Complete Guide to...




Bundling your broadband,
home phone and digital TV
This Consumerchoices.co.uk guide to bundling
y...
In our Consumerchoices.co.uk guide to bundling your
broadband, home phone and TV you’ll find everything you
need to know t...
Section 1: The benefits of bundling




The benefits of
bundling
Bundling your home telecoms services has two
main benefit...
Section 1: The benefits of bundling



 How much can you save on a triple play bundle?
According to Ofcom, “real monthly ...
Section 1: The benefits of bundling



 What type of broadband service do you want?
More than three quarters of Brits say...
Section 1: The benefits of bundling



 What other services do you need?
When choosing a new broadband bundle it can be t...
Section 2: Choosing the right bundle




Choosing the
right bundle
To choose the right bundle for your home you
need to th...
Section 2: Choosing the right bundle



As well as the great digital TV services that Sky is known for –
including HD chan...
Section 2: Choosing the right bundle



 Speed freak
If broadband is your priority and you want the fastest possible
conn...
Section 2: Choosing the right bundle



 Bundling on a budget
Sky and Virgin Media offer the cheapest bundles on the mark...
Section 3: The impact of line rental on bundling costs




The impact of
line rental on
bundling costs
The headline rates ...
Section 3: The impact of line rental on bundling costs



 Compare call rates
Use the table below to compare daytime out-...
Section 4: Alternative bundles




Alternative
bundles
As well as the more traditional broadband, home
phone and triple pl...
Section 4: Alternative bundles



 Mobile phone contracts
Bundling your home broadband with your mobile phone
contract ca...
Section 5: Standalone services




Standalone
services
If you don’t want to be locked into a big bundled
package, then you...
Section 5: Standalone services



 Cheapest home phone calls
Primus offers one of the cheapest line rental rates on the
m...
Section 5: Standalone services



 Cheapest digital TV
As the digital switchover makes its way across the country,
everyo...
Bundling your broadband glossary



ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Technology that converts standard copper wi...
About us
At Consumerchoices.co.uk we empower you to save money                  If you would like further information abou...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

The complete guide to bundling your broadband, home phone and digital tv broadband choices

1,162

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,162
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
26
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The complete guide to bundling your broadband, home phone and digital tv broadband choices

