Vodafone Mobile Plan Review <br>And Comparison

Vodafone Mobile Plan Review
And Comparison

  • We've compared Vodafone's plans for you
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  • These deals beat Vodafone's pricing
  • And offer more data for the same price
We independently review and compile Aussie phone plans so you can easily compare them in one place, for free.

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Common Questions About Vodafone

Hmm. Vodafone. Really ? Can I trust the network ?

If you live in one of Australia’s main cities, then yes, you should be considering Vodafone Australia. In rural areas, you probably shouldn’t.

Historic concerns about the network are understandable. Back in 2011, Vodafone did have some real problems with their coverage quality. Things have improved a lot since then. Regular reports from OpenSignal (an independent research company which compares the quality of the 3 main networks) and others have shown consistently that Vodafone’s network quality and speed was the best of the big three in metro (city) areas of Australia.

You’ll get the same network whether you go direct to Vodafone or buy a SIM from one of their resellers like Kogan Mobile.

How does the ‘add more data automatically’ plan feature work ?

Vodafone have matched Optus by allowing you to set your plan to automatically add another GB of data if you use your entitlement. Say you bought 1.0 GB of data within your plan and then used it all. Vodafone would charge you $10 extra for another GB of data and automatically apply it to your account.

Previously, you’d get to the end of your data allowance and then you would be charged out of bundle rates. Often a MB of data would have cost in the region of 10 cents. Which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realise that’s $100 per GB!

The benefit to users of this sort of pricing scheme is that they get a more predictable costs and a transparently fairer scheme.

In mid 2018, Vodafone offered their customers the options of a ‘pass’ for some data usage types. For example, you can now buy a pass which offers unlimited access to Social Media or Streamed Music. We explain Vodafone passes in the article, below.

Vodafone’s Unlimited 5G SIM Only Plan

Details of Vodafone’s Ultra+ plan

Here’s a quick look at whet to expect from Vodafone’s Ultra+ plan:

  • $85 per month – postpaid month to month SIM Only plan.
  • Truly unlimited high speed data, including 5G data – no caps, no throttled speeds on your mobile device
  • Unlimited standard national voice and SMS, along with unlimited International SMS
  • Unlimited International voice to Zone 1 countries (over 30 countries), and 300 voice minuted to Zone 2 countries (over 45 countries)
  • 3 free months of Amazon Music, after which monthly charges begin if Amazon Music is not canceled on time.

While this is certainly one of the best offers we’ve seen from a telco in a while, there’s a restriction you should know about.

Truly unlimited data, but throttled tethering

Yes, Vodafone’s new Ultra+ plan offers truly unlimited high speed 5G data. But this unlimited data is limited to the device which uses your Vodafone SIM. If you choose to tether another device to the device housing your Vodafone SIM, your high speed data will be limited for the tethered device.

The Ultra+ plan comes with 30GB of high speed 5G (or 4G) data for your tethered devices. If you’re unsure of what that means, read about how to use your mobile phone as a mobile WiFi hotspot. Basically, tethering connects other devices to your mobile like a WiFi device, allowing you to browse using your mobile data.

But with this tethering restriction, Ultra+ plans will only allow you high speed data up to 30GB for those devices that use your mobile hotspot. After that 30GB is exhausted, you’ll still be able to browse and stream with tethered devices, but at a throttled speed of 2Mbps.

However, although tethered devices are restricted to this 30GB limit, usage doesn’t affect the device which houses your Vodafone SIM. Your truly unlimited high speed 5G data will remain in tact for that SIM.

Are there any smaller phone companies who use the Vodafone network ?

Yes there are. Smaller phone companies or MVNOs as they’re known in the industry rent network access directly from Vodafone and resell it to you.

What is the Vodafone $5 roaming deal ?

Vodafone have the strongest roaming offering of all 3 major networks. With the right Vodafone plan, you can use your Australian entitlements in partner countries. Using your phone overseas is called roaming.

For example:
An Australian who buys a Vodafone plan with Unlimited calls to Australian numbers from your mobile in Australia. The plan also includes 10GB of 4G data.

If that same person goes to New Zealand for a holiday. While they’re there, for $5 a day, they can call back to Australia and using the unlimited minute allocation to do it. They can also use their data allowance in NZ ( up to the 10GB limit they had in their plan ) while they’re in NZ.

Every day you have your phone on in the partner country, and it connects to the network overseas, the $5 extra has to be paid.

