Vodafone has announced that it is ending the practice of charging for line rental for customers who sign up for its fibre optic broadband service.
In an industry first, the company said the move is intended to make charges clearer for consumers.
But what does it mean for you? We’ve taken a look at Vodafone’s plans and answered all the key questions.
Does abolishing line rental mean I don’t get a landline?
No. Although landline use for making calls is plummeting, Vodafone says that you’ll still be able to make and take calls.
Essentially, it’s bundling the cost of fibre optic broadband and the landline into one payment, rather than breaking them down separately.
How fast is Vodafone’s fibre optic broadband?
There are two options, both of which will be more than ample for hardcore web users and large households.
The Vodafone 38 package offers 38Mbps, while the Vodafone 76 deal clocks in at 76Mbps. This compares favourably with TalkTalk, Sky, BT and Virgin’s speeds.
Unless you’re using a massive number of devices or really interested in drilling down into the tech side of things, you’re unlikely to notice any minor speed changes.
How much does it cost?
Prices are very competitive. If you’re already a Vodafone customer, you can get the Vodafone 38 deal for £22 a month.
With line rental charges abolished, that’s an all–in price. If you’re new to Vodafone, that price rises to £25, while the faster Vodafone 76 will set you back £28 a month. All three deals cover an 18 month period.
How does that compare with rival deals?
Very well. For starters, you only need to consider one monthly cost, rather than looking at the line rental and broadband charges and when any promotional price expires. For example, TalkTalk’s 38Mbps broadband averages out at £26.87 a month.
But that figures is only reached when you consider the monthly £17.99 broadband charge, £17.70 line rental and initial £5 a month cost for internet. Vodafone’s deal saves consumers £33 over 18 months.
Meanwhile, BT’s Unlimited Infinity 2 averages out at £27.50 for broadband only, which is cheaper than Vodafone, but still requires users to suss out initial broadband costs of £25, rising to £32.50, plus £18.99 line rental.
The monthly charge rises to £46.49 when you consider the all–in cost including calls. Vodafone 76 costs £28 a month and saves consumers a massive £332 over 18 months.
What’s Vodafone’s coverage like?
The network says its fibre offering can reach 24 million premises in the UK. By comparison, BT says its network reaches 25 million homes.
If you live in a large town or city, then this Vodafone deal will be easy for you to get hold of.
Are there any downsides?
While the deals are impressive, at 18 months the length of the contracts are longer than the industry standard of one year.
That means you can’t switch to a new deal as regularly, meaning you may miss out on any new offers from rivals in 12 months’ time.
How likely is it that competitors will follow suit?
Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) have already said that comms companies need to do better when it comes to explaining costs.
At the moment, most advertise cheap deals, relegating line rental costs to small type.
Joint research conducted by the regulators showed that just 25% of consumers could correctly identify monthly costs of broadband deals when looking at standard adverts.
“It won’t be long before this way of pricing becomes the norm across the whole broadband market - although Vodafone should get a pat on the back for being the first to take the plunge,” said uSwitch’s broadband expert Ewan Taylor–Gibson.