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Vodafone Broadband review: Must try harder

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 23
(Starting from) Note: The monthly price shown plus all out of bundle charges will increase each April by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%

Vodafone delivers a solid showing in almost every area, but it fails to excel – other providers simply do it better

Pros

  • A bigger full-fibre footprint than some rivals’
  • 4G backup available as an optional extra

Cons

  • Nothing to set pulses racing in our survey scores
  • Cheaper deals available elsewhere

Vodafone’s full-fibre broadband network is larger than many, thanks to its partnerships with both Openreach and CityFibre, meaning millions more customers can get those top-end speeds than from providers that rely on Openreach alone.

Vodafone’s pedigree in the mobile market is also another strength, allowing the company to offer 4G backup on premium tariffs, which could be useful if workers digging up nearby roads were to accidentally sever your broadband connection for a day or two (it happens more frequently than you might think).

That’s two good reasons to put Vodafone on your broadband provider shortlist, but after that we’re starting to run dry on motives for giving Vodafone your custom.

In every category of our broadband survey, Vodafone puts in a middling performance. It doesn’t compare terribly in terms of speed, reliability, customer service or value, but neither does it trouble the award winners in any category. If Vodafone were a flavour of ice cream, it would be vanilla – perfectly acceptable, but unlikely to delight anyone.

Still, Vodafone does offer a wide sweep of tariffs, and there are definite benefits to choosing Vodafone for those who want the belt-and-braces of mobile backup. Let’s explore what the company has to offer in more detail.

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Vodafone Broadband review: Fibre 1 and Fibre 2

The Fibre 1 and Fibre 2 tariffs are fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) products, for those who don’t yet live within a full-fibre area.

You’ll notice both are priced identically, meaning the only reason to take Fibre 1 is because you have no choice: your line just isn’t fast enough to support the faster speeds of Fibre 2. The £23 monthly price is reasonable, however you’ll find cheaper deals elsewhere for similar speeds.

All of Vodafone’s tariffs come with Pro II versions, for an extra £13/mth. These replace the standard Intelligent Wi-Fi Hub with the Ultra Hub, which has the advantage of being a Wi-Fi 6E device that can be paired with Wi-Fi 6E boosters to get decent speeds all round your home. That might not be of great benefit on the relatively sluggish Fibre 1 and Fibre 2 tariffs, but Full Fibre customers may well feel the benefit.

The Pro II tariff also adds a higher grade of customer support and 4G broadband backup, which could be a lifesaver if you work from home and the broadband fails for an extended period. It’s worth checking your Vodafone mobile coverage before you rely on this, however.

In addition to Pro II, you can also add Vodafone Xtra Broadband to any tariff for an additional £12/mth. This includes an Apple TV 4K device, 24 months of Apple TV+ and unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles. It isn’t a bad deal, considering Apple TV+ costs £9/mth and the Apple TV 4K costs £150.

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Vodafone Broadband review: Full Fibre 100, 200, 500 and 900

Vodafone offers a decent spread of full-fibre tariffs for those lucky enough to be in catchment. There’s no reason whatsoever to take Full Fibre 200, mind, when Full Fibre 500 is identically priced. Full Fibre 900 is decent value at £38/mth.

Note that you can add the Pro II add-ons and Vodafone Xtra Broadband to any of these tariffs, too (see the reviews above).

Fibre 1Fibre 2Full Fibre 100Full Fibre 200Full Fibre 500Full Fibre 900
Price per month (inc line rental)£23£23£24£32£32£38
Upfront costNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Stated speed35Mbits/sec65Mbits/sec100Mbits/sec200Mbits/sec500Mbits/sec900Mbits/sec
Contract length24 months24 months24 months24 months24 months24 months

Note: The monthly price shown plus all out of bundle charges will increase each April by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%

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Vodafone Broadband review: Coverage

Like the award-winning Zen Internet, Vodafone has wholesale agreements with both Openreach and CityFibre, which means it can offer full-fibre connections to millions more customers than those that rely on Openreach alone, such as BT and Plusnet.

CityFibre’s network claims to pass 8m homes, and though there will be some overlap with Openreach’s 12.5m full-fibre premises, it does increase the probability that Vodafone customers can enjoy speeds in excess of 100Mbits/sec.

The remainder will largely be covered by Openreach’s fibre-to-the-cabinet network, which reaches in excess of 95% of the UK population.

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Vodafone Broadband review: Performance and customer satisfaction

Given Vodafone has a larger full-fibre footprint than most, you would think it would score well in terms of speed. However, our survey (carried out with YouGov) placed it just below average, with three quarters of customers declaring themselves satisfied with speed, but also a significant dollop of those who weren’t pleased (14%).

Reliability scores are very similar. A healthy 76% of customers were happy with the service’s reliability, but there’s a stubborn 15% who aren’t – only Sky and Virgin Media have a greater proportion of customers who are dissatisfied with their reliability.

Vodafone’s customer service is equally middling. A modest 55% of customers said they were satisfied with overall customer service – almost 30 percentage points behind category winner Zen Internet – and 12% declared themselves unimpressed. In a category that reflects pretty poorly on the entire industry, that’s an above average score, but hardly one that Vodafone will be plastering all over billboards.

Vodafone customers are slightly happier with the performance of the Contact Centre when things go wrong. Here, two thirds of Vodafone customers declared themselves satisfied with the outcome.

The average performance and customer service levels might be looked upon more kindly if Vodafone were significantly cheaper than its rivals, but its average tariff prices are reflected in average value for money scores. A respectable 73% of customers were happy with the value on offer, which is higher than most of the industry’s big names, including BT, Sky and Virgin Media. Still, it’s some way behind category winners Three and Zen Internet.

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Vodafone Broadband review: Verdict

Vodafone struggles to stand out from the pack. Yes, its full-fibre network is larger than that of some rivals, but no larger than award-winning Zen Internet. 4G backup is a nice optional extra, but it isn’t unique to Vodafone either. Unless you’re offered a very strong deal (perhaps because you’re already a mobile phone customer) it’s hard to outright recommend Vodafone’s broadband.


Methodology

Unless otherwise stated, all of the figures are drawn from a survey commissioned by Expert Reviews, with respondents and data supplied by YouGov PLC. The total sample size was 6,316 adults and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Great British adults (aged over 18).

We asked people how likely they would be to recommend their broadband provider to others and to rate its customer service, reliability, value, and speed. Only the 11 ISPs with over 50 respondents are included in our results above.

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