Direct Save Telecom broadband review 2023
|Value for Money||3/5|
Direct Save Telecom offers a host of different broadband packages to suit all needs. These range from a basic 11Mb package to ultrafast Full Fibre deals. There are no lengthy, 18-month contracts to be seen and ‘no contract broadband’ is also available.
However, there are no real incentives for signing up, the packages aren’t very competitive, and it doesn’t score well for great customer service.
Let’s take a closer look...
|We like||We don’t like|
Direct Save Telecom: In summary
|Download Speeds (Average)||11Mb / 35Mb / 40Mb / 63Mb / 80Mb / 100Mb / 220Mb / 550Mb / 1000Mb|
|Upload Speeds (Average)||1Mb / 9.5Mb / 10Mb / 19Mb / 20Mb / 20Mb / 30Mb / 75Mb / 115Mb|
|Data Usage Limit||Unlimited|
|Type of Broadband||ADSL / Fibre / Full Fibre|
|Home Phone Line?||Yes|
|Inclusive phone calls?||Call bundles available as an extra|
|Bundled Wi-Fi Router?||Yes|
Direct Save Telecom Broadband Speeds
Speed Score: 3 out of 5
Direct Save Telecom offers a wide choice of broadband speeds. As well as a basic ADSL service, there's also the option to sign up to a Full Fibre deal. Just remember, Full Fibre is only available for around half of all broadband customers at the moment, so the choices you see here may be limited depending on your location.
The best way to check what's available to you is to pop your postcode in. This will show you a comparison table and all the different deals you can sign up to at your address. Don't forget, you can use the filters to sort these results out by speed, price, contract length, set-up cost.
Direct Save Telecom uses the BT Openreach network. You'll find most internet service providers on the Openreach network (including BT, Shell Energy and TalkTalk) offer similar speeds. For this reason, when comparing broadband providers, you should pay close attention to other factors such as contract, flexibility, price and customer service. All of which, we’ll cover in this review.
All the packages below show the average download and upload speeds you're likely to get.
Direct Save Telecom Fast Broadband
- Download speed: 11Mb
- Upload speed: 1Mb
Direct Save Telecom Superfast Fibre Broadband
- Download speed: 35Mb
- Upload speed: 9.5Mb
Direct Save Telecom Superfast Fibre Broadband Plus
- Download speed: 63Mb
- Upload speed: 17Mb
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre 40Mb
- Download speed: 40Mb
- Upload speed: 10Mb
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre 80Mb
- Download speed: 80Mb
- Upload speed: 20Mb
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre 100Mb
- Download speed: 100Mb
- Upload speed: 20M
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre 220Mb
- Download speed: 220Mb
- Upload speed: 30Mb
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre 550Mb
- Download speed: 550Mb
- Upload speed: 75Mb
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre 1000Mb
- Download speed: 1000Mb
- Upload speed: 115Mb
Direct Save Telecom speed summary
There are plenty of options when it comes to DST packages. Just bear in mind, its full fibre packages may be limited in availability. This is because this relies on newer fibre optic lines, which aren’t available to every home.
Just about everyone will be able to sign up to the ‘Superfast’ broadband packages. This is because it uses the Openreach network and standard BT phone lines for this service, which almost everyone in the UK has access to.
What is Openreach?
Openreach is the company that maintains the former British Telecom Network used for the majority of broadband and phone services. If a repair or installation is required, it’s Openreach who will send an engineer, not your provider.
More than 650 service providers using the Openreach network. That’s the majority of the UK’s broadband providers. This includes Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media - it uses its own, separate cable network.
Direct Save Telecom Full Fibre packages need a fibre optic connection that runs all the way to your home to achieve these ultrafast speeds.
Unfortunately, while these FTTP deals offer excellent download performance, the upload rates aren’t very enticing. You’ll see the same thing with high-speed broadband from other providers, too, including BT, Sky, and Virgin Media. But there are some Full Fibre providers which offer much better upload rates (normally those who run off their own networks).
In our 2023 Broadband Awards, Direct Save Telecom didn’t fare very well. Unfortunately, it came second to last place with an average speed satisfaction level of 61.2%. The only other provider to rank lower was Onestream.
Direct Save Telecom Customer Service
Customer Service Score: 3 out of 5
In our 2023 Broadband Awards survey, Direct Save Telecom came last in the category for ‘Best Customer Care’, with just a 60.6% satisfaction level. This is a big fall from grace. In 2020, it won this category.
There’s no data for DST in Ofcom’s 2023 Customer Service Report, as it’s too small to be included. However, our survey results seem to be backed up by its Trustpilot review, which is a mixed bag. At the time of writing, it scores 3.9 out of 5. Poor user reviews tend to reference either technical issues with service or billing issues.
On the upside, it’s possible to speak to the DST customer service and technical support team until reasonably late on weekdays, Saturdays and holidays.
You can find out more in our guide to Direct Save Telecom broadband support and customer service.
Direct Save Telecom Value for Money
Value for Money Score: 3 out of 5
Direct Save can be very affordable. Its 12-month ADSL package is just over £20. Although this isn’t the cheapest for this speed, the set-up fees are very low. As speeds get faster, though, deals start getting slightly less competitive.
DST also offers rolling monthly deals as well as standard 12-month contracts. You'll pay more for these (a monthly ADSL package is nearly double the annual contract cost), but it provides a lot more flexibility as you can cancel at any time without facing a huge penalty.
Again, when looking at our 2023 Broadband Awards, things don’t look so hot. It came third from last in the ‘Best Value for Money’ award with a total of 60.6% satisfaction. This is a shame, as in 2020 we crowned Direct Save Telecom ‘Best Value Provider’.
