What about Vodafone - they’re offering fibre optic broadband without line rental, no? A couple of people have asked us about Vodafone's pricing system for its broadband, including a comment from Hassan Shahid here:
That's not quite the case, I'm afraid!
With Vodafone's fibre broadband, you do still get line rental - the only difference is that the price of the broadband service and the price of the line rental have been consolidated into a single cost. It's what the provider is calling its 'all-in-one-price'.
Here's what pricing looks like for Vodafone broadband, before and after the change. This is for an Unlimited Fibre 38 package.
Before: £7 broadband + £18 line rental
Now: £25 broadband, including line rental
It's exactly the same - £25 per month. Plus a one-off £49 connection fee.
Vodafone led the way here, but it's actually now the norm to see costs displayed like this when you buy broadband. New rules from the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) mean that providers aren't allowed to put line rental charges in small print. Instead, they must list a single, total price that the service will cost per month.
Vodafone just happens to have been the first provider to go ahead with this form of pricing. TalkTalk announced a while ago that it was doing the same too, and every other provider was forced to follow suit as of 31 October 2016.
The fact is, the majority of broadband packages do still require line rental. Since the line is used to deliver your broadband, it's pretty vital. The only other option is to get broadband from a provider on an alternative network that doesn't require it - like Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, Relish in central London, or even wireless broadband. These options tend to be more expensive, though.
Should I get Vodafone broadband now that it's dropped the line rental charge?
Honestly, it doesn't make much difference to the big picture. Remember that the cost of Vodafone's broadband hasn't changed - it's just how those costs are communicated which is different. Whether it's the cheapest option depends on what else is available in your area, and what deals other providers currently have going.
I'd always recommend sorting broadband packages by their first-year cost, combining the total broadband, line rental, and one-off fees for the first year - something broadbandchoices' postcode checker does for you, as it so happens. That comes to £349 for this Vodafone deal. At the time of writing, however, the cheapest 38Mb unlimited fibre optic broadband + line rental package on our site comes from another provider. So, price-wise, Vodafone isn't necessarily top dog. (Check out our best broadband deals page to see this week's best picks, by the way.)
That said, it's still a good choice! £25 per month is a great price for broadband regardless, and you get an extra discount if you're an existing Vodafone customer. Plus it comes with a six-month F-Secure SAFE subscription and a pretty cool router that you can control from your smartphone. Just don't be fooled into thinking it's automatically the cheapest option.