Vodafone Pro Broadband review
Vodafone thinks it has solved the biggest headache of any broadband customer – losing their internet connection. The firm’s new Pro Broadband service sports a fast connection to the web using your standard cable, but also adds a mobile internet signal as a backup. This basically means that, if the worst happens and your fixed-line broadband suffers an outage in your area, you should never be without access to the web thanks to the 4G mobile signal keeping the Wi-Fi in your home running as normal.
It’s clearly a clever idea, but Vodafone does charge a premium for this service – a whole £15 extra per month, to be exact – so is it worth that extra money? Express.co.uk has been putting it to the test and here are our thoughts on Vodafone’s Pro Broadband.
Vodafone Pro Broadband review: How much is peace of mind really worth?
Let’s start with the set-up. Getting things up and running is so simple, anyone should easily install things without an engineer turning up with a drill. As long as you have a standard broadband line running into your home, you simply plug in Vodafone’s new Wi-Fi Hub, then wait a few minutes for things to connect.
From the kit arriving in the post to downloading our first movie, the whole process took a matter of minutes and the simplicity continues with a very easy-to-use smartphone app. This application links directly to the router and allows you to check download speeds, see what devices are connected and monitor the overall health of your internet.
Vodafone Pro Broadband offers an always-on connection even if the fixed-line goes down
Another great feature is the ability to set up a guest connection which offers a unique password for visitors and a time limit. This is perfect for when the neighbours come over for the afternoon and need some internet – as soon as they leave, it’s easy to boot them off your broadband and make sure they’re not sapping your precious speeds from next door.
Along with the main router, you’ll also be sent a booster box that can be placed in another room to help make sure the Wi-Fi signal reaches every corner of your home. Again, this really easy to install with the app taking you through each step of the process. With everything up and running you shouldn’t find any dead spots.
We tested Vodafone’s broadband in a four-bedroom property spread across three floors and the signal stayed strong throughout our time with this broadband.
The 4G network is supplied to the Hub via dongle
The dongle slots into the Hub and is a little clunky
Another neat bonus that comes as part of the price is instant access to help. Vodafone’s Wi-Fi Xperts are a dedicated team of highly trained broadband and Wi-Fi engineers who will proactively monitor and fix customers’ issues. They’ll even be in touch in the first ten days to make sure you are set up and your broadband is tailored to your home.
It’s a nice touch as you’ll get a text asking if it’s OK to call followed by a real and very knowledgeable person on the other end of the phone. Of course, one of the main reasons for choosing Pro Broadband is the promise that your internet will never go offline.
With more of us than ever working from home, Vodafone’s new service should mean you never miss a morning Zoom call with the team – even if there’s an outage on your street and everyone else is offline.
This all works via the router instantly switching over to Vodafone’s 4G signal the minute the fixed-line goes down. It’s worth noting that the 4G is pumped into the router via a standard dongle that slots into the rear of the hub. It’s slightly clunky and it would be better if all of this tech was neatly tucked inside the shell, but it’s still better than the headache of an outage.
Now, you might be thinking what’s the point of this as most networks offer a separate 4G dongle which you can quickly connect to should things go wrong. That’s a fair point, but where Vodafone has the advantage is that the main router always stays online no matter what happens on your street.
If like most people, you have a swathe of gadgets hooked up to this hub it means they will all continue to work until the fixed-line issue is repaired and you won’t have to start digging into the settings on every Echo, laptop, smart TV and camera to keep them online.
A comprehensive app offers a number of settings and options
Of course, 4G isn’t as fast as standard broadband so you probably won’t want to try and download a blockbuster PS5 game but it’s easily good enough for video calls and some music streaming.
Vodafone supplies a SIM with 50GB of data but the company has confirmed to Express.co.uk that this will be topped up if an outage lasts for a long period of time. There’s clearly loads to love about Pro broadband but we do have a couple of niggles.
Like most routers, the Vodafone Hub that arrives with this plan is pretty chunky and the 4G dongle that pokes out of its rear case isn’t the prettiest piece of design we’ve ever seen.
Then there are the overall speeds. Vodafone is reliant on the Openreach network and not everyone is connected to its fast fibre downloads. We tested this service in Greater London but could only get a maximum of 75Mbps, while Virgin Media offers next-generation 1Gbps speeds to the exact same address.
This clearly isn’t Vodafone’s fault – it’s Openreach’s! – but it is worth checking the speeds in your area before signing up.
Finally, there’s the price as it is pretty expensive. The standard price for Vodafone’s Fibre 2 is currently £22 per month. Add the Pro service and you’ll face a monthly bill of £37. It’s almost like your paying an insurance policy to make sure your home stays connected 24/7.
That’s fine but during our months of testing the fixed-line stayed fully working and we never switched to 4G so you may end up wondering if it’s really worth paying the premium.
Vodafone Pro Broadband review: Final Verdict
PROS – Broadband that never goes offline • Great app • Easy set-up • Instant access to help
CONS – Very expensive • 4G dongle design is clunky • Speeds are reliant on Openreach
Vodafone’s Pro Broadband service is certainly appealing. The fact that it will never go offline will be a relief to millions who can’t afford to be without a connection to the web for work, studies, or Netflix binges.
The router is simple to set up and the access to instant help and a comprehensive app make this a very good option, plus you get that booster box to make sure no members of the family will moan that they can’t get a good connection in their bedrooms.
Our only real problems with this new plan are the speeds it offers and the price. If you’re lucky you could find the latest Openreach tech brings downloads at over 900Mbps but, sadly, the best we were offered was just 75Mbps.
Clearly, the download rate on your street is not Vodafone’s fault as they are in the hands of Openreach but it might not be fast enough for your daily digital needs. Then there’s the price as those 75Mbps downloads will cost you a pretty hefty £37 per month. Get Vodafone’s same plan but without those Pro features and you’ll pay just £22 a month. Over the course of a two-year contract, that’s a saving of some £350.
If you really can’t afford to be without the web, then it’s hard to fault Vodafone’s Pro Broadband. However, like with any insurance policy, you really just need to decide whether it’s worth that high price.