  1. 1. Complete Guide to... Bundling your broadband, home phone and digital TV This Consumerchoices.co.uk guide to bundling your broadband, home phone and digital TV has everything you need to help you get the best deal, at the best price. We’ve highlighted the pros and cons of bundling and added handy tips on how to choose the right package. Whether you’re a first time bundler, want to add more services to your current package or simply want to switch to a better deal, our practical guide will help you find the best bundle for your needs.
  2. 2. In our Consumerchoices.co.uk guide to bundling your broadband, home phone and TV you’ll find everything you need to know to help you choose the right services to match your needs. Many people pay up to three different suppliers for their broadband, home phone and digital TV, without realising how much money and time they could save by switching to just one provider. And these days its not just triple play packages that are on offer – you can even bundle mobile broadband, internet telephone calls or your mobile phone with your home broadband – all helping you save even more cash. So whether you want a bundle on a budget or a top-of-the-range package with superfast broadband, top TV channels and anytime calls, we’ll explore what’s on offer and help you find the right plan to suit your needs. Contents What’s inside your guide to bundling your broadband, phone and TV? Section 1: Section 2: Section 4: The benefits of bundling Choosing the right bundle Alternative bundles  Make savings  Triple play – broadband, home phone  Mobile broadband  How much can you save on a triple and digital TV  Mobile phone contracts play bundle?  Heavy home phone user  VoIP internet calling  Easy billing  Speed freak  Wifi minutes  What type of broadband service do  Heavy downloader you want?  Bundling on a budget  Who offers which services?  What other services do you need? Section 3: Section 5:  Is bundling the right choice for you? The impact of line rental Standalone services on bundling costs  Best home broadband  Compare line rental costs  Cheapest home phone calls  Cutting the cost of line rental  Cheapest digital TV  Compare call rates  Your custom bundle  Call set-up fees vs call connection fees All prices mentioned in this guide are correct as of time of publication, 16 March 2010. The information published in this document is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice from a regulated firm or an agent of a regulated firm before entering into any binding contract. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the content of this document is correct at time of publication Consumerchoices.co.uk cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions. 2 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  3. 3. Section 1: The benefits of bundling The benefits of bundling Bundling your home telecoms services has two main benefits; cost and ease. By combining your home phone, broadband and digital television you not only save money, but also save time by paying for everything on one easy bill. And today it’s not just your home phone calls, broadband and TV that can be bundled, you can now get inclusive line rental, mobile broadband and even your mobile phone contract all from the same provider. Whether you just want to bundle your home phone and broadband, or want a triple or even “quad play” bundle, this ‘‘ complete guide will help you choose the right package to suit your needs. ARE YOU A TV ADDICT?  Make savings All providers offer slightly You can make big savings by taking all of your home telecoms different combinations of services from the same company, which is why 46% of channels. households already bundle their bills.1 Do your homework and While the number of homes bundling their services has slowly factor in the cost of that increased over the past few years, the types of bundles that crucial sports or movie people have also been changing. channel, depending on your priorities. Home phone and broadband bundles used to be the most popular, but since the digital switchover began, triple play bundles that include digital TV have become increasingly popular. Triple play bundles, comprising of home phone, broadband and digital TV attracted more than 34% of customers in 2009 – an increase of 16% since 2007.1 The savings you can make will depend on how many different services you want, and the provider that you choose. Some companies offer freebies such as “free broadband”, while others simply offer very cheap rates. Some bundles include line rental while others rely on BT’s own phone network instead. If you have to pay BT separately, it would mean at least another £11.54 a month on top of your headline rates. 1 Ofcom Communications Market Report, August 2009 3 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  4. 