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BT vs TalkTalk

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Can’t decide between two of the biggest providers in the UK? Here’s how they compare, including what perks each has to offer, and how much they cost…

Can’t decide between two of the biggest providers in the UK? Here’s how they compare, including what perks each has to offer, and how much they cost…

On the face of it, BT and TalkTalk are pretty similar. They both offer fibre optic packages and unlimited downloads.

Each has its own TV service and they both use the Openreach network to deliver broadband to the home.

But which one is right for you? Here’s everything you need to know…

BT vs TalkTalk at a glance

BT

TalkTalk

Can I get ADSL?

Yes, with average speeds of 10Mbps

Yes, with average speeds of 11Mbps

Can I get superfast fibre?

Yes. Fibre Essential (36Mbps), Fibre 1 (50Mbps) and Fibre 2 (67Mbps)

Yes. Fibre 35 (38Mbps) and Fibre 65 (67Mbps)

Can I get ultrafast fibre?

Yes. Average speeds of up to 910Mbps

Yes. Average speeds of up to 944Mbps

Download limit

No download limits

No download limits

TV

Yes. YouView-based BT service

YouView-based TV service

Do I have to take a home phone?

No. Landline is optional with BT

Yes

For more on each provider, read our full BT and TalkTalk reviews.

Cost

In terms of price, TalkTalk comes in cheaper than BT.

At the time of writing, TalkTalk's Fibre 35 plan is priced at £27 per month, while its Fibre 65 plan is £28 per month. Both are on 18-month contracts.

On the other hand, BT’s Fibre Essential and Fibre 1 plans cost £31.99 and £32.99 a month respectively, on 24-month contracts.

All that said, you do get extra perks with BT plans, such as over five million public Wi-Fi hotspots and low-priced TNT Sports access via the discovery+ app. All this somewhat justifies BT's higher price tag.

Average broadband speeds

TalkTalk offers two entry-level plans, Fibre 35 and Fibre 65, which come with average download speeds of 38Mbps and 67Mbps respectively. BT also has three plans with similar speeds: Fibre Essentials (36Mbps), Fibre 1 (50Mbps) and Fibre 2 (67Mbps).

In terms of faster full fibre broadband , both providers offer a good amount of choice.

BT has four Full Fibre plans, with speeds ranging between 150-910Mbps. TalkTalk has caught up in recent years, now offering four Full Fibre packages at speeds of 77Mbps to 944Mbps.

However, in both instances, these ultrafast plans aren't as widely available as the entry-level fibre optic offerings. Such speeds are limited to only a few areas, namely large towns and cities – it's best to run your postcode through their availability checkers

Broadband packages review

All of TalkTalk’s ADSL and fibre broadband packages are fairly priced, and come with an 18-month contract.

On the other hand, BT's plans tie you into a 24-month contract. They're also generally more expensive than an equivalent package from TalkTalk, though BT does sometimes offer reward cards that help bring that price down slightly.

Phone

BT offers broadband without line rental, which means you can get a broadband-only plan if you don't want to pay for a phone line.

TalkTalk's Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 plans both come with line rental included, as it uses your copper telephone cabling to provide its services. However, if you're able to opt for one of its Full Fibre plans, these don't require a landline.

If you do indeed want to pay more for a landline with a call plan, both BT and TalkTalk offer a range of add-ons. These include unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles, plus comprehensive international call packages.

BT's call plans are on 12-month minimum terms, while TalkTalk's operate on a more flexible monthly rolling basis.

TV

When it comes to TV, BT wins out in terms of pure choice. As well as Freeview channels, you can choose between five different packages that come with a selection of top entertainment or sports channels. What's more, BT is home to TNT Sports, which is a must-have if you're a live sports fan.

With BT, you can easily customise your TV package with a range of monthly rolling add-ons, including NOW TV Memberships and Netflix. And although BT TV lasts for a minimum term of 24 months, you can switch between its five flexible packages every 30 days.

Still, TalkTalk is a decent option if you're after a budget-friendly and flexible TV package. For £5 a month, you get either TalkTalk's TV Hub or the TalkTalk 4K TV Box, where you can view free-to-air channels, on-demand players and streaming apps.

Fibre offering

If you want seriously fast internet, and you’re lucky enough to live in an area where full fibre broadband is available, both BT and TalkTalk's Full Fibre packages are a great option.

Don't worry if you can't get full fibre at your address, though, as both provider's entry-level fibre optic plans are fast enough for most households.

Download limits

All of BT’s broadband packages come with unlimited download limits – so you can browse the web and download as much content as you like without worrying about being charged extra.

Similarly, all of TalkTalk’s fibre broadband plans come with totally unlimited usage. So the same thing goes – you can browse as much as you want, whenever you want, without the stress of extra charges.

Extras

Go with BT and you’ll get access to a network of five million Wi-Fi hotspots. This is a great perk for when you’re on the move and need to access the internet. BT customers will also get exclusive discounts when they add an EE mobile plan to their bundle.

You can also add BT Complete Wi-Fi to you plan, which extends your signal to provide reliable Wi-Fi in every room of your house (and if not, a £100 money-back guarantee).

TalkTalk extras include an online security add-on, as well as a Wi-Fi extender kit to boost your speed if you’re having problems with your internet.

Customer service

To date, TalkTalk’s customer service reputation hasn’t been the best. In fact, the provider routinely scores the lowest on Ofcom customer service reports. And it hasn’t improved much over the years, either.

In Ofcom's 2023 report, TalkTalk customers were less likely than average to be satisfied with the reliability of their service. Having said that, both BT and TalkTalk customers were less likely than average to recommend their provider to a friend.

Nevertheless, BT seems to be able to handle customer complaints better than most, as BT customers were more likely than average to have a complaint resolved on first contact. Plus, BT's scores for customer satisfaction with speed and overall service are in line with the market average.

To that end, if good customer service is particularly important to you, BT is the better option.

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