Vodafone broadband vs Now Broadband

Last updated: 9 February 2022   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Vodafone and Now often compete for the crown of the UK's cheapest broadband provider, but that's not all they offer.

As well as cheap broadband deals, Vodafone also offers the option to upgrade to Pro plans for extra features and get speeds of up to 910Mb in some areas.

Conversely, Now customers are limited to 63Mb broadband speeds, but their plans include anytime calls as standard and there are 1-month no-contract deals too.

Ultimately, the best option for a household depends on their specific needs, yet Vodafone offer a range of packages to suit most homes.

wireless broadband router

In this guide:


At a glance

Vodafone Now Broadband
Price From £18 From £18
Basic broadband None 11Mb
Superfast broadband 38Mb, 67Mb 36Mb, 63Mb
Ultrafast broadband 100Mb, 200Mb, 500Mb, 910Mb None
Home phone Included Included
Inclusive calls None Anytime
Inc. mobiles
Anytime UK calls £8 Included
TV None Add Now TV
Minimum term 24 months 1 month, 12 months

Broadband deals

Winner: Tie - Vodafone can be cheaper but Now include anytime calls.

Vodafone offer several no-frills broadband plans to customers in the form of their Superfast 1 and Superfast 2 packages.

They also have a Superfast 100 package available to customers who live in ultrafast-enabled areas but are still looking for a no-frills service. In addition, they have several faster packages only available to customers in Openreach full fibre or CityFibre areas, and they have some Pro plans too.

Now's broadband offering is more streamlined with one basic copper broadband plan at 11Mb and two superfast deals.

Here's how the providers look side by side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Brilliant Broadband 11Mb average £20 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £23/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Fibre 1 35Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Fibre 2 65Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Fab Fibre 36Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Super Fibre 63Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Full Fibre 150 150Mb average £29 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers

Note: Vodafone offer speeds of up to 910Mb in their Pro Gigafast 900 plan. For the purposes of comparison, we've only shown a selection of their slower plans here.

As we can see from the table, Vodafone are slightly cheaper than Now at superfast level, although Vodafone do not offer a copper broadband deal so Now wins by default on that point.

It's important to note the different contract lengths here. While Now only want customers to commit to 12 months, Vodafone's contracts are 24 months by default. That can be off-putting, and some customers still prefer the flexibility of a 12-month deal.

Something else that separates the two is the inclusive anytime calls offered by Now as standard. This is a definite perk for customers who use the landline and so it could be the tipping point between the two providers.

One further point: Now often use discounts for their streaming service to tempt customers into bundling services together. If that's of interest, watch out for those deals.

Other packages

Vodafone and Now do a few things differently to each other.

Vodafone offers a selection of Pro broadband deals. These are upgrades on the basic plans we looked at above and include the following features:

  • Super WiFi boosters
  • Access to WiFi Xperts to fix problems
  • 4G Broadband Back-up
  • Promise to upgrade to full fibre if the technology becomes available
  • 12 months free Norton 360 Premium antivirus

It's also possible for customers to take both Vodafone Pro broadband and mobile services from Vodafone to get a £2 or £3 discount on their monthly bill with Vodafone Together.

Here's how those superfast packages look:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 1 + Super WiFi 6 35Mb average £33 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Power Hub with WiFi 6 + Super WiFi 6 Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up + £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Fibre 2 + Super WiFi 6 65Mb average £33 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Power Hub with WiFi 6 + Super WiFi 6 Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up + £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 150 + Super WiFi 6 150Mb average £36 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Power Hub with WiFi 6 + Super WiFi 6 Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up + £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers

Once you get over the 100Mb mark with Vodafone, all broadband plans are Pro, so bear that in mind when looking at faster (and more expensive) Vodafone deals.

While Now don't offer anything like the extra features available if customers upgrade to Vodafone Pro, they do offer something Vodafone don't - 30-day no contract broadband.

For a larger set-up fee, Now customers can choose no-contract broadband and exit their deal at any time without penalty.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Brilliant Broadband (No contract) 11Mb average £20 £70 1 month
Fab Fibre (No contract) 36Mb average £21 £70 1 month
Super Fibre (No contract) 63Mb average £21 £70 1 month

This is useful for customers in short-term accommodation and for those who don't like long-term broadband commitments. It's also something that sets Now apart from Vodafone.


Price

Winner: Vodafone edges it on price, although Now will appeal to many.

Based on budget pricing alone, Vodafone's basic superfast broadband deals are slightly better value than Now's, both on a month-by-month basis and because they don't charge any set-up fees at all.

However, it's worth remembering that the anytime calls offered as standard by Now would cost £8 per month with Vodafone, quickly wiping out the savings by choosing the cheaper provider.

