Vodafone or EE: who is best for home broadband?

Last updated: 26 April 2021   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Vodafone and EE offer home broadband deals to customers, with discounts available to their pay monthly mobile customers too.

home broadband

At a glance

Vodafone EE
Price From £22/mth From £21.50/mth
Basic broadband N/A 10Mb average
Unlimited
Fibre broadband Up to 900Mb average
Unlimited
Up to 900Mb average
Unlimited
Inclusive calls None None
Anytime UK calls £5/mth
Includes UK mobiles
£8/mth
Includes 1,500 minutes to UK mobiles
TV With Vodafone Pro Mobile customers only
Minimum term 24-months 18-months

Special offers

Both Vodafone and EE regularly entice customers with special offers. Here are their current special deals:

Offer Terms

Vodafone full fibre broadband from £26 a month

24 month minimum term. No set up fee. From £36/mth after 24 months. Monthly price will rise by CPI + 3.9% in April.


Get the latest WiFi 6 Power Hub + Super Booster with Vodafone Super WiFi 6 broadband from £33 a month

24 month minimum term. No set up fee. From £51/mth after 24 months. Monthly price will rise by CPI + 3.9% in April.


Broadband deals

Winner: Vodafone are the cheapest of the two providers, and they have more choice when it comes to ultrafast deals.

Vodafone and EE each have two superfast packages with broadly similar speeds on offer.

Here are how those deals currently compare:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
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
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 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

Vodafone are more of a budget broadband provider focused intensely on offering some of the cheapest broadband deals around, so it's no surprise their offers are cheaper than EE's.

Apart from price, one major difference here is the contract length: EE tie customers into 18-month deals while Vodafone have increased their minimum term up to 24 months.

Plus, customers who want a landline with their broadband deal should check the small print on EE's offer: they have started to offer broadband deals without a landline and customers will need to pay extra for this.

Ultrafast broadband

Vodafone and EE offer ultrafast and gigabit-capable broadband to their customers, although coverage is limited (more on this below).

These are their current packages:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 150 150Mb average £29 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
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
Pro II Full Fibre 200 200Mb average £40 Free 24 months
offer Offer: New Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E + Super WiFi 6E Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up + £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 500 + Super WiFi 6 500Mb average £40 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 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 910 + Super WiFi 6 910Mb average £46 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 + Up to £100 of your leaving fees covered when switching to Vodafone Broadband
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

Again, the major difference here is the contract length, although EE do charge set-up fees at this level. Neither provider includes a traditional home phone line with these deals.

The major problem for customers looking to access these deals from either Vodafone or EE is simply that they aren't all that widely available yet.

Vodafone have partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach in 15 towns and cities across the UK, so these are the only locations where their fibre to the premises (FTTP) ultrafast services are available:

Aberdeen Birmingham Bournemouth Bristol Cambridge
Coventry Edinburgh Huddersfield Leeds Liverpool
Milton Keynes Northampton Peterborough Southend-on-Sea Stirling

Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool are the cities where Vodafone have partnered with Openreach. Upload speeds in those locations are asymmetrical while CityFibre cities have symmetrical download and upload speeds.

Meanwhile, EE launched their FTTP deals on the Openreach network in September 2020, although the pricing simply mirrored the deals they were already offering over the G.fast network.

The Openreach FTTP network currently covers over 4.5 million premises across the UK, so it's still in its infancy. Find out more about ultrafast broadband and G.fast broadband technologies.

Copper broadband

For customers looking for basic broadband or for those in areas where the Openreach superfast network has yet to reach, EE still offer a basic copper broadband service:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
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

As Vodafone no longer offer a basic broadband service, EE is the only option for customers who need a copper broadband connection.


Price

Winner: Vodafone's superfast deals are cheaper, plus they don't charge installation fees.

Vodafone work hard to keep their superfast fibre broadband prices low, so they easily beat EE when it comes to superfast pricing.

However, it becomes more complicated when we look at the two providers' ultrafast deals because they're not directly comparable.

Not only do the advertised speeds differ, there's also the fact that Vodafone's ultrafast deals come under their Pro tier of broadband. We look at what that means in more detail later, but it potentially puts the quality of service offered by Vodafone on those packages above EE's.

