EE vs TalkTalk broadband: which is better?

Last updated: 6 December 2021   By Jo Bailey

EE and TalkTalk both offer broadband to customers using the Openreach network, but TalkTalk is cheaper.

ee vs talktalk broadband

At a glance

TalkTalk EE
Price From £21/mth From £21.50/mth
Basic broadband 11Mb 10Mb
Superfast broadband 38Mb, 67Mb 36Mb, 67Mb
Ultrafast broadband 150Mb, 550Mb, 900Mb 100Mb, 500Mb, 900Mb
Inclusive calls None None
Anytime UK calls £12/mth
Includes UK mobiles
£8.36/mth
Includes UK mobiles
TV £4 per month From £8 per month
Minimum term 12 months / 18 months / 24 months 24 months

Special offers

Offer Terms

TalkTalk full fibre broadband from just £29 per month for months.

18 month minimum term. No setup fee. Monthly price will rise annually by CPI + 3.7% in April.


NOW Entertainment just £4.99 a month for 12 months with TalkTalk TV and broadband

18 month minimum term on broadband (required). Monthly-rolling contract on TV.


Broadband deals

Winner: TalkTalk's superfast fibre deals are cheaper and include a landline as standard.

The broadband deals on offer from EE and TalkTalk are similar in terms of speed and set-up costs.

However, while TalkTalk offer 18-month contracts as standard, EE have moved to 24-month deals instead so customers will need to commit for longer. There are options on some plans for TalkTalk customers to take a 12-month or 24-month deal if this is more suitable for them.

Plus, EE no longer include a landline with their fibre broadband deals, so be sure to check if that's a concern and see the section further down on call plans.

Here are the superfast fibre broadband deals the two providers currently have on offer:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Fibre 36Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 5GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup
Fibre 65 67Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Fibre Plus 67Mb average £29 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 5GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup

The pricing is fairly similar with the one major difference we mentioned above - TalkTalk include a landline while EE do not.

There are also perks for EE pay monthly mobile customers as well, so any existing EE customers should pay attention to those.

Both providers also offer ultrafast services to some households, with EE exclusive to the Openreach network and TalkTalk using a mix of Openreach and CityFibre networks to deliver their ultrafast broadband.

Here are some package examples:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 150 145Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Full Fibre Max 100 100Mb average £31 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 20GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup
Full Fibre Max 500 500Mb average £39.50 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 6 month free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 20GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup
Full Fibre Max Gigabit 900Mb average £49 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 12 month free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 20GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup

The faster plans TalkTalk offer known as Future Fibre also includes a 1GB plan, but it only has limited availability so far.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that both providers do still offer copper broadband, although TalkTalk have increased their copper prices to be more expensive than taking their fibre broadband.

That decision means it's much cheaper for customers just wanting copper broadband to opt for EE.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fast Broadband 11Mb average £29.95 Free 18 months
Broadband 10Mb average £26 £10 24 months
offer Offer: 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 5GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers

Even so, the pricing of copper broadband in comparison to fibre means it's far more economically sensible for customers to take the fibre option - as long as they're in a superfast area.


Price

Winner: TalkTalk's fibre broadband deals are cheaper than EE's.

TalkTalk are one of the biggest names in budget broadband, and their prices reflect their focus on cheap, no-frills broadband deals.

Their 67Mb broadband is frequently lower in price than the 36Mb deals offered by their rivals, and EE is often no exception.

There's also the fact that TalkTalk includes a landline with their superfast fibre plans, while EE customers will pay a few pounds more per month just to add the landline before any call plans are added.

However, EE customers who take both broadband and mobile services from them, however, do receive a 10% monthly discount on their broadband contract, and they will also receive a data boost every month to their mobile contract too.

This can bring the value more into line with TalkTalk's, but it's obviously dependent on taking multiple services from EE.

Find out more about the cheapest broadband deals available in the UK.