4. Section 1: The benefits of bundling  How much can you save on a triple play bundle? According to Ofcom, “real monthly household spend in communications services fell for the third year in 2008 and prices have fallen by almost 5% since 2004” – so there’s never been a better time to bundle. For example, taking separate services from three different providers, and paying £14.99 a month for your broadband, £18 for your digital TV subscription and £11.54 a month for line rental would set you back nearly £535 a year. Bundling these three services from just one provider could save you around £200 a year – and even more in the first year you switch if you take advantage of special introductory offers. You can find out how much you can save using the table below: Bundle Provider Triple play package Line rental Total annual cost Total annual saving vs solo suppliers ‘‘ DO YOU WANT FAST BROADBAND? Virgin Media’s cable network offers some great speeds but competitors on non- cable networks are Virgin From £18 a £11.99 £359.88* £175.12 upping their speeds all Media month the time. Sky From £18 a £11 £348* £187 month Speeds and high dowload BT From £21.99 £11.54 £402.33* £132.64 limits are important if you’re a heavy broadband *Excluding any installation fees or set up costs. These providers might also offer user. But if you mainly discounts from time to time so always compare the latest deals. use the internet for browsing and emailing,  Easy billing then superfast speeds The second big benefit of bundling is that it combines all of your might not be worth the bills into one easy payment. extra cost Paying for all your services on one bill helps you keep track of how much you’re spending and makes budgeting a lot easier. It also makes paying your bills a lot easier too – no matter how many different services you take, there’s only ever one amount to be paid, one direct debit and one company to deal with. 4 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  5. 5. Section 1: The benefits of bundling  What type of broadband service do you want? More than three quarters of Brits say that they can’t live without the internet, so it’s important that you think about the kind of broadband connection you want with your bundle.1 Different packages have different strengths and weaknesses, so you need to think carefully about the level of service you need before signing a contract. Think about whether you need a superfast internet connection, a high download allowance or free technical support if you’re technophobe. Today’s broadband packages start from around 2Mb, going all the way up to 50Mb from Virgin Media, though most packages now offer speeds of up to 20Mb or 24Mb. However, the speed that you actually get will also depend on ‘‘ other factors such as how far you live from your local exchange, how many other people are using the same line as you – known as the contention ratio – and any traffic management measures that your ISP applies at peak times. ARE YOU A CHATTER- BOX? Check to ensure As well as broadband speeds, you also need to think about that the call package in whether you want a set download allowance, or an “unlimited” your bundle is package. While “unlimited” packages often let you download suitable for you. Think more than those with a set limit, almost all “unlimited” broadband packages have a fair usage policy attached, which about whether you need could mean that your connection will be throttled if you free evening, weekend or download too much. anytime calls Download speeds and allowances are important but you also need to take customer service into account – especially if you’re likely to need regular technical support.  Who offers which services? Bundle Broadband Digital TV Home phone Mobile Mobile provider broadband phone Sky      BT      O2      Virgin Media      1 Communications Consumer Panel, 2009 5 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  6. 6. Section 1: The benefits of bundling  What other services do you need? When choosing a new broadband bundle it can be tempting to add loads of extra services just because they’re cheap – but no matter how cheap these services are, if you’re not using them, they’re still a waste of money. Again, you need to think about your needs as a user. If you already watch a lot of TV, then a package including digital television would be a good investment; if you spend a lot of time on the phone then a cheap home phone calls package, with low out-of-bundle charges would suit you well; if you want to access the internet on the go then look for a bundle offering mobile broadband.  Is bundling the right choice for you? There’s no doubt that bundling your broadband with other home services can save you money and make paying your bills easier, but is it the right choice for you? ! As beneficial as bundling is, it does have its limitations. For example, where you live can dictate your bundling options. Virgin Media’s cable network – which offers superfast speeds of TOp TIp: up to 50Mb – currently only covers 51% of the UK, and many local loop unbundled (LLU) providers – such as TalkTalk and Sky Find out if you can get – only offer their cheapest packages, or “free” services in areas the cheap deals offered where local telephone exchanges have been unbundled. by major providers before signing up. Before you switch to cable or an LLU provider, there are some Many of these offers issues you should be aware of. are only available to If you move to Virgin Media or a completely unbundled provider customers in certain – where both your broadband and home phone line is supplied areas and you might have by the same provider – then you will be leaving the BT phone to pay more if your area line network altogether. If you later choose to return to a standard ADSL provider where you pay BT for your line rental, isn’t covered. then you might have to pay up to £124.99 to have a new line installed. However, BT says that many people who simply need their line reactivated do not have to pay. ! TalkTalk also offers new line installation at the far cheaper rate of £69.99 for new customers, though you would then be on TalkTalk’s own LLU network. TOp TIp: Bundling three services In addition to the possibility of having to pay for a new line to be could save you as much installed, LLU customers switching back to the BT network might have to pay a “cease and reprovide” fee. This is because as £200 a year. many standard ADSL providers won’t accept a MAC code – which allows a seamless migration from one ISP to another – from an LLU provider. This means that you might have to pay a fee to have your LLU line “ceased” and a new line “provided”. The current cost for this depends on your provider but can be almost £60. 