Mobile customer discounts

Vodafone and EE are both primarily known for their mobile deals, so it's unsurprising they both offer discounts taking broadband and mobile deals from them.

These could be the tipping point for customers considering one ISP or the other, although we'd always advise checking deals for broadband and mobile separately before signing up.

Vodafone's dual offer is called Vodafone Together and the discounts are £2 or £3 per month depending on the type of mobile plan a customer has with them.

With EE, customers can get 10% off their broadband bill if they're also a mobile subscriber. This is coupled with data boosts to their mobile account of up to 20GB if they're a pay monthly mobile customer.

Read our full guides to Vodafone mobile and EE mobile.


Speed

Winner: Ofcom data shows EE's speeds broadly meet expectations.

Vodafone haven't yet been included in Ofcom's independent testing data, so it's difficult to check whether the speeds they offer actually live up to real-world experiences.

While the speeds advertised by broadband providers must be available to at least 50% of customers at peak times, Vodafone go further to quantify their customers' experiences on their website, saying 73% of Superfast 1 and 61% of Superfast 2 customers receive the advertised speeds.

Again, we don't have independent data to back this up, but it's a very specific claim for Vodafone to make, so we'd assume there's some internal data behind it.

With EE, we have a little more information thanks to their inclusion in Ofcom's annual speed testing reports.

This is how their 67Mb package measured up in comparison to their major rivals:

ofcom fast fibre broadband speeds

As we can see, the speeds recorded by EE's panellists are broadly in line with their competitors', although they don't hit the advertised 67Mb.

If we drop down to the 36Mb package, we can see that EE meets expectations at that level:

ofcom fibre broadband speeds

In terms of reaching their advertised speeds, then, EE have a split record. It's also worth noting we don't have any data for their ultrafast packages.


Routers

Winner: Draw thanks to superior home hubs on offer from both providers.

Vodafone provide their broadband customers with their latest Vodafone WiFi Hub which they say is twice as powerful as the previous router they offered.

Its specifications include:

  • Dual band router
  • 7 antennae with beamforming
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections
  • 2 USB ports

The Vodafone WiFi Hub works in tandem with the Vodafone Broadband app. This allows customers to control their broadband connection from their phone and the app won a Red Dot Award in 2019 for its design.

Meanwhile, EE have a powerful router in the form of their EE Smart Hub. It's a repackaged version of BT's Smart Hub, which is one of our favourite routers for sheer capability.

Technical specifications include:

  • Dual band
  • Autosensing
  • 1 x RJ11 broadband port
  • 4 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port

EE also offer access to a router management app to easily manage wi-fi around the home.

EE Smart WiFi Router

EE have an additional router on offer to customers: the Smart WiFi Router.

This hub is a repackaged version of the BT Smart Hub 2, and it works with Smart WiFi Discs to help boost the EE wi-fi signal around the home. We cover the service in more detail next.


Boosting wi-fi coverage

Winner: Vodafone Pro is pricey but offers more to customers.

Both Vodafone and EE have extra services to help customers improve the reliability of their home broadband connection and make the most of wi-fi coverage around the home.

These are paid extras, although they work slightly differently. Let's look at Vodafone Pro first.

We've mentioned Vodafone Pro already because the service comes as standard with Vodafone's 100Mb+ deals. However, it's also an extra tier for superfast broadband customers, offering the following:

  • Super WiFi with a WiFi Booster to provide minimum speeds of 10Mb in every room
  • 4G back-up in case the fixed line broadband goes down
  • Access to Wi-Fi Xperts to monitor and fix any issues
  • A promise to upgrade to FTTP where available
  • 12 months free Norton anti-virus protection then half-price for the second year

This extra tier costs £13 more per month than the standard Superfast 1 and Superfast 2 prices discussed at the beginning of this guide. A further tier, Vodafone Pro Xtra, can be accessed for an additional £8 on top of that.

This is a lot to pay, but it's worth noting Vodafone let customers leave without penalty if the broadband doesn't meet expectations (there are a few hoops to jump through). That's not an option EE give to their customers with their Smart WiFi.

