Choosing a great broadband deal is anything but super-fast! When we start looking into the nitty-gritty of broadband speeds, connectivity downtime, multiple device support and Wi-Fi reliability, what should be an easy answer becomes a bit of a conundrum for homeowners.
Today Best10 compares two of the most popular broadband services, Vodafone and PlusNet, to highlight the differences, analyse the pros and cons, and help you make confidently informed decisions about the best broadband service for your requirements and your budget.
Let's start with the easy stuff! Generally, Vodafone performs better when it comes to speed tests and ranges and is categorised as the 55th top provider (of 96) in the UK - of course, that metric doesn't look at costs or value for money!
Tests look at Mbps - or megabits per second - showing which broadband services offer the fastest speeds.
Vodafone hits over 50 Mbps on around 43% of tests, whereas PlusNet gets there 26% of the time and is ranked 69th overall.
There were over 1.14 million Vodafone speed tests, where the fastest result hit a figure of 940 Mbps, and PlusNet reached 924 Mbps as a maximum among some 1.42 million checks.
If you're wondering how these stats might look if the exact number of broadband speed tests were carried out on each provider, you're not alone! However, we're here to share the facts and figures and allow you to make your own conclusions about which broadband supplier to go for.
Our next important category investigates prices, set-up charges and plans, doubtless a big decision maker in an economy where everything we pay for seems to be creeping up in cost!
There are huge variances in costs, depending on the speed you need, the number of devices you connect with, and where you live, so we've summarised the most popular plans to help you calculate what you might expect to pay.
Service: Vodafone Superfast 1
Speed: 50 Mbps
Costs: £20 per month with free set-up, fixed for 24 months
Service: Vodafone Superfast 2
Speed: 80 Mbps
Costs: £22 per month, including free set-up, fixed for 24 months
Service: Vodafone Broadband
Speed: 38 - 910 Mbps
Costs: From £20 a month with unlimited usage and a free Wi-Fi hub
Service: Vodafone Pro
Speed: 38 - 910 Mbps
Costs: From £28 a month with unlimited usage and a free Wi-Fi hub
Service: Vodafone Pro Xtra
Speed: 38 - 910 Mbps
Costs: From £36 a month with unlimited usage and a free Wi-Fi hub
Service: Unlimited Broadband
Speed: 20 Mbps
Costs: £23.99 a month with free set-up, fixed for 12 months
Service: Unlimited Fibre
Speed: 50 Mbps
Costs: £22.99 a month with free set-up fixed for 18 months
Service: Unlimited Fibre Extra
**Speed: **80 Mbps
**Costs: **£25.99 per month for 18 months with free set-up
Service: Full Fibre 74
Speed: 74 Mbps
Costs: £25.99 a month for 24 months with free set-up
Service: Full Fibre 145
Speed: 145 Mbps
Costs: £30.99 a month for 24 months with free set-up
Service: Full Fibre 500
Speed: 500 Mbps
**Costs: **£40.99 a month for 24 months with free set-up
We all know there's little as frustrating as losing your broadband connection or having speeds slow to a crawl just as you're about to make an important video call, send an email, or stream your favourite movie!
The below table shows some of the speed tests run on Vodafone vs PlusNet broadband to give you an idea about how quickly the service performs.
Average tested speed
Vodafone: 43.09 Mbps
Plusnet: 31.02 Mbps
Vodafone: 55th best
Plusnet: 69th best
Proportion of tests over 50 Mbps
There is a balance here because Vodafone is typically a faster broadband service. However, the lowest price packages cost around £3-£4 more per month, depending on your usage needs and how many internet-connected devices you use at once.
Roughly 34% of Vodafone broadband connections tested were considered slow or very slow, based on being under 30 Mbps. PlusNet had 53% of connections graded as slow.
However, the average household requiring a standard broadband speed might expect PlusNet downloads to be between 30 and 80 Mbps, which is between good and adequate, 47% of the time.
