How to compare broadband-only deals
Many broadband deals come in a package with inclusive calls but there’s also a selection of broadband-only deals on the market that can help you save money by avoiding pre-paid calls you may not ever use. Our comparison table above outlines your options and lets you order them by price, broadband usage and speed.
Broadband is widely available in the UK but not all providers cover all parts of the country. Therefore you’ll need to check what broadband-only services are available in your area, and this is easily done by entering your postcode into the checker at the top of the page.
Read the terms and conditions
Make sure you fully understand the ins and outs of any broadband-only deal before you sign up to ensure you don’t get stung with any limitations or penalty charges when you least expect it. Key points to look out for include set-up fees and cancellation charges, fair usage caps and call rates.
Why choose a broadband-only deal?
The increase in great-value mobile phone plans and the convenience of having all your contacts saved in your handset means fewer and fewer people use their home phone these days. The landline has become obsolete in many households and some just use it for the occasional call, so it can seem like a waste of money.
You may still need to pay line rental
The vast majority of broadband-only deals still require you to pay line rental, as an active telephone line is required to deliver an internet connection to your property. This means that should you need to make a call from home, you can still use your landline and you’ll just be charged a standard rate per call.
With the exception of Virgin Media
But things work a little differently at Virgin Media, since it is the only UK provider to offer a true broadband-only service without a phone line and no rental charge. You’ll just pay for installation and your monthly broadband fee, and there’s no way to make calls so you’ll have to rely entirely on your mobile.
It can save money but not as much as you might think
Where a provider offers broadband both with and without inclusive call plans, the latter is often, strangely, cheaper by at least a couple of pounds each month and as much as £15 compared to those with unlimited anytime calls. Incidentally, despite the option to avoid the cost of line rental altogether at Virgin Media – which averages £19 per month – the broadband-only service doesn’t work out much cheaper than a combined broadband and phone deal.
- No need to take a pre-paid calls package
- Just pay for the calls you make
- You can avoid line rental with Virgin Media
- Most providers still charge line rental
- You pay more for frequent landline use
- No landline in an emergency with Virgin Media
What are the key elements of broadband-only deals?
As we’ve mentioned, with the exception of Virgin Media, you’ll still have to pay line rental with your broadband-only deal even if doesn’t offer inclusive calls and you don’t plan to use your landline. It’s a necessary evil unfortunately. The cost varies from around £13 to £15.99 per month so it must be factored into your overall budget, and look out for providers that allow you to pay upfront for 12 months’ line rental in a one-off discounted fee.
Check the cost of calls in case you need to make one
With the majority of broadband-only deals you’ll just pay for any calls you make, so it’s worth looking at the call rates so you don’t have a nasty shock when the bill arrives. Look at standard calls to UK landlines during the day and evenings, plus mobiles, premium rate numbers and international charges if you ever call abroad.
Plus the options for monthly call add-ons
If you expect to use your landline more than a couple of times a month, it’s worth looking at the cost of any optional monthly call add-ons. They vary between providers, but generally include a bundle of inclusive minutes to mobiles or landlines and are likely to work out cheaper than if you made the same amount of calls on pay-per-use.
And weigh up the saving against broadband and phone
Finally, unless you’re 100% sure you won’t use your landline, compare broadband-only deals with broadband and phone deals to double-check you’re getting the best value deal for your expected usage. Many broadband packages include weekend calls as standard at no extra cost, and some are actually much cheaper than broadband-only deals.
Which broadband-only package should I choose?
Seriously consider your phone habits and whether you’re happy to do away with a landline completely, or think you might need it from time to time. You’ll be tied into a contract for at least 12 months so it pays to make the right choice now.
Consider what level of speed you need
Check what broadband speed you’re currently receiving with our speed test and consider whether it feels ample for your internet activities, or whether you often find yourself waiting around and could benefit from a faster service. Standard ADSL broadband ranges from up to 8Mbps to up to 17Mbps, while fibre broadband ranges from up to 38Mbps to up to a super speedy 200Mbps. Your speed options will depend on what’s available in your area and your monthly budget, as it’s generally a case of the faster the service, the more you’ll pay.
Plus how much you expect to download each month
All broadband plans come with a usage allowance that determines how much you can upload and download each month. Usage ranges from 2GB to unlimited so you’ll need to look at how much your household does online and pick a service to match. If you pick one with a limit and exceed it, you could face charges or penalties.
Essential questions before you buy
- Can I get a broadband-only deal in my area?
- Am I ever likely to use a landline?
- Have I compared the cost of broadband-only with broadband and phone deals?
- What broadband speed do I need?
- What usage limit is suitable for my household?
- Do the monthly cost, line rental and set-up costs fit within my budget?
Whether you choose to take broadband with or without an inclusive call package, it’s helpful to fully understand all of your options and the differences in price. It all comes down to what broadband choices are available in your area and if Virgin hasn’t reached your neighbourhood yet, you’ll still have to pay line rental with all other providers. Price is a key decider, alongside speed, usage limit and extra features.