Dan Howdle | January 12th, 2024
Vodafone offer both choice and quality. And pretty good value, too. They're the biggest Full Fibre provider in the UK, with what we think is the largest range of broadband speeds, utilising three separate networks. All delivered via what's claimed to be the most advanced wifi technology of any comparable UK provider.
We interviewed 6,000 household broadband decision makers. This is how Vodafone broadband customers rated their service:
|Value for money
|Likeliness to recommend
One of the country's longest-established telecoms companies – breaking new ground in the early days of mobile phones – Vodafone is now firmly established as one of the top five broadband providers in the UK, with more than a few unique characteristics.
Here’s what we think you need to know about Vodafone broadband – the range of services they offer, whether their customer services and technology stack up, how to get the best value and whether Vodafone might be the right broadband provider for you.
As you'd expect, among the large number of UK broadband providers, there are those who are considered premium, and those who cater more to the budget end of the market. But somehow, we feel Vodafone broadband has managed to comfortably keep a foot in each camp.
On the one hand, they state that they're the biggest 'Full Fibre' company in the country (also known as FTTP broadband, meaning 'Fibre To The Property') – that's as measured by how many properties can receive their services. But that's to ignore Virgin Media's own separate 'Gigabit' network, which can lay claim to covering roughly twice as many. However, that does use slightly different technology, so, in the full fibre world at least, Vodafone are indeed leaders. It also has a stupendously large range of speeds and upgrades. It claims to offer the best wifi technology available – if you're willing to spend a little more on the upgrade. And, especially if you're an existing Vodafone Mobile customer, it really can offer excellent value.
Yet, despite all that, there are curious downsides. Its customer service, while by no means the worst, doesn't have the reputation of being up with the very best. There are rumours of reliability issues on occasion, and, if you're one of the many people who want to bundle in a bunch of TV services, then you're clean out of luck. The likes of Sky, Virgin Media, BT (and even TalkTalk to a lesser extent) all offer more channels and add-ons than you can shake stick at, but not Vodafone.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to find included in a Vodafone broadband deal.
|Fibre, full fibre
|Freebies to look for
|Reductions and free gifts, usually only for existing Vodafone Mobile customers
|Broadband, Broadband and landline, Broadband and mobile, Broadband and Apple TV 4K
|WiFi Hub, Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E
|£22 per month
We're all constantly crying out for faster broadband speeds – especially over the last few years – and it's certainly true that the bar has been raised. Consequently, and in common with some other providers, Vodafone has decided to stop offering older, pre-fibre ADSL services entirely, preferring to concentrate on being a fibre-only provider. Wherever possible, they'll try to deliver that using the latest FTTP technology, and when that's the case you'll see it referred to as 'Full Fibre' in their list of available packages.
However, when it's referred to as simply 'Fibre 1' or 'Fibre 2', that tells you they're having to use the previous generation FTTC network (that's 'Fibre To The Cabinet', meaning your broadband is partly delivered via old-school copper cables). Perhaps not as reliable, and certainly not able to deliver the same speeds, you should still find services are adequate. And you may be offered an upgrade to FTTP in the near future as the network is expanding rapidly.
Just to complicate matters, it's also worth noting that there's an upgraded version of every Vodafone broadband package delivered via FTTP. We'll go into more detail later in the review, but you can upgrade to 'Pro II', which means a step up to Vodafone's new tri-band 'Ultra Hub'. Additionally, this comes with a Wi-Fi booster meaning in the real world you may experience faster speeds simply because you have a better signal around your home. That's especially true if you have a particularly large property or lots people in your household. It'll even use the local Vodafone 4G signal as a fall back should your connection go down. So definitely worth considering. Here's a look a how that product range breaks down.
Average speeds of 36Mbps download (10Mbps upload), it's essentially the same basic fibre package you see from most other providers using the Openreach FTTP network. Suitable for those living alone or relatively small households. If there are lots of users, or everyone wanting to stream HD, it might not prove adequate though.
Next up is Fibre 2, with average speeds of 73Mbps for downloads, with 18Mbps uploads. This is roughly as high as you could have expected to get with FTTC fibre, and is probably the most common level of connection for most properties in the UK today. Larger households might find this to be enough, but as demands increase, it will be a bit stretched, for example if multiple users are downloading, streaming 4K or meeting online at the same time.
Not so very long ago, this would have considered top of the line, but these days, it's fairly pedestrian. You'll get download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and upload speeds of up to 18Mbps. Should suit larger households with simultaneous streaming needs, for those who do everything online on their own devices – meaning several people may be vying for a connection at the same time. But if you're in a situation where there are quite a few users who are always steaming TV services, even this can be stretched a little. But probably Vodafone's best value, all round.
