Beleaguered broadband provider TalkTalk's offering a seriously cheap line rental and broadband tariff – the cheapest we've seen in 2016, if you can get the £120 voucher as part of it. But TalkTalk has rock-bottom customer service, so should you switch?

Ever since it was hit by a high-profile hack last October, TalkTalk's been trying to lure customers back with super-cheap deals. And this one's very competitively priced: £198 for a year's broadband and line rental, plus you get a £120 shopping voucher if the phone line in your home is currently with BT, Sky or Plusnet.

For our current broadband and line rental top picks, see our Cheap Broadband guide – here's how the TalkTalk deal stacks up, and what to watch out for.

Martin Lewis
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£198 for a year's broadband and line rental, plus some get a £120 shopping voucher

Until Thursday 10 March, anyone who's not currently a TalkTalk customer can get TalkTalk's unlimited Simply Broadband* 'free' when they take its line rental on a 12-month contract. This is how it works:

  1. Sign up now. Go via TalkTalk*.

  2. Choose to pay for line rent upfront. If you can afford to it's cheapest to pay £191.16 for a year upfront (equivalent to £15.93/mth), otherwise it's £17.70/mth.

  3. Unlimited broadband's 'free' for the entire 12-month contract. After this it'll rise to £7.50/mth – so diarise to switch at this time. You get a 'free' compulsory router, though you must pay £6.75 p&p.

  4. £120 Love2Shop voucher if you're switching from BT, Sky or Plusnet. Once the broadband's live, the voucher will be posted to you automatically within 28 days. Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, Superdrug etc – see the full Love2Shop list for all retailers. You WON'T get the voucher unless the phone line in your home is currently with BT, Sky or Plusnet though. (If you've ad- or cookie-blocking software, turn it off or the deal mightn't track – see cookie blockers.)

Add up the year's upfront line rent and router p&p and it's £197.91 for 12 months, equivalent to £16.49/mth. If you're paying line rental monthly it's £219.15 for the year or £18.26/mth. Plus you'll get the £120 Love2Shop voucher if switching from BT, Sky or Plusnet.

If you'd spend the voucher at one of the shops anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £77.91 over 12 months, equivalent to £6.49/mth (paid monthly it's £99.15, equivalent to £8.26/mth).

Here are the other key need-to-knows:

  • What about calls? You get three months' free anytime calls to UK landlines and mobiles. You'll be charged £7.50 per month unless you cancel this 48 hours before the end of your third month of free calls. Normal call costs apply after this. Calls over 60 minutes are charged so hang up after an hour and call back. See call costs for full information.
  • Need a new line? If you don't have a line or only have a cable one (or in a few cases other lines), installation is free. (Though if you need a new line installed, you WON'T get the voucher.)
  • Optional free Sim. You can also choose to get a free Sim that comes with 100 minutes, 250 texts and 200MB of data per month on a 30-day rolling contract. Extra calls, texts or data charges will be on top of your monthly broadband and line rent costs.

Bear in mind that unusually with this deal you only get the voucher if the phone line in your home is currently with BT, Sky or Plusnet – and therefore you don't need a new line installed. It's only a good deal if you can get and factor in the voucher, so if you can't, see our Cheap Broadband guide for other options.

TalkTalk's back with super-cheap line and broadband – but should you be wary?
TalkTalk's back with super-cheap line and broadband – but should you be wary?

TalkTalk is rated 47% 'poor' for customer service

If you just want standard broadband, a cheap price and you'd definitely use the broadband, this is a clear winner. Certainly if all works well then it's a corking deal – and it's to be hoped it will.

Yet there are other things to consider with TalkTalk:

- It's come bottom of our customer service polls.
It's been near the bottom of recent polls. In the most recent January home phone and broadband poll it dropped further, scoring 47% 'poor' for home phone and broadband, compared with 36% for BT, 24% for Sky and 15% for Plusnet. Plusnet, in fact, was rated the market's best for service – 61% rated it 'great'. TalkTalk says it's working hard to improve customer experience – you should make sure you factor in the poor feedback from many customers before deciding to go with this deal.

- The much-publicised hack has hurt its brand. Last year TalkTalk was hacked and received huge negative press, not just for the hack itself but because some users' personal details had been accessed and it didn't let users leave penalty-free. Even when it offered existing customers a free upgrade as a thank-you for remaining with the firm, there was criticism after some were left unable to choose their free upgrade online.

Don't want to go with TalkTalk?

See our Cheap Broadband guide for the other best offers around. Top picks currently include a year's Sky standard broadband and line rent for £116 after £105 bill credit, or if you're after faster speeds, a year's BT fibre broadband for £371 with a £100 Mastercard and £40 Boots voucher.

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