Vodafone launches the ultimate speed guarantee
Vodafone has done some house keeping and in a move that is likely to please consumer rights groups is now offering guarantees on its VDSL2 based services and is stopping the sale of ADSL2+ to new customers.
The guarantee is based on a customer making a maximum of one claim in a month by clicking a button in the Vodafone Broadband app (which is described as being ultra-smart), this button will only be available in the app if the sync speed falls below 25 Mbps on the Superfast 1 service and 55 Mbps on Superfast 2. The button does not summon a broadband butler to your home by magic but does reduce your bill by 15% in that month, i.e. a saving of £3.15 to £3.45, though the provider does say they will attempt to resolve what is causing the low sync speed and has a dedicated team for doing this.
For those not aware the sync speed is the speed that your broadband modem is connecting to the broadband hardware in the street cabinet housing the VDSL2 hardware. This is different to what you see from a broadband speed test, so if your problem is that downloads are slow, but the sync speed is good which could be congestion then the new guarantee will not apply.
Some key points are:
- The guarantee only applies to services purchased after 1st March 2018
- Service must have been active for at least 10 days
- Sync speed much be checked in the Vodafone Broadband App which is where the discount button is located
- Discount does not apply to line rental or call charges (NOTE: Line rental is frequently shown as £0.00 for broadband services by Vodafone, but one footnote suggests £16.99/m), if the broadband discount only applies to the £6.01 broadband charge then the public is going to be upset by the smaller discount.
- People with low speed estimates are still able to order the services, just remember to use the discount each month.
- We believe by making the claim via the app you may be tied to using the Vodafone router, i.e. so the app can obtain the current sync speed
The guarantee does come with a downside, the two VDSL2 products have gone up in price and you could use the rise to draw the conclusion that Vodafone is gambling on less than 1 in 6 making the claim each month. The new product pricing is
- Superfast 1 up to 38 Mbps download, up to 9.5 Mbps upload FTTC based service with a 25 Mbps sync guarantee. £21/m for existing Vodafone mobile customers, £23 for new customers. No upfront fees
- Superfast 2 up to 76 Mbps download, up to 19 Mbps upload FTTC based service with a 55 Mbps sync guarantee. £26/m for existing Vodafone mobile customers, £28 for new customers. No upfront fees
Both are based on an 18 month contract, and as with the line rental the foot notes contradict the no up front fees message as there is talk of a £39 fibre activation charge, but a test order did not show this charge or the £6.99 router delivery charge also in the footnotes.
Sync speed guarantees are going to be interesting as we are sure a few will endeavour to game the system, and it will be interesting to see how Vodafone handle claims when the low sync speed lasted for just a few minutes e.g. low sync caused by a lightning storm in the area (or other RF interference in the up to 17 MHz band) which is fixed by the classic turn off and on.
TIP OF THE DAY If you find your broadband modem is connected at a slower than usual speed and there is no obvious reason why then powering the modem off and on again will force the modem to renegotiate the full connection and thus if the low sync speed was due to a single short noise burst you are likely to get the speed back.
A final point the waiting for 10 days does not mean that any Dynamic Line Management (DLM) systems have finished at the end of a 10 day training period, but simply providers expect the DLM systems which never switch off on FTTC to have probably settled at a reasonable long term speed.