Vodafone NBN and Mobile Broadband Plans Compared July 2018

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Vodafone is Australia’s third largest mobile network carrier behind Telstra and Optus, and has more recently expanded its offerings to include NBN services.

Vodafone offers many services in Australia including its traditional mobile phone plans. Recently, it has jumped on board the National Broadband Network, and now offers a simple mix of NBN plans as well.

These plans comes with a unique hook which Vodafone calls Instant Connect. This allows NBN customers to use Vodafone's mobile network for Internet access while waiting for their NBN connection to be installed and activated.

As noted above, Vodafone operates its own 4G and 3G networks which cover the majority of the Australian population. Like all mobile carriers, though, there are areas where Vodafone’s network well exceeds the service provided by others, just as there are areas where it doesn't perform so well.

Vodafone NBN plans

Vodafone began as a mobile carrier, and this gives it a couple of unique advantages in the NBN space. Firstly, it’s a well established company in Australia and has tested processes and infrastructure in place to support new NBN customers. Secondly, as a mobile carrier, it can offer a unique product mix which allows NBN customers to get online straight away, even before their NBN service is provisioned (using 4G as an interim connection method).

Like some other NBN providers, Vodafone keeps its service offering very simple. All plans offer unlimited data, and differ only in the NBN speed on offer:

  • Basic NBN plan with unlimited data for $69 per month
  • Essential+ NBN plan with unlimited data for $79 per month
  • Premium NBN plan with unlimited data for $99 per month

These plans are available on both month-to-month and 24-month contracts. There’s no difference in price between the two choices. The only difference is the cost of the mandatory Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub, which is $150 for the month-by-month plans and included free on the 24-month plan.

Vodafone allows customers to change plans at any time with no change fees, regardless of whether you’re on a monthly contract or a 24-month term.

Along with the Instant Connect feature, Vodafone includes a 4G Backup service with its NBN offerings. If your NBN service fails or suffers an outage, you'll be switched to a 4G connection to keep you online until your NBN can be restored. Just be aware that the 4G service is speed-limited to 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload.

Vodafone mobile broadband Plans

Vodafone has a range of mobile broadband plans available on prepaid, month-to-month, 12-month or 24-month contracts, the latter of which can be bundled with a mobile broadband device.

First up are Vodafone’s SIM-only plans. While all these plans are available on no-lock-in, month-to-month contracts, Vodafone includes more data if you commit for 12 months or more. Opt for a 24-month contract, and Vodafone will throw in a 4G modem for free or at a subsided cost, depending on your choice of plan and modem.

Month-to-month plans

  • SIM-only 2GB for $15 per month
  • SIM-only 7GB for $30 per month
  • SIM-only 14GB for $45 per month
  • SIM-only 20GB for $60 per month

12-month/24-month plans

  • SIM-only 3GB for $15 per month
  • SIM-only 10GB for $30 per month
  • SIM-only 20GB for $45 per month
  • SIM-only 30GB for $60 per month

On all of Vodafone’s postpaid mobile broadband plans, customers can save 10% on plans of $30 and above if they have another Vodafone service such as a mobile account. From time to time Vodafone offers other discounts too, for students, Vodafone family and friends and so on. These offers can offer generous savings, so they’re worth keeping an eye out for.

For customers looking to share their 4G connection across multiple devices, Vodafone currently offers three 4G modems with its 24-month plans. These are the Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4G, the Huawei CarFi 4G and the Huawei WiFi Gateway 4G.

If you exceed your monthly data allowance on any of Vodafone’s mobile broadband plans, you'll be automatically charged $10 and granted an extra 1GB of data for that month only. You will continue to be charged at this rate until your allowance resets at the end of your current billing cycle.

On any of the minimum term contracts, you'll need to pay an early cancellation fee if you want to terminate your service before the minimum term is up. This fee varies, with cheaper plans charging 100% of their monthly cost times the number of months remaining on your contract while higher-rate plans drop the fee a bit to around 50% of your monthly fee times the months remaining. It’s important to read the fine print before signing up to make sure you know which fees may apply if you leave early.

