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Vodafone broadband and fibre broadband review 2018

By Dan Howdle
Thursday, February 15th 2018

Vodafone, though gargantuan in the world of mobile, is still a relative newcomer to broadband. It's aiming to gain customers quickly by offering some of the cheapest ADSL and fibre broadband deals on the market. But does cheap come at the cost of quality? Is Vodafone broadband truly any good?

What we can tell you is there's no reason to be suspicious. The UK broadband marketplace is heaving with providers right now, and with a limited number of potential customers, broadband providers are falling over one another to bring you onboard.

If you see a Vodafone deal that looks like it's too good to be true then, don't be alarmed. Vodafone is every bit as good a provider as any out there, a fact to which the remainder of this review aims to amply attest. It's fast, reliable, and Vodafone reportedly offers great customer service.

Speed – How fast is it?

Would you believe that the average household in the UK uses 112GB of data each month? That number might not mean much to you, but it's a lot. Back in the 1980s that would have been more than a warehouse full of IBM mainframe computers. Most of that is going to be down to the most data-hungry application most households engage in – streaming movies and TV. If you're like most you probably do it to a lesser or greater extent, whether that's the odd episode of Dragon's Den on BBC iPlayer or the religious streaming of everything Netflix puts out in UHD 4K.

Either way, Vodafone's got you covered. But what speeds does Vodafone offer, and who are they most suited to?

Vodafone Unlimited Standard Broadband

Vodafone's entry level ADSL (non-fibre) runs at a standard 17Mbps download, 2Mbps upload. This speed is ideal for small households, either with a single occupant, a couple who do most of their TV/movie streaming together, or a couple with kids who aren't yet at an age where they're going to be hogging the internet.

Despite what anyone might tell you, 17Mbps download is fine for all internet-based activities, and will only start to struggle when you either throw too many users at it at once, or your aim is to stream movies and TV at ultra-high definition (known as UHD or 4K interchangeably). As for the upload speed? Well, 2Mbps is plenty. Most households barely use upload.

Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 38

Here, as the name suggests, you'll get 38Mbps download (10Mbps upload). It's the same speed you'll get everywhere when it comes to entry-level fibre. Well, except BT and Virgin Media, who start at 52Mbps and 50Mbps respectively. All you really need to know is what kinds of household it's suitable for.

This speed would ideally suit a household of four or five people of internet-using age. If you're a couple, with a couple of kids old enough to use the internet, social media, stream Netflix in their bedrooms, play games and so on, this speed will suit. You may, however, start hitting the ceiling of that speed if one or more members of the household likes to stream excessively in 4K, download lots of videogames or otherwise engage in activities that might deem them a 'heavy' user.

Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 76

You might've seen that Virgin Media is offering a (honestly) ridiculous 300Mbps at its top end. Vodafone's top speed of 76Mbps sounds rather puny by comparison, proving only that even a polar bear looks small when you put it next to an elephant. It's smaller, but it's still a frickin' polar bear!

76Mbps (20Mbps upload) is best suited to households full of folk who like to do a lot of stuff online and – importantly – don't do most of that stuff together. If you're streaming Amazon Prime or whatever in the living room and you're all watching it, you're probably taking up less than 10Mbps of that bandwidth. If you're all off in separate bits of the house downloading this and that, watching different stuff on different screens? For that you need a polar bear.

To be honest, there really isn't a lot in it cost-wise. If you never want to have to worry about hitting those speed limits, perhaps a few extra pounds a month is worth the peace of mind of being relatively future-proof.

Equipment – What's the router like?

In a word: Great. We could get super-techy here, but you wouldn't like us very much after that. Instead, we'll briefly explore what some of those jumbled letters and numbers mean in the real world. The router is of the 802.11ac standard. See, you're confused already. But wait. All that means is it's capable of sending the highest possible speeds over wifi.

Vodafone broadband router

It also operates 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 interference from other routers, depending how populated the area you live in happens to be. That’s where the addition of the 5Ghz band comes in.

The Vodafone router also offers something called 'beamforming technology'. What this does is allow you to ask the router to make an extra-special effort to communicate with a specific device. Say your bath is at the other end of the house from your router (speaking anecdotally here), and you want to languish in it half the day while reading from your tablet, and your wifi signal doesn't quite reach. Well, this will focus a higher-intensity signal to the specific location of the device so it will. 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 capable bit of kit.

Customer service – What do people say about Vodafone?

Here at Cable.co.uk we conduct satisfaction studies among customers of the UK's various broadband providers every year, and guess who made it into fourth place in 2017? 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 consider that this was Vodafone's first full year as a broadband provider, to beat some of the most established players is a remarkable feat. Vodafone's broadband customers, generally speaking, are very happy indeed.


Vodafone can't match Virgin Media for speed. It can't beat Sky for TV – Vodafone doesn't offer any kind of TV service. But that's not the point. Vodafone's sell is it's extremely cheap, without cheaping out. It offers a premium service that's capable enough for pretty much everyone, but at a price – especially when Vodafone's running a sale – that is in many cases substantially cheaper than the premium competition. Do we recommend Vodafone broadband? Hell yes, we do.

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