If no-frills budget broadband is the goal, Vodafone win, but if customers want to make anytime calls to UK landlines and mobiles, Now is the cheaper option.


Broadband speeds

Winner: Vodafone have ultrafast broadband as well as superfast deals.

Vodafone have partnerships with both Openreach and CityFibre meaning their ultrafast broadband is one of the most widely available options in the UK, with availability to around eight million premises expected during 2022.

Offering speeds of up to 910Mb, Vodafone's ultrafast broadband deals are simply too fast for the three packages Now have available with 11Mb, 36Mb and 63Mb speeds.

However, it's important to note that the superfast speeds offered by both providers may be the fastest available to a household, meaning 67Mb with Vodafone is the top option for most customers.

This means the two providers are finely matched on superfast speeds, though, and we don't have independent data to say that one performs better than the other.

Under advertising rules, the speeds providers advertise must be available to at least 50% of households at peak times.

Vodafone give us a little more information about how their figures stack up by saying 73% of customers on Superfast 1 get speeds above 35Mb and 61% on Superfast 2 get speeds in excess of 63Mb.

Again, we should point out that these are averages for a reason and that customers may get faster or slower speeds depending on their location, but the overall speed experience with the two providers should be similar at a superfast level.


Routers

Winner: Vodafone's Wi-Fi Hub is an impressive piece of kit.

Vodafone introduced a new home router a few years ago - the Wi-Fi Hub.

Customers get this hub whether they sign up for one of Vodafone's superfast deals or go for their fastest 910Mb ultrafast plan, so the router is clearly designed to handle top speeds and a lot of traffic.

The Wi-Fi Hub features 7 antennae with beamforming technology and 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as meeting the Wi-Fi 5 standard and offering WPA2 security.

On the other hand, the Now Hub Two is a repackaged version of an old Sky router.

It has reasonable enough specs with 5 antennae, 2 x Ethernet ports, smart channel selection and the same security and wi-fi standard features as Vodafone's router, but it's still a basic hub that's a generation out of date now.


TV

Winner: Now's optional membership system beats Vodafone's deals.

Now allow customers to take their Now TV memberships alongside a broadband deal, often at a discounted price.

The main thing to note here is that customers don't need to be a Now broadband customer to get those streaming memberships - but they may get a cheaper deal if they combine services.

This streaming service includes content from Now's parent company Sky, so there's a great selection of entertainment, cinema and sports content available.

At the time of writing, Vodafone's Apple TV 4K plan that was part of their Pro Xtra package is currently unavailable and there is no explanation on whether it will return in the same form or in another guise.

It offered an Apple TV 4K box with a temporary three-month subscription to Apple TV 4K and the option to add extra streaming services to the box (for an additional fee).

Overall, while Now's TV service is limited and can be taken independently of the provider's broadband, it at least offers plenty of content option compared to the limited scope of Vodafone's deal.


Customer service

Winner: Now just have the edge on customer service.

Vodafone have experienced issues with their broadband complaint figures since they first entered Ofcom's complaint tables in 2018, but they have brought them down in recent quarters and now sit just above the industry average for broadband complaints.

The only other official metrics we have on Vodafone's customer service come from a couple of points in Ofcom's Comparing Service Quality 2021 report which found they answered the phone around 45 seconds faster than the industry average and that 11.6% of calls were dropped before their advisers answered them.

In the case of Now, there is no independent research available from Ofcom, so we commissioned our own and asked 178 Now broadband customers what they thought of the customer service they received from their broadband provider.

The majority of customers gave Now an average rating of 3 out of 5, with a minority giving them the poorest rating of 1 and 26% giving them the highest rating.

Overall, there isn't much quantitative data out there to conclusively say whether Vodafone or Now is the best provider for customer service, but we're leaning towards Now simply because Vodafone's complaints recovery is still so new.


Verdict: Vodafone or Now for broadband?

Overall winner: Vodafone have the edge when it comes to price, ultrafast broadband options and the opportunity to add more advanced features.

Vodafone offers something for all types of customers. For those who want a budget broadband deal, their basic superfast plans fit the bill, while customers who want extra features can upgrade to Pro deals and those who want more speed can take ultrafast plans (in the areas where it's available).

Overall, then, Vodafone offer a great selection of broadband deals backed by an improving customer service record and good hardware in the form of the Wi-Fi Hub.

However, Now offers a good no-frills service that will appeal to many customers too.

Their inclusive calls offer isn't something Vodafone can compete with, plus their bundled discounts on Now TV can help to create a more comprehensive home entertainment package.

With Now's pricing often within a few pounds of Vodafone's on their basic deals, it may come down to whether customers want inclusive calls and whether they want to upgrade with Vodafone for their enhanced Pro features.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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