very dissatisfied users than Sky and EE, it had fewer than BT, TalkTalk or – surprisingly – Virgin Media.

We don’t have Ofcom figures for Vodafone and its customer service yet, so we can’t see how Ofcom rated it against the competition.

Vodafone Broadband: Verdict

Vodafone gives you fibre broadband at a bargain price and if you’re looking for decent speeds on a low budget you could do worse. All the same, reliability and customer service just aren’t up there with the competition, and while performance seems reasonable it could be improved. Right now we’d say that EE, Sky and Plusnet are worth paying the extra for, but if Vodafone could just fix its issues, it could be a provider to watch.

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