6 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  7. 7. Section 2: Choosing the right bundle Choosing the right bundle To choose the right bundle for your home you need to think about your needs as a user; think about how many services you will need and the level of service you want from your broadband, home phone or digital TV. !  Triple play – broadband, home phone and digital TV If you want to join the 70% of Broadbandchoices.co.uk users TOp TIp: who already bundle their broadband, then taking a triple play WANT A FLEXIBLE package could be the answer for you. DIGITAL TV SERVICE? If you want high-definition Triple play packages are best suited to users who need broadband and a home phone package but who also watch a television, then Sky is lot of TV – or want to switch to a digital. pretty hard to match. But Virgin Media is Three main providers now offer triple play bundles in the form of improving its HD content broadband, home phone calls and digital TV; BT, Sky and Virgin Media, with Virgin Media and Sky representing the highest all the time and also has number of triple play users. the best choice of on-de- mand TV. Virgin Media also offers superfast fibre optic broadband speeds – with its XXL 50Mb package currently the fastest in the UK, and 10Mb and 20Mb options also available, it was also voted the Best Bundle Services ISP for Speed and Reliability, in the Broadbandchoices.co.uk 2010 customer satisfaction survey. Virgin Media also offers a great selection of digital TV options and has one of the best video on demand services going – with both BBC iPlayer and ITV catch-ups direct to your TV as well as its own channels. The main drawbacks to its bundled packages are that its cable service is only available to 51% of the country and the fact that it doesn’t offer the most competitive call rates. Sky is also a good choice for triple play packages, offering reliable services across the board, and was voted the Best Bundled Services ISP for Overall Customer Satisfaction by respondents in our most recent customer satisfaction survey. 7 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  8. 8. Section 2: Choosing the right bundle As well as the great digital TV services that Sky is known for – including HD channels and Sky+, Sky also offers a selection of broadband packages ranging from its 2Mb “free broadband” to an up to 10Mb package or its unlimited broadband 20Mb package with absolutely no fair usage policy. Sky also has wider coverage than Virgin Media. Again, Sky doesn’t offer the cheapest call rates – though they are more competitive than Virgin Media – see our table on page 12. Sky customers must also pay an additional £5 a month for their broadband if they do not take a Sky Talk package. For the estimated 30% of people who don’t live in an LLU area, or who aren’t covered by Virgin Media’s cable network, BT Vision is an option. Any BT Total Broadband customer can add BT Vision – the provider’s digital TV service – at no extra monthly cost and with no additional contract. The service is essentially Freeview but users can then dip in and out with on-demand programmes and packages on a month-by-month basis or subscribe to one of its TV packages.  Heavy home phone user If you’re less interested in digital TV and just want to bundle your ‘‘ broadband with a home phone package, then there’s a host of options available to you. As well as the big triple play providers, all of which offer SWITCHING HOME broadband and home phone services, you also have providers pHONE: You may need to like TalkTalk to choose from. switch your home phone TalkTalk was originally a telecoms provider, so it has always provider to make the best offered cheap rates on home phone calls – and as the pioneer savings on a bundle. of “free broadband” it has also always been one of the cheapest However, when broadband and home phone providers on the market. comparing pacakages, As well as its low rates, calls between TalkTalk users are also don’t forget to factor-in free, but when it comes to out-of-bundle mobile and the following: international calls, the provider doesn’t differ massively from BT,  Cost of line rental Sky and Virgin Media. However, Boosts are available to reduce  Calls package the cost of mobile phone calls by 50% or give you free international calls to 36 destinations.  Rates for calls to mobiles and overseas 8 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  9. 9. Section 2: Choosing the right bundle  Speed freak If broadband is your priority and you want the fastest possible connection, then Virgin Media’s cable network is the answer. Not only does it offer the UK’s fastest headline rate at speeds of up to 50Mb, but it also offers a 20Mb package and most of its 4Mb customers have already been upgraded to 10Mb for free. While Virgin Media often outperforms rivals to take the top spot in broadband speed tests, you shouldn’t expect to reach the top advertised speed. Like all broadband connections, issues such as contention – how many other people are sharing your line – and traffic management could all work to slow you down.  