When they introduced this, it was a revolutionary concept and a way for Vodafone to use the huge number of partner networks it has around the world to offer something a bit different from Optus and Telstra. Now, the other two telcos offer similar schemes. (They are more expensive.)

Vodafone is adding new countries to their partner list all the time. You can see who is currently involved, on their roaming page.

What is Vodafone’s 4G coverage like ?

Vodafone are a bit cagey about the ‘numbers’ concerning the coverage capability of their 4G network. For example, Optus say they cover 98% of Australia. It’s hard to find an equivalent statistic for Vodafone’s network.

In metro / city areas, the research shows Vodafone’s network is just as good as Telstra’s and Optus’. Outside that, Telstra’s 3G coverage footprint is twice that of Vodafone’s.

But Vodafone have recently entered an agreement to use part of Telstra’s network for 10 years. If the deal is approved by the ACCC, this could boost Vodafone’s coverage significantly, especially 3G in rural areas.

What's good

  • Vodafone's deals are not the best in market
  • Compare to get a better deal today
  • Up to 100% more data at the same price
  • Networking sharing deal with Telstra could boost Vodafone's coverage
  • 1 month of free access to Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, and Netflix

What's bad

  • Get a better deal and more data for the same price

Vodafone’s phone plans

60 second intro

  • Vodafone have split out the phone and the plan to give you more flexibility in how you pay for your service.
  • Then they added unlimited plans and ‘passes’ – a new way to get predictable pricing on some of the data services you use.
  • They’ve also partnered with DOCOMO Digital to allow customers subscribe to popular streaming services right from their phone plan, and get rewarded with a free month.
  • They’ve recently struck a deal to share Telstra’s mobile network, which will result in a significant coverage boost.
  • Vodafone have launched a new bundle plan with unlimited throttled data across combined NBN and mobile plans. They also have postpaid and prepaid plans with “endless” data that throttle your download speeds to give you unlimited data after you exhaust your plan data.
  • They also offer 5G access on all SIM plans, both postpaid and prepaid.
  • They’ve also reduced prices across plans.
  • But Vodafone’s plans can still be expensive. We show alternatives which use the same network, below.
  • We have a separate page for Vodafone’s prepaid plans.

This Month’s Hot Offers

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Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
25GB
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Month to Month
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Vodafone 4G+5G
Promotion
$10 for the first 3 months. Use code FELIX10. New customers only. T&Cs apply.
$22.00

$ 10.00

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Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
10GB
Contract
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Network
Optus 4G
Promotion
Better than 50% off for the first renewal. Use code MAY2024. T&Cs apply. Ends 03.06.24
$25.00

$ 12.50

/ Month to Month VIEW PLAN Advertisement
Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
25GB
Contract
Month to Month
Network
Optus 3G+4G
Promotion
50% off! $12.50 for the first 3 months, then $25 thereafter. Order by 02.07.24.
$45.00

$ 17.00

/ Recharge @28 days VIEW PLAN Advertisement
Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
80GB
Contract
Recharge @28 days
Network
Optus 4G+5G
Promotion
$17 for the first 28 days, $45 thereafter. T&Cs apply. Offer ends 26.05.24.

Key points about Vodafone’s plan range

Vodafone and TPG Telecom have now merged to become TPG Telecom. The merger took a couple of years to be approved after the ACCC opposed it. Now, we expect more changes in the near future to Vodafone’s lineup.

But for now, Vodafone have made some ‘sizable’ changes to their entire range of postpaid phones and plans. Historically, telcos have a number of ‘dirty tricks’ which they use to make it hard to compare what they offer, directly. In the past, one of their favorites has been tying together 2 things:

  • 1. The monthly plan payment : This is what you pay for your voice calls, SMS and data each month.
  • 2. The handset repayment : This is the proportion of your plan which is used to pay off the ‘free’ phone they give you.

To muddy the waters further, some phone companies vary the price of the plan, depending on the device you take. So, for example, if you take an iPhone plan, you might pay $40 for a plan with 10 GB in it. If you take a Samsung Galaxy S8, you’ll pay $45 for the same plan with 10GB in it. It’s very hard to compare phone plans in this circumstance – which could be the intent. This approach is one of the key ways telcos have deliberately made the market hard to understand for a long time. Vodafone are trying to change that and have made their plans more transparent.

