Vodafone vs Virgin Mobile : We compare the two to see which is right for you.
Vodafone or Virgin Mobile – 60 second intro
- Vodafone Australia and Virgin Mobile are the nation’s number 3 and number 4 phone companies respectively.
- Each is a vibrant brand focused on the young and young at heart.
- Both offer special discounts for those who buy online and more included value than Telstra.
- We recommend Virgin mobile.
- Virgin generally have better data inclusions in their plans at each price point than Vodafone.
- Virgin also use the Optus 3G and 4G network, generally considered to be better than Vodafone’s own.
- Finally, Virgin ‘throw in’ a bunch of additional plan features like free Virgin to Virgin calls and free Voicemail pick up.
- With some of the best customer service in the industry, picking Virgin is actually a no brainer.
Best SIM Only <$30
- Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz
- Recharge every 30 days.
- Save 90% for new costumer only. Regular price is $49.90!
- Vodafone 4G
- $200 standard calling and unlimited SMS / MMS in Oz.
- Recharge every 30 days.
- Save 50% for each of the first 3 months. Regular price is $9.95! FREE Cyber Safety, Parental Control Software, Live Stream Hit and Tripple M Radio Data!
- Optus 3G + 4G
- Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz
- Month to month
- Save $9 for the first month. Regular price is $14. Australian customer service and support.
- Optus 3G + 4G Plus
- 200 minutes standard calling and unlimited SMS in Oz
- Month to month
- Free Delivery! Set your own Data Limit.
- Optus 3G + 4G Plus
Best SIM Only Plans April 2018
Kogan Mobile – Best Value on the Vodafone Network
Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network
Kogan Mobile keep it simple. They have some of the most competitive SIM Only / Prepaid plans in Australia, on the much improved Vodafone network. With their multi month recharge options, Kogan add some genuine value and choice to the market.
With Kogan, you’ll get
- Monthly, quarterly or annual options : Do you want a single recharge payment with a 1, 3 or 12 month validity ? With Kogan, you’ll get discounts for multi-month purchases you were going to make anyway. They add the convenience of less frequent running out / topping up. And they keep the total predictability and flexibility of prepaid.
Kogan’s 30 day plan range :
Kogan’s 30 day plans all have Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers. The difference is the amount of data which is included.
- Kogan EXTRA LARGE $49.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 23GB of data. Now only $4.90!
- Kogan LARGE $36.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 32GB of data (16GB + 16GB bonus).
- Kogan MEDIUM $29.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB of data
- Kogan SMALL $16.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data
- Kogan SMALL $46.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data.
- Kogan MEDIUM $79.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB of data.
- Kogan LARGE $99.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 16GB of data
- Kogan EXTRA LARGE $139.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 23GB of data
- Kogan SMALL $179.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data
- Kogan MEDIUM $299.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB of data
- Kogan LARGE $399.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 16GB of data
- Kogan EXTRA LARGE $529.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 23GB of data
All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. See all Kogan Plans including 90 day and 365 day plans. You can find out more about this company in our Kogan Mobile review.
Great Value Data & Best For International Calls
Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network
If you’re after an unlimited plan with incredible data inclusions, or you make calls overseas, in our view, you need look no further than Lebara. Lebara use the much improved Vodafone 3G + 4G network which covers more than 96% of Australians. With Lebara, you’ll get :
- Big Data on the Vodafone 3G + 4G network:
Lebara’s plans include enough data for even the most ravenous data eaters.
- Broad Range Including Plans With International Calls:
Lebara have Unlimited International Call plans at $29.90 and $49.90 price points. Lebara’s cheaper international call rates cover all the major destinations including : UK, USA, Greece, China, Canada, Germany, Denmark, France, South Korea and Switzerland. (Inclusions vary, see our review.)
Lebara have 30 day plans, 180 day plans and 360 day plans. Buy up-front and save.
Lebara’s prepaid plan range:
- Lebara Extra Small Plan $14.90 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data. Now only $4.90!
- Lebara Small Plan $24.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Ozwith unlimited standard call to 10 selected countries + 3.5GB of data.
- Lebara Medium Plan $29.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard call to 15 selected countries + 15GB of data first month (5GB + 10GB bonus).
- Lebara Large Plan $39.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 18 selected countries + 26GB of data (10GB + 16GB bonus). Now only $15.90!
- Lebara Extra Large Plan $49.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 50 selected countries + 30GB of data (20GB + 10GB activation bonus).
- Lebara Medium Plan $160 – 180 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 15 selected countries + 5GB of data.