Broadband speeds

Winner: TalkTalk win thanks to real-life speed test data from Ofcom.

Every broadband supplier must advertise average speeds, rather than the 'up to' advertising which was common previously.

EE and TalkTalk advertise similar superfast broadband speeds, meaning we can use Ofcom's annual speed testing data to directly compare their performance:

Ofcom average speeds, published March 2023
Advertised average speed Over 24hrs Peak time
(8-10pm weekdays)
TalkTalk 38Mb 35.68Mb 34.73Mb
TalkTalk 67Mb 61.70Mb 60.85Mb
TalkTalk 77Mb 79.96Mb 79.96Mb
TalkTalk 152Mb 159.90Mb 159.91Mb
TalkTalk 525Mb 451.64Mb 451.34Mb

In both superfast fibre speed categories, TalkTalk came closer to meeting their advertised speeds.

This real-life testing is a good experiment to see how ISPs perform for real customers, but bear in mind that the information is taken from a selection of panellists and so may not be entirely representative.

We don't have any independent testing for the ultrafast packages offered by either EE or TalkTalk yet. Hopefully, Ofcom will include them in a future report.

We've got a dedicated guide to the fastest broadband providers or read our review of Virgin Media broadband for information about their ultrafast speeds.


Routers

Winner: Draw - Both ISPs provide advanced routers to their customers, with lots of appealing features.

Both EE and TalkTalk have improved their basic routers in recent years, with EE now providing their Smart Hub as standard to all fibre customers.

The Smart Hub's features include:

  • Autosensing ADSL2+ and VDSL2 modem for EE broadband lines
  • Dual band with next generation wi-fi
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 RJ11 broadband port
  • 1 USB2.0 port
  • Auto-channel selection
  • WPS

Customers signing up for EE Smart WiFi (more on this below) will receive the EE Smart WiFi Router which is compatible with their boosting discs. There's little other difference between the two routers.

TalkTalk's superfast customers receive the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub Black first released in 2018.

Its features include:

  • Dual band with next generation wi-fi
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 x Gigabit WAN port
  • 1 x RJ11 xDSL port
  • Intergrated firewall
  • WPS

TalkTalk's ultrafast customers will receive the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub which is optimised for ultrafast connections.

Overall, the routers offered by EE and TalkTalk are on a par with each other, and customers can expect to receive a very serviceable router with their broadband deal.

We've got more on wireless routers offered by UK broadband providers in this guide.

Speed boosters

EE joined parent company BT in June 2020 by offering a Smart WiFi broadband option to customers.

It costs £10 extra per month and provides customers with a Smart WiFi Disc and Smart WiFi Router. If further discs are required to extend the signal around the home, two further discs will be supplied by EE.

A 4GEE WiFi Mini portable hotspot is included in the price, aiming to provide a 4G signal if the home broadband signal goes down.

As TalkTalk don't offer anything comparable, EE triumph on this measure, although paying for Smart WiFi to boost signal around the home may be frustrating to customers who think their wi-fi should be effective without such a thing.


Adding calls to broadband

Winner: TalkTalk offer simple call plans with no hidden costs.

EE fibre customers have to pay £2 to add even a pay as you call option to their broadband, although the prices for inclusive calls are reasonable.

Here's how their call plans look:

Call plan Monthly cost Includes
Anytime calls to landlines £5 Calls to UK landlines starting with 01, 02 or 03
Anytime calls to landlines and mobiles £8 Calls to UK landlines starting with 01, 02 and 03 + 1,500 minutes to UK mobiles
Anytime UK and international calls £12 Calls to UK landlines starting with 01, 02 and 03 + 1,500 minutes to UK mobiles + calls to international landlines in 50 countries + 30% other international calls

TalkTalk, on the other hand, have a simpler structure for their call plans:

Call plan Monthly cost Includes
Unlimited UK £12 Inclusive calls to UK landlines and mobiles at anytime
International Max £10 1,000 minutes to landlines and mobiles in over 50 destinations + discounts to other countries

TalkTalk edge this one simply because EE customers will have to pay an extra £2 to add a landline in the first place, making TalkTalk deals slightly more attractive.


