There’s always something exhilarating about a comeback. It’s why we love watching sports in movies; watching fictional heroes rising from their darkest moments in the final round, drawing on inner strength and secret training to knock their opponents out.
Vodafone is most certainly the comeback kid, restoring itself after its reputation-shattering network hiccups in 2010. The Voda team has put in the hard work to make the network more robust than it was before, introduced fast 4G speeds, and now offer coverage to 95.3% of the population. As their advertising says, it’s no longer a one horse race.
Which is great, but Vodafone still has millions of Australians to convince that the dark days are behind them before it can really eat into Telstra and Optus market share.
It's greatest strength is that it belongs to a global company and is able to offer much better international rates for travellers than anyone else. Red Roaming is an excellent initiative and Vodafone should be high on your consideration list if you love heading overseas.
- Best for international travel
- Good selection of phones
- Qantas frequent flyer points
- Flexible plan options with MyMix
- 10% student discount
- Not as cheap as you might expect
- No bundled media offers or data-free streaming
- Population coverage still lower than competitors
Value for Money
Coverage & Speed
We've put together a checklist of features and options available on Vodafone plans. Below is a snapshot of what is available but you'll find the full breakdown at the bottom of this page.
How we rate Vodafone
How Vodafone compares on pricing
Given Vodafone’s market position and focus on a younger demographic, you might assume it would be the cheapest of the major providers, but we don’t necessarily find this to be true. Optus and Virgin Mobile fight just as hard to win on price, and each will do better than the others at specific price points.
This is good news for phone lovers, as it means that there is always a deal going. Usually these deals take the form of bonus data offers, which can be as generous as double the standard data plans.
Vodafone also offers flexibility in plans, more so than the competition. In postpaid, you get the choice between Data and Global, where the first bumps up the data inclusion, and Global adds overseas calls. In prepaid plans Vodafone has MyMix, where you can customise your recharge for the month based on four criteria: calls, data, international calls and credit expiry. This doesn’t make the plans cheaper, but it does let you choose the bits you want, and exclude the bits you’d never use.
No Contract Phone Plans
Where Vodafone stands apart from its competitors is by offering no contract plans for customers buying a new phone. Unlike traditional phone plans where the phone and plan are bundled into the same contract, Vodafone splits these out, so that you’re only committed to paying off the phone and you’re free to move from plan to plan without penalty.
The big advantage here is that you’re never locked into an outdated phone plan. Most people find that in the two years since buying their last phone, their old plan looks like an antique compared with newer plans packed with data and extra inclusions. Vodafone No Contract phone plans addresses this.
It is worth noting that while you’re not locked into a contact for the plan, you are obliged to stay a Vodafone customer until you’ve paid off your phone. If you decide you want to move to a different provider you need to pay out the balance of your phone in full.
Vodafone SIM Only Plan Comparison
A number of Vodafone plans also include international calls to 12 countries, known as the 'Super 1000 countries'.
These countries include: Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
How Much Should You Expect To Pay?
What to know about Vodafone coverage
You’ve probably heard bad things about Vodafone’s network coverage (or you’ve experienced it for yourself) but it is worth pointing out that unless you’ve tried it out in the last couple of years, it might be worth taking another look.
Not that we’re going to say that the network is perfect, the Vodafone team would freely admit that it doesn’t reach as many people as the Telstra or Optus networks. But there have been significant improvements since the dark days of Vodafail, so it would be wrong to write them off based on old news. Here are a few of the key post-Vodafail improvements:
- 2011: Vodafone 3G network moves to the 850mHz frequency for extended reach
- 2013: Vodafone 4G network launches
- 2014: First use of the Vodafone 4G+ network in Adelaide
- 2016: First test of new 5G network technology
Perhaps the most important reflection of the changes made is in the significant decrease in complaints made by Vodafone customers to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). In 2012, the TIO received 81 complaints for every 10,000 Vodafone customers (a whopping 52,894 in total). Each year since this number has dropped, down to an incredibly low 3.8 complaints per 10,000 and is now lower than the industry average. All in all, Vodafone customers seem to be very happy.
What to keep in mind when comparing Vodafone
- Data or Global - when choosing a Vodafone phone plan you get the choice between more data or international calling inclusions. If you choose data you will get 2GB per month more than the Global plans. Otherwise, you get 1000 minutes of talk-time to: Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
- Student discount - these used to be a common feature of phone plans, but Vodafone is one of the few telcos to advertise a deal like this nowadays. With a student card, you're eligible to 10% off the monthly cost of a Red plan of $50 or more.
- New phone every year - If you absolutely have to have the latest phones, Vodafone let's you trade-up to a new phone after 12-months. You should do the math to decide whether it is right for you, as you'll need to pay a $149 fee AND hand in your current phone, but it is a neat way to ditch your contract for something better.
WhistleOut Staff Review
Why did you choose it?
I chose a prepaid plan with Vodafone to avoid overages and I love how convenient it is. I can stop paying for it while visiting family overseas and add international minutes when I need them. Prepaid is a great choice as it is cheaper than a contract.
What has it been like?
I've been with Vodafone for 7 years and I've never had a major problem. I stayed through the Vodafail years and lived to tell the tale!
What do you love about it?
It's convenient, reliable and good for low data users like me.
What would you change?
With family overseas, calling home is a big deal for me. I've noticed some of the other carriers now have better international calling deals and I'd love for Vodafone to follow with this. I always want more minutes for less money (who doesn't).
Who would you recommend this to?
If you need flexibility in your plan, this is a good option. I don't get much data with the options I choose, but I don't need much.
Want to contact Vodafone?
Beyond the facts and figures, you probably have questions about Vodafone. Below is some of the questions we're asked most, but if you'd like to know something else, get in touch.
Questions we're asked about Vodafone
How we rate Vodafone
We've created a checklist of features to help benchmark what each provider offers its customers and you can can expect.
|Auto data top-ups|
|Included international calls|
|Plans with unlimited international calls|
|Included international SMS|
|International roaming option available|
|Included international roaming||
Best in class offer
|Bundled content subscriptions|
|Data-free media streaming|
|Unlimited on-net calls|
|4G network access|
|Automatic prepaid recharge|
|Long expiry prepaid - 6 months|
|Long expiry prepaid - 12 months|
|Discount for upfront purchase|
|No flagfall on prepaid plans||
On PAYG plans
This checklist is created by the telco experts in the WhistleOut team and includes plan features available in market
|Customer Forum or Blog|
|Manned Twitter account|
|Manned Facebook account|
|Brick & Mortar Stores for support|
|24 hours phone support|
|Usage monitoring apps||
iOS and Android
|% of Australian population covered||95.3%|
|4G network access|
|Number of phones||24|
|Prepaid and Postpaid phones|
|Feature phones available|