Vodafone praised for new integrated broadband price structure

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Mobile operator claims it can save customers £300 and is first to fall in line with forthcoming Ofcom and ASA rules

Vodafone has been praised for its decision to become the first provider to axe separate broadband line-rental charges for customers.

The mobile operator announced the revamp of the pricing structure for its ‘Unlimited Broadband’ customers, claiming the new integrated prices could save customers more than £300 when compared with similar offers from Sky and BT.

It will see existing customers save £18 per month on its Unlimited Fibre 38 package (£25 a month for new customers), which it claims is £349 cheaper over 18 months than Sky’s Fibre Unlimited Pro or BT’s Unlimited Infinity 2 package.

Break free
Vodafone UK commercial director Glafkos Persianis said: “Giving our customers the chance to break free from hidden line-rental charges is our way of saying that we
are listening and that we’re serious about providing them with the Unlimited Home Broadband experience that they deserve.

“We started our journey into fibre broadband just over a year ago and are delighted to show that we are a truly innovative and customer-focused provider.

“We know our customers depend on us to stay connected, and now we can satisfy their needs both at home and on the go while also putting an end to line rental charges.

The changes make Vodafone the first major broadband provider to bring its pricing structure in line with new guidelines set to come in force in October. These rules, from the Advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom, mean providers cannot promote the cost of broadband packages and the line rental charge as separate entities.

uSwitch broadband analyst Ewan Taylor-Gibson said Vodafone deserves some praise for being the first to take the plunge.

“Vodafone isn’t really abolishing line-rental charges, it’s simply combining the charge into its fibre pricing.  This is because broadband providers are under pressure from Government and Ofcom to change advertised pricing so customers see a cost per month that includes line rental, so Vodafone is stealing a march on its rivals.

“It won’t be long before this way of pricing becomes the norm across the whole broadband market – although Vodafone should get a pat on the back for being the first to take the plunge.”

Frustrating
Taylor-Gibson added: “Compared with other fibre deals, Unlimited Fibre Broadband 38 is competitive, with the only frustrating thing being that it ties users into an 18-month contract – longer than the current standard.”

According to ASA research published in January, just 15 per cent of UK consumers could correctly identify the cost of a broadband package based on a TV advert, prompting the ASA and Ofcom to take action.

Relish Broadband claims one in four Brits don’t even know their own landline number, with three quarters saying landlines are a thing of the past. Nearly half of Brits said they don’t even know how much they are paying for their broadband.

Raise awareness
CCS Insight analyst Paolo Pescatore commented: “It’s a bold move and one that will help raise awareness of its fibre broadband offerings in a crowded market.  It represents a great opportunity for Vodafone to steal a march on its rivals, more so given it is a relatively new entrant and faces significant headwinds in the fixed line broadband market.

“It will go some way to provide customers with clear and transparent pricing and lays down the gauntlet for others who will be forced to go down this route.”

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