The Genie guide to home broadband and phone packages
Phone and broadband deals are very popular now, with many of us getting both services from the same provider. But what’s all the fuss about – and what are the alternatives? Here we’ll talk you through the basics of these kinds of packages, though as we’re mostly focusing on broadband including line rental in this guide you may want to read our beginner’s guide to broadband for more in-depth help with home internet services in particular.
There are several key reasons why the majority of us now turn to a single supplier for our phone and broadband:
Value: The more you buy from one internet service provider (ISP), the likelier it is you’ll get cheap prices for one of both of the services. Home phone and broadband deals are among the easiest ways to do this.
One point of contact: One company means one customer service and tech support number to call, as well as a single bill for your phone and broadband.
Extras: As well as the cheapest offers, ISPs will often throw in little extras to sweeten the deal if you sign up for broadband and line rental together.
Of course you may have a reason you want to split your two bills and if so, that’s certainly still an option in many cases – just be aware you may be missing out on the top deals. The best broadband and phone deals provide you cheap phone and broadband in one package.
How to find the best broadband and phone deals
Call packages and line rental
Some of us don’t really use our landlines at all anymore, but unfortunately broadband without a phone line is quite rare, so in the vast majority of cases you’ll still need to be paying line rental. This is because your broadband comes into your home via your telephone line so it needs to be active to receive your internet signal.
So, as it’s here anyway, we may as well make use if it! These are the various options you may be offered on telephone and broadband deals.
Free UK evening and/or weekend landline calls: Probably the most common deal right now; again, be sure to check the small print for specifics on other call types. If you’re after the cheapest broadband and phone deal including a call package this is the way to go.
Free anytime UK landline calls: A great option where available. However, read the small print on what ‘08’ numbers are included and remember you’ll still be paying to call mobiles.
0870/0845 numbers: Be careful here. If not included in your deal, 0870 calls can cost up to 10p per minute while 0845 should be a bit cheaper. However if you’re concerned, check that small print for prices.
Free mobile calls: Some of the best telephone and broadband deals will offer you inclusive calls to mobile numbers, but watch out as these deals can be network specific, only offering free calls to that particular network (say, BT or Virgin). That can be great if you plan your whole communications bill around it – or wholly useless if you don’t know anyone on that network!
Free international calls: Many ISPs, such as Sky and TalkTalk, provide international call packages which for an additional fee allow you to phone abroad for no extra charge. Just be aware that some have a time limit per call (so you may have to hang up and redial after 60 minutes) and international mobiles may only be covered in some countries.
Pay for what you use: If you’re not bothered about inclusive call packages then a good way to get cheap broadband and phone deals is to opt for one without any included call costs. You’ll need to pay for every call, but that may not be a problem if you don’t need the landline for anything but internet access.
It’s also worth looking at the types of line rental payments available, as on many broadband and phone packages this will be a more expensive part of your monthly bill than the actual broadband.
Line rental will typically cost £12-18 per month, so over a two year deal you could be looking at close to £100 saved on the cheaper options. Some providers now offer a discount if you pay home phone line rental for the year up front, which may well be worth taking advantage of if you’re in a position to do so as it tends to be the best way to get the cheapest broadband and line rental.
Comparing the best phone and broadband deals
Once your home phone priorities are set, you can focus on the internet side of things and compare phone and broadband bundles.
We highly recommend starting with a postcode check, as this should narrow down the types of broadband that are available in your area – unfortunately not all telephone exchanges are created equal so it’s important to find out what services are in your area.
Once you’ve got a list of available services you can begin to compare broadband and phone packages. To make things easier you’ll see we break each of them down into the key components to aid your comparison.
Monthly price: The price you’ll be paying each month for the package. In the case of broadband and phone bundles this includes the cost of line rental.
Contract: How long you’re committing for. In most cases, the longer you commit the cheaper or better value the deal will be – but can you be sure you’ll want this service that far down the line?
Speed: This is the fastest your broadband may go on this deal. For more about this, check out our guide to the different types of broadband.
Data limit: How much data you can download each month. Be warned though – ‘unlimited’ doesn’t always mean unlimited; be sure to check out the small print, as well as the traffic management policies the ISP has in place.
Effective cost: Here we work out what you’ll effectively pay per month over the whole contract length, taking into consideration setup costs, special offers and line rental. If you’re comparing internet and phone deals this is important, it can be a real eye-opener!
You’ll also notice other details for each available deal in our comparison tables. Many phone and internet deals will come with special offers. These can be anything from free months of broadband to high street vouchers or other freebies. The best phone and broadband deals will give you some nice extras on top of the cheap broadband and line rental.
Also, if you click on a provider name you’ll find hundreds of customer reviews of each of the leading broadband suppliers.
If you'd like more specific information about selecting a broadband package, please visit our guide to comparing broadband.
Beyond broadband and telephone deals
Finally, a quick mention of other deals that may be worth considering; if you’ve already decided you want a single broadband and phone deal, it’s worth thinking about other services you can add to the mix:
TV bundles: The leading UK broadband providers (including Sky and TalkTalk) all now offer television services above and beyond those on Freeview – everything from sport and movies to catch-up and TV on the move. Check out our TV and broadband bundles page for all the options.
Mobile SIMs: Many broadband providers also have their own mobile networks and you can benefit from this by getting a SIM from the same company at a discount. Some packages even include a free SIM with free minutes and texts as part of the deal. These mobile phone broadband deals are potentially a nice little money saver, so well worth keeping an eye out for if you’ve been considering a new smartphone SIM.