Heavy downloader If you’re a heavy downloader and want to spend all day streaming and downloading BBC iPlayer programmes, ‘‘ uploading pictures to Facebook or playing online games – or if you simply have a big family who all want to be online at the same time – then you’ll need a package that can handle UNLIMITED BROADBAND: your needs. Sky’s Unlimited broadband and Virgin Sky’s Unlimited Broadband package is one of the only consumer broadband packages without a fair usage policy – unlimited Media’s XXL packages really does mean unlimited and it comes with download speeds are the only truly of up to 20Mb. unlimited broadband services on the market. Virgin Media’s 50Mb XXL Broadband is also traffic management Unlimited downloads free and doesn’t have a fair usage policy either, allowing you to make the most of your superfast connection without being mean that you can make penalised. However, its 10Mb and 20Mb packages are traffic the most of gaming, managed so you could be throttled and slowed down if you watching TV on your download too much. computer, and a host of other useful appllications. 9 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  10. 10. Section 2: Choosing the right bundle  Bundling on a budget Sky and Virgin Media offer the cheapest bundles on the market, starting at just £18 a month for broadband, digital TV and home phone calls. However, Sky customers only get a 2Mb connection with a low 2GB download allowance, while Virgin Media customers get up to 10Mb broadband with “unlimited” downloads, subject to a fair usage policy. On the TV side, Sky customers can choose any one of its six entertainment packs – with each additional pack costing an extra £1, while Virgin Media customers get a set TV package of 60 digital TV channels. Sky’s Talk Freetime package, which is included in its £18 a month bundle, comes with inclusive evening and weekend calls, while Virgin Media’s inclusive call plan only offers free calls at weekends – though this does include calls to Virgin mobiles as well as landlines. If it’s a broadband and home phone bundle you’re after, then TalkTalk is a great choice. It offers its Essentials package with up to 24Mb broadband, a 40GB download allowance and free calls to other TalkTalk numbers and evening and weekend UK landlines for a monthly total of £18.49 – including £11.49 for ‘‘ TalkTalk line rental. You can also add a selection of broadband and phone boosts to WHAT IS LLU? It might increase your download allowance, boost online security or cut seem complicated, but it the cost of calls. simply means that your Plusnet is another low cost broadband and home phone ISp, such as TalkTalk or provider. It offers a selection of broadband and home phone Sky, has its own network, bundles, with either a 10GB monthly download limit, or a separate from BT. massive 80GB allowance. Customers in its LLU areas – which These networks don’t Plusnet says covers 80% of UK households – can get these packages for a total monthly cost of £17.24 a month including cover the whole of the £11.25 line rental for the 10GB plan, or a total of £23.24 a UK, so in some areas month for the first three months for the Premium package, your ISp will still have to £27.24 thereafter. rent lines from BT, which Each package comes with free evening and weekend calls to is why there may be price UK landlines, plus 300 minutes to 20 international destinations, differences in some though anytime calls can also be added. areas. 10 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  11. 11. Section 3: The impact of line rental on bundling costs The impact of line rental on bundling costs The headline rates of broadband packages – and bundles – often do not include line rental costs, which can be £11.54 or more if you’re paying BT direct. This can mean that although you’ve found a cheap bundle package, costs will soon rise once you’ve added on line rental. ‘‘ The rise of LLU providers has injected some much needed com- HOME pHONE BUNDLES: petition into the line rental market, and you can still get line rental for less than £10 a month if you search the market. Many companies who provide bundled services have their own telephone  Compare line rental costs and broadband networks. Use the table below to compare line rental costs for some of the UK’s biggest internet service providers. If you take your phone and broadband from one of these companies you Bundle Provider Line rental cost (with direct debit and online billing) may find that the overall BT £11.54 costs work out cheaper. TalkTalk £11.49 Virgin Media £11.99 Plusnet £11.25 Sky £11  Cutting the cost of line rental Because many bundling ISPs are LLU providers, you can often cut the cost of your line rental by taking it direct from your broadband provider rather than BT. However, line rental and headline bundle rates aren’t the only thing that you need to take into account. Many bundle providers advertise low headline rates and make their money back with high home phone call costs. If you’re a heavy home phone user make sure you compare the cost of out-of-bundle calls before signing up to a new supplier. 11 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  12. 