Are you reluctant to sign up to a lengthy contract? Here are some other great 1-month broadband deals on offer at the moment:
Direct Save Telecom rewards
Direct Save Telecom doesn’t often include rewards or free gifts for new customers. If these offers include bill credits or gift vouchers, they can lower the effective monthly cost of your total contract bill.
Direct Save Telecom home phone
You’ll need a telephone line for Direct Save Telecom’s ADSL and FTTC packages. However, there’s no additional line rental charges and this is included in the price.
For the Superfast Fibre Broadband deals, there are three calling plans available. All of which it claims are cheaper than BT’s alternative call packages:
|Call Package||Cost per month|
|Pay per use calls||£2.95|
|700 free minutes to UK landlines and mobile phones||£5.95|
|Free anytime to UK landlines and mobile phones||£11.95|
What does ADSL mean?
ADSL stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. It’s broadband technology that allows the transfer data across regular telephone lines. You can make calls at the same time as being connected to the internet.
An ADSL line will, at minimum, allow for a broadband connection of up to 8Mb. These days, that’s pretty slow and won’t allow you to do much other than emailing or basic web searches.
ADSL2+ is now available at nearly all exchanges across the UK with slightly faster data transfer rates of around 10-11Mb.
What is fibre broadband?
Fibre optic broadband is a service that provides fast internet speeds using fibre optic cables. It’s much faster and more reliable than ADSL broadband, which uses copper telephone wires.
Fibre optic broadband is now available in every part of the country, and for a basic package, it never costs much more than slower ADSL per month.
The majority of fibre broadband deals are also known as FTTC or ‘Fibre-To-The-Cabinet’ Broadband. This is available on the BT Openreach network. FTTC uses fibre optic cables that connect to your nearest telephone cabinet. Keep an eye out for the green boxes you see on the side of the road - those are the cabinets.
From the cabinet to your home, data then carries on across the same copper telephone wire as a standard ADSL broadband service.
Fibre broadband is also sometimes referred to as ‘Superfast’ broadband. With fibre you can expect to receive a minimum speed of 35Mb.
Direct Save offers and discounts
Direct Save broadband customers get access to Direct Save’s Online Discount Club, which provides savings worth up to 25% for shops, hotels, air travel, utilities and days out. This is potentially useful, but depends on whether you use any of the participating retailers, and it’s not clear exactly how much you can save.
In the past, these have included discounts at Tesco, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Best Western Hotels. You can also receive up to 65% discount on theme parks. You’ll get this free for your first year as a broadband customer. After this, you’ll be charged £9.95 to renew (although you can opt out of this).
Direct Save Telecom Reliability
Reliability Score: 3.1 out of 5
In our 2023 Broadband Awards, it’s a shame to see Direct Save Telecom hovering around the bottom of the league tables. Once again, it came in penultimate place, with Onestream just managing to achieve a worse score for reliability. DST scored a total of 61.7% for this category.
Direct Save isn't signed up to Ofcom's Voluntary code of practice for automatic compensation for delayed repairs, nor the code of practice for better broadband speeds. This means, if you’re having technical issues with your internet and regularly receiving slower speeds than advertised, you’ll need to raise this with the customer service department and build your own case.
The Direct Save Telecom website is a little tricky to navigate and not particularly clear. However, it’s good to know you can chat to a member of the customer service or support team on most days, apart from Sundays. There's no Live Chat service available.
Direct Save bundled Wi-Fi router
Router Score: 3.1 out of 5
The free wireless router provided by DST is a little disappointing, as the specifications lag behind the free routers supplied by other ISPs. The Wi-Fi standard is the older 802.11n, so you won’t be able to take advantage of the faster transfer rates possible with newer 802.11ac hardware. Its four wired network ports are also the older 100Mbps standard, rather than the gigabit connections found on most new routers. It also lacks a USB port for file and printer sharing.
It does provide the fundamentals, and if the thought of missing out on faster Wi-Fi and more advanced networking features doesn’t bother you, then this freebie is adequate.
Direct Save does have the option to upgrade to a more up-to-date model with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and gigabit networking, but you will need to pay for this, although it does only cost £24.95.
All routers sent out to customers are pre-configured and ready to use. It’ll just be a case of plugging this in. You won’t need an engineer visit for your broadband activation. There aren’t any video tutorials available online, but you'll find an installation sheet available for all three routers that could be sent out to you.
Direct Save Telecom Broadband: Expert Summary
Direct Save Telecom Overall Score: 3 out of 5
DST’s ADSL and 35Mb fibre deals are good value, so bargain seekers looking to reduce monthly outgoings will want to consider Direct Save when comparing broadband deals. DST is also one of the few providers that doesn’t carry out a credit check for new customers, but you’re expected to pay for the first month upfront.
Rolling monthly contracts are available too, something which is becoming harder to find. But these are significantly pricier than the annual deals. We wouldn’t recommend them unless you’re certain you’ll have to cancel within 12 months of signing up.
You’re not getting loads of bonus features with a DST deal. That’s not unusual for a budget ISP, but it is worth checking what other providers have to offer in the way of extras. These may help make up for the extra expense.
Switching broadband providers
You can see if there are any Direct Save Telecom deals available in your area by popping your postcode or address into this checker.
Broadband Genie deals checker
If you’re out of contract, switching between any provider is a quick and easy process. You shouldn’t even need to speak to your current provider - your new one should do all the admin for you.
Check out our guide on ‘how to switch broadband and get an amazing deal’ for more hints and tricks, learn how to save money and upgrade your home's internet connection with little fuss.
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