How to choose the best broadband, phone and TV bundle for you

Monday 2nd December, 2013 By
Laptop, TV and phone

You could save a whopping £200 a year by getting your broadband, phone and TV service from a single provider. Tempting, right? And convenient too. But if the new package doesn't meet your needs, is the saving worth it?Here’s how to get a great bundle that ticks all of your boxes.

In this guide:

Video guide: TV, broadband and phone packages
How to choose the right broadband, phone and TV package
Video: Top TV shows coming in 2014
When is it better not to bundle?
Can I add mobile to my broadband, phone and TV package?

Four of the biggest providers in the UK - BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media now offer broadband, phone and TV services as a single, bundled package.

However, with a huge number of options to consider, it can be a bit of a head scratcher to work out which provider's the right choice for you.

Video: TV, broadband and phone packages

How to choose the right broadband, phone and TV package

Each of the four providers has different strengths. Determining the factors that are most important to you will help you to narrow down your options.

Cost

Choosing a package based on price alone is generally a bad plan. It's likely to result in you paying for a load of TV channels you don't want, or getting a data limit that's no match for your BBC iPlayer addiction.

However, assuming none of our readers are Donald Trump, the cost of a bundle IS likely to be one of the major factors when choosing a new package.

All four providers offer a range of packages from basic through to the full whistles and bells option - and as you can imagine, the price varies according to what you choose.

If you're on a particularly tight budget, you might want to take a look at TalkTalk's packages. TalkTalk currently offers the cheapest broadband, phone and TV bundle in the UK, with unlimited broadband, an option to upgrade to a fibre connection and TV from YouView - it's a decent package for a reasonable price.

Here are the latest bundled deals:

Broadband & Phone & TV deals

Sort by
First year cost
Essentials TV Starter Collection Now TV Entertainment Pass + Broadband Unlimited + Talk Weekends TV Essentials + Broadband and weekend calls
Monthly cost: £6.00
(for 6 months)
1st year cost: £87.00
Monthly cost: £10.00
(for 6 months)
1st year cost: £130.00
Monthly cost: £12.50
(for 12 months)
1st year cost: £152.18
Monthly cost: £12.50
(for 6 months)
1st year cost: £206.95
speed up to 16 Mb speed up to 50 Mb speed up to 17 Mb speed up to 16 Mb
Up to 59 channels Up to 57 channels Up to 10 channels Up to 77 channels
Go Call TalkTalk on
0800 049 7843
Go Call Virgin Media on
0808 168 6088
Go Call Sky on
0844 241 1407
Go

Broadband speed

If you prefer your broadband connection to be more Formula 1 than family hatchback, then one provider stands out from the rest.

Virgin Media consistently ranks highly in Ofcom's broadband speed tests, and this year it also took the top spot in the speed category in the broadbandchoices customer satisfaction awards.

So if you need fast and consistent speeds for gaming or a remote work connection, or have a lots of people at home all using the web at the same time, then Virgin Media could be for you.

However, Virgin Media's cable network is far more limited than BT and TalkTalk's own networks, and you may find its service isn't available where you live. Use our postcode checker to see if you make the cut.

BT has also been investing heavily in its high speed broadband offering. The company's fibre network, BT Infinity, will be available to 95% of the UK population by 2017 and is already an option for much of the UK. It's no slouch either, delivering speeds of up to 76Mb, and coupled with BT's TV package, it's an attractive combo.

TV

Sky TV highlights:

  • The largest range of high-definition (HD) channels,
  • An extensive range of sports channels, including Sky Sports 1 & 2 and Sky Sports F1,
  • Sky Go, which lets you watch your favourite Sky programmes on the move on your mobile, laptop or tablet, for no extra cost
  • Award winning content on Sky 1 - Sky's flagship channel
  • The latest films across multiple Sky Movies channels.

Virgin Media TV highlights

  • An extensive on-demand offering, including BBC iPlayer direct to your TV and hundreds of great shows and films.
  • Virgin Media's TiVo service lets you record any three programmes while you watch another
  • Virgin TV Anywhere app - watch live TV, catch up on your favourite programme and even set your TiVo box to record, all on your mobile
  • Have your cake and eat it too by adding Sky Movies, Sky Sports or BT Sport, or all three to your Virgin TV package.

BT TV highlights

  • Build your perfect package - add a choice of bolt-ons to your package, including HD extra, BT Kids or Film & TV Box Sets
  • Love sport? Get a select of Barclays Premier League games for FREE via BT Sport when you sign up for BT Infinity. And if that's not enough sport, you can subscribe to Sky Sports 1 & 2 too
  • Sky Movies - want BT but still tempted by Sky's movie muscle? No problem, just add Sky Movies to your BT package
  • Never miss a show - with 7 days of TV catch up and a wealth of on-demand options.

Note: to get BT TV you must have a BT phone line and a minimum connection speed of 2Mb.

TalkTalk TV highlights

  • Customise your TV package with a range of Boosts from £5 a month, including: Kids Boost, Entertainment Boost and a selection of World TV Boosts, such as the Asian TV Boost.
  • Add Sky Movies or Sky Sports to your package
  • 7 day catch up TV plus hundreds of on-demand movies and shows
  • Record 200+ hours of Freeview TV with the Plus TV category.

Video: Top TV shows coming in 2014

Call rates

Most packages come with a choice of weekend, evening and weekend, or anytime calls.

If you make most of your calls on your mobile, a standard weekend calls package would work for you. However, if you are a self-confessed chatterbox and spend loads of time on your landline, an anytime calls package may be better. Choose the best fit for you.

Line rental

The cost of line rental can vary widely from provider to provider, but among the four that offer broadband, phone and TV bundles the difference in line rental price is usually less than £1 a month, so it's unlikely to have a major influence on your decision.

Availability - what can I get where I live?

Before you choose a new provider, you'll need to find out exactly what is available where you live. Virgin Media's TV service and fibre optic broadband are only available in its cable network area, which covers just over half of the UK.

BT, Sky and TalkTalk offer greater coverage, with BT covering virtually the whole of the UK. However, with BT your connection speed needs to be at least 2Mb to support its BT TV. Similarly, to get TalkTalk TV you need a minimum download speed of 3Mb, or 5Mb to add TV Boosts.

You can use our to see what speed you're currently getting.

Most providers can offer a service even outside of their network area, but it will cost you significantly more than for those within the network area.

For more information, check out our guide to broadband availability, or put your details into our postcode checker to see what is available at your address.

When is it better not to bundle?

In some cases, bundling won't bring the big saving you might hope for and it won't be the answer for everyone.

If TV's not high on your priority list you might be better off going for the narrower choice of channels on Freeview. Although there's an upfront payment for the Freeview box, you won't have any ongoing monthly subscription fees leaving you free to take a separate broadband and phone package from one of the cheaper providers, such as Plusnet.

As with all such deals, you really need to take your needs into consideration. Don't get a service you won't use just because it seems like a good deal unless it's cheaper to have it than not - after all, no matter how good the deal, it's still a waste of money if you don't use what you're paying for.

Can I add mobile to my broadband, phone and TV package?

If bundling is really floating your boat, you can even bundle your mobile phone in with your other services. Both TalkTalk and Virgin Media offer this option. Think of the reduction in your household admin.

There's no doubt that the convenience of dealing with a single provider and potentially saving a packet at the same time is very appealing, but don't be blinded by price. Find the deal that works for you.

Guide: Buying a broadband and phone package



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