How to get broadband with no upfront cost
Trying to save money with a new broadband deal? One way to cut costs is to choose a broadband package with no upfront fee.
Although the monthly fee will be the main thing to focus on when choosing a broadband deal, finding a package with a £0 setup fee can really help too. Here, we’ll answer any questions you might have about broadband with no setup fees.
What kind of upfront fees could I have to pay?
There are several different types of upfront fees you'll find when buying a broadband package. To help you compare deals and avoid any surprises, Broadband Genie bundles them into one. But if we break it down, upfront fees can include:
Broadband set-up or activation fees
You’ll find providers use both of these terms, but they essentially mean the same thing. Set-up or activation fees cover the costs of signing you up. That includes the activation of a broadband service and the provider’s administrative expenses.
Broadband installation costs
An installation charge can apply if you need an engineer to install a new phone, fibre, or cable line.
There’s often no cost for phone lines because many homes already haveat least one, relevant active line. So, it's simply a case of switching to a new provider.
If you have home phone and you’re already making calls or using broadband, you won't need to pay, so long as you’re not moving to a different network (going from BT to Virgin Media, for example).
If you don't already have a phone line, you’ll usually have to pay an additional fee to have this fitted. There can also be a charge to have an inactive line switched back on.
The cost varies widely depending on the provider, from as little as £20 to more than £100.
It's important to note this charge can still apply even if the broadband package has free setup.
It’s more likely an engineer will be needed if you choose an internet service provider (ISP) that doesn’t use the BT phone line network, as fewer homes already have a Virgin Media or full-fibre line. You’ll find many of these providers have special offers with free setup where you can get a new connection for free, even if they have to install a new line and socket.
Some providers charge a small fee for delivering the Wi-Fi router (usually in the region of £5-£10).
TV box delivery
Like the router, there may also be a fee for the delivery of a TV box. Sometimes, there’s a small charge toward the cost of the box.
First month's payment
Some providers ask for the first month's payment when you sign up — so not an extra cost, but a further potential upfront payment.
Which broadband providers offer deals with no set-up fees?
The following providers frequently offer broadband with free setup:
You won't pay setup fees with Plusnet broadband unless you require a new phone line, in which case there's a charge of around £50.
TalkTalk deals are often available with free setup. Their broadband and TV bundles do still include a charge for the TV box.
There’s no charge for either broadband or a new phone line with Vodafone fibre.
- Pop Telecom
There are no set up fees on any Pop Telecom broadband deals.
Here are some other providers that regularly offer no set-up fees as part of a limited time deal:
- BT does cut its setup fees from time to time. More often, you'll find BT offering free gifts such as Amazon gift vouchers and reward cards.
- Sky Broadband often provides free set-up on their fast fibre packages.
- NOW usually has a small upfront cost, but this is sometimes waived as part of a promotion
- Virgin Media offer free setup on their broadband packages increasingly often.
Here's the best way to set up internet with no upfront cost:
As with any type of broadband deal, those with no upfront costs have certain things to look for when buying:
- Unlimited broadband. We always recommend unlimited broadband. In fact, many of the deals we list will be truly unlimited with no restrictions at all.
- Average download speed. A cheap fibre deal with a superfast speed of around 35Mb is our recommended minimum for any home. Faster fibre is best for larger households with 4-6 people sharing. Ultrafast / full fibre could be what you'll need if you have even more than this. ADSL/standard broadband can be suitable for a single person who doesn’t use the internet much. But it’s increasingly outdated and may not even be much cheaper than fibre, as fast broadband is now very affordable.
For more help on this topic, you can read our ‘easy guide to broadband speeds’.
- Contract length. A longer contract is often a really good option, as these deals usually have the lowest setup costs and monthly fees. Alternatively, a shorter contract means you can switch sooner — perhaps saving even more. Just watch out for very short-term deals! Anything less than a 12-month contract will probably have a high setup cost.
When it comes to value, there are a few things you should also consider when thinking about upfront costs.
- Line installation. Is there already an active line or network box at your property? It would probably be cheaper to go with a provider that will use this rather than installing new equipment.