In contrast, Vodafone broadband is good or adequate 58% of the time for the same usage demands.
PlusNet is a smaller broadband provider than some of the better-known brands but offers great value for money and accessible broadband services that are more than sufficient for most users.
Along with low prices, customer support is highly rated, and new customers can take advantage of offers and discounts.
The speediest broadband doesn't match up to the ultrafast broadband you can get from Vodafone, BT or Sky - but if you're more concerned with a reasonable monthly cost, it's a good bet. You also get guaranteed speeds of:
· 10 Mbps on Unlimited Broadband
· 36 Mbps on Unlimited Fibre
· 66 Mbps on Unlimited Fibre Extra
Another benefit is that you can take out a 12-month broadband contract, whereas most providers have terms starting from 18 or 24 months, tying you into a monthly cost whether or not you decide you want to switch.
PlusNet broadband packages are simple, focusing on the basics rather than additional services you might consider unnecessary.
· Unlimited Broadband is a straightforward ADSL broadband service designed for light usage and everyday internet access, with an average of 10 Mbps speed. This option would suit you if you browse online in the evenings or use social media on your mobile.
· Unlimited Fibre offers a broadband speed of 36 Mbps, which is reasonable if you haven't used a fibre service before and are upgrading. These speeds work well for households where someone works from home occasionally or uses a laptop and is powerful enough to allow you to stream a movie at the same time.
· Unlimited Fibre Extra is faster at 66 Mbps broadband speeds and is great for most households, with the capacity to allow you to browse online, stream TV shows or movies, or use smart devices.
Each package normally pairs with a landline, but you can customise your PlusNet service if you wish. Optional extras include different call packages, such as unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles or free evening and weekend calls - each add-on comes with a small extra price.
PlusNet customers can also add a mobile SIM card or BT Sport subscription to their broadband service. Although the options are more limited than some broadband providers, the costs are competitive.
Onto Vodafone broadband, and you can pick from a range of connection speeds and various plans with different features and benefits.
Vodafone is a great broadband service if you're after reliably fast speeds and higher performance broadband.
The downsides are that the prices aren't as good, and customer support tends to score slightly lower than PlusNet.
Although Vodafone hasn't always offered broadband, it does have relatively affordable prices given the high-speed services on offer. It has earned a mention in a few expert reviews which compare the best UK broadband speeds and services in terms of downtime.
Around two out of every three Vodafone broadband customers say they would happily recommend the service, demonstrating the improvements the broadband provider has made in the last few years.
Vodafone broadband is positioned as a higher-level service and doesn't offer basic ADSL options at all - every package is based on faster fibre broadband.
· Superfast 1 Fibre provides an average speed of 38 Mbits per second for downloads and an upload capacity of 10 Mbits per second at £22 per month. You pay nothing upfront to install a Wi-Fi hub but are locked into the contract for at least 24 months.
· Superfast 2 offers faster speeds of 67 Mbits a second for downloads and 20 Mbits a second for uploads with a £3 per month price uplift.
If you need a more robust broadband package, the Superfast 100 product is a basic FTTP service and allows you to download data at 100 Mbits a second with a 30 Mbit a second upload capacity.
Vodafone customers get a router with any fibre service, which provides four Ethernet ports, and acts as a home phone hub with dual-band Wi-Fi.
Superfast Pro offers an automated backup powered through 4G, which acts as a reserve if the broadband speeds cannot cope with demand and costs an extra £8 per month. The package includes SuperWifi Plus, a Wi-Fi extender, and an Alexa speaker with every installation.
For a further £8 a month upgrade, the Pro Xtra package gives you any time calls from a landline or mobile, an Apple TV+ subscription for three months, and a 4K Apple TV box.
PlusNet and Vodafone are excellent broadband providers, with pros and cons, different price points, packages and perks.
We hope this comparison has given you plenty of information to decide which broadband deals best suit your requirements, budget and family internet usage!