Onestream is a fairly new internet service provider (ISP), launched in 2018 under the Onecom banner. Onestream styles itself as a value-for-money alternative to more established ISPs. Its website also reflects a simple approach, though customers may find this unappealing compared to the additional services offered by larger competitors.
Onestream offers several broadband packages to suit a range of users, all of which make use of Openreach lines – there are no full fibre (FTTP) options at present. Whichever option you go for, you’ll get unlimited broadband with no usage caps (‘surf til your tummy feels funny’, as the sales literature puts it), and free line rental. Another example of Onestream’s rather unusual marketing language involves its ‘super dooper’ router, which incurs a £9.99 delivery charge.
All four of Onestream’s broadband packages can be taken out with line rental or as broadband only services, following the example of other ISPs who’ve unbundled phone line services from broadband-only offerings.
Onestream names its ADSL package Onestream Flow. However, while this service is perfectly adequate for small households of casual web users, the difference in price between this and Onestream’s cheapest fibre option is so minimal that the latter represents a compelling upgrade.
Onestream offers multiple Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) options, each with differing speeds. Jetstream Fibre has average download speeds of 17Mbps and typical upload speeds of 2Mbps – twice as fast as Flow. This basic fibre service can be purchased with or without ‘Uptime Calls’. You can also upgrade to Jetstream Fibre Max or go one further and opt for Xstream Superfibre – speeds for these services are outlined below.
Onestream’s advertising lingo describes these packages as ‘Rock’n’roll broadband’, although there are no distinguishing characteristics compared to packages from other ISPs.
Onestream offers a range of call plans which can be added onto any broadband package:
Downtime – evening and weekend landline calls
Uptime – anytime landline calls
Move – low cost calls to UK mobiles
World – low cost calls to 18 selected countries
Life – a combination of the Move, World and Uptime packages.
As well as these options, Onestream has an impressive list of available call services, each priced individually per month and typically costing between £1.99 and £3.99. While caller display is free, paid services include:
Call divert to another number
Call waiting alert
Call barring for premium numbers
Reminder call (programming your phone to ring at a certain time to act as an alarm or reminder)
Ring back request
Three way calling including calls from abroad
Presentation number (displays a different number to your real number)
118 number blocking
Anonymous caller rejection
While these handy extras might prove useful if you’re setting up home broadband for an elderly or vulnerable person (or don’t like being pestered by calls), the cumulative cost of adding multiple services could become prohibitive. At the time of writing (March 2021), adding all 19 paid call options onto your phone package would cost over £70 per month over and above the standard package fees, with Caller Redirect alone costing £14.99.
Despite using the phrase ‘fleeter than a cheetah’ across all of Onestream’s offerings, there are few comparisons between these connections and the world’s fastest land animal. That’s a title more befitting of gigabit full fibre services, whereas this is what Onestream can offer:
These ADSL speeds (11Mbps average download speed, 1Mbps average upload speed) are fine for one or two people to browse the internet and conduct standard definition video calls. It should suffice for most online gaming experiences if nothing else is consuming bandwidth, but there’ll be lengthy download (and in particular upload) times.
Despite doubling the upload speeds (17Mbps average download speed, 2Mbps average upload speed) of Onestream’s standard broadband, Jetstream Fibre is still better suited to smaller households than burgeoning families, as one of the slowest fibre optic options on today’s market.
A 17Mbps average download speed ought to support smoother HD streaming, though Ultra HD and 4K would largely be beyond a connection of this nature. As with Flow, there may be buffering issues if other users or multiple smart devices are connected at the same time, but Jetstream represents a solid option for singletons and couples.
This is the first Onestream package designed for Ultra HD streaming and multiple simultaneous connections. A 45Mbps average download speed can support three or four users, providing they’re not all attempting to stream or game simultaneously.
Assuming every household member isn’t planning to stream in HD or play a MMORPG at the same time, this Superfibre deal with speeds of 67Mbps for downloads and 17Mbps for upload should be sufficient to ensure lag-free connections even during peak times. Households requiring faster connectivity will have to consider ultrafast broadband options, which aren’t currently offered by Onestream.
Over the last year, Onestream has abolished its 12-month and 24-month contract options, in favour of a streamlined 18-month contract for all its broadband deals. That’s in line with industry standards, while the relatively low price of its faster Fibre to the Cabinet connections makes locking in for 18 months a reasonable proposition.
While some of the service charges Onestream imposes are surprisingly expensive (especially for a brand that is aiming to deliver great value for money) at least the pricing is clearly listed in the company’s downloadable price guide. Early termination fees can be as much as £41.24 per month for Xstream Superfibre with line rental when a connection is provided by a BT Wholesale partner – only £1.75 less than the standard monthly charge for this package.
Other notable costs include a £25 change of address fee for moving house or changing phone number. A transfer of account ownership will set you back £20, while an itemised paper bill costs £9.99 per month – an especially costly option that will essentially undo any savings you’ve made on your broadband package. Meanwhile, costs for an engineer’s visit quickly spiral from the first hour’s £115 charge, with a £150 fee for special fault investigations.
Onestream offers its customer service (referred to as ‘The Stream Team’) by phone, email and online chat, though as of March 2021, it is urging customers to only get in touch via live chat. Elderly or vulnerable users can request a call back online, but there’s limited information on the company website about its office hours or the extent of these customer services. Parent company Onecom does have a solid reputation for customer service, albeit in the business broadband sector.
Onestream broadband reviews online reflect a reasonable level of customer satisfaction. It maintains a ranking of 3.9 stars on Trustpilot as of March 2021, representing a significant improvement on a year ago. While 30 per cent of users applied a Bad rating, 53 per cent cited the service as Excellent.
The main reasons why customers are unhappy include poor handling of direct debits that should have been cancelled, paper bills failing to arrive (which seems unacceptable given the monthly cost for this service) and connection problems. Customer service is also described as being difficult to reach by phone, and sometimes slow to respond.
|Good ADSL/FTTC options||Call add-ons become very costly|
|A range of speeds to choose from||Mixed (though improving) customer reviews|
|Extensive call extras|
|Good value for money|
With a range of speeds on offer and the option to opt for ADSL broadband, all at competitive prices, Onestream may be a good choice for households who don’t need many call extras adding to their package.
While its pricing is competitive, this is a limited ISP with no bells or whistles, TV or mobile contracts. Broadband speeds are modest and customer service reviews are mixed, but the ability to tailor call packages makes this a strong option for households wanting a phone line free from nuisance calls.
Last updated: 24 March 2021