Details Of Vodafone Australia's Current SIM Only Plan Features

Australia is starting to embrace a world which includes some plans with ‘unlimited data’. Vodafone extended their range shortly after the release of their new unlimited mobile plans at the start of May 2018.  As part of their 2022 strategy, Telstra launched plans which had an option of not charging the $10 per GB for data overage and instead limits speeds to 1.5mbps. Vodafone’s postpaid SIM Only plans offer 2mbps unlimited data after you exhaust your plan data, and their prepaid plans offer 1.5mbps unlimited data after your plan data runs out. There has been some concern from the regulator about the term ‘Unlimited’ since these plans were launched so you might not see the word itself (‘Unlimited’) in more recent advertising.

So, to clearly summarize Vodafone’s offering :

  • Vodafone’s postpaid SIM Only Plans include Unlimited ‘Infinite’ data:
    They provide users with a ‘full speed data’ allowance ranging from 40GB to 300GB. After the full speed inclusion is exhausted, your unlimited or ‘endless’ data kicks in and reduces download speeds to 2mbps until the next billing cycle when your full speed data renews.
  • Vodafone offers 5G access on all SIM plans, whether prepaid or postpaid:
    Unlike telcos like Telstra, all Vodafone mobile network customers have access to its full 5G network. While some other telcos use speed caps to limit customers on lower tier plans and some prepaid plans, Vodafone customers enjoy the telco’s 5G network regardless of the SIM plan they choose.
  • Vodafone’s prepaid SIM Only Plans include Unlimited ‘endless’ data as well:
    They are the only telco offering throttled “endless” data on prepaid plans. After you exhaust your plan data, you can browse at 1.5mbps download speeds until your expiry and next recharge.
  • Vodafone has a ‘value packed’ bundle of modem and mobile plans:
    Vodafone customers can bundle up to five mobile, tablet, and / or “modem” plans and save 5% to 20% off their bills, dependiing on how many plans they have. The eligible mobile and tablet plans are those costing $30 and above, and $20 and above for mobile broadband plans.
  • Vodafone just launched a new ‘value packed’ bundle of NBN and mobile plans:
    Vodafone now offer bundles a new ‘value packed’ bundle that allows customers combine NBN or home wireless plans with two or more mobile plans. The bundle allows users on share data across the bundled service, and enjoy endless data when the full speed data is exhausted. Vodafone offer a discount that they claim could save customers up to $222 per year.
  • Vodafone recently partnered with DOCOMO Digital, offering postpaid customers a free month of streaming on popular platforms:
    Vodafone recently partnered with DOCOMO Digital, the mobile payment platform. The partnership results in new offers to postpaid customers subscribing to Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, and Netflix. Postpaid customers will get 1 month free access to these streaming services, and will be able to pay for subscriptions directly through their phone bills.

