With the cost of living crisis affecting households and businesses across the UK, Vodafone has launched a discounted social broadband tariff for domestic customers and free broadband for 12 months for small business owners. Social broadband tariffs are for those who are struggling to afford their bills and if you receive certain benefits you may be eligible to switch to a social tariff.
Currently, only 3.2% of those eligible for social broadband tariffs are benefiting from them according to the communications regulator Ofcom and almost 7 in 10 customers eligible for a social broadband tariff did not know that they exist. Ofcom has asked for more providers to offer social tariffs and for those that do, to better advertise their tariffs to improve awareness of the help available to those that need it.
In this article, we look at Vodafone's new broadband social tariff, including how it works and who is eligible. If you are a small business customer and want to know more about Vodafone's free broadband offer, you can find out more here.
What is a social broadband tariff?
A social broadband tariff is a discounted broadband rate for customers that receive certain eligible benefits. The tariffs are designed to make broadband more accessible to those who may be struggling with household bills. At present, few major broadband providers offer a social tariff but Vodafone's Essentials Broadband social tariff joins the likes of BT, Sky and Virgin Media. Ofcom is calling for more providers to offer social tariffs to consumers. We explain more about social tariffs and compare social broadband tariffs in our article 'What is a broadband social tariff and how much can you save?'.
If you are struggling to keep up with your household bills or worrying about affording your energy bills, read our articles 'How to save money on your household bills' and 'What to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills'.
Vodafone Essentials Broadband key features
- Social broadband tariff for customers that receive eligible benefits
- £12 a month for 12 months
- No set-up costs
- Fixed pricing for the contract term
- No early termination fee
- 38Mbps download speeds
Who is eligible for Vodafone Essentials Broadband?
If you receive one of the following benefits you are eligible for Vodafone Essentials Broadband:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Universal Credit
Can existing customers switch to Vodafone Essentials Broadband?
If you are an existing Vodafone Broadband customer and are identified as financially vulnerable you are eligible for Vodafone's social tariff. Additionally, if you are an existing customer on Vodafone's Fibre 1 or Fibre 2 tariff and receive any of the above-listed benefits you can move to Vodafone Essentials Broadband.
If you are a Vodafone Pro or Xtra customer you may be charged to leave the plan early and will lose any benefits associated with your plan.
How to get Vodafone's broadband social tariff
If you are eligible for Vodafone's social broadband tariff you can sign up via Vodafone's website. You will need to check eligibility for the tariff in your area based on your postcode and if you are able to receive Vodafone broadband in your area you can complete the online form. Once submitted you will receive a confirmation email and you should hear in 1 week from a Vodafone employee confirming your eligibility for the tariff and order processing. You are also able to sign up for Vodafone Essentials Broadband by calling Vodafone customer services or by visiting a Vodafone UK store.
If you are successful in your application you will pay £12 a month for 12 months for Vodafone Essentials Broadband. If you still qualify for the social tariff after your initial 12-month contract you can still continue on the Vodafone Essentials Broadband plan. If you are no longer eligible you can move to a standard broadband plan with Vodafone or move to another provider fee-free. Vodafone says it will contact you with your options when your Vodafone Essentials plan is due to end but if you do not take any action you will move to Vodafone's out-of-contract pricing which is £22 a month.
Alternatives to Vodafone Essentials Broadband
If you cannot receive Vodafone broadband in your area, alternative social broadband tariffs are available. We have compared some of the well-known providers in the below table, but for a full comparison of all social tariff providers and for faster speeds, visit our article, 'What is a broadband social tariff and how much can you save?'
If you are unsure what broadband speed you have or what is a good broadband speed you can check via our articles below:
Social tariff comparison - Vodafone vs BT vs Sky vs Virgin Media
|Monthly cost||Contract length||Average broadband speed (Mbit/s)|
|Vodafone Essentials Broadband||£12||12 months||38Mbps|
|BT Home Essentials||£15||12 months||36Mbps|
|Sky Broadband Basics||£20||18 months||36Mbps|
|Virgin Media Essential Broadband||£12.50||30 day rolling||15Mbps|
Vodafone free business broadband for a year
In addition to its new social broadband tariff for eligible domestic households, Vodafone has also launched a new initiative for small businesses which could save them up to £348 on broadband for a year. The offer is an attempt to help businesses with rising costs after research conducted by Vodafone found that increasing energy costs were the greatest challenge for 53% of small business owners, with more than a third admitting to downgrading or cancelling broadband in a bid to save money.
Vodafone's free business broadband offer gives small business owners free broadband for 12 months on a 24-month plan. Once the initial free 12-month period ends you will continue to pay for your business broadband as normal. There are two Vodafone Business plans to choose from under this offer; Vodafone Business Broadband Superfast 1 at £26 a month excluding VAT and Vodafone Business Broadband Superfast 2 at £29 a month excluding VAT.
If you are a new small business customer or an existing Vodafone Business broadband customer eligible for an upgrade, you can benefit from the Vodafone Business Broadband offer. Vodafone classes a small business as one with 1-50 employees and the offer is only available until 24th November 2022. Find out more information on Vodafone's website.