- Lebara Large Plan $225 – 180 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 18 selected countries + 16GB of data.
- Lebara Medium Plan $300 – 360 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 12 selected countries + 5GB of data.
- Lebara Large Plan $420 – 360 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 18 selected countries + 16GB of data.
You can find out more about this company in our full Lebara Review.
Belong Mobile | Fairest For Data
Postpaid | Month to Month agreement | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G
Belong sell access to the Telstra Mobile Network. They have a simple to understand plan structure with options on data, national ($5 extra) and international calls ($5 extra.) Belong also offer the fairest treatment of data that any phone company in Australia have. a ‘data vault’ feature. Whatever data you buy, is yours, forever. It just keeps rolling over until you use it or leave them.
With Belong, you’ll get:
- Data Vault:
All Belong’s Mobile plans come with ‘data vault’. When you buy your data, it just keeps rolling over until you decide to use it or leave them!
- $5 National Calls:
Belong’s price plans are data first. If you want to add Unlimited Australian National calls, it’ll cost you $5 a month, on top of the price of your data.
- $10 International Calls:
And if you want to make Unlimited International Calls (to 10 selected destinations – or to 23 selected countries’ landlines) just add $10.
Belong Plans For Your Mobile
- Belong Mobile $25 = 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $40 =45GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $30 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $35 = Unlimited national calls & SMS + 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift) with international calls & SMS to selected countries.
- Belong Mobile $45 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 40GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $50 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 45GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift) with international calls & SMS to selected countries.
All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Belong Mobile review.
Boost Mobile | Best Prepaid Data Rates On The Full Telstra Network
Prepaid | 28 day expiry | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G
Boost Mobile are a reliable brand. They are the only phone company other than Telstra to resell the full Telstra ‘Retail’ Network. With Boost you’ll get:
- The full Telstra Mobile Network
Other phone companies resell part of the Telstra Mobile Network. Only Boost and Telstra plans allow you access the whole thing.
- Free streamed audio:
Data free streaming of Apple Music (requires subscription) on top of the data included in your plan.
- A range that includes 7 day and 28 day plans:
Boost offer a selection of plans including 7 and 28 day variants.
- Recharge options from $10 to $50:
Boost have a total of 5 recharge options for their prepaid plans, ranging between $10 and $50.
Boost Mobile Plans For Your Mobile
- Boost $10 Prepaid = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 1GB data.
- Boost $20 Prepaid = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 2.5GB data.
- Boost $30 Prepaid = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 5GB data.
- Boost $40 Prepaid = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 15GB data.
- Boost $50 Prepaid = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 20GB data.
All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Boost Mobile review.
Postpaid | SIM Only | Month to Month Agreement | Optus 3G + 4G Plus Network
SpinTel are a postpaid provider with a one of the most useful data management features we’ve seen. With SpinTel plans your data is ‘capped’ when you reach your limit. With most other post paid phone plan providers, when you hit your limit, you’ll be charged $10 for an extra GB which is not as fair as we’d like to see.
With SpinTel you’ll get:
- Great data pricing:
Compare SpinTel to the best of the rest and you’ll see, at the price points they sell, SpinTel are often the best value.
- ‘Capped plan’ data limits:
If you want your phone service’s data to stop at a limit you set, SpinTel are the right phone company for you. So far as we know, they are the only company to offer this feature.
SpinTel plans for your mobile.
- Spintel BYO $9.95 = 200 minutes standard calls and unlimited SMS in Oz + 1.5GB
- Spintel BYO $15.95 = Unlimited calls and SMS in Oz + 3GB
- Spintel BYO $23.95 = Unlimited calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB
- Spintel BYO $25.95 = Unlimited calls and SMS in Oz + 10GB
Moose Mobile : WhatPhone 2018 ‘Best Overall’ Award Winner
Postpaid | SIM Only | Month to month agreement | Optus 3G + 4G Plus
Moose are a new Australian phone company which stormed on to the market in early 2017. They offer a fantastic range of plans, with huge data allowances which exceed those available from competitors. Customer feedback has been so good about the company, we had to award them the ‘Best Overall’ award as part of our 2018 review. (link to awards page.)
With Moose You’ll get:
- Best value data inclusions:
Starting at less than $10 per month, Moose offer consistently strong pricing, especially on their 4G data inclusions.
- Excellent customer feedback:
Moost stand out from the pack on customer service with phenomenal online reviews.
