News: New and upgrading customers will not have to pay the £18 monthly charge.
In what is being billed as a UK industry first, Vodafone claims that it is abolishing home broadband line rentals for new and upgrading home broadband customers.
The nationwide scrapping of the broadband line rental means customers will not be charged the current £18 monthly charge. Customers will still receive a home phone service but will not have to pay for it – on condition that they sign up to an 18-month contract.
Glafkos Persianis, Commercial Director at Vodafone UK said: “Giving our customers the opportunity to break free from hidden line rental charges is our way of letting our customers know that we are listening and that we are serious about providing them with the Unlimited Home Broadband experience that they deserve.
"We started our journey into fibre optic home broadband just over a year ago and are delighted to show that we are a truly innovative and customer focused provider. We know our customers depend on us to stay connected, and now we can satisfy their needs both at home and on the go whilst also putting an end to line rental charges.”
However, critics have been quick to find flaws in the announcement, with uSwitch broadband expert Ewan Taylor-Gibson telling the BBC that ‘Vodafone isn't really abolishing line rental charges, it's simply combining the charge into its fibre pricing."
"This is because broadband providers are under pressure from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to change advertised pricing so customers see a cost per month that includes line rental, so Vodafone is stealing a march on its rivals."
However, Paolo Pescatore, Director of Multiplay at CCS Insight, reacted positively to the news, saying: “Wow, this move clearly underlines Vodafone’s commitment to the UK and especially its intentions for the fixed-line market.
“It’s a bold move and one that will help raise awareness of its fibre broadband offerings in a crowded market. It represents a great opportunity for Vodafone to steal a march on its rivals, more so given it is a relatively new entrant and faces significant headwinds in the fixed line broadband market.
“While others have tinkered with line rental pricing, we believe this is the first time a provider has decided to ditch it altogether.”