12. Section 3: The impact of line rental on bundling costs  Compare call rates Use the table below to compare daytime out-of-bundle call costs. These call costs do not cover inclusive calls as part of bundles or international calling add-ons, and prices are correct at time of writing on 16 March 2010. Most internet service providers offer international call add-ons, so if you make a lot of calls to friends and family abroad, contact your provider to see if you can reduce your bills by taking a monthly add-on. You can further cut the cost of international calls by making VoIP internet telephone calls using providers like Skype or Vonage. You can even make free calls to other Skype users if they’re online at the same time as you. Bundle Provider Local rate National rate Mobile call – O2 International Call connection or landline call – India set-up fee BT 5.4ppm 5.4ppm 12.5ppm 28ppm 9.3p set-up fee TalkTalk 4.6ppm 4.6ppm 12ppm 23.75ppm 9.25p connection fee Virgin Media 7.5ppm 7.5ppm 18.37ppm 77.97ppm 11p connection fee Plusnet 4ppm 4ppm 11.5ppm 25ppm 6p set-up fee Sky 5.25ppm 5.25ppm 12.23ppm on Talk 27.5ppm 9p connection fee Freetime 9.78ppm on Talk Unlimited  Call set-up fees vs call connection fees Call set-up and connection fees are charged by providers on all chargeable calls – those outside of your bundle – and there is a difference between the two types of fee. Your call connection cost is a set fee that you pay on top of the cost of your call, while call set-up fees are a minimum fee that you will pay for your call. For example, if your provider charges an 8p set-up fee, the first 8p of your call will be covered by this cost. i TIpS FOR CUTTING THE COST OF YOUR LINE RENTAL: • lways pay by direct debit – many providers offer A discounts to customers who pay this way • pt for paperless billing – you might get a discount from O your provider and you’ll be helping the environment too • ompare the market online to find the best deals C • ake sure you take call costs into account too. Cheap M line rental is no good if you end up paying over the odds for calls 12 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  13. 13. Section 4: Alternative bundles Alternative bundles As well as the more traditional broadband, home phone and triple play bundles, there’s a host of other services that can be added to your bundled packages. Broadbandchoices.co.uk has found that 58.5% of consumers felt that bundled services offered better value for money than subscribing to separate providers – so why not make the most of your bundle with one of these extra services?  Mobile broadband More than 90% of the population can now access mobile broadband services, depending on their provider, and mobile ! broadband has become a popular add-on to home broadband services. Speeds of up to 7.2Mb are available in the fastest areas and over a million mobile broadband dongles have been sold in the past year1. TOp TIp: Some mobile broadband Mobile broadband uses the mobile phone network to let you providers such as access the internet, so even if you live too far from your local T-Mobile and O2 include telephone exchange to get a decent fixed-line broadband free wifi hotspot minutes connection, you might be able to use mobile broadband instead. in their packages. Internet service providers such as BT, O2, Orange and Virgin Media allow you to combine home and mobile broadband into easy bundles, allowing you to do your heavy downloading at home, while staying online with mobile broadband when you’re out and about. While most standalone mobile broadband packages start at around £10, bundled packages can cost as little as £5 a month – though your download allowance will usually be lower. Many mobile broadband providers now also offer “free laptop” deals as part of their packages, allowing you to spread the cost of a new PC over 24 months. 1 Digital Britain report, 2009 13 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  14. 14. Section 4: Alternative bundles  Mobile phone contracts Bundling your home broadband with your mobile phone contract can save you even more money. O2 – which won all six key satisfaction categories as well as being voted Best Overall Provider in the Broadbandchoices.co.uk 2010 customer satisfaction survey – offers discounts to its mobile phone customers who also take its award-winning home broadband. This means that an O2 mobile phone customer can get speeds up to 20Mb, with “unlimited” downloads and a very generous fair usage policy for just £10 a month. Mobile phone provider Orange also offers home broadband, mobile broadband and mobile phone bundles, with discounts and exclusive deals for existing customers. Virgin Media also offers mobile phone contracts as part of its bundles and is the only provider to offer quad play bundles combining home broadband, home phone, digital TV and mobile phone – and you can even add mobile broadband to the deal too. !  VoIP internet calling A number of broadband providers, such as BT and Orange, offer VoIP internet phone services that can be bundled with their TOp TIp: broadband packages. However, this doesn’t mean that you Think about the services have to make all of your calls using a microphone and headset you will actually use – while connected to your PC. don’t add them just You will receive a handset – like a traditional telephone – that because they’re cheap. connects to your wireless router, allowing you to make much If you won’t use them, cheaper calls over the internet. they will just be a waste of money. BT’s Hub Phone even allows you to switch between internet calls and traditional landline calls using the same handset.  Wifi minutes BT, O2 and T-Mobile all offer free wireless hotspot minutes with selected home or mobile broadband packages. These wifi minutes allow you to log on to the internet using a fixed wireless network in a hotel, train station or café – anywhere that you can pick up a wireless signal offered by your provider. This means that you can get online even if you don’t have mobile broadband, or save on your precious mobile broadband download allowance. Wifi providers also have a network of hotspots around the world, allowing you to get online no matter where you are. What can you bundle with your broadband? You can now bundle as many as six different services with your home broadband: n Home phone n Digital TV n Mobile broadband n Mobile phone n VoIP n Wifi 14 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  15. 