- Monthly charge. Often, the key to a great value deal is simply the amount you're paying each month. Again, even if you're looking for broadband with free setup, you may want to accept a small upfront fee if the deal offers a low monthly price. This could save you money in the long run.
- Rewards. Free gifts such as vouchers, reward cards, or pre-paid Mastercards can be crucial when looking for the cheapest deal. It can often be worth sacrificing free installation for an amazing reward.
Can I get a broadband and landline phone deal with no activation fee?
Yes! A broadband and phone deal won’t usually cost any more in set-up fees than the equivalent package without calls. Even if you’re signing up to a deal with anytime calls or free weekend calls.
Use our price comparison filters to quickly locate deals with calls included.
Can I get a broadband and TV deal with no installation fee?
Broadband and TV packages are more likely to have setup fees than other deals because the providers will often charge for the TV box. But that doesn't mean you can't get them.
Some options for broadband and TV with free setup include:
- BT TV
BT typically charges upfront for its TV box, but will occasionally have special offers where it removes the set-up fee for broadband and TV bundles.
- TalkTalk TV
Some TalkTalk TV and broadband bundles don't have a set-up fee. But these tend to include a basic TalkTalk TV box, which won't be able to record. If you want the ability to record live TV, you’ll need to ask for a more advanced TalkTalk TV box. These often require an upfront cost.
- Virgin Media TV
Like BT, Virgin Media usually charges for TV bundles but will waive the setup fee as a special offer.
Pros and cons of free set-up broadband
What happened to free broadband deals?
We sometimes get people coming to the page looking for free broadband deals. Unfortunately, they don't exist.
In the past, you might have seen offers such as 'free broadband for the first six months’. But the catch with these was that you still had to pay for phone line rental. So, these services weren't completely free of charge.
Due to Ofcom regulations, providers are no longer allowed to split the cost of phone and broadband. That's put an end to these sorts of special offers.
That doesn't mean you can't still get a similar deal. Many cheap broadband packages cost a comparable amount to the old "free" broadband deals when you take line rental into account.
Frequently Asked Questions about broadband with free setup
Will I get a router with free installation broadband deals?
Almost all broadband deals come with a free router, and that includes deals with free setup.
If there’s a cost for the equipment, we will include it in the setup costs section on our comparison table and mention it in the offer details.
Can I get broadband with free installation if I have bad credit?
Broadband contracts for new customers with no set-up fee and no credit check are available from Plusnet.
It’s still worth trying the biggest providers, too, as broadband credit checks are generally much less strict than going for a loan or credit card.
Another option would be a mobile home broadband deal with Three, EE, or Vodafone. These packages don't generally require a credit check.
Read our guide to broadband without a credit check for further help.
Can you get fibre broadband with no upfront fees?
Yes! Most of the providers we mentioned above offer fibre optic broadband without set-up fees. However, these tend to be on longer 18 month contracts or 24 month contracts.
Will I have to pay installation fees if I don't have a phone line?
If you don’t have a UK landline and the service requires it to operate, there will usually be an additional fee for line installation. But, there are sometimes special offers where they remove the fee.
If you want broadband without a phone line, then Virgin Media and BT provide this service to many homes around the UK. To see if this is available to you, you can pop your address or postcode into our deals checker.
Will free setup cost more in the long run?
Free setup should mean that you shouldn’t find any hidden costs down the line. This doesn't mean that broadband with no upfront fees is always the best value. When comparing deals on Broadband Genie, check the offer details for a breakdown of all costs and rewards and an effective monthly cost calculation that takes everything into account.
Is no upfront cost broadband cheaper?
This is not always the case, there are many other factors you want to consider with broadband when you are looking at getting the cheapest broadband. See below for more.
How do I get cheap broadband deals?
Begin by entering your address into our comparison table to see the best broadband deals and no upfront costs in your area.
Broadband Genie deals checker
When looking for a new broadband deal, set-up costs are something that you have to bear in mind. Fortunately, there are lots of providers out there that offer free setup.
Upfront costs may still apply if you need a new line or other engineering work.
If you’re trying to save money and are worried about credit checks, we can also help you find a deal.
Overall, getting broadband doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money upfront. In fact, most deals won’t. It’s just about finding the cheapest deal that works for you.