Compare BT vs TalkTalk vs Sky vs Virgin Media vs Vodafone

Broadband Technology

Virgin Media has its own Hybrid Fibre Coax network (cable technology) which uses Optical Fibre and Coax cable. Virgin Media cable broadband can deliver download speeds of 2Gbps+ speeds. 

Majority of UK providers including BT, Sky, Vodafone and Plusnet offer their services using Openreach network which offers FTTC (fibre to the cabinet), G.fast and FTTP (fibre to the premises) services. Openreach based providers usually offer faster upload speeds on their fibre networks.

In the mid-tier fibre broadband services, Openreach based broadband services are more widely available than Virgin Media (96% vs 60%.)

Virgin Media is currently, the fastest, widely available broadband (Gig1 – 1130Mbps) in the UK.

Network type BT TalkTalk Sky Virgin Media Vodafone
ADSL Speed: 10Mbps
Price:
£28 / month
Speed: 11Mbps
Price:
£24.95 / month
Speed: 11Mbps
Price:
£30 / month
N.A N.A
Hybrid Fibre
(FTTC)
Speed:
36Mbps – 67Mbps
Price:
£28.99 / month
Speed:
38Mbps – 67Mbps
Price:
£24.95 month
Speed:
35Mbps – 59Mbps
Price:
£26 / month
 N.A Speed:
35Mbps – 63Mbps
Price:
£22 / month
G.Fast Fibre Speed:
145Mbps
Price:
£35.99 / month
Speed:
145Mbps
Price:
£29.95 / month
Speed:
145Mbps
Price:
£32 / month
N.A Speed:
100Mbps
Price:
£25 / month
Cable
(DOCSIS 3.1)
N.A N.A N.A Speed:
54Mbps – 1130Mbps
Price:
£26 / month
N.A
Ultrafast Fibre Speed:
500Mbps – 900Mbps
Price:
£45.99 / month
Speed:
290Mbps – 506Mbps
Price:
£40 / month
Speed:
500Mbps – 900Mbps
Price:
£42 / month
N.A Speed:
500Mbps
Price:
£45 / month
Package type BT TalkTalk Sky Virgin Media Vodafone
Broadband Only
(No landline)
From
£28.99 / month
N.A N.A From
£26 / month
N.A
Broadband Only
(Landline + PAYG calls)
From
£33.99 / month
From
£26 / month
From
£26 / month
 N.A From
£22 / month
Broadband and Phone
(Inclusive calls)
N.A N.A N.A Weekend calls
£26 / month
N.A
Broadband, Phone and TV From
£50.99 / month
From
£31 / month
From
£34/ month
From
£29.99 / month
N.A
Quad-play bundles
(SIM included)
 N.A N.A  N.A From
£41.99 / month
 N.A
  • TalkTalk and Vodafone offer budget-friendly packages compared to BT, Sky and Virgin Media. 
  • Over-all, Vodafone offers the cheapest plans, while BT offers slightly more expensive packages than other providers.
  • Sky and Virgin Media offer the best TV and broadband packages with a wide range of premium TV content. 
  • If you are looking for ultrafast speeds (300Mbps+), Virgin Media offers top speeds with a wide range of choices.
  • Virgin Media broadband only plans in top tier offer great value of money.   
  • Our exclusive offers include vouchers of worth up to £130                          

The quality and features of broadband routers have an impact on internet speed you receive on your device and the over-all internet experience.

  • Wi-Fi standard: WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is more advanced than WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and WiFi 4 (802.11n). The WiFi standard determines the maximum WiFi speed capacity and the number of connected devices.
  • Single band or dual bands or tri band (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz) – It manages coverage and speed. More frequency bands improve performance, helping you connect more devices and get faster speeds. The higher frequency range is short, but faster.
  • Special features like smart channel selection enable seamless wifi connectivity 
  • Security Protocols such as WEP, WPA, WPA2 and WPA3 protect the devices.

BT Smart Hub 2

BT Smart Hub 2

BT Smart Hub 2 is the latest router which is supplied with all BT fibre broadband packages. It comes with following features:

  • 802.11ac WiFi 5 standard
  • Dual bands – 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Four gigabit Ethernet ports and seven antennae
  • Supports Dect phone
  • Supports WiFi meshing – BT Complete WiFi supplies wifi discs to sync with Smart Hub 2 to enhance coverage.

Virgin Media Hub 

Virgin Media Hub 5

Virgin Media supplies any one of these routers with broadband packages – Hub 3, Hub 4 or Hub 5. 

Main features

  • Hub 3 which supports DOCSIS 3.0 network is the standard router for most packages (M100, M200, M350 and M500)
  • Virgin Media Hub 4 and Hub 5 support the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology which Virgin Media uses. They are designed for faster speeds than Hub 3 which is being replaced by Hub 4 and Hub 5.
  • Hub 4 is standard WiFi router for Gig1 package, while Hub 5 is available for free upgrade .
  • Hub 3 and Hub 4 come with WiFi 5 802.11ac while Hub 5 comes with the latest 802.11ax WiFi 6 standard which enables Hub 5 to handle 2Gbps+ speeds making it the fastest router supplied with Virgin Media broadband. Hub 5 also comes with the latest WPA3 security protocol.

