Are you on a Vodafone Recharge ? It might be time for a change
- Vodafone used to be considered the best on the prepaid market in Australia.
- Now, we can no longer recommend them for their prepaid plan range.
- Vodafone are outplayed for value on core inclusions ( notably data ) by tier 1 competitors including Optus.
- But Vodafone is increasingly left behind in other areas, too.
- Optus and Telstra are adding value added entertainment options to their plans. Vodafone are not.
- And smaller phone companies which offer the same voice, SMS and data in their plans that Vodafone do, are often at cheaper rates than Vodafone.
- Two of the most popular small phone companies which offer better value actually use the Vodafone 3G and 4G network : Kogan Mobile and Lebara Mobile.
- As a result, we show you the plans we recommend over and above what Vodafone have on offer.
Why change from Vodafone prepaid to an alternative?
Vodafone Australia used to be synonymous with the prepaid service. There was a time when if you were buying prepaid, you’d naturally default to Vodafone.
Unfortunately, they are now outplayed by the competition. We recommend that if you’re on a Vodafone prepaid SIM, you switch. Here’s why.
- Overall value :
Vodafone’s prepaid service and recharge inclusions are designed to compete at a ‘headline level’ with Optus’ equivalent. That’s especially true for their data inclusion. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons we will show below, Vodafone’s plans are not competitive when considered next to alternatives.
- There are better value data inclusions out there :
Generally, we believe that Yomojo offer the best data pricing in Australia, at the moment, in our view. Yomojo use the Optus 3G and 4G network and simply provide more data for less $ than Vodafone. If you want more data for your money, consider Yomojo alongside Vodafone’s prepaid plans.
- Some phone company alternatives have music built in to their prepaid plans:
Optus prepaid was first to include streamed audioin 2016. Since then, Optus entertainment options, even on their prepaid plan range have been getting stronger. Streamed audio can save you 1GB – 3GB of data each month.
- Even better entertainment options :
The competition now also includes a number of value adds, in addition to these core prepaid plan services and, again, regrettably, Vodafone does not include them in their plans. OVO Mobile, for example, offer streamed V8 Supercars, Gymnastics and other sports video packages as part of their hugely successful plan range. Telstra prepaid plans include streamed video from the AFL, netball and NRL.
- Entertainment is often ‘free’ :
Mostly, you will need an existing account with either an internet radio / music provider, including those we have listed above. The data you use accessing it, from your phone, will be free, however. ( i.e. not charged to you as part of your plan data ) The process is called zero rating and if you’ve never experienced it before, you might like to read a little more about this important change.
- You can benefit from alternative networks :
Vodafone’s network has improved a lot in the last 3 years. Optus and Telstra’s networks, however, are just as good. If Vodafone coverage is not what you need it to be where you live and work, you might like to, consider trialing a new provider.
- Customer service and customer experience can be better elsewhere :
Customer service can make all the difference when considering a new phone provider. Kogan Mobile, for example, use the Vodafone 3G and 4G network for their prepaid services. Vodafone actually does Kogan Mobile’s customer service, as well as their own ! Moving from Vodafone to Kogan gives you exactly the same network, more data for your money and you will speak to the same support staff when they are addressing your issues !
Unfortunately, our view is that the Vodafone ‘MyMix’ prepaid plan suite is now the weakest in market from any of the major networks.
How can I move from Vodafone prepaid to an alternative?
The truth is that moving from your existing phone company to a new one is extremely easy. Just fill in the online order form and it’s likely you will be on the new network within 24 – 48 hours.
- Yes, you can keep your number :
If you want to move to a new phone number, it’s natural to want to make sure that you can do so with the minimum of hassle. You can keep your existing phone number if you move to a new provider. The process is extremely simple and entirely automatic.
- Remember, you can trial the service :
The nature of prepaid plans is that they are cheap and last about a month. That means you can get one, usually for $20 or less, which will let you trial the network. Picking up a temporary IM like this allows you to test the customer service of the company you’re going to and weighing up their pricing for a month, before you commit to moving across ‘full time’.
- Fill in the form :
The process of moving to a new phone company simply involves visiting their store by clicking on a link above, on this page. Filling in the form will require 2 forms of ID and take no more than 10 minutes. If you want to keep your exiting phone number, you will be offered a check box in the checkout process which allows you to.