15. Section 5: Standalone services Standalone services If you don’t want to be locked into a big bundled package, then you could do some research and come up with your own bundle. That way you’ll know you’ve got the most suitable broadband package, the cheapest home phone service and low-cost digital TV. If you’re choosing on price alone, you could find that a Primus landline and calls package, Plusnet broadband and a Freeview ! box could be a great custom package, for example.  Best home broadband O2 came top in the most recent Broadbandchoices.co.uk TOp TIp: Some less customer satisfaction survey, as well as receiving a rash of well-known providers, awards since launching in 2007. Its packages offer great value such as primus and Your- for money – especially if you’re an existing mobile Calls.net, offer price- phone customer. conscious deals for home As an existing O2 mobile phone customer you could get its phone. Premium package for just £10 a month, with speeds of up to In broadband, plusnet’s 20Mb and “unlimited” downloads. Non-customers can get the Value package is just package for £15 a month. However, landline costs are £5.99 a month. not included. Finally, if you don’t want BE Broadband which shares its network with O2 – also offers the slick TV service pro- excellent broadband packages, with fast speeds and a reliable vided by Sky or Virgin Me- connection. BE’s Unlimited package comes with speeds of up dia, a Freeview box gives to 24Mb and “unlimited” downloads with a very generous fair usage policy and costs £17.88 a month on a 12 month contract you access to plenty of or £20.43 a month on a three month rolling contract. However, digital channels. like O2, you will also need a phone line for this service. Virgin Media’s 20Mb XL Broadband package costs £25 a month for the first three months, £30 a month thereafter as a standalone product. Although you don’t need a phone line to use cable broadband, you can actually save money by signing up to Virgin Media’s phone line at £11.99 a month. With this you also get free weekend calls to national landlines. Taken with its phone line, the 20Mb package costs just £20 a month. Cheaper standalone broadband packages are available, such as Plusnet’s Value Broadband at just £5.99 a month – currently the cheapest in the UK. However, while the ISP has won awards for its service, the package comes with slower speeds of up to 8Mb and a lower set download allowance of 10GB a month. 15 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  16. 16. Section 5: Standalone services  Cheapest home phone calls Primus offers one of the cheapest line rental rates on the market, at just £8.99 a month, which automatically comes with free evening and weekend UK landline calls, or anytime calls for just £5.99 a month. Out of bundle daytime calls to UK landlines are charged at just 3ppm, mobile calls from 10ppm and calls to India at just 18ppm – far cheaper than the big bundling providers. YourCalls.net is another cheap home phone provider, with line rental at £9.25 a month and free evening and weekend calls to UK landlines plus a discount to your chosen Golden Destination. You can upgrade to anytime UK landline calls for just £2.95 a month and receive a further discount on mobile phone calls. Out of bundle daytime calls to UK landlines are charged at 3ppm, mobile calls at 12.04ppm and calls to India at just 20ppm – again, far cheaper than the big bundling providers. ! Alternatively, you could opt for a VoIP provider like Skype or Vonage which offer call packages from as little as £3.39 a month with Skype as well as free calls to other users online or £5.99 a TOp TIp: month from Vonage. Type in your postcode at Skype users can even install Skype on certain mobile phone Homephonechoices.co.uk models to make free calls to other Skype users direct from their to search for the cheap- mobile, while Vonage customers can use a traditional-style est home phone provider handset to make their calls. in your area. 16 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  17. 17. Section 5: Standalone services  Cheapest digital TV As the digital switchover makes its way across the country, everyone will eventually have to either subscribe to a digital TV supplier like BT, Sky or Virgin Media, or buy a digital set-top box for Freeview or Freesat access. Because it doesn’t require a monthly subscription, Freeview is by far the cheapest option for anyone wanting digital TV. Freeview now offers over 45 digital TV channels as well as radio stations, with set-top boxes starting from as little as £15. Digital TV recorders are also available, allowing you to record, pause and rewind “live” TV. Freesat – the digital satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV – is another alternative to monthly subscriptions. It comes with over 140 TV and radio channels and you can even get free HD programmes if you have the right set-top box and TV set. If you don’t already have a working satellite dish you will need to have a Freesat dish installed and you can even buy a HD set-top boxes from as little as £67. ‘‘  Your custom bundle This means that you can get the best broadband, with the FREE DIGITAL TV: cheapest home phone calls and line rental, along with a great Freesat