Looking for broadband with no upfront costs?
Below, we’ve chosen the top 5 best broadband deals with no setup fee.
And after that, we’ve discussed some key things to consider when buying broadband with nothing upfront.
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Superfast Fibre Plus
Best broadband deals with no setup fee
Let’s begin our reviews.
Here are the 5 best broadband deals with no upfront costs you can buy right now.
Shell Energy Broadband are a simple, cheap broadband provider, offering five different broadband packages with no setup cost.
One of these five plans, Superfast Fibre Plus, offers 67 Mbps download speeds for a very reasonable price. This deal offers plenty of speed – even for most large households with high bandwidth demands.
This package comes with an 18 month contract, which isn’t the shortest – some providers offer 12 month deals. However, this is going to be one of the shortest broadband contracts you’re likely to see without a setup cost involved. If you only commit for a short period, the broadband provider is likely going to charge you an upfront cost to ensure they make some money.
Unlike many other broadband providers, Shell also offers 200 Mbps+ ultrafast broadband packages with no activation fee. These deals also come with an 18 month contract, and are on a separate page on the Shell website, which you can view here. These high-speed plans aren’t available everywhere, but they are quite reasonably priced given the speeds available.
You also get access to a range of extra benefits with Shell Energy Broadband. As a customer, you get money back at Shell petrol stations, and discounts on your Shell Energy bill, which can help you to save a decent bit of money over the course of your contract.
If you just want simple, fast broadband with no upfront cost, Shell Energy Broadband is definitely worth looking into.
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When compared to Shell, Vodafone is a more premium provider. Their monthly cost is not super expensive, but Vodafone does cost more overall.
In return for the higher prices, you can get a fast Wi Fi speed, such as with Superfast 2, which offers a 63 Mbps download speed for a very reasonable monthly cost (with nothing upfront).
There is also a plan called “Superfast 1” which has just about half the download speed. However, it’s not much cheaper, so Superfast 2 is normally better value. You can get “Xtra” versions of both deals, which includes anytime calls in the UK, including weekend calls and evening calls.
Vodafone does require you to sign a 24 month contract with their broadband. To make up for this, they include free gifts with some of their Pro and Xtra packages, often worth more £100. Right now it’s an Apple TV 4K and 12 months of Norton 360 Antivirus.
Overall, if you need faster broadband speed, don’t mind committing to a contract for 24 months, and want free installation, Vodafone is a great pick.
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John Lewis is another broadband provider that has no setup costs on any of their broadband packages.
They have three different plans available, from 10 Mbps up to 66 Mbps of download speed. “Fibre” is their mid-tier option, which offers the best value for money, at 36 Mbps for a reasonable monthly fee and no upfront cost.
The other good thing about John Lewis Broadband is you get evening/weekend calls included, which is helpful if you like to use your landline to call friends and family. Also, they have short 12 month contracts – meaning you don’t have to lock in for 18 months or 24 months like with other providers.
You also currently get a John Lewis reward card thrown in with their broadband deals, which normally gives you at least a month’s worth of broadband, basically for free.
John Lewis is more of a basic broadband provider when compared to alternatives such as Vodafone. You can’t get ultrafast broadband speeds with them. However, if you want cheap broadband with no setup costs, John Lewis Broadband is a great pick.
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TalkTalk don’t exactly make this obvious on their website, but most of their broadband deals don’t actually have setup fees. To see the packages this applies to, you’ll need to enter your postcode to show what’s available at your address.
As another cheaper provider, TalkTalk’s broadband deals have a very reasonable monthly cost. Fibre 35 offers an average speed of 38 Mbps for not much money at all, on an 18 month contract.
Another reason you might consider TalkTalk is their flexibility. You have the ability to add “boosts” on a month to month basis, meaning you can pay as you go and add a boost only as you need it. For example, you can boost your Wi Fi speeds, or add a landline calling minute boost to save money on calls.
The only real issue with TalkTalk is they don’t offer an ultrafast broadband deal. If you need a high speed fibre deal, you may need to look elsewhere.
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EE is another broadband provider that offers deals without an upfront charge. However, this is only available on certain packages, namely Fibre (36 Mbps) and Fibre Plus (67 Mbps).
The contract length is decent on these deals – it’s an 18 month contract. However, the per month costs aren’t the best. Shell offers cheaper broadband at the moment.
So why would you consider EE?
The main reason you might prefer EE over an alternative such as Vodafone is if you’re an EE mobile customer. They normally throw in extra mobile data or discounts on your tariff if you sign up for EE broadband as well.
EE also offer ultra fast broadband packages. In certain areas, you can get plans with an average speed of 300 Mbps or 900 Mbps. However, these fast plans do come with a setup cost.
It’s definitely worth checking out EE broadband. However, for most people, there are better deals on the market.
Overall value rating
How to buy broadband deals with no upfront fees
In this part, we’ll discuss everything you need to know when shopping for broadband with free installation.
Why do broadband deals have upfront costs?
Different broadband providers will charge setup costs for different reasons.
Often, if you’re just buying broadband on its own, most of the setup cost is the cost of shipping out the router to you.
However, if you’re buying a broadband and TV bundle, the setup cost might be to do with the cost of installing the TV equipment.
Also, Virgin Media never offers free setup, because they use a separate broadband network to all other providers – they connect you without a phone line. Meaning, it costs them more to set up your new broadband connection.
There’s another reason some providers will charge an upfront fee: insurance on short-term contracts. Normally, most broadband deals with no setup fee have 18 month or 24 month contracts, because the provider has more time to recoup the setup costs. Therefore, on shorter 12 month or pay as you go contracts, upfront fees are added to cover basic upfront costs for new customers.