- Entirely automatic :
From the point you submit your online order, the rest of the process is automatic. You will receive your SIM in 24 / 48 hours. If you decided to keep your phone number, it will be transferred when you activate your service.
- Hint :
Use your existing month to the fullest. We always advise people to make full use of their existing value and inclusions before moving to a new service so they don’t waste any money.
What do I do if I move to a new phone company and I want to swap back to Vodafone prepaid?
In the event that you trial a new network and decide you want to move back across to Vodafone, you can do so simply. Just run the process in reverse. Pick up a SIM from the Vodafone online store and you’ll be back to what you knew in 24 – 48 hours.
Will I get better network coverage if I move from Vodafone Prepaid ?
The answer to this one is maybe. It depends on the coverage you get now and where you live. Here are some key facts to be aware of and links to other information you might need.
- The Vodafone prepaid and postpaid networks are the same :
Whether you take a prepaid or a postpaid service from Vodafone, you get the same network footprint entirely. That’s actually true for all of the phone companies.
- Optus, Telstra and Vodafone’s 4G networks are all very similar to each other :
The surprising truth about network performance is that in or around any of the major Australian cities, the network performance you’ll get on aggregate ( across the whole town ) is just as good whether you choose the Vodafone, Optus or Telstra networks.
- Telstra’s 3G network coverage footprint is much bigger :
There is actually no substitute for Telstra’s 3G mobile network. It covers more than 1m square kilometers of Australia than the next best alternative Optus.
What alternatives are recommended instead of Vodafone Prepaid?
There are two main types of alternative to Vodafone
- Optus :
Optus’ prepaid plans are, in our view, best for streamed audio inclusions. Optus usually match or exceed Vodafone’s prepaid data inclusions. They also help users with internet music services save money by not charging them for the data they use listening to those services from their mobile device.
- Telstra :
Keep a prepaid balance of $30 or more on your account and Telstra will allow you to use their free NTL / AFL / Netball app. That means you can watch streamed video of one of these sports as part of your phone plan for a whole year. Remember, the data you use watching these games will not come out of your plan’s regular data bundle.
Optus and Telstra have decided to differentiate themselves based on the entertainment extras. Not every phone company does that. There are also smaller phone companies in the market which tend to still sell voice, SMS and data inclusions. It is these companies which now compete with Vodafone. Some actually use the Vodafone network !
- Smaller Phone Company alternatives – On the same Vodafone network :
Lebara Mobile and Kogan Mobile both use the Vodafone 3G and 4G network in its entirety. We recommend Lebara for International Calls and Kogan for overall value on the Vodafone network.
- Smaller – different network : There are smaller phone companies which use both the Optus 3G and 4G network and the Telstra Mobile Network. You can compare them on our prepaid plans page and SIM Only page.
Summing up the reasons we do not recommend Vodafone Prepaid Recharges
Comparing Vodafone’s prepaid plan inclusions to the alternatives highlights just how far Vodafone were left behind in 2016. It’s true Vodafone’s network has improved a great deal over the last 36 months. It is now on a par with Optus’ and Telstra’s in metro areas.
Unfortunately, while Vodafone was fixing the network and building it’s ‘MyMix’ suite – which, to us, anyway, appears needlessly complex for users, Optus and Telstra have leapfrogged Vodafone in a different way. Phone plans evolved in 2016.
To be a serious ‘tier 1’ telco ( i.e. for Vodafone to compete with Optus and Telstra, plans, even prepaid plans ) need to include streamed entertainment services. Optus and Telstra have invested heavily in the area of entertainment. Vodafone have now and, given the customer attrition they’ve experienced since their network nightmares in 2011, it’s hard to see how they will ever compete in this area.
The lack of included entertainment services in Vodafone’s prepaid plans is not of itself a bad thing. After all, not everyone needs entertainment in their prepaid plan. But the fact that Vodafone doesn’t offer such a thing means that people will, naturally, compare Vodafone to more directly aligned alternatives. This puts Vodafone next to prepaid competitors like Kogan Mobile or Lebara ( which use exactly the same network as Vodafone do ) and it’s clear that, here, Vodafone is lacking.
The unfortunate truth, in our view, is that Vodafone no longer makes sense as a destination for your prepaid dollar.