Vodafone has now, at the start of 2020, established a firm foothold in the home broadband market, and continuing to gain users quickly by selling some of the cheapest fibre broadband deals on the market, accompanied by one of the best routers.
|Broadband||Fibre broadband only|
|Cable.co.uk rating||4/5 stars|
|Prices from||£21.95 per month|
With greater and greater demand for speed, Vodafone doesn't even bother to offer standard broadband as most other providers do, instead choosing to focus on fibre, with two speeds averaging 35Mbps and 63Mbps on offer. They are:
With this fibre package, you'll get an average speed of 35Mbps download (10Mbps upload). This is on a par with deals from most other providers – specifically those who operate on the Openreach network (that's everyone except Virgin Media). However, faster speeds on Openreach are slowly becoming more widely available.
This speed would suit a home of three to four people who use the internet. If you're a couple, with a couple of kids old enough to use the internet, social media, stream Netflix on their tablets, play games and so on, this speed will suit. You may, however, start hitting the ceiling of that speed if one or more people in your home likes to stream in 4K, or download video games.
You might have seen that Virgin Media is offering a whopping 516Mbps at its top end. Vodafone's top speed averages just 63Mbps, which sounds rather puny, but is in line with the top speeds of most other providers at this current time.
63Mbps (with a 20Mbps upload speed) is best suited to homes full of folk who like to do a lot of stuff online and don't do most of that stuff together. It's also suited to pretty much any household where you don't want to really worry about hitting up against speed limits anytime. If you're streaming Amazon Prime in the living room and you're all watching it, you're likely taking up less than 10Mbps. If you're all off in separate bits of the house doing this and that, watching stuff on different screens at the same time, you'll need this top speed.
We could get techy here, but you wouldn't like us very much after that. Instead, we'll explore what some of those jumbled letters and numbers mean in the real world. The router is of the 802.11ac standard. All that means is it's capable of sending the highest possible speeds over wi-fi.
It also works on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band. This is a useful feature, as the 2.4Ghz band is the one most home broadband routers use to send and receive wifi signals. Problem is, it's getting awfully crowded, meaning you may suffer slow speeds due to other nearby routers owned by your neighbours. That’s where the 5Ghz band comes in handy.
The Vodafone fibre router also offers something called 'beamforming technology'. What this does is allow you to ask the router to make an extra-special effort to contact a device. Say your bath is at the other end of the house from your router, and you want to read from your tablet, but your wi-fi signal doesn't quite reach. This will focus the signal to the device. Handy.
All in all, Vodafone's router – which unlike the Virgin Hub, Sky Q Hub and whatnot doesn't have a name – is a very good bit of kit.
Installation of Vodafone broadband takes around two weeks. There are two ways it works, depending on whether you have a home phone line or not.
If you need a brand new phone line installed, an engineer will be in touch to discuss the best way to get the line into your home. It may take several hours. If you have an active phone line the process is a bit simpler. You'll be sent a Vodafone router and given a clear idea of how and when to plug it in.
Here at Cable.co.uk we sometimes conduct studies among customers of the UK's various broadband providers, and guess who made it into fourth place last time we did? Yep, it was Vodafone. Now before you come back with something like 'Fourth place, that's not even a bronze medal', you should know that was out of around 20 providers.
When you think that this was Vodafone's first full year as a broadband provider, to beat some of the biggest in the business is a great feat. Vodafone's broadband customers are very happy indeed.
Vodafone can't match Virgin Media for speed. And it can't beat Sky for TV since it doesn't offer any kind of TV service. But that's not the point. Vodafone broadband is cheap, and high quality, where most other providers are either one or the other. It offers a great service that's good enough for all, but at a price that is in many cases cheaper than rivals. Do we like Vodafone broadband? Yes, we do. We heartily recommend it.
Cable.co.uk rates Vodafone broadband 4 out of 5 stars. Our verdict concludes that Vodafone broadband is a cheap, high quality and we would recommend it.