Vodafone Mobile Plans Review


WhistleOut
03 February 2017

Vodafone Mobile Plans Review

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. “Aaaadrian!” 

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 say, it’s no longer a one horse race.

But if we are watching the Vodafone movie, then we’re in the slow-motion bit where the boxer is picking themselves up off the canvas. There is strength and momentum, but the fight is far from over. 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.

The greatest strength Vodafone has 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.

Vodafone Breakdown

Strengths
  • Best for international travel
  • Good selection of phones 
  • Qantas frequent flyer points
  • Flexible plan options with MyMix
  • 10% student discount
Weaknesses
  • Not as cheap as you might expect
  • No bundled media offers or data-free streaming
  • Population coverage still lower than competitors
Value for Money
7.5/10
60%
Coverage & Speed
95/100

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
Category  
Plan Features Decent extras
Customer Service Full range of options
Coverage 95.3% coverage
Phone Range Good phone range

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.

Vodafone SIM Only Plan Comparison
Carrier Plan inclusions Pricing
Optus Unlimited Calls, 6GB Data $50/mo
Virgin Mobile Unlimited Calls, 4GB Data $50/mo
Vodafone Unlimited Calls, 8GB Data $50/mo
Telstra $1000 Call Credit, 5GB Data $50/mo

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?
Prepaid From $8 Compare
No Contract/Monthly From $35 (1.5GB) Compare
Data Only SIMs From $15 (3GB) Compare

What to know about Vodafone coverage

Vodafone coverage map
Vodafone Coverage Map

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
Audrey B.
Data management wiz
Vodafone Prepaid Combo $30 or MyMix $35 with 2.5GB.
“Great if you value flexibility.”

Why did you choose it?

I choose 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 lived through the Vodafail years and live 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?
Twitter @VodafoneAU
@VodafoneAU_Help
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Vodafoneau/
Phone
Sales or Service
Sales: 1300 300 404
Support: 1300 650 410
Website https://www.Vodafone.com.au/support
Contact Page http://www.vodafone.com.au/contact
Apps iPhone, Android

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
Vodafone's network woes were major news back in 2010, but that was then and this is now. The structure of the Vodafone network has changed a lot since over the last half decade. It operates on difference frequencies and offers fast 4G speeds. The coverage isn't as far reaching as Telstra or Optus, but it will serve most people well.
This is a tricky question to answer, but in a strong coverage area you should find that the service is great. It’s 4G network is designed to travel further than the older 3G network ever could. However, this will depend entirely on where you live/work and the only way to know for sure is to test it out for yourself, or to ask other Vodafone customers near you.
Yes, Vodafone has a good range of phones to choose from most of the major brands. You can buy a new premium smartphone on contract, or a cheaper model with a prepaid SIM card.
Yes. You can always keep you number when moving to a new provider. No exceptions.
Vodafone bills extra data usage at $10 per gigabyte on all postpaid plans. You don’t need to do anything to activate this, it will happen automatically.
Vodafone SIM cards come in Mini SIM, micro SIM, and nano SIM. These options will fit into all phones from the last decade, or so.
Vodafone will continue to provide 2G services until September, 2017. After this point subscribers will need a 3G or 4G mobile phone handset to continue using their service.
It depends on the type of Vodafone plan you have. If you have a prepaid or no-contract SIM Only plan, then you can leave any time, no questions asked. If you have a contract then you need to pay out whatever you would pay up until the end of the contract - both the service fee and the handset repayments.
Some Vodafone postpaid plans, including Red Global plans, include calling minutes and text to numbers in 12 countries: Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Otherwise, the pay as you go rate varies from country to country. Check the Vodafone website for full details for each country.
Vodafone has the best roaming deal in Australia by far. Called Red Roaming, you can use your phone in over 50 countries for $5 per day and tap into your regular monthly plan inclusions. You can read more about Red Roaming here.
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
Roll-over data/credit
Unlimited on-net calls
4G network access
Automatic prepaid recharge
Rewards program
Qantas partnership
Long expiry prepaid - 6 months
Long expiry prepaid - 12 months
Discount for upfront purchase
No flagfall on prepaid plans
On PAYG plans
Student/Pensioner discounts
Student Discount
Data sharing
This checklist is created by the telco experts in the WhistleOut team and includes plan features available in market
Customer Forum or Blog
Twitter account
Manned Twitter account
Facebook 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
Phone Brands 6
iPhones available
Prepaid and Postpaid phones
Feature phones available

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