- Nothing you don’t need:
Moose keep it simple. No included streamed audio or video, these are a phone plans with nothing you don’t need.
Moose plans for your mobile
- Moose $9 SIM Only = 200 minutes of calls to landlines and mobiles in Oz. Unlimited SMS and MMS in Oz + 1GB of data. Now only $5!
- Moose $14 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 1.5GB of data. Now only $5!
- Moose $19 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 2GB of data. Now only $5!
- Moose $29 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 5GB of data. Now only $5!
- Moose $34 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 10GB of data.
- Moose $39 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 16GB of data.
- Moose $49 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 30GB of data.
- Moose $78 Sim Only = Unlimited standard calls and SMS and MMS in Oz + 90GB of data.
You can read more about this company in our Moose Mobile Review.
OVO Mobile – Free Video & Radio Content
Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 3G and 4G Network
OVO’s offer a totally new way of looking at a phone company – they’re one of our best selling partners. Their plans are, pretty much on a par for data inclusions with the best in the industry. In addition to talk time, SMS and data, OVO’s plans include exclusive access to exclusive video content. All of OVO’s plans come with ‘OVO Play’ an app which lets you watch their free content on your plan. With OVO, you’ll get:
- Free Video Content – Motorsport, Sailing, Gymnastics & Water Polo :
OVO offer a growing list of free video and audio content. Motorsport fans might like the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series, Australian GT, Formula Drift and other petrol head live streaming. OVO Play also includes other sports like sailing and gymnastics. The price of the content is included in the monthly line rental charge you pay OVO for your prepaid plan. So, importantly: You won’t see your data balance decline while you’re watching them, the streamed content is free.
- Free Streamed Audio:
OVO’s plans also offer FREE radio streaming, also included in your plan offers access to the Tripple M network and other selected stations.
- OVO for Kids:
OVO’s plans come with the offer of free access to Parental Lock software. Buy your child the $9.95 plan from OVO and you’ll be able to monitor what they access on their phone and set times for it to turn off and turn on it’s own connection to the internet.
OVO Plans for your mobile
Picking an OVO plan is simple. All of OVO’s plans include Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers plus superfast 4G data.
- $9.95 Unlimited = $200 standard calling and unlimited SMS / MMS + 1GB of 4G data. Save 50% for each of the first 3 months.
- $19.95 Unlimited = $500 standard calling and unlimited SMS / MMS + 2GB of 4G data. Save 50% for each of the first 3 months.
- $29.95 Unlimited = Unlimited national Talk and Text in Oz + 5GB of 4G data. Save 50% for each of the first 3 months.
- $34.95 Unlimited = Unlimited national Talk and Text in Oz + 10GB of 4G data. Save 50% for each of the first 3 months.
- $49.95 Unlimited = Unlimited national Talk and Text in Oz + 19GB of 4G data. Save 50% for each of the first 3 months.
You can learn more about them and their unique content in our OVO review.
Introducing the Virgin Mobile and Vodafone comparison
Overall, we recommend Virgin Mobile. Choose Virgin Mobile and you’ll get an experienced phone company, a brand that more people love, better pricing and a great network.
The comparison between Australia’s third and fourth largest phone companies, Vodafone or Virgin Mobile, is a natural one. The brands are both vibrant, tuned in to Australia, focused on appealing to the young (or young at heart.)
As everyone knows, Vodafone have endured a number of network problems. They’ve recovered a great deal from their lowest ebb in 2010. These days, either Vodafone or Virgin Mobile, will give you great network coverage, including 4G speeds. Additionally, get a SIM Only plan with either of these two and you stand a good chance of getting better value and better customer service than you will get from the bigger tier 1 phone companies ( Optus and Telstra).
Overall, we recommend Virgin Mobile. Choose Virgin Mobile and you’ll get an experienced phone company, a brand that more people love, better pricing and a great network. (Virgin use the Optus 4G network) They include ‘extras’ in their plans that Vodafone doesn’t dream of – we cover these Virgin Value and Virgin Perk elements in detail, below so you can see why we have come to the conclusions we have.
Other resources which might help you:
This article relates to postpaid SIM Only plans. We have other articles which might help you in your search for the right plan.
- Virgin Mobile prepaid:
If you prefer prepaid plans, check out our Virgin Mobile prepaid review.
- Virgin Mobile SIM Only (postpaid):
We have a separate SIM Only review for Virgin Mobile if you’d like more detail on this element of their plans.
- Vodafone prepaid:
Obviously, Vodafone have their own prepaid offering, too, in addition to the SIM Only plans shown on this page.
