John Lewis Broadband: is it any good?
JOHN LEWIS offer a broadband and home phone service by working in partnership with and reselling Plusnet broadband.
But is John Lewis better than Plusnet?
John Lewis broadband is available as a choice of three packages: Unlimited 17Mb; Unlimited 38Mb fibre; and Unlimited 76Mb fibre extra.
All packages come with inclusive evening and weekend calls, free setup and a 12-month minimum contract term.
That already beats Plusnet who don't include any free calls as standard and who currently charge a setup fee for their fibre packages. And unlike John Lewis, Plusnet's advertised prices aren't available in all locations.
John Lewis broadband deals
John Lewis offer three broadband deals, including two fibre options.
All packages offer unlimited usage, have free setup including a wireless router, and are available with a 12-month minimum term contract.
John Lewis broadband isn't the cheapest, but they do offer a simple pricing structure with no hidden costs.
Unlike Plusnet, who use geographical pricing in order to advertise the cheapest prices offered to customers living in more competitive areas, the prices listed above for John Lewis broadband are available wherever a customer lives.
John Lewis' fibre broadband deals come with a 12-month minimum term, while that's not wholly unusual, many providers do offer 18-month terms on fibre.
At first glances, a shorter minimum term seems like a good thing - but be aware, with so many providers, including John Lewis, offering introductory discounts for the length of the initial term - the higher price will come into affect six months sooner for John Lewis fibre customers.
That's fine if customers are likely or happy to switch after a year - but anyone who becomes a longer-term customer will end up paying more much sooner.
It may be possible to negotiate a new deal with John Lewis after 12-months, but that's in no way guaranteed and unlikely to beat a new customer deal in any case.
Home phone pricing
A particular benefit of John Lewis broadband is the inclusion of free evening and weekend calls with all their deals.
This is quite unlike most other providers now who have removed free calls as standard, with the exception of a handful of providers who include free calls at the weekend only such as BT.
John Lewis' evening and weekend runs from 7pm to 7am and all weekend. Free calls include UK landlines, 0845 and 0870 numbers.
Call plans available include:
- Talk Anytime (UK calls, plus 25% discount on select international destinations): £5 per month
- Talk Anytime International (UK calls, plus 300 minutes to 35 countries): £7 per month
- Mobile bolt-on (UK mobile calls): £5 per month
Out of allowance call charges include:
- 15p call set up charge
- UK landlines cost 10p per minute
- UK mobiles during the day cost 12.5p per minute
- UK mobiles in the evening cost 10p per minute
A basic voicemail service is included for free with an extra service allowing checks from any phone available for £3 per month. Anonymous call blocking costs £4.
All other paid for call features such as international call barring and call divert cost £3 per month. Features can also be bundled for £6 per month.
John Lewis offer a choice of three broadband speeds: up to 17Mb, up to 38Mb and up to 76Mb, which is the same as most other providers.
According to Ofcom, Plusnet - John Lewis' parent network - performs well on those headline speeds, coming second fastest with average speeds of 9.6Mb to 11.4Mb over 24 hours, beaten only by Sky.
|Ofcom average speeds, published April 2017|
|Advertised speed||Over 24hrs||Peak time
|Sky||up to 17Mb||10.1Mb to 11.5Mb||9.9Mb to 11.4Mb|
|Plusnet||up to 17Mb||9.6Mb to 11.4Mb||9.5Mb to 11.3Mb|
|EE||up to 17Mb||9.4Mb to 11.7Mb||9.2Mb to 11.4Mb|
|BT||up to 17Mb||9.1Mb to 10.8Mb||9.0Mb to 10.6Mb|
|TalkTalk||up to 17Mb||8.6Mb to 10Mb||8.6Mb to 9.9Mb|
Unlike some broadband providers who resell a network, but use separate customer support and billing, such as the Post Office, John Lewis uses Plusnet for both their network and their customer support services.
In reality, this makes John Lewis broadband very much a rebranded Plusnet service, with little differences away from pricing structures.
Plusnet's customer service is UK based, with the provider using call centres in Yorkshire.
Ofcom's latest report into quality of service by telecoms providers, found Plusnet customers waited longer than with any other provider for their call to be answered, with an average wait time of 7 minutes and 27 seconds, resulting in 21% of customers hanging up before getting through.
John Lewis or Plusnet?
Whether you buy broadband from John Lewis or Plusnet directly will likely come down to brand loyalty and the prices available in your area, due to Plusnet's higher pricing structure for those living in more rural areas.
In sum, for customers living within Plusnet's lower pricing areas, we're not sure why anyone wouldn't simply go direct as they're really only paying more for the same service with John Lewis.
For a quick overview however, we've rounded up the differences between the two providers below:
|Price||From £20.00/mth||From £19.99/mth|
|Basic broadband||Up to 17Mb
|Up to 17Mb
|Fibre broadband||Up to 38Mb and 76Mb
|Up to 38Mb and 76Mb
|Inclusive calls||Evening & Weekend calls|
|Anytime UK calls||£5/mth||£8/mth
Includes UK mobiles
Verdict: is John Lewis broadband any good?
John Lewis broadband offers a simple pricing structure and provides broadband over the Plusnet network, which Ofcom has found performs well on real world speeds experienced by their customers.
For customers who use their home phone they also offer good value for money by including free calls to UK landlines in the evenings and at weekends as standard.
That said, for many people Plusnet will offer the same service for less, and for customers who can afford to spend more, we'd suggest looking at providers with better customer satisfaction ratings such as Sky or even Virgin Media.