Sky Broadband Hub

Sky Broadband Hub

  • Sky broadband hub is 802.11ac WiFi router with dual bands, 4 gigabit ports and eight antennas. Its performance and specifications are similar to BT Smart Hub 2 and Virgin Media Hub 3. 
  • With a Sky Broadband Boost subscription, you are guaranteed minimum WiFi speed in all rooms. In addition, the broadband lines are checked daily and engineer visits are scheduled for you at no extra cost.  

TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub

TalkTalk WiFi Hub

  • TalkTalk offers Wi-Fi Hub Black with entry level FTTC packages (Fibre 35 and Fibre 65)
  • The new TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub comes bundled with G.fast and full fibre packages. (Fibre 150, Fibre 250 and Fibre 900). 
  • Both TalkTalk routers have similar features – WiFi 5 802.11ac, dual bands, smart channel selection, four gigabit connections and seven antennas.

Home Phone

Call plan BT TalkTalk Sky Virgin Media Vodafone
Pay As You Go
(PAYG)
20.9p
/ min
21p
/ min
15.5p
/ min
25p
/ min
11.5p
/ min
Weekend calls N.A N.A N.A  Inclusive N.A
Evening & weekend N.A N.A £5
/ month
N.A £4
/ month
Unlimited £15.67
/ month
£7
/ month
£12
/ month
£7
/ month
£8
/ month
Limited   £7.31
/ month
(700 mins)
 N.A  N.A N.A  N.A
International
(limited mins)
  £8.99
/ month
£7
/ month
£14
/ month
£15
/ month
  £5
/ month
(300 mins)
  • Only Virgin media offers broadband deals that include calls. 
  • Standard calling rates for pay as you go calls on Sky and Vodafone are cheaper.
  • If you are a regular phone user, you can compare the call plans to find the best deals – weekend, evening & weekend, unlimited and international calls.

TV

Feature BT TalkTalk Sky Virgin Media
TV Box YouView Box
Pause & Rewind,
Recordable,
4K HDR, Wi-Fi
Netgem TV box
Pause & Rewind,
Recordable,
4K HDR
Sky Q
Pause & Rewind,
Recordable,
4K HDR, Wi-Fi
Virgin Media TV 360
Pause & Rewind,
Recordable,
4K HDR
Number of
TV channels
160+ 80+ 150+ 110 – 250
TV channels Freeview, Sky Atlantic,
Now Membership, AMC,
BT Sport, Eurosport
Freeview,
Now Memberships
Freeview,
Sky TV channels
Freeview, Sky Sport,
Sky Cinema, BT Sport
Add-ons Netflix, Amazon
Prime video
Netflix, Amazon
Prime video, BT Sport
Netflix, Amazon
Prime video
Netflix, Amazon
Prime video
Starting
Price

(bundle)
  £39.99
/ month
  £31
/ month
  £34
/ month
£29.99
/ month
Contract
Length
 24 months 18 months 18 months 18 months
  • BT offers YouView based TV boxes. You can choose from three recordable set-top boxes and one non-recordable TV box. The new BT TV Box Pro comes with Wi-Fi, 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos. The other three TV boxes come with HD resolution.
  • TalkTalk offers three recordable set-top boxes and one non-recordable TV box. The new Netgem TV box supports 4K, while the standard TV box has HD resolution.
  • Sky offers Sky Q TV box with 1TB or 2TB storage. Multiroom, 4K, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, Dolby Digital and Atmos are supported. You can record six live shows. Sky Q Mini Box is available for multi-room TV.
  • Virgin Media offers Virgin TV 360 box which comes with a 1TB hard drive for recording videos. You can record six live shows. Mini Box can be used for multi-room TV. 
  • Our exclusive offers include vouchers of worth up to £130                          

Feature BT TalkTalk Sky Virgin Media Vodafone
Download limit Totally
Unlimited
Totally
Unlimited
Totally
Unlimited
Totally
Unlimited
Totally
Unlimited
Fibre broadband
availability
65% – 92% 65% – 92% 65% – 92% 54% 65% – 92%
Ultrafast broadband
availability

(100Mbps+)
yes yes yes yes yes
Home Phone £15.67
/ month
£7
/ month
£12
/ month
£7
/ month
£8
/ month
TV yes yes yes yes  N.A
Mobile yes N.A yes yes yes
Extras   Public WiFi
Cloud storage
Online Security
Online Security Online Security Public WiFi
Online Security
 Online Security
  • Virgin Media lags behind other providers when it comes to availability.
  • All providers offer ultra-fast broadband options.
  • Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk services do not offer free extras except online security. Both BT and Virgin Media offer public WiFi to its customers. 

Feature BT TalkTalk Sky Virgin Media Vodafone
Broadband
Satisfaction
80% 77% 80% 80%  N.A
Landline
Satisfaction
78% 82% 79% 69%  N.A
Mobile
Satisfaction
 N.A  N.A  N.A 88% 90%
Broadband
Complaints
50 81 23 69 103
Landline
Complaints
29 59 16 45  55
Mobile
Complaints
17 N.A 6 25 20

All of the providers we compared offer great service and a wide range of speeds (superfast to ultrafast), which is more than enough for most UK households. However, the availability, cost and reliability may vary from provider to provider. Each one has some advantages and disadvantages over its competitors.

Provider Pros Cons
BT Excellent WiFi router.
Extras
Expensive
Virgin Media Ultrafast speeds Limited Availability
Sky Excellent TV bundles Expensive
TalkTalk Cheap prices More customer complaints
Vodafone Cheap prices Poor customer service

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