Quick summary of Vodafone’s SIM Only plans vs Telstra and Optus

  • Adding more data when you’ve used yours up:
    Vodafone plans offer endless data that allow you to brows at a throttled speed for an unlimited amount of time, after you exhaust your data. Optus and Telstra now have the same thing. Newer phones have faster processors and they pull information down from the network faster. The result is that people are using more data this month than they did last month. By most people’s reckoning, each phone user will get through twice as much data next year as you are now. The safety belt feature that Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have put in place with throttled data is a lifesaver. It reduces the risk of excess data charges and avoids huge bills for those who accidentally use too much. Vodafone is the only telco offering throttled data on their prepaid plans along with postpaid plans – Telstra and Optus offer throttled data only on postpaid plans, for now.
  • Sharing Data over multiple devices:
    Vodafone have a data sharing scheme and it’s very similar to Optus’. With it you can add another SIM to what is effectively a family account. Here’s how they work. Imagine a father is paying $50 per month for a SIM Only plan with ‘infinite’ SMS and voice from Vodafone. For $30 per month, he can add another family member, let’s say his wife to that plan. She also gets ‘infinite’ SMS and voice and now splits the data with him. Vodafone’s SIM Only sharing option is an important first step along the multi SIM management path but at this time, the practical benefits are, in our view not worth having. Far better, instead to manage your data needs yourself and buy a bundle you’ll use. They just launched a new bundle offer that combines your NBN or home wireless broadband plan with your mobile plan, sharing full speed data across devices, after which ‘endless data’ kicks in for unlimited use at 1.5mbps.
  • All Vodafone SIM plans offer 5G :
    Both Vodafone and Telstra give customers access to their 5G networks on postpaid and prepaid plans. However, while Telstra caps customers’ 5G speeds on certain price tiers, Vodafone allows customers full access to its 5G network regardless of the type of SIM plan or price tier.
  • Overseas roaming at daily prices:
    Vodafone have the best proposition in market for overseas roaming on their SIM Only plans. For $5 per day, you can safely (and that is probably the key word) use your phone overseas in over 100 countries. You’ll be able to use all of your plan inclusions while roaming overseas, including your plan’s allocated data inclusion. Vodafone’s huge global coverage works in their favor here. Telstra’s equivalent is more expensive and offers less roaming coverage, but Optus just launched a very competitive daily roaming plan to compete with Vodafone. If you travel overseas regularly then Vodafone should be a strong contender for your money.
  • Simple ‘Keep Talking’ (or ‘Keep talking Plus’) Insurance:
    Vodafone have effectively emulated Optus’ insurance scheme. Iit has some very reasonable terms and it’s far more useful than what was the industry standard until recently and it will let you insure your device up to a value of $2000. Remember, you’ll only be able to use it if you got your phone from Vodafone in the first place.
  • Good Self Service App: 
    Typically, a cost of approximately $5 is assigned by a phone company like Optus or Vodafone to a customer calling in to the customer care organization. If they’re dialing in to do something they could have done online, it makes sense to create an app which allows them to do it. Banks blazed a trail of Self Service which it took the telcos a while to catch up with. These days, the apps from all 3 phone companies is exceptionally good. That includes Vodafone. And you’ll be able to manage your SIM Only plan just fine using their ‘MyAccount’ app.
  • Free content:
    Vodafone does not offer free included streamed content (streamed audio or video) in their plans. Optus and Telstra do. However, Vodafone do offer ‘passes’ to content provided by others – which are explained above. They also offer 1 month of free subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, and Netflix.
  • Network Guarantee:
    We have covered Vodafone’s Network Guarantee in some detail before.  It’s an important feature if you’re buying a contract. Not so much for a SIM only plan. After all, Vodafone’s agreements are month to month. If it doesn’t work, you just leave.
  • Free WiFi:
    Every Australian, including Vodafone SIM Only customers can use the free Telstra WiFi Hot Spots that are currently in market as part of Telstra’s trial. It’s just as easily for non customers as it is for Telstra customers to logon. That said, in time, Vodafone customers may well be charged for the facility.
  • Loyalty rewards scheme:
    Vodafone also now offer a Frequent Flyer program. When you sign up to a Vodafone Unlimited phone plan, on a 12 month contract, (they call them their ‘Plus plans’, they will give you 20,000 Frequent Flyer points. Our view is that these schemes are something to be careful of. They sound great but then, when you’re in them, you make all sorts of decisions that you wouldn’t have made before. For example, signing up to Vodafone when it doesn’t have the best deals just to get air miles.
  • Vodafone’s 5G coverage compared to Telstra and Optus :
    Vodafone still has some ways to go in the 5G race, but the telco has made some significant progress. Last year, Vodafone announced that its 5G network covers 85% of the population across 10 major cities. Telstra, on the other hand, has a 5G network that already covers over 80% of the entire Australian population, and is expected to reach 85% by mid-2023. Optus is quite secretive about its 5G coverage figures, but the telco recently switched on its 900MHz low-band spectrum, which is expected to boost coverage by 20%.

Customer satisfaction with Vodafone's SIM Only Plans

We ran our own research in late 2017 and again in late 2018, and found a surprising result. Vodafone’s customer satisfaction level are the best in the business.. They are notably better than both Telstra and Optus’.

Vodafone’s SIM Only plans might make you happer than any other type of plan you can buy.

In our own research from December 2017, you can see Vodafone customers were more satisfied than any other.

Vodafone's network

For some of us, the most important factor when choosing a phone plan is the quality of the network. You don’t want to find yourself consistently without coverage. You might miss an important business call or find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere without an on screen map. Vodafone have spent $billions trying to improve the performance of their network and how it’s talked about in the media.

Vodafone Australia is not a tiny company, and it has become even bigger after merging with TPG Telecom.
Vodafone’s SIM Only plans will give you access to their 4G network – which is about the same in city areas as Optus’ and Telstra’s

Vodafone’s SIM Only plans will give you access to their 4G network – which is about the same in city areas as Optus’ and Telstra’s

This is where the difference starts to show up in Vodafone’s coverage. That small population coverage difference actually makes a lot of difference in terms of the square kilometres covered.

Vodafone covers a very high proportion of the population – almost the same as Telstra and Optus. But there’s a big difference in the number of square Kilometres that each network reaches.

Vodafone’s SIM Only plans will give you access to this many square kilometers right now.

