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TalkTalk vs BT Broadband

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Can cheap and cheerful TalkTalk beat BT’s more pricey, high-performance service?

TalkTalk and BT Broadband are both well-known names, but while BT competes at the costlier end of the market, TalkTalk has been going up against newcomers (at the cheaper end) with aggressive pricing such as Hyperoptic.

If you don’t know much about TalkTalk and BT beyond brand recognition, you may be wondering which one’s the best broadband (Internet Service Provider, ISP) to choose. You can get an in-depth assessment of each service in our TalkTalk review and BT Broadband review, but here we’ll be comparing each ISP side by side in the four most important areas.

TalkTalk vs BT: Pricing

TalkTalk wins

Broadband services are hyper-competitive, so there are plenty of ISPs willing to sell you a package for a low price that looks great on paper. However, the price isn’t something you can assess in isolation, which is important when it comes to comparing these two companies.

In general TalkTalk will charge you less for its services, and it has a good sweet spot in the middle of the package range.

BT’s pricing is significantly higher across the board for each matching package, with its Full Fibre 900 being 10% more expensive than TalkTalk’s package of the same name with the same specifications, with that gap growing as you head towards the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Another issue to consider is that BT locks you into a 24-month contract, while TalkTalk contracts only run for 18 months, which can be another point in favour of TalkTalk, depending on your needs.

Check prices at TalkTalk

TalkTalk vs BT: Customer service

BT wins

Even the best broadband providers can’t give their customers a 100% trouble-free experience, so it’s important that customer service won’t let you down when your day to call them finally arrives.

In this area TalkTalk is one of the weakest ISPs we’ve reviewed. Significantly less than half (43%) of the TalkTalk customers we surveyed were satisfied with their service, and slightly over half (53%) were happy with the call centre support team when they called them.

When we reviewed BT Broadband, its weakest point was customer service, but even so, it did a little better than TalkTalk in this department with 64% satisfied after calling the Contact Centre. That being said, we wouldn’t want to rely on either company when running into internet troubles.

Check prices at BT

TalkTalk vs BT: Performance

BT wins

Let’s be honest, the main reason you’re looking at specific offerings from ISPs besides price is likely the enticing speeds that are emblazoned in big numbers at the top of their adverts. However, be aware that those numbers refer to a “best-case” scenario, and in the real world, two services promising the same speed may provide different results when delivering on that promise.

If you sign up for a new service today, you’re likely to see a “minimum guaranteed speed” somewhere in your contract, which is closer to what you might realistically expect, and this is the number speeds have to dip below before you have grounds to complain.

In our TalkTalk review, their customer satisfaction was quite poor, with only 69% being satisfied with speeds. This puts TalkTalk in the bottom half of all the ISPs we included in our survey. It’s worth noting that this is far behind other providers who use the same fibre networks, so it’s clearly a matter of provider.

BT, on the other hand, is one of the best-performing ISPs we’ve reviewed, with 75% of their customers happy with speeds, and just over 10% who feel really unhappy with it. So in terms of performance, it’s the clear winner here.

Check prices at BT

TalkTalk vs BT: Reliability

BT wins

Imagine you had a really fast car, but it broke down every week. That doesn’t sound like a good time, and most people would probably prefer moderate performance that’s highly reliable. The problem is that reliability is hard to assess when choosing an ISP, since it’s not something they can demonstrate in an advertisement. You can however ask customers what their experience of an ISP’s reliability is, and that’s what we did in our ISP survey.

While 72% of respondents were happy with TalkTalk’s reliability, 12% surveyed were unhappy. While this doesn’t sound too bad, this puts TalkTalk way down our list of surveyed ISPs for reliability.

In comparison, 79% of BT customers are happy with the reliability of the service, so TalkTalk didn’t stand a chance in this category.

Check prices at BT

TalkTalk vs BT: Our verdict

As we made clear in our TalkTalk review, it’s a poor choice of ISP for just about anyone. While its pricing is more attractive than BT, the difference in other areas make it less value for money, and this provider may be more trouble than it’s worth.

If you had to choose between TalkTalk and BT, it seems clear that BT would be the better option. However, in the greater scheme of things, BT is a middling service provider based on the information we’ve gathered on its services. Which means that we’d recommend looking at our list of the best broadband providers instead, where Zen Internet was rated best overall.

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