What UK broadband providers offer broadband with no upfront fees?
Here are the internet service providers currently offering broadband deals with no upfront fees in the UK:
- Shell Energy Broadband don’t charge setup costs on any of their broadband packages at the moment.
- Vodafone are a relatively recent entrant into the UK broadband market. Currently, not a single one of their broadband deals has an upfront fee.
- TalkTalk no longer have an installation fee on most of their broadband plans.
- Plusnet often waive the setup charge on their special broadband deals. These deals are on most of the time though, so as long as you select the right package, normally the one with an 18 month contract length, then you won’t have to pay anything upfront.
- EE broadband have no upfront fee on most of their broadband plans, except for their faster packages.
- There are also mobile broadband providers with much more flexible contracts that rarely have an upfront fee. With these providers, you’ll get wireless 4G internet, which can be good if your local broadband infrastructure doesn’t offer a good average speed, or has poor reliability.
How much are broadband setup fees in the UK?
Depending on the provider, average broadband setup costs for new customers can actually be quite high in the UK.
Typically, you’ll pay at least £10 on average in setup fees, if a broadband deal has an upfront fee. The fee could be as high as £35 with some deals, such as if you enter into a pay as you go contract.
This is why so many consumers are trying to avoid broadband setup fees.
Remember though, for the providers that have setup costs, they sometimes have a special offer where these fees will be waived for new customers. However, it can take a while for one of these free installation offers to become available.
Do I need a phone line to avoid upfront costs?
Unless you’re with Virgin Media, who charge an upfront cost anyway, you need to pay for phone line rental when buying a broadband deal in the UK.
Don’t worry though: this fee is included in your monthly cost. The quoted price is the entirety of the monthly cost.
As for phone line setup, it’s the same deal. If you pay BT for phone line activation on its own, this could cost up to £140. However, if buying a broadband package with a longer-term contract, this setup cost will be absorbed into the monthly cost, meaning the activation is essentially free.
Therefore, you don’t need to worry about phone line rental costs when buying broadband.
Can I get a broadband and phone deal with no upfront fee?
If you use your home phone a lot, you may want to consider a broadband package that also includes evening and weekend calls, or anytime calls. But will this mean you have to pay an installation fee?
The short answer is not normally. You can get free installation with broadband and home phone deals, including packages with weekend calls included or anytime calls. Generally, there are no setup costs associated with using your phone line for landline calls.
Can I get fibre broadband with no upfront fee?
For those looking for a higher average speed, you’ll probably want fibre broadband.
The bad news is, most ultrafast fibre broadband providers, such as Hyperoptic and Virgin Media, charge a setup cost for new customers, unless they have a special offer going. There are no ultrafast fibre deals available that don’t have an upfront cost, and fibre broadband is almost never available on a pay as you go contract.
If you really want to avoid paying for installation, you can go for superfast fibre optic broadband with a provider such as Vodafone.
Can I get broadband and TV deals with no upfront fee?
In most cases, if you’re looking at broadband and TV bundles, you will have to pay an upfront cost. This is to cover the cost of shipping out your TV box, and possibly installing a satellite to pick up your signal.
However, if you don’t get a traditional smart TV box, then you might be able to avoid installation fees. For example, you can now get BT Sport delivered over the internet, with no need for a satellite or cable connection. Because no new hardware is required, it’s cheaper for the provider, and they might not have a setup cost.
Read our complete guide to broadband and TV bundles.
Is “free broadband” still a thing?
Free broadband service was a marketing tactic used a while ago that has since been outlawed in the UK.
Essentially, providers would offer “free broadband” for a certain period of time, generally bundled with something else, such as a phone or TV deal. You still had to pay for line rental, so the broadband wasn’t really free.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently made new rules against free broadband deals, meaning you can’t get free broadband anymore.
Can I get free installation with no credit check?
Some internet providers offer broadband with no upfront cost and no credit check required for new customers.
Plusnet is your best bet if you want to avoid a credit check and still get free installation (as well as UK based customer service, and a Plusnet reward card, once your broadband is activated). They don’t do credit checks of any new Plusnet customers, and they currently offer broadband deals with free installation.
Another provider to try is TalkTalk. Although they do perform a credit check, they are still likely to approve you even if your credit history isn’t perfect – plus they offer free setup.
If TalkTalk doesn’t work, and you don’t want to go with Plusnet broadband, you might want to try a mobile broadband provider. These companies often have month to month pay as you go internet deals that don’t require perfect financial history.
What about broadband with free gifts?
Apart from offering broadband deals with free installation, some home broadband providers encourage new signups by offering freebies, such as a reward card or gadget.
Some broadband packages even come with much larger free gifts. For example, Vodafone sometimes has a special offer of an Apple TV 4K, Apple TV+, and a reward card or gift card for new customers.
You’ve reached the end of our broadband with no setup fee buyer’s guide.
It’s important to remember what you’re trading off in exchange for a broadband package that will offer free setup. Often, to avoid the setup cost, you’ll have to go for a longer-term broadband contract, or face a higher per month cost. There are very few of these deals available on special offers with a 12 month contract, or where you can pay as you go.
However, that’s not to say that all of these free setup deals are bad. Many of them offer really great value for new customers, as long as you’re willing to enter an 18 month contract, or a 24 month deal, to get free setup for a more reasonable per month cost.
About the author
Tyler built his first PC at the age of 12, and since then, he’s become obsessed with all things networking and internet-related. He’s a massive gamer, loves Rocket League, and also plays Sunday League football.