- Vodafone SIM Only:
We have a dedicated page too for Vodafone’s postpaid ( SIM Only ) plans.
- What is SVOD ?:
SVOD or Streaming Video On Demand is a feature which is becoming particularly important in phone plans. Optus and Telstra are placing big bets on entertainment as part of their plans and SVOD is a good way to provide that.
- What is streaming audio ?:
Similar to SVOD, streaming audio is part of both Virgin Mobile’s and Vodafone’s current plan range. We explain the critical differences between those plans.
- How much data do I need ?:
Additional plan inclusions like streamed audio make it even harder than it was to decide the answer to this critical question – how much data do I need ?
Before we get in to plan features, let’s deal with the network question
Getting a plan on Virgin Mobile gives you pricing which is as keen as Vodafone Australia and access to the Optus 3G and 4G network.
You may have noticed friends complaining less and less about the Vodafone Australia network as time goes on. Vodafone have spent a fortune on improving their infrastructure and they’ve spent it wisely.
Avoiding the clamor around 4G data services rollouts, first by Telstra and then by Optus, Vodafone realized that they needed to address the basics of their network performance, first. Since 2012, they have been beefing up their core voice network, adding much improved 3G and in building coverage for data using ‘3G Plus’ (lower frequencies which make your phone’s data service work better indoors.)
In June of 2013, Vodafone turned on 4G network services and, again, dealt with it responsibly. They have encouraged customers to upgrade to the 4G network at the same time as they have suggested purchasing an additional data bolt on for customers that needed it (typically, those with a high end phone on a low end plan.) There is no more soul crushing experience than getting a huge bill for your phone usage. Vodafone know that and have learned their lesson. They’re proactively helping customers avoid it.
Since then, they’ve spent $billions and make no mistake, Vodafone network coverage has improved a great deal.
Virgin Mobile use the Optus 4G network, however. They don’t use an element of it. They don’t use most of it. Virgin Mobile have access to every last section of the Optus network. Since Virgin’s pricing is closer to Vodafone’s than Optus, you can get the best of both worlds. Getting a plan on Virgin Mobile gives you pricing which is as keen as Vodafone Australia and access to the Optus 3G and 4G network.
Benefits Of Both Virgin Mobile & Vodafone
Like all phone companies, there is an overlap between Vodafone and Virgin when it comes to the way their approach their postpaid SIM Only plans. Whichever you go with – Vodafone or Virgin – these are the features you’ll get.
- $10 auto add:
Optus pioneered this now commonplace phone plan feature and it’s changed the industry. Whether you choose Virgin Mobile or Vodafone, you’ll never get a huge bill for blowing your data allocation. Once you use up your allocated monthly entitlement, your phone company will add an extra GB to your allowance and charge you $10 for it.
- Better deals online:
Phone companies change their mind about whether to offer their customers better deals online, all the time. Luckily for you, at the moment, the fashion is to do better deals for customers if you are buying through their online store. Obviously, online sales are cheaper than selling the same SIM plan
- Self service facilities:
Both Virgin Mobile and Vodafone are mature phone companies with big customer bases. They know what they’re up to. The self service apps and online self service tools that each phone company provide you are great these days.
Benefits of Vodafone Australia
Vodafone Australia is part of Vodafone Group. They operate in around 70 countries around the globe and have around 500 million customers to their name. Here are the plan features you can expect to get if you pick a SIM Only plan from one of the biggest phone companies in the world.
- The Vodafone Network Guarantee:
Vodafone are so confidant in the quality of their network (and cognizant of the need to reassure people about it before they’ll buy ) that they’ve launched the Vodafone Network Guarantee. Buy the phone (or the SIM), sign up to the plan and, if the network doesn’t work where you need it to, they will accept a return within 30 days. You’ll have to pay for what you use and, of course and there are some other (quite reasonable) terms and conditions to bear in mind.
- Vodafone Daily Global roaming:
Vodafone’s global reach means they can effectively partner overseas and have used the facility to offer a $5 a day max roaming to UK, US and NZ and an ever expanding range of international destinations. It’s hard to overstate the size of Vodafone Globally. The company operates in 70 countries. In most of those, it is the number one phone company by size and, believe it or not, thought of in the same network quality terms as Telstra is over here. Vodafone announced in mid 2013 that they would offer a $5 international roaming bundle for travelers. That means you’ll pay a maximum of $5 for every day you spend overseas in the UK, US or NZ, to call home to Australia. Since then they’ve added new territories to the locations in which they offer this plan feature. They’re up to 50 countries and counting!
