Vodafone Mobile Plans Review: Calling all travellers

Vodafone is a solid supplier for anyone looking for a new plan, but it really shines if you plan on taking a trip overseas and want to keep your number while you're away.
Vodafone logo
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
$5 per day global roaming is a traveller's best friend
Endless Data ends bill shock
Network satisfaction guarantee
Typically not cheapest for a new phone plans

What you need to know about Vodafone Mobile before deciding

As one of the three mobile network operators, Vodafone is a household name in Australia. Despite numerous ups and downs, Vodafone maintains its position as third largest mobile carrier.

Vodafone’s pitch to its customers is that it keeps things simple. While Telstra and Optus maintain a vast range of options based on contract lengths, phone plans, leasing options and more; most Vodafone plans are no-contract, regardless of whether you want a phone or your plan to bring your own.

The claim is that this approach ends the need for unpopular phone contracts, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s true that the phone plans have no lock-in clause, and you are free to switch plans at will, but when buying a phone you choose an interest-free repayment term, which is a contract. If you wish to leave Vodafone you will need to pay out the balance of what is owing on the phone, which isn’t that different to an early termination fee with a Telstra phone plan.

The real benefit is that existing customer needn’t miss out on the latest offers and plan updates. Ordinarily you are locked into the included value of a plan for the life of the contract. With Vodafone Red Plans, you can move freely from plan to plan, hunting down the best phone plans as they come up.

What makes Vodafone different?

  • The same plan range for SIM only and phone plan customers
  • $5 per day global roaming
  • Interest-free smartphone repayment options
  • Endless Data available on some plans

Vodafone BYO plan prices

Best Vodafone Mobile Phone Plans

The Vodafone plan range covers numerous different types of customers with a number of different plan types. Below is our picks for the best plans depending on the sort of service you need.

Best no-contract phone plan with big data

The $45 Red SIM is a great plan that is both affordable and generous. There are other plans with more included data, including plans with 100GB data or more, but the $45 Red SIM is a great compromise between having enough data for most people, and the right price for these included features.

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When you’re shopping for a new phone on price, Vodafone mobile plans are not the cheapest in town; in fact, there might be a $10-plus difference per month compares with Optus and Woolworths Mobile.

If you choose Vodafone you are buying all of the extras, like access to its excellent global roaming offer or ‘Endless Data’ on select plans. If you won’t make use of these extra features, then you’d be better off consider a carrier like Optus instead.

How does Vodafone $5 per day global roaming work?

Using your mobile phone overseas has always been expensive, and still is, although the price has come down significantly over the past few years. If you want to take your phone overseas, and don’t want to buy a local SIM card in the countries you visit, then Vodafone is hands-down your best option.

Vodafone leverages it’s strength as a global company, and all of the different roaming arrangements it has across the world, and lets you use your phone exactly as you would at home, for $5 for each day that you use your phone overseas. There are no international call, message or data limits. If your plan comes with 50GB of data to use in Australia per month, you can use 50GB of data at your destination.

The $5 charge is billed to your account each day when your phone first access a mobile network. This includes when your phone automatically downloads emails or app updates, so it is wise to turn your phone off on days that you don’t want to pay the roaming charge. $5 per day is much cheaper than the competition, but it will add up if you plan on travelling overseas for several weeks.

What in the world is Endless Data?

Endless Data is a strange name for something pretty useful. On some of the higher end Vodafone phone plans, expensive excess data usage fees are replaced with speed throttling. When you reach your data limit, Vodafone slows your connection down to 1.5Mbps until the start of your next billing cycle. You can use as much data as you like at this slower speed, hence the name Endless Data.

1.5Mbps is pretty slow, but it is sufficient for checking your emails and some light web browsing. Vodafone say that it is fast enough to keep watching low-quality videos on your phone too.

However, it is the absence of excess data fees that is the big issue here. On other Vodafone plans you are billed an extra $10 when you reach your data limit, and $10 again for every 1GB of data you use before the end of the month. Endless Data isn’t unlimited data as we might like it to be, but it is the end of bill shock and this is a very good thing.

Is Vodafone coverage good?

Unfortunately for Vodafone, this is a question that people ask us all the time. Vodafone suffered a very public network failure about a decade ago, and the memory of the outage has lingered ever since. The truth is that the Vodafone network has come along way since then – billions of dollars have been spent building out the network – but it still remains the smaller of the three Australian mobile networks.

What you’ll find is that the Vodafone 4G network covers the most populous areas across Australia. If you live in a city or regional hub, you should find that the Vodafone network offers a service on par with Telstra and Optus in many ways. As you can see in the table below, Vodafone’s population coverage isn’t too far behind its competitors.

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone: coverage compared
Australian Population Covered99%98.5%96%

In terms of geographic coverage, the Vodafone network footprint is quite a bit smaller, and you need to keep this in mind if you regular visited rural parts of the country for work or holidays.

If you live in a regional town, don’t immediately discount Vodafone as an option, but be sure to check a coverage map to compare reception in your area, and double check places you visit regularly, not just your home address. If you still feel unsure, buy a cheap Vodafone prepaid SIM card at the grocery store and test it out in your phone.