TV services

Winner: TalkTalk TV is a basic system but it offers more than EE's TV option.

Although EE and TalkTalk went through a period of challenging the bigger names on TV extras, those days are in the past now, and the services offered by the two providers only include content that's available elsewhere.

EE added Apple TV 4K options to their broadband deals back in June 2019, but the availability has altered now so that it's only available to customers who take EE broadband and mobile services together.

In terms of what the service offers, it comes with a free 12-month subscription to Apple TV+, access to BT Sport as standard and the ability to watch both free and paid catch-up or streaming apps via the Apple TV 4K box.

The price of adding Apple TV 4K varies depending on which base package customers choose, which is rather confusing in itself. It can cost anywhere between £8 to £12 for EE mobile customers to add it to a broadband deal.

Ultimately, it's a nice extra, but not something worth signing up specifically for.

TalkTalk announced in November 2020 they were scrapping their TV Boosts in favour of moving towards a Now TV membership system instead.

As we explain in our revamped guide to TalkTalk TV, the service doesn't offer much that isn't available elsewhere, but at least it functions as a Freeview service with extras available.

At £4 per month, it's also a standard price - much better than EE's confusing system.

TalkTalk also offer some TV deals with Netflix included and they are developing a new service with Netgem - ironically, the company who used to provide EE's TV service.


Customer Service

Winner: EE has an excellent record on customer satisfaction.

EE have moved on splendidly from their 2015 fine for failing to handle complaints correctly, taking the crown in our recent analysis of the best broadband providers for customer service.

On the other hand, TalkTalk have struggled with their customer service performance in recent years, despite releasing a fairer broadband charter in November 2018 and promising their complaint figures didn't provide an accurate reflection of their customer service standing.

The latest complaint trends show the differences between the two providers:

ofcom broadband complaints q2 2021

While EE's complaint levels remain low, TalkTalk's are consistently above average.

Other statistics in Ofcom's latest analysis of customer service in their Comparing Service Quality report bears out these differences in complaint levels:

EE TalkTalk
Satisfaction with overall service 82% 77%
Satisfaction with speed of service 78% 71%
Customers with a reason to complain 30% 24%
Overall satisfaction with complaints handling 47% 47%

While TalkTalk tie with EE complaints handling satisfaction and have fewer customers with a reason to complain, their overall satisfaction levels are much lower.

This type of data always runs behind on what customers are experiencing in the here and now, but EE's trends are positive while TalkTalk's are lacklustre.


Verdict: EE or TalkTalk broadband?

Overall winner: TalkTalk for being cheaper and offering a simpler pricing structure alongside contract flexibility.

It's tricky to pick a winner as both providers have different strengths.

If price is the main consideration, it's hard to look beyond TalkTalk. They offer fibre broadband deals that are some of the cheapest around, so when comparing broadband on price, they're invariably a top choice.

We also like TalkTalk's standard 18-month contracts which are better for many customers - plus customers can choose 12-month or 24-month deals if they want to.

Yet the discounts EE offer to mobile customers to encourage them to take multiple services are enticing, and it's difficult to ignore EE's superior customer service record.

What tips it for us, however, is the arguably simpler pricing structures TalkTalk have in comparison to EE.

Their TV service is cheap and straightforward, while customers won't be confused by their call plan options either.

While both EE and TalkTalk offer a solid broadband service, TalkTalk just edge them out in our analysis.

Comments (1)

Jim
4 February 2021

Excellent article. Talktalk cannot...will not...refuses to give potential customers a date when your package will go on line. If they had an organised schedule of engineer's visits they should in this day and age tell you to within a week or two....when you will be on line. They do not. This does not instill confidence in me at all as an ISP.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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