If signing up to a post-paid contract sounds like too much, of if you’re not a regular user of mobile broadband, a pre-paid option might be more suitable. Recharge when you like, as much as you like, without any credit checks or minimum commitments. Most of Vodafone’s pre-paid mobile broadband options are based on 30-day expiry, but there is a 180-day option for those who will use less data, but need it to last longer:

  • Prepaid mobile broadband 5GB for $30 with a 30-day expiry
  • Prepaid mobile broadband 10GB for $40 with a 30-day expiry
  • Prepaid mobile broadband 10GB for $50 with a 180-day expiry
  • Prepaid modem starter pack 5GB with Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4G for $59 with a 30-day expiry

How does Vodafone compare?

When comparing mobile broadband providers, there’s more than just cost to compare. Customers also need to consider mobile network coverage in the places where they’re likely to use the service. Be sure to take into account the strength and reliability of Vodafone's 4G network at your home and other locations you frequent before signing up.

How do Vodafone’s NBN plans compare?

At the outset, Vodafone’s Basic NBN plan is priced around the sweet spot for unlimited data at Basic NBN speeds. While there are a few cheaper options available, many are only cheaper for the first few months before reverting to a higher recurring fee.

Stepping up to NBN Standard Plus speeds (50Mbps/20Mbps), Vodafone’s offering starts to look a little less competitive. It’s a fair bit pricier per month than competitors like Barefoot, amaysim and Mate Communicate, making it a tough choice to recommend.

At top-tier NBN Premium speeds, the distinction is about the same. Many competitors offer unlimited data plans for as much as $20 cheaper than Vodafone. MyRepublic even offers a cheaper bundle that also includes a PAYG (Pay As You Go) home phone too, handy for those "just in case" situations.

How do Vodafone’s month-to-month mobile broadband plans compare?

Firstly, let’s compare Vodafone's month-by-month mobile broadband plans. As a starting point, $15 a month for 2GB isn’t terrible, but you could score 3GB for the same price by going with a competitor like Yomojo or CMobile.

At the $30 price point, there’s a little more competition, but Vodafone is still a little behind what most other competitors are doing at this price:

This starts to turn around at higher price points. Vodafone's larger plans more closely align with the competition, especially if you're lucky enough to sign up during one of Vodafone's regular promotions.

How do Vodafone’s 12-month and 24-month mobile broadband plans compare?

With Vodafone's longer-term plans packing more data than their month-to-month brethren, they represent better value for money – provided you're happy to make the minimum 12-month commitment.

Even with the added value, though, these plans come up short against offerings from Exetel and Southern Phone .

Vodafone's higher-tier plans perform slightly better, though they're still topped by the larger data caps on Exetel plans:

Since Vodafone's 12-month and 24-month plans are identical save for the bundled 4G modem, signing up for the longer commitment is only worth it if you need a new mobile broadband device and can't afford the cheaper upfront cost of buying one outright.

How do Vodafone’s prepaid mobile broadband plans compare?

If you’re looking for prepaid mobile broadband, Vodafone’s plans generally aren’t all that competitive. You should consider offers from smaller providers such as Lebara, amaysim and OVO, as they all offer better value plans at quite a saving.

Why should you consider Vodafone?

At the lower end of mobile broadband, Vodafone is not especially competitive on price. There are better deals, often with more inclusions, available from competing providers.

Vodafone’s strength as a mobile broadband provider lies north of the $30 per month mark, where many plans not only offer better inclusions than rival options, but also benefit from a 10% discount if you're already a Vodafone customer.

There is a good reason to consider Vodafone for lower price plans, regardless of what might look like lesser value. Like other major carriers (and unlike most smaller providers), Vodafone maintains a nation-wide network of retail shopfronts where you can walk in, and walk out with a mobile broadband service on the spot. Better yet, if something goes wrong, or if you need that personal touch, you can walk in and get it.

For basic home broadband, Vodafone’s NBN offerings are quite competitive. Not only is its entry-level NBN plan among the cheapest on the market, the inclusion of 4G Instant Connect and 4G Backup services is a great option for those who need to be online quickly and consistently.

However, for customers seeking faster speeds, Vodafone’s higher plans do come at a bit of a price premium. If the addition of 4G Instant Connect and 4G backup doesn’t matter to you, or if you’ve already got a mobile broadband service (or a smartphone with a large data inclusion), you could probably save money elsewhere.

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