- Entertainment options:
On high end, 24 month plans, Vodafone will offer you a selection (that is, you get to pick what you want) of content to use on your phone. Users can pick from a subscription (covered by Vodafone) to the Sydney Morning Herald, a subscription to Spotify or a subscription to Stan. These agreements were negotiated a while ago and the landscape has changed a great deal since they were put in place. The critical thing to understand is that, with Vodafone, the data you use for the use of Stan, Spotify or the Sydney Morning Herald comes out of your plan. That could be a big deal. Streamed video services like Stan can use a GB per hour of data. If you watched a TV show from Stan on your phone on the way to and back from work, you could blow even the biggest data allowance Vodafone have (currently 15 GB.) Optus and Telstra have remodeled this approach and now offer plans in which the customer is not charged for the data they use streaming selected services. The same is true of Virgin’s streamed audio offer, which we cover below.
Pros of Virgin Mobile Australia
Virgin Mobile is completely owned by Optus. They occupy the same offices, move staff between their departments, share the same canteen and, importantly, are one of the many phone companies which resell the Optus 4G network.
- Free streamed audio:
Virgin’s postpaid SIM Only plan range comes with free streamed audio. If you access your Spotify, IHeartRadio or Google Music account from your phone, you can listen all day ( at up to 512 bps ) and you won’t be charged. Contrast this with the content Vodafone offers above.
- Data rollover:
Uniquely, Virgin provides their SIM only (postpaid) customers a facility to rollover their data inclusion (or their leftover voice / SMS) to the next month if it’s not entirely finished during the month they’re in. We think you need to be managing your data so well that there is none left over in the first place. But it would be a strange person indeed which said rollover is of no use.
- Virgin Value – A range of price plan features:
At WhatPhone, we have friends who have worked with agencies, employed on the Virgin Mobile account. It might be surprising to know that the average Virgin Mobile Australia customer is aged in their early forties ! The brand stands for a lot. It’s fun, genuine, helpful and they offer great deals. Virgin Value is the name given to the additional plan features that existing Virgin customers and those consider joining, are given as rewards. In fact, when you actually consider them, these plan features are the sort of things that all the telcos should offer. But they don’t. So they count in Virgin’s favor.
- Virgin Value 1 – Free Voicemail:
If you pick up one voicemail a day, free voicemail will save you $30 a month out of your cap fees. That’s a significant amount, more than 10% of the low end caps.
- Virgin Value 2 – Free Virgin To Virgin:
All calls, at any time of day, from one Virgin Mobile customer to another, are free. If you and your partner are both on the Virgin network once a day for a standard 2 minute call, you will save yourself nearly $150 a month!
- Virgin Value 3 – Rollover credit:
If you don’t use your credit during the course of a month (this applies to SMS, voice and data) it is rolled over in to the next month so you can use it then. Unfortunately, it’ll only last for that month so you can’t stockpile and run up significant unused allowances but this feels a lot fairer, doesn’t it!
- Virgin Extra Value 4 – Included international calls:
Weirdly, given Vodafone’s huge global reach, Virgin Mobile Australia offer better call rates on their international plans than Vodafone do. Virgin’s International Calls (to selected destinations) are included in their caps.
- Great customer service and customer care:
Virgin have the best Customer Service and Customer Care in Australia (compared to the other top 3 phone companies.) They regularly come out on top in independent benchmarks. The only telco which does it better is Amaysim.
Vodafone vs Virgin Mobile – Customer Service comparison.
- Best for data:
Virgin’s price plan inclusions are the best in market, particularly on data. Even better than Vodafone’s typically.
- Virgin Perks:
Virgin Mobile have partnered with other Australian Virgin Brands to offer sweet family deals. You’ll get preferential treatment when applying for a Virgin Credit Card, you’ll save 10% on Virgin flights and even get better value insurance.
Summing up – Vodafone or Virgin Mobile ?
Virgin’s data inclusions, network and plan ‘extras’ (Virgin Value and Virgin perks’) mean that this comparison has a winner which is clearer than usual – Virgin. Almost every factor leans in their favors. The only exception is for those who travel overseas a lot – in which case the $5 per day extra roaming service they have may be worth your while.
To this, we add in the new frontier of telco phone service offerings, content / entertainment bundles. Vodafone’s outdated practice of charging customers for the data they use when they access their Stan or SMH account could use the entire data allocation in every one of Vodafone’s plans.
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