comes with over selection of digital TV channels from as little as £18.99 as an 140 TV and radio existing O2 mobile customer or £23.99 a month as a non-O2 customer, with a Primus landline, plus the one-off cost of a channels, as well as Freeview set-top box – without having to take a triple play some HD programmes. bundle from one of the big four providers. i Useful guides Why not use more of our consumer guides to help you speed up your broadband, find the best mobile broadband deal or learn how to watch TV online. Complete guide to speeding up your broadband http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/speeding-up-your-broadband-complete-guide. html Complete guide to mobile broadband http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/mobile-broadband-complete-guide.html Making the most of watching TV online http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/watching-tv-online.html Is cheap broadband really worth it? http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/cheapest-broadband.html Top tips for downloading http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/top-tips-for-downloaders.html 17 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  18. 18. Bundling your broadband glossary ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Technology that converts standard copper wires, used for telephones, enabling them to support high-speed internet. “Asymmetric” refers to the fact that download and upload speeds are different – the data travelling to your house (download) will be faster than the data going back to the exchange (upload). Bandwidth – The data transfer capabilities of your broadband connection. The faster your connection, the more capacity it has. Broadband – High-speed digital internet connection (ADSL, cable, mobile or satellite). Cable – A way of obtaining broadband internet via fibre optic cables, offered by Virgin Media. Contention rate – Refers to the maximum number of people that will be sharing the bandwidth on one connection between the local exchange and provider. For ADSL connections this is usually 50:1, meaning that at peak times you’ll be sharing your bandwidth with 49 other people on your street. Dongle – A portable modem used to receive a mobile broadband signal. Download – The transmission of data from the internet to your computer, such as pictures, videos and web pages. Gigabyte (GB) – A measure of data size, also written as GB. 1,024 times larger than a Megabyte (MB). In a broadband package this would refer to your download limit. Hotspot – A public place where users can access the internet wirelessly. ISP – Internet Service Provider. The company that provides your broadband connection. Kbps (Kb) – Kilobits per second, also written as Kb. This is a measure of bandwidth (the speed at which data is transferred). Kbps is usually used if the measurement is less than 1Mb. These measurements are used to represent the speed of your broadband connection. Local loop unbundled (LLU) – When an ISP has installed its own technology in the local exchange, thereby “unbundling” it, and bypassing BT’s network. This allows LLU providers to offer much cheaper packages but does have some drawbacks. Megabit (Mb) – Also written as Mb or Mbps. This is a measure of bandwidth (the speed at which data is transferred). Mbps is usually used if the measurement is more than 1Mb. These measurements are used to represent the speed of your broadband connection. Not to be confused with Megabytes (MB). Megabyte (MB) – A measure of data size, also written as MB. In a broadband package this would refer to your download limit. Mobile broadband – Broadband delivered via the mobile phone network to a portable dongle modem connected to your laptop. Quad play – Four services delivered as a bundle from a single provider. Triple play – Three services delivered as a bundle from a single provider. Video on Demand (VoD) – Allows you to watch selected programmes or films when you want over the internet or via digital TV. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – Uses your broadband connection to allow you to make very cheap or even free calls over the internet. 18 © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010
  19. 19. About us At Consumerchoices.co.uk we empower you to save money If you would like further information about the services we offer, and make the best choices to suit your own circumstances. including the full range of Consumer Choices Complete Guides then We do this by providing thoroughly researched, practical, unbiased visit: Consumerchoices.co.uk and comprehensive information on the following services: or email: customerservices@consumerchoices.co.uk.  Broadband Consumer Choices Complete Guide™  Home Phone to Bundling your broadband, home phone and digital TV  Digital TV  Financial services Consumerchoices.co.uk and the Consumer Choices Complete  Gas and electricity Guides are trade marks of Decision Technologies Limited.  Insurance We provide informative consumer guides, up-to the-minute news Consumerchoices.co.uk on key industry developments and the chance for you to “Ask our Expert” for personalised responses to specific questions and issues. Working hard to save As well as detailed, insightful editorial, Consumerchoices.co.uk has a wide selection of comprehensive calculators, allowing you to you money... compare products and services across a broad range of suppliers. © Consumerchoices.co.uk 2010. All rights reserved. The site also provides access to a community of like-minded individuals where you can read reviews and share your thoughts.

×