EE Smart WiFi costs £10 extra per month and includes the following:

  • An upgraded router
  • 1 x Smart Disc
  • Up to 2 additional discs if required
  • Back-up in the form of a 4GEE WiFi Mini portable hotspot

However, there's no minimum speed guarantee mentioned on EE's website, nor can customers exit their contract if they're not receiving decent broadband speeds.

Unlike Vodafone Pro, then, EE Smart WiFi doesn't offer much in the way of promises if the service doesn't meet expectations.

Read about broadband speed guarantees and boosters in more depth.


Call plans

Winner: Vodafone's anytime plan is better value.

As we've already mentioned, both Vodafone and EE encourage customers to bundle broadband with mobile services. However, both providers do offer some basic home phone call plans too (for those with a landline):

These are Vodafone's plans:

Call plan Features Price per month
Evening and Weekend Calls Unlimited evening and weekend calls to standard UK landlines and mobiles £4
Anytime Landline and Mobile Calls Unlimited calls to standard UK landlines and mobiles £5
International 300 300 minutes per month to 46 destinations £5

And here's what EE customers can choose from:

Call plan Features Price per month
Anytime calls to landlines and mobiles Inclusive calls to UK landlines and 1,500 minutes to UK mobiles £8
Anytime UK and International calls As above plus inclusive calls to landlines in 50 countries and 30% discount to landlines in the rest of the world £12

So, Vodafone's anytime call plan is better value, but those who call internationally may find more value in EE's deals.


TV

Winner: Draw, with both providers offering Apple TV 4K to a limited number of customers.

Both Vodafone and EE have partnered with Apple TV 4K to offer a set-top box which allows access to apps and catch-up services including:

  • Apple TV+
  • BBC iPlayer
  • ITV Hub
  • Netflix
  • Now
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Disney+

Some of these will require additional subscriptions, meaning Apple TV 4K works as a central platform rather than a traditional TV service.

Only Vodafone Pro customers will receive Apple TV 4K as part of their extra perks, while EE offer it to pay monthly mobile customers, meaning it's not really a perk for broadband customers but it is available to them if they take mobile services from EE too.


Customer service

Winner: EE has a far better customer service record than Vodafone.

Customer service is where broadband providers have the chance to shine. In this case, EE have a much better record than Vodafone do.

Vodafone have struggled with their complaint levels ever since they first entered into the complaints rankings in 2018 and recent trends don't show much improvement: they remain the most complained about broadband provider as of Q3 2020.

ofcom broadband complaints q3 2020

Conversely, EE have turned their customer service record around to become our top pick for broadband customer service.

Not only are their complaint figures low, they scored highly in several key categories in Ofcom's 2020 Comparing Service Quality report.

At the time, Vodafone weren't featured heavily in Ofcom's research as a relatively small provider, but the main metric we do have on their performance shows them in an unfavourable light compared to EE:

Vodafone EE
Average call waiting time 2 minutes 16 seconds 26 seconds
Percentage of abandoned calls 11% 1.7%

Overall, EE have the better customer service record, while Vodafone don't seem to be able to get a handle on their high complaint levels.


Our verdict

Overall winner: It's close, but EE have a strong customer service record to back up their broadband packages and other features.

Where to next?

Vodafone and EE arguably offer different things to their broadband customers, with Vodafone focused on the budget end of the market and EE aiming to offer a more premium service thanks to their relationship with BT.

On some elements, the two are finely matched. For instance, their routers are both quality pieces of kit, and their TV service is similarly mediocre (and, in EE's case, only available to pay monthly mobile customers).

We like Vodafone for the following reasons:

  • Cheap superfast prices
  • Different tiers of ultrafast fibre
  • Good call plans
  • Vodafone Pro offers extra support for customers willing to pay

On the other hand, we like EE because:

  • We have speed testing to back up their speed claims
  • They have an excellent customer service record
  • Their ultrafast plans are available in more places
  • They have 18-month deals as standard

It's a tricky choice, but we're going to opt for EE on this one mainly because some of the best features Vodafone have to offer come with their Vodafone Pro tier - and that eliminates the savings a customer would make if they were looking for the cheapest provider around.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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