Primus broadband & phone review

Cheap and cheerful are Primus home phone's watchwords - is it the same story with their broadband deals?

Primus are best known for their cut price home phone deals and they've applied the same principles that made them popular there - simple pricing and solid service - to their broadband.

Primus deals

Primus have three simple broadband deals (see prices in our comparison table), two with Primus line rental and one without (though this is still required from elsewhere though, e.g. from BT).

Saver has a monthly download allowance of 20GB (currently 40GB with special offer) while Unlimited offers truly unlimited downloads, without a fair use policy.

Broadband only, as the name implies, comes without line rental from Primus. It's reasonably priced, but is limited to a smaller 10GB of downloads a month.

Small allowance...

Many broadband customers end up overpaying for usage they don't need: Saver and Broadband only's small usage allowance matches that of many of the UK's cheapest broadband deals (see them here).

Check our article on usage limits for more detail on this.

Primus Saver and Broadband only customers must pay a set fee - at the time of writing it's £2 for every 1GB - every time they go over their limit but the extra cost of unlimited means that going over occasionally could be cheaper than switching up.

As a rule of thumb, if you primarily use your internet for browsing and email and rarely or never stream or download large files 10GB should be fine.

As well as a drastically reduced price as a result of the lower download limits, Primus broadband is light on the extras that rack up the price of some other broadband deals.

See the table above for setup fees but note that a wireless router is included free on sign up and customer service is via a free 0800 number.

... or unlimited downloads

Very heavy downloaders should note that Primus Unlimited (formally known as Primus Max) no longer has a fair use policy (details) on its broadband.

The old policy restricted users downloading more than 100GB a month.

If users exceeded 100GB they would be contacted by Primus and three or more warnings meant that your connection would be slowed during busy times without any further notice to you.

Now, though, Primus confirm that their Unlimited deal has no fair use policy and no traffic management at all.

Primus Max also keeps costs down with no setup fee, a wireless router is included when you sign up and customer service is still via a free 0800 number.

A note on Primus line rental

The price of Primus line rental sold alongside broadband became more competitive in recent years as the price of BT's line rental continued to climb.

However, at the start of March 2013, Primus increased line rental charges reducing the savings difference down to just 26p and £1.46 a month.

To counteract the price increase Primus have started offering customers the option to pay for a year's line rental upfront, bringing the effective monthly cost down to £10.

Note however, that they're not the only ISP to offer this, and both TalkTalk and Sky offer cheaper pay upfront deals.

It is becoming odd why Primus aren't offering bigger savings here though, as we said above, Primus are perhaps best known throughout the country as the purveyors of some of the UK's very cheapest line rental deals.

Turns out, when it comes to broadband and not just standalone line rental they do what all the other ISPs do: hike up the cost of mandatory line rental in order to lower the cost of their broadband, the price they hope customers will look at.

And who can blame them? All the other kids are doing it.

Poor value?

Does this inflated line rental make Primus deals poor value?

We'd have to say no.

(Certainly not at the moment in any case due to their current special offer deal on Saver - note though that this ends 31 March 2013.)

Although it's not the UK's cheapest by a long chalk, Primus' broadband prices are low enough for the deals to remain good value overall for those on a budget because, as we said before, all the other providers are doing the same thing.

If you're interested in this issue we've looked at it in depth in our broadband and Primus line rental guide - here.

In that article we look at the cheapest Primus line rental and see how it can be paired with standalone broadband deals. Overall, we conclude that there are only limited savings to be had from going the mix and match route.

Providers are now so focused on making all their customers 'dual' contract holders that they discount heavily based on that one feature.

More detail

Note that the Primus line rental included with the deals above does include free evening and weekend calls to UK landlines and new customers can keep their existing landline numbers.

Out of allowance, Primus Saver's call charges also compare favourably to other providers.

Peak time calls to UK landlines and off-peak calls to mobiles are at similar prices to BT, check the Primus site for full details.

All in all

All in all, Primus offer good basic broadband and calls deals and Primus Saver is currently one of the UK's cheapest deals.

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