A great compromise. 200Mbps is enough for most households, even those with lots of simultaneous streaming users. And if your family is on the small size, we can't see why any more would be really be needed. You should see downloads of about 200Mbps and uploads of 27Mbps.
Now you're getting into the top flight. Obviously, you should see up to 500Mbps downloads, but also uploads of around 68Mbps – that's as fast as most people's download speeds, so you should find things like online video meetings are seamless. It's also very useful for those serious gamers out there.
If you opt for this top of the line speed, your property will really be amongst the best connected in the country. Technically, faster speeds are available from other providers – Virgin Media and a few small independent providers spring to mind, but that's splitting hairs, although it really is difficult to think of any application where you'd need it. Plus, you're looking at uploads of 105Mbps, which probably means the very largest household can have everyone gaming, steaming 4K movies at having online meetings at the same time. And you'll still have bandwidth to spare.
Often overlooked, upload speed can be almost as important as the main headline download speed. That's especially true for live gamers, and people who work from home and take part in lots of video meetings. It's also very useful to have a healthy upload speed when making video calls with relatives abroad, we find.
Vodafone doesn't offer packages or bundles in quite the same way some of the other major providers do. It's (relatively) simple, especially compared with the enormous array of pre-bundled packages many providers offer. Essentially, it's a case of selecting the speed based on what's available at your address, then adding a few limited extras.
Vodafone has a premium upgrade for all its deals, known as Vodafone Pro II Broadband. Pro II offers the latest triple band Vodafone Ultra Hub along with a Super WiFi6E Booster if you find there are parts of the property where the signal is weaker. And the hub has 4G Broadband Back-Up, meaning it'll fall back on the local 4G signal in the unlikely event your fixed line broadband goes down. Plus you'll be safe in the knowledge that your connection is overseen by their 'WiFi Xperts', who will proactively work to fix any issues before they impact your connection (although you do have to hope they're doing that anyway). That bundle of services is very similar to BT's Complete WiFi and Hybrid Connect add-ons, but in one package. And it's considerably cheaper.
Vodafone claims the Ultra Hub is the best Wi-Fi hub offered by any UK provider, and to back up that claim it commissioned a report from Cartesian, an independent telecommunications consultancy company. They put it up against the best from Sky, TalkTalk and BT, and tested it in 10 actual homes. The report is so detailed they even provide images and floorpans of homes they used. And in pretty much all circumstances, the Ultra Hub won out. Interestingly though, they didn't test the latest from Virgin Media, so the jury's slightly out on that one. Suffice to say, it appears to be very good indeed.
A slightly unusual add-on, in that it combines TV and phone services. You'll get an Apple TV 4K (not a television, but a streaming box) with 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and three months Apple TV subscription. This is the only TV add-on Vodafone offer, but it does mean you'll get access to loads of Freeview channels, be able to stream movies, TV shows and much more from free apps like BBC iPlayer, TV Hub and All 4. And of course you can use it to access paid subscription services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and naturally, Apple TV themselves. Plus you'll enjoy unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles.
Vodafone offer a good quality router as standard, the Vodafone WiFi Hub. It's a a decent spec router which has seven antennae to provide a powerful, far reaching WiFi signal. It also has four 'gigabit' ethernet ports for fast wired connections and is now able to support up to 50 devices.
Customers opting for the Vodafone Pro II plan will receive their Ultra Hub, which uses the latest WiFi 6E technology and also comes with a Super WiFi 6E booster to ensure you receive the very best signal in every part of your home. As mentioned above, it'll also automatically act as a mobile broadband hub (using the local 4G mobile signal) in the event that your fixed line connection goes down. So that should ensure seamless connection is, as close as is possible, guaranteed.
All in all, Vodafone’s routers are impressive pieces of kit, particularly the newer Ultra Hub. For more details, see our Vodafone broadband router guide
This should be a straight forward process, and doesn't usually require a visit from an engineer. Only if you've not previously had a fibre connection, and even then it's quite possible no one will need to visit your home. Installation is usually completed within in 10 days of you placing your order.
There are several ways to get in touch with Vodafone – phone, live chat or via social media via Twitter or Facebook. They also maintain an online community and have their own TOBi chatbot for support on their website.
The provider came in fourth place in our last customer survey – a reasonable result out of 20 popular providers. If you need to contact the Vodafone customer service team, you can call 191 for free using a Vodafone mobile or 0333 304 0191 from any other mobile or landline number (charges will apply).
If you're looking for a provider that can offer the biggest selection of speeds, will give you a substantial discount if you're an existing mobile customer and – at a cost – can offer some of the best Wi-Fi technology available, Vodafone may be the provider for you. But don't expect to be offered a dazzling array of TV add ons – you may end up having to deal with multiple providers if that's what you're after, or looking elsewhere entirely. This is, generally speaking, a provider which simply specialises in broadband and mobile connectivity – and perhaps it's all the better for that.