Vodafone’s Unlimited 5G SIM Only Plan

Vodafone plans

Vodafone now offer truly unlimited high speed mobile data

Vodafone just launched Australia’s first ever SIM Only mobile plan with truly unlimited 5G data. That’s right – this means no more throttled speeds after exhausting your plan data, and no caps.

While we’ve seen SIM Only plans with “unlimited” from all three major telcos (Vodafone included) before, those plans have always come with restrictions that eventually throttles download speeds or caps data inclusions.

But with the new Ultra+ plan, Vodafone have simply changed the game – Unlimited high speed 5G data throughout your billing cycle at an even cheaper price point. In this post, we’ll tell you all about this plan and its restrictions (if any). Read on to find out.

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.

Why Vodafone’s latest Ultra Plus truly unlimited 5G plan is a big deal

We’ve written about how unlimited data plans are never really unlimited in Australia. Such plans typically offer “endless data”, which throttles your speeds down to around 1.5Mbps or 2Mbps when you exhaust your plan data.

While such plans still offer a great way to avoid overage charges, we found that living on 1.5Mbps isn’t really enough to do what we’ve become accustomed to these days – streaming and downloading large files on our mobile handsets.

Vodafone brands such “unlimited” plans as Infinite Data plans – postpaid SIM only plans that offer several gigabytes of high speed data and then slows those speeds down to either 2Mbps or 10Mbps, depending on the price tier. To put things in perspective, 2Mbps is not fast enough to stream HD video smoothly on your mobile.

But with 5G rolling out at such a fast pace, a 2Mbps restriction severely limits the power of a 5G phone in today’s high speed world.

Vodafone did have an attractive Infinite Data plan called the Ultra plan – 150GB of high speed data, and unlimited data at throttled speeds of 25Mbps after that. That plan cost a whopping $120 per month. To date, the telco still offer some Infinite Data plans.

But Vodafone have now broken new grounds by offering truly unlimited high speed data on a mobile plan. This plan is a first for Australians searching for truly unlimited high speed data, making it one of the best 5G phone plans in the country.

Unlimited 5G is great, but can you get 5G coverage?

5G is rolling out fast in Australia. However, Vodafone is clearly behind when compared to the other major networks – Telstra and Optus.

For instance, Telstra have announced 5G coverage for 75 percent of the population – 3,200 suburbs and over 200 cities and towns across Australia. Vodafone’s 5G coverage, on the other hand, only spans 350 suburbs so far.

While Vodafone plans on having over 1,000 5G sites turned on by the end of this year (2021), that’s simply not the case right now. So just how certain is it that you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited high speed 5G data on a Vodafone Ultra+ plan if you can’t find coverage?

In reality, your truly unlimited data will mostly fall into Vodafone’s 4G network right now – and not 5G. Depending on your needs, this might not be such a drawback. After all, 4G is not a slow network – it just isn’t as fast as 5G. But this is certainly something to note if you expect blazing fast 5G speeds at all times under the Ultra+ SiM only plan.

To find out if you have 5G coverage in your area, use the Vodafone network coverage checker.

Bottom line 

Vodafone’s new unlimited 5G plan is a first of its kind – truly unlimited high speed data for just $85. That means the user gets unlimited mobile data at the fastest speed available on the Vodafone network (i.e. 4G / 5G depending on coverage).

Australian telcos have avoided unlimited plans for the last 15 years because only a small number of people took advantage of them in the past. Another reason was because while they were advertised as unlimited, there were restrictions (like fair usage policies and throttled download speeds) which meant that, in reality, they were not truly unlimited.

So the fact that Vodafone have now launched a truly unlimited high speed SIM plan is certainly a big deal. However, the telco’s 5G coverage is patchy at the moment, so in reality, users will probably get 4G speeds most of the time.

Also, most users don’t use that much mobile data on their handsets (especially when on lockdown due to coronavirus restrictions, which means more home WiFi than mobile network usage). This reduces the attractiveness of Vodafone’s unlimited mobile data plan because of the restricted 30GB for devices that are tethered to the plan’s mobile hotspot.

If you’re looking for plans that will be used mostly while at home, it’s probably cheaper to buy a plan that contains a known amount of data. After all, the vast majority of data usage in Australia falls under fixed line broadband connections – which is mostly used at home.

For instance, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest Internet Activity report indicates that 3.7 million terabytes of data were downloaded via fixed line networks in the three months ended 30 June 2018, while only 246,765 terabytes of data were downloaded via mobile handsets during the same period. While the ABS data is typically a couple of years behind, the statistics show a trend that continues to the present.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.