Vodafone’s SIM Only plans will give you access to this many square kilometers. As you can see, there’s a big difference in the square kilometers their networks reach.

However, things are about to change. Vodafone just signed a deal to share Telstra’s mobile network for the next 10 years. This could boost Vodafone’s overall network coverage from 96 per cent to 98.8 per cent, pushing it ahead of Optus as the second largest telco in the country in terms of coverage.

Vodafone’s Red Plans

What are Vodafone’s Red Plans in Australia?

The Vodafone Red plans divide into SIM-Only plans and those that require you to buy a new phone. Since mobiles use different SIM card sizes these plans subdivide into Nano-SIM and Multi-fit SIM plans.

If you want to buy a new phone on a Red Plan you have a range of options available. Their cheapest plan starts at $40 per month and the most expensive one costs $100 per month. If you take the $40 Red Plan you are committed to a minimum expenditure of $960, but if you choose the $100 Red Plan your minimum expenditure is going to be $2,400.

Eliminating the need to pay for a mobile makes their SIM-Only plans much cheaper. For example, if you can manage with just 500 MB of mobile data per month it will cost you $30. This is the same amount of data allowance included in their $40 Red Plan for a customer buying a mobile. For a 4GB data allowance – enough for most people’s needs – the cost is $50 per month.

Key Benefits of Vodafone Red Plans

Your mobile data allowance varies in line with the amount you pay, but other features are common to a number of Red Plans. These shared benefits include:

  • Infinite standard national calls.
  • Infinite standard text messaging, both within Australia and overseas.
  • A certain amount of standard international call minutes to selected countries. For example, if you select the $40 SIM-Only plan you get 90 minutes.
    This option is not available to those who take the lowest price Red Plans.
  • $5 Roaming. For an extra $5 per day you can take your mobile overseas and use your Australian call, text and mobile data allowance. This option is available in 47 countries.
  • If you are buying a mobile from Vodafone, and have selected one of the more expensive plans, you are offered 6 to 12 months free subscription to entertainment services such as Spotify Premium or Stan.

Bringing it all together

Optus and Telstra have prominent Streamed video content offerings to differentiate themselves from each other. Optus is spending millions on soccer coverage, not always successfully. Vodafone clearly don’t want to make the bet on content that their rivals are doing.

Vodafone has kept clear from these huge content investments so far. And yet, their new price plan range shows that Vodafone do recognize the behavioral changes which are happening around content that many, more often younger phone users are exhibiting. These days it’s not unusual to see someone watching TV on their phone. Netflix and other video streaming services are now mainstream entertainment activities. Their service based pricing ‘passes’ are Vodafone’s first real attempt to sell a product that will help people use their phones more safely, in these new ways.

Vodafone’s most recent foray into entertainment content comes in their partnership with DOCOMO Digital. This partnership results in postpaid customers being offered 1 month of free access to Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, and Netflix, and allows customers pay for these services directly through their Vodafone bill.

Their mid 2018 plan refresh may have been rushed but it’s what they still have in market. But more recent refreshes may hit the mark. Right now, Vodafone is the only telco offering unlimited throttled data on both postpaid plans AND prepaid plans. They are also the only ones offering throttled data at over 1.5mbps on postpaid plans (2mbps throttled data speed after exhausting your plan’s high speed data). This is a much better deal than their “passes”.

This Month’s Hot Offers

$25.00

$ 10.00

/ Month to Month VIEW PLAN Advertisement
Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
25GB
Contract
Month to Month
Network
Vodafone 4G+5G
Promotion
$10 for the first 3 months. Use code FELIX10. New customers only. T&Cs apply.
$22.00

$ 10.00

/ Recharge @28 days VIEW PLAN
Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
10GB
Contract
Recharge @28 days
Network
Optus 4G
Promotion
Better than 50% off for the first renewal. Use code MAY2024. T&Cs apply. Ends 03.06.24
$25.00

$ 12.50

/ Month to Month VIEW PLAN Advertisement
Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
25GB
Contract
Month to Month
Network
Optus 3G+4G
Promotion
50% off! $12.50 for the first 3 months, then $25 thereafter. Order by 02.07.24.
$45.00

$ 17.00

/ Recharge @28 days VIEW PLAN Advertisement
Domestic Voice Calls and SMS
Unlimited
Data
80GB
Contract
Recharge @28 days
Network
Optus 4G+5G
Promotion
$17 for the first 28 days, $45 thereafter